Christmas is only two weeks away! I say this, not to add panic to your day, but to set the mood for a little Christmas story. As a historical fiction writer, I am drawn to the classics. Every year I watch Miracle on 34th Street and It’s a wonderful life. I usually watch by myself, tucked under a handmade quilt (thanks Mom!), cozy by the fire.
My favorite classic though, is A Christmas Carol. Dickens really did know how to take a darkened, dirty city and turn it into a magical piece of holiday tradition. I am most certainly no Charles Dickens, but here is my Christmas story for you this holiday season.
With Christmas eve a mere few weeks away, we took the opportunity to enjoy a quiet breakfast at a local restaurant before the busyness of the day began. We sipped our tea and talked about the long list of tasks before us. There is much to fit in during the holiday season and quiet moments offer a reprieve and a chance to reflect.
An observer by nature, I often become immersed in the comings and goings of those around me. I smiled, as the waitress talked at length with an older gentleman seated by himself with his coffee and newspaper. It was obvious that he was a regular patron, who was known by the staff on a first name basis. They spoke of the upcoming holidays and the gift he had gotten his wife.
Watching the interaction, I felt my heart warm. Once again, I was reassured that the human race continues to strive to connect with one another. As we finished our eggs, a young family with a little boy and a little girl entered the restaurant. The man in the booth, got up from his seat and walked over to greet them.
“Hello, Bill,” said the family as they settled the youngest one into a highchair. The waitress popped by and offered beverages. Through their conversation, it again became clear that this family too, were frequent customers. Being a creature of habit has some advantages as the staff knew they would be expecting Grandparents to join them. But just as important, they also knew that the kids needed to order right away so they could get started on filling their tummies.
As the waitress left with an order in hand, Bill moved a little bit closer to their table. “I ran into Santa the other day,” He said. “He gave me a little something to pass on to you”. And with that, Bill reached behind and pulled out a princess doll and a toy truck. The children’s delight in receiving such a gift, prompted them to begin the task of opening their new toys.
The moment was a brief one of exchange, but the sentiment of Bill’s thoughtfulness was evident as the mother tried desperately to convey her gratitude for such a kind gesture. The children said their “thank you’s” and Bill collected his jacket, said, “Merry Christmas”, and walked out the door.
I imagine Bill had patiently been waiting for the family to arrive. Just as I imagine the mother remembering his kindness for days to come. That is the thing about a Christmas story. It stays with you, and if you’re lucky, it will carry you through long after the holiday season has passed us by.