Lessons from Santa

I retired from the Army, grew a beard, and became Santa.

Day three one of my elves whispered, “Santa, you’re about to see three orphans. Their foster parents have been approved to adopt them, and they want YOU to tell them!”
Stunned, I mumbled, “What would you like for Christmas?” I didn’t hear their requests, wondering, “What can I say? What CAN I say?”
Then it came to me. I said, “I’ll see, but I have something for you today.”
“What’s that Santa?” the oldest asked.
“A Family,” I said.
They looked puzzled, but when I explained they were staying together, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

In … continue

The Christmas Card

December 1995, Greece. As I looked out my kitchen window at the green groves of olive trees, I had an aching homesickness for a different picture of winter. I wanted to be in the Vermont Life calendar photo on my wall, breathing in the cold air outside a tiny wooden post office, its roof covered in fresh, deep snow and a red ribboned wreath on the wall frozen with icicles. Above the door was a small sign:

POST OFFICE. PLYMOUTH. Vt. 05056.

On an impulse I decided to write a Christmas card to the people who worked there. It lifted my spirits to do so, might lift theirs too and … continue

Laurel

“Maybe after Christmas,” I replied, worried he couldn’t afford this long distance call from London.
“No, come now. I need you. You’ll see, we will look back on this as one of the best periods of our lives.”
I had great misgivings. There’d been a passionate affair in Athens but no future– better just cherish the memory of the handsome charming fellow who had challenged my thinking, made me laugh, made me feel precious. I should be realistic, stay in Chicago after traipsing abound Europe with a friend, and return to high school teaching, even if it meant barren spinsterhood. And breaking codes of behavior, living with him in prim … continue