The Day Prescott Became Home
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09 December 2019
  Chris Kuknyo
We moved for Mom. We stayed because of Prescott.
My Christmas story. It was 1978 when I arrived in Prescott. My moms asthma wouldn’t allow another Chicago winter, so my dad took early retirement and moved us to Prescott. The lack of pollution and mild climate was what mom needed to feel better. The house in Chicago was not selling so money was tight. We rented a 28 foot trailer in the mountain club and knew this Christmas was gonna be very lean. I was an only child of 13 and wasn’t used to not having friends and family around during the holidays. We always had a nice artificial tree with three generations of ornaments, but this year all of it was in storage and the tiny trailer had no room for a tree anyway. Dad tried to make the best of things and bought a twelve inch tree but it wasn’t the same.

One morning in early December, out of pure boredom and loneliness I picked up a tennis racket and ball and walked through a couple inches of snow to the old armory on Gurley Street. I smacked the ball againt the practice board a couple of times until I came to my senses about trying to play in the snow. Feeling defeated and alone I started my trek home.I paused at the Christmas tree lot the Lions had set up in the Whataburger parking lot. I can’t tell you what was going through my head but it must have shown on my face. The man working the lot came up to me and said”Hello, are you looking for a tree?” I said no and told him about my families situation. We talked for about five minutes and I started to leave. He said “Wait a minute, you forgot this!” He then picked up a 6 foot tree and gave it to me. I told him I had no money but he insisted I take it.
Excitement ran through me as I thanked him and headed home with this beautiful gift. I got all the way to Cortez street before my mom found me. I had been gone quite awhile and she had come looking for me. The smile on my face was immediately contagious and she listens to my story as we did our best to stuff this tree into the back of our Chevy Nova. We got it home and set it up under the awning of our little trailer. We then went to the Yellowfront store and bought a string of lights and some cheap ornaments.

My first real tree was a beautiful sight out there and the warmth it brought inside the little trailer hit the spot.

I often wonder if that man at the Lions lot knew all he did that day. It was the day that Prescott became my home. His spirit of giving became a part of me and showed me that one man can make a difference in the lives of others. Merry Christmas, Prescott!

 

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