The Harvey’s department store in Nashville, Tennessee, was a children’s wonderland all year ’round. Harvey’s slogan was “It’s fun to shop at Harvey’s.” It was. Carousel horses stood in alcoves along the escalators. On the top floor was a full-sized carousel, which we called the merry-go-round. The only Jewish person I knew as a young child was the kind and fun man who operated the merry-go-round.
The stools and counter of the Monkey Bar snack bar were near the merry-go-round. A row of kiddie rides stood parallel to it. For ten cents, Steve and I could ride together in a jalopy that shook us from side to side. A cowboy statue sat on a bench nearby. You could sit beside him for free. I think Daddy liked to sit on the bench with the cowboy even more than we did.
My family did lots of shopping at Harvey’s when I was growing up. My first Bible with both the Old and New Testaments came from the book department. It cost $1.00. The Beatles came to America in 1964. Mother took me to the record department to buy their 45 rpm single of “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” With my ten-year-old inexperience, I walked up to the counter and asked for “that record.” The clerk was amused but knew what I wanted.
Mother often shopped in the fabric department at Harvey’s to buy things she needed for her sewing business. I remember her going there to buy real white rabbit fur trim by the yard to trim the blue velveteen dress she made for me one Christmas. At home Mother cut and sewed the blue velveteen into a long-sleeved dress with a skirt that flared. She attached the white rabbit fur around the neck and the edges of the sleeves. It was a dream dress for a little girl. I thought it looked like a figure skater costume.
My parents knew how to find inexpensive ways to give joy to their children, whether on a simple shopping trip or at the sewing machine. When my Daddy died, someone at the funeral home told me, “Your Daddy sure loved his children and grandchildren.” I knew that then, and I always had.
Family vacations to faraway places are fun. So is putting up a big play structure in the backyard. However, it’s also fun to sit on a stoop, pull a wand out of a 99 cent bottle of bubbles, and see where they fly.
What little thing can you do today to make each of your children (and grandchildren) feel loved?
Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue,
but in deed and truth.
1 John 3:18, NASB