December 21, 2011 - There are times when this job really, and I mean really pays off. There are times, like last Wednesday (December 14), when it was gray and raining and time to shop was running low; when the bills needed paying and spirits needed to grow.
Then, when hope is but a farfetched dream, a story presents itself that changes everything.
So there I was sitting at my desk, double-checking the list of advertisers for this week's publication, calling folks who were in last year, but not this year, solving problems with our accounts receivable department and thinking the day couldn't end soon enough. It was just before one in the afternoon, and I remembered that I had forgotten to check my email at the normal time (lunch). As I read the electronically sent not note from the 59-year-old grandmotherly reader, my smile grew. (Heh, heh. I smell a column coming on!)
What follows is a little Dickensonian, so bare with me as I try to conjure up a fresh blanket of snow to set the scene.
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I would like to apologize to the wonderful children who were singing Christmas carols in my neighborhood. I have been here over 25 years and this is the first time anyone has come caroling.
This is a true story.
I was sitting in my front room watching a boxing movie with a lot of action sounds, etc. From nowhere all these sounds -- bells, singing, and stomping and all sorts of sounds seem to be coming out of the speakers.
The one dog flies off the chair, all four paws off the floor and ends up facing me barking, scared. The other dogs start barking at the front windows. I yell, "What the Fudge?!" (Except, just like Ralphie in the movie, A Christmas Story, I didn't say fudge, I said the queen mother of all swear words, the f- - - word.)
And, I said the word, many times.
I turned the volume off and I still hear these strange sounds. Out of the corner of my eyes, less than a foot away, I see candles, hear bells and singing and children, about eight of them singing Christmas carols. They were fearless and they kept right on singing.
I really do feel bad about the swearing.
I ran out of the house and gave them some money, hoping to get them outta' there. They turned and left, but one, the littlest, turned back and looked at me. Huge eyes, terrified, sad or both? I don't know. I went back in and after thinking about my words, I wanted to apologize, but could not find them on my block. I really did go out to look for them but didn't see or hear them anywhere. I guess the money I gave them will now be used for therapy.
If any of the singers read this, I really am sorry about the words, and did enjoy your singing. (My behavior really was worse, but I tried to clean this up for your family publication).
Don, I do not know how to get this message out to them.
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Well Mrs. Grumpy, it warms the cockles of my heart to be a tool of healing, to help thaw your cold, cold heart as you reach out to the wee-ones who only tried to spread some holiday cheer.
I am sure they will accept your apology, as would I. Even after Ebeneezer Scrooge was crotchety to folks he was able to feel love during Christmas.
Remember, too when the Grinch figured out the errors of his ways his heart (once two sizes too small) grew three sizes that fateful day.
Merry Christmas, Mrs. Grumpy and merry Christmas readers one and all. May the love of family and friends and strangers from afar keep you warm.
Email comments and Christmas cheer/stories to: Don@ShermanPublications.org.
Don is Assistant Publisher for Sherman Publications, Inc. He has worked for the company since 1985. He has won numerous awards for column, editorial and feature writing as well as for photography. He has two, sons Shamus and Sean and resides in the area. To read archived copies of his columns, click on his name, just under his picture up top . . . He can be e-mailed at: firstname.lastname@example.org