« The Way I Heard It with Mike Rowe

Episode 146: OCCASIONALLY--Christmastime

2019-12-24 | 🔗

Christmastime is upon us, and with it comes the season of giving. Mike recites perhaps the greatest story ever written about the spirit of giving.

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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Adrian I grow, and this is not the way I heard it: no, No, no, no! This is occasionally the far is your version of the pod cast to which you ve become accustomed. Occasionally the version of the pod cast, wherein I go in search of stories written not by me, but by authors, with far more talent stories that comport in some way shape or form with the particular occasion at hand. While the occasion at hand is Christmas time and the story I like to share with you is one I dare say you are familiar with. It was written way back in nineteen o five by a very famous writer named William Sidney Porter will to his friends and to the rest of the world. Oh Henry O Henry of Course wrote the gift of the magic and, even though I know you ve heard it
I'm sharing it, because I wonder if you ve heard it in its original text, and I wonder this because I hadn't it really never occurred to me until last week I was sitting home recuperating. Incidentally, I apologize for going dark. In the month of December, my home. Was to share every week. True story for the curious mind, with a short attention span. I had the stories written, but returning the favour, as it turns out, is coming back. Sooner than I thought I wound up on the road longer than I thought, time: I got home, I lost my voice. I just got my voice back yesterday. I feel great, however
Last week I did not. I was lying there on the sofa mute flicking around and I heard Kristen China with recite the gift of the match. I, with the help of an orchestra. She was great, very talented. Woman orchestra sounded terrific, but, as I listened, it occurred to me that it just sounded to modern it didn't sound like something. Oh Henry would have written way back in nineteen o five o Henry used big ten cent words. He wrote in that stilted, almost victorian kind of way in this. Just didn't sound like that. So I looked around. I found the original text and I was right and then I found other performers, others celebrities telling the story and none of them relied on the original text.
And they all offered the same excuse. They all said well we're just trying to make the story more accessible to a modern audience. How do you feel about that me? I don't like, and maybe it's because maybe it's because I just finished during my first book- and maybe it's because should I be so lucky as to have someone a hundred years from now read one of my stories. I I don't think I feel good if they change the words in order to be more accessible to people a hundred years later. You know so I don't know. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe O Henry doesn't care, maybe he wouldn't have minded, but I like I like the original text and this is the way he wrote it. I think it's the way he would want you to hear it. I can't prove it, but regardless this is certainly the way I
it a happy Christmas to you and yours. Thank you for your support on the pod cast this year, I'll be back next month with news stories for now. This is occasionally and it's Christmas time, the gift of the magic. One dollar at eighty seven sense that was all and sixty cents of it was in pennies pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer in the vegetable man and the butcher until one's cheeks burned with a silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied three della counted it one dollar and eighty seven cents, and the next day would be Chris. There was clearly nothing to do but flop down on the shabby little couch and howl. So Della did it which instigates the moral
reflection: that life is made up of sobs sniffles and smiles with sniffles predominating, while the Mister so, the home is gradually subsiding from the first stage to the second, let's take a look at the home of furnished flat at eight dollars per week. It does not exactly, agar description, but it certainly has that word on the look out for the mendicant he Squad invested You'll below was a letter box into which no letter would go and an electric button from which no mortal finger could coax a ring. Also appertained their unto was a card bearing the name. Mr James. Dealing young, the Billingham had been clung to the breeze during a former period of prosperity when its possessor was being paid Thirty dollars per week now, with the income, shrunk to just twenty dollars a week, They were thinking seriously of contracting to a modest and more
on assuming d, but whenever miss James Billingham Young came home and reached his flat above he was called Jim and greatly hugged by MRS James Gillingham Young, already introduced to you as Della, which is all very good della, finished. Her cry and attended to her cheeks The powder rag she stood by the window and looked out dully at a great cat, walking a grey fence in a grey backyard tomorrow would be. Christmas day and she had only a dollar. Eighty said incense with which to buy Jim Present she had been saving every penny she could for months. With this result, twenty dollars a week doesn't go far. Expense had been greater than she had calculated. They always are only
dollar eighty seven cents to buy a present for Jim, her Jim many a happy hour she had spent per. For something nice for him, something fine and rare and sterling something just the little bit near to being worthy of the honour of belonging to him. There was appear glass between the windows, room, perhaps you ve seen appear glass in an eight dollar flat, a very thin and fair. We address person may by observing his reflection and a rapid sequence of longitude. No strips obtain a fairly accurate conception of his looks Della being slender had mastered the art. Suddenly she world from the window and stood before the
lass her eyes were shining brilliantly, but her face had lost its color within twenty seconds rapidly. She pulled down her hair and let it fall to its full length. Now there were two possessions of the James Gillingham youngsters in which they both took a mighty pride. One was Jim's gold watch that had been his fathers and his grandfathers. The other. Was doubtless hair at the queen of Sheba lived in the flattery ass, the airship della, would have left her. Hair hang out the window some day to dry, just to deprecate. Her majesty's jewels and gifts Solomon, been the janitor. With all his treasures piled up in the basement. Jim would have pulled out his watch every time he passed just to see him pluck at his beard from envy, so now dollars
Beautiful hair fell about her rippling and shining like a cascade of brown waters it reached below her knee made itself almost a garment for her, and then she did it up again nervously and quickly. Once she faltered for a minute and stood still while a tear were to splashed on the worn, red carpet on when her old brown jacket on when her old brown hat with a world of skirts and with that brilliant sparkle. In her eyes, she fluttered the door and down the stairs to the street where she stopped. The sign read, but Damn: sulphur, nay hair goods of all kinds, one flight up della, ran and collected herself panting, Madame large, two white and chile, hardly looked the sovereign
