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Two Turtle Doves

Seth - December 24, 2006

The second December I spent with my wife found the two of us happily browsing through the Christmas decorations at a local craft store in Orem Utah. Misty was visibly pregnant with our first – a girl. Both of us were completing our undergraduate studies at BYU, and happily situated in a small apartment near the Provo Temple. The apartments were dedicated by BYU for the use of young married student couples. While Misty and I loved living there, some festive individual in the administration had determined that live Christmas trees were a fire hazard and therefore prohibited.

Being a firm believer in the free exercise of religion, and also a lifelong Mormon, I determined that the proper response would be to follow the long example of my Mormon forefathers and publicly support the rulings of my Priesthood authorities, while privately doing what I planned to do in the first place.

Passive-agressiveness. It’s the grease that makes our Church run smoothly!

Accordingly, one night Misty and I purchased a small four-foot tree at a supermarket parking lot, and quickly smuggled it into our apartment. The true spirit of Christmas indeed.

But we needed decorations. Which is why we were browsing through the craft store looking at pretty decorations too expensive for us to afford. For instance, we passed-by a pair of lovely molded turtle-doves that would be perfect for the “12 Days of Christmas” we were trying to collect for the Christmas tree. Oh well…

Just the same, we managed to get a few modest items here and there. At that point a distinguished-looking gentleman approached us and, smiling, pressed a twenty-dollar bill into my hand and told me to buy something nice for the tree. I managed to stammer a surprised thank-you before he was quickly walking off. Misty and I were at a loss for words for a bit, but still delighted at life’s little surprises.

We promptly retraced our steps, and placed the two turtle doves in our cart – along with four calling birds. The decorations looked perfect on the small tree and they’ve been put on every tree we’ve had since. The turtle doves are currently sitting at the top of our tree this Christmas – right below the star.

Or angel, if you prefer…

I guess it’s a reminder that there are angels around this season and every season. They’re not always credited, they’re not always heroic, and they’re usually not very ostentatious. But they are always welcome.

Merry Christmas.


  1. Thanks Seth. My daughter and her family came Christmas night to our home. Her husband recently lost his job. She was very emotional when she explained the many gifts left on her doorstep over the past 10 days or so. Money, wrapped gifts, and food. She felt bad because she knows there are so many more who are worse off.

    As a parent you want to step in and help. This Christmas it was better for them and for those who were generous enough to think of them to be blessed. It truly was a blessing in their lives and something their 5 boys won’t soon forget either. Our “doorstep” gift will remain anoymous along with the others who love their family.

    What a great time of year!

    Comment by Don Clifton — December 26, 2006 @ 12:57 pm

  2. This was nice, thanks Seth. That’s a lovely memory to have.

    Comment by Susan M — December 27, 2006 @ 1:08 pm

  3. Finally! I find a post written by you –Ever since I got the Christmas card Misty sent this month (our only contact with you guys since you left for Law school), I was FLOORED when I read that you blogged –and that you were SETH R!!! Why it took me over 11 months to figure this out –that you are THE Seth R! –I will never know…
    Love your comments (always have, even before I realized I knew you!), this post, and your wife.
    By the way, it’s been WAAAYYYY too long since we’ve seen you guys, but we think of you fondly… I mean, weren’t we the ones who introduced you and Misty? I recall B telling you to date her… :)
    Glad to have found you at last…

    Comment by cheryl — December 30, 2006 @ 8:34 pm

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