“The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry

Every Christmas, the Asheville Citizen-Times publishes “The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry, and every year I reread it. It’s a wonderful story about two people in love who sacrifice what is most dear to them in order to purchase a gift for the other. The ironic twist is that Della sells her hair to buy a watch chain for James, and James sells his watch to buy combs for Della’s hair. The moral is that the act of giving when you lack abundance is the greatest of gifts.

O. Henry (whose real name was William Sydney Porter) is buried in Asheville’s Riverside Cemetery, walking distance from my home. It has been reported that visitors occasionally leave $1.87 at the grave. I think on my next walk, I’ll stroll through Riverside and bring $1.87 with me, much of it in pennies.

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