The Christmas Prankster

Their late son was sorely missed that Christmas, but he made his presence felt.

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- Posted on Oct 17, 2014

A man takes a Christmas phone call with a smile.

Christmas morning my wife and I got up and gathered in the living room with our teenage girls and a framed photograph of our beloved son, T.J. It had been less than four months since T.J. died in a car wreck, but we couldn’t imagine our holiday rituals without him.

Waking up before dawn. Reading the Christmas story together. And then there was T.J.’s favorite tradition of all, taking turns holding a lit candle while the rest of the family described what they loved and admired most about that person in the past year.

T.J. was great at this game. “Dad, I really admire your golfing skills,” T.J. had complimented me one year. “A hole-in- one, two days in a row!”

“Very funny,” I said. I’d been so excited when I sunk my first-ever hole-in-one that T.J. had snuck onto the green the very next day after my opening drive—fooling me into thinking I’d sunk that one too. It was a good prank. One that showed how much he loved me.

If he was here now I’d tell him how much it still makes me laugh, I thought as we passed the candle around without him.

Finally, the girls put the candle in front of T.J.’s photograph. Before anyone could speak the phone rang.

When I answered, no one was there. “Nothing even on caller ID,” I said. “Wrong number. Or a prank call.”

“Prank call,” said the girls. “Who does that make you think of?” With heaven’s help, T.J. had joined us after all.

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