Will you buy my hair? Ask Bella, I buy hair, said Madame, take your hat off and let's have a site at the looks of it down rippled the brown cascade twenty dollars settlement, damn lifting the mass with a practiced and give it to me quick, set Della o the next two hours trip to buy rosy wings. Forget the hashed metaphor. She was ransacking the stores for gems present. She found it at last. It surely had been made for you and no one else. There was no other like it in any of the stores, and she had turned all of them inside out. It was a platinum fog in simple and chased and design properly proclaiming its value.
By substance alone and not by meretricious ornamentation. As all good things should do, it was even worthy of the world. Such ass. Soon ass. She saw it. She knew that it must be Jim's. It was like him quietness and value. The description applied to both twenty one dollars. They took from her for it And she hurried home with the eighty seven cents with that chain on his watch. Jim might be properly anxious about the time in any company grand as the watch was he sometimes looked at it only sly, on account of the old leather, strap that he used in place of a chain. Mandela reached
home. Her intoxication gave way to a little prudence and reason she got out her curling irons and lighted the gas and went to work, repairing the ravages made by generosity added to love, which is always a tremendous task. Dear friends, a mammoth task Within forty minutes, her head was covered with tiny, close lying curls that made her look wonderfully like a truant schoolboy. She looked Her reflection in the mirror, long carefully and critically. If Jim doesn't kill me, she said to herself before he takes a second
Look at me he'll, say I look like a Coney island chorus girl. But what could I do? Oh, what could I do with a dollar and eighty seven cents at seven o clock the coffee was made and the frying pan was on the back of the stove hot and ready to cook the chops. Jim was never late Della doubled the fog chain in her hand and sat on the corner
of the table near the door that he always entered. Then she heard his step on the stair away down on the first flight and she turned white for just a moment. She had a habit of saying a little silent prayer about the simplest, everyday things, and now she whispered, please, God make him think, I'm still pretty the door opened and Jim stepped in enclosed it. He looked thin and very serious poor fellow. He was only twenty two and to be burdened with a family. He needed a new overcoat and he was without gloves.
Stopped inside the door is immovable as a centre at the scent of quail. His eyes were fixed upon Della than there was an expression in them that she could not read and terrified her. It was not anger nor surprise nor disk approval, nor a horror nor any of the sentiments that she had been prepared for. He simply stared at her fixedly with that peculiar expression on his face Della wriggled off the table and went for him. Jim darling. She cried don't look at me. That way I had my hair cut off and sold, because I couldn't have lived through Christmas without giving you a present. Little girl out again, you won't mind, will you I just had to do it. My hair grows awfully fast Say merry Christmas, Jim and let's be happy.
You don't know what a nice, what a beautiful nice gift I've got for. You, you ve cut off your hair, ask Jim laboriously, as if he had not arrived at that patent fact. Yet, even after the hardest mental labour cut it off and sold, it said Della. Don't you like me just as well anyhow, I me without my hair and I Jim looked about the room. Curiously, you say your hair is gone. He said with an air of Of idiocy, you needn't look for it said Della it sold. I tell you sold and gone to it's Christmas. Eve boy be good to me, for it went for you. Maybe
Hairs of my head were numbered. She went on with sudden series sweetness, but nobody could ever count. My love for you shall I put the chops on Jim out of his trance. Jim seemed quickly to wake he and folded, his della for ten seconds. Let us now regard with distinct scrutiny, some inconsequential object in the other direction, eight dollars weak or a million a year. What's the difference a mathematician or which would give you the wrong answer the match? I brought valuable gifts, but that was not among them. This dark assertion will be illuminated later on Jim, drew a package from his overcoat pocket and throw it upon the table.
Don't make any mistake, though he said I dont think there's anything in the way of a hair cut or a shave, or a shampoo that could make me like my girl, any less. But if you'll unwrapped that package, you may see Why you had me going awhile at first white fingers and nimble tore at the string and paper and then an ecstatic scream of joy and then, alas, a quick, feminine change to hysterical, tears and Wales necessitating the immediate employment of all the comforting powers of the Lord of the flat, for there lay the combs the set of Combs side and back that Della had worshiped long in a broadway window. Beautiful combs pure tortoise shell, with jeweled rims, just the shade to wear in the beautiful, vanished hair.
They were expensive combs. She knew and her heart had simply craved and yearned over them without the least hope of possession, and now they were hers, but the trust Is that should have adorned the coveted adornments were gone, but she hung them to her bosom and at length. She was able to look up with dim eyes and a smile and say my hair grow so fast, and then Della leaped up like a little singed cat and cried. Oh, oh Jim, had not yet seen his beautiful present. She held it out to him eagerly upon her open palm the doll precious metals seem to flash, with a reflection of her bright and ardent spirit. In it, a dandy Jim. I hunted all over town to find it. You'll have to look at that.
I'm a hundred times a day. Now give me your watch. I want to see how it looks on it instead of obeying Jim, tumble down on the couch and put his hands under the back of his head and smiled Del. He said, let's put our Christmas presents away keep em awhile there too nice to use. Just at present, I sold the watch to get the money to buy your combs and now suppose you put the chops on. The magic, as you know, were wise men wonderfully wise men who brought gifts to the babe in the major they invented. The art of giving Christmas presents being wise. Their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange. In case of
duplication- and here I have lamely related to you- the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other, the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days. Let it be said that of all who give gifts. These were the two wisest of all who give and receive gifts such as they are the wisest everywhere. They are wise, for they are the magic.
Transcript generated on 2019-12-29.