My mom presented a very old and special tea towel to me, something I was unaware of until now, something I will always cherish, something I plan on giving to my children as well as this story, something that hopefully they will give to their children.

Why? Dad and Mom purchased our farm in 1948 and had little money then and less afterward. They didn't even have a car at the time. (Their first vehicle would arrive later, a small Ford tractor. It spent a lot of time in the fields and on the roads!) However, Christmas was a time for giving, and Mom felt it important to give her parents and dad's parents a present. Mom looked at the white cloth feed sacks which she had already creatively converted to blouses, blankets, pillow cases, table cloths, and other things, and her mind started turning.

She decided to make seven tea towels, one for each day of the week, for each set of parents. Carefully, she cut out the needed area for the towels from several feed sacks. Due to not having a vehicle, she called her dad to pick her up in order to travel several miles to use the family's treadle sewing machine. Once there, she pedaled the stitches and hems to perfection. She worked in secret which was not too difficult since her seven brother provided plenty of distractions.

Mom's only sister, older and married, gave her some embroidery thread. Mom had purchased iron-on patterns and used her flat iron to press them in place after heating on a wood stove. (She also gave me a flat iron as another gift which helped me appreciate the work involved due to its heaviness.)

When reflecting upon this story, I think about how resourceful and how hard working my parents were throughout their years. They seldom threw any thing away knowing it might be useful another day.

It is one of the reasons why my sister, Sally, could build a cabin by a creek running through our property, a cabin that has been enjoyed by many; it is one of the reasons why Sally could paint scenes on each side of one of Dad's large saw blades and present it to me last Christmas, a gift that now distinguishes our rail fence. For each job, she was able to find what she needed around the farm just as Mom and Dad would for their projects. And it is why Sally wrote the songs “Thank You Mom and Dad” as well as “These Hands” in honor of Mom and Dad (Google Sally Webster albums if wishing to listen).

Growing up, we were by no means rich, but we had parents who could make a lot out of very little, parents that recognized that a parent's love is the best rich can offer. At 93, Mom can be extremely proud that she is no longer poor as she gazes out the picture window of her old two-story home at part of the 160 acre farm but also understands she has always been rich in abilities, family, friends, community, and faith.

While watching a “Daniel Tiger” Christmas show with our grandchildren, one line really touched me: “Presents can't hug.”

What do I want for Christmas this year? We are all very different in our wishes but likely very similar too. My wish is to hold my mom's hand, kiss her on the forehead, hug her, and thank her as well as Dad, who died in 2010, for helping me understand to value each day I'm given with family and friends.

I hope each of us have someone in our lives to hug.