Friday, December 21, 2012


A Christmas Surprise

Because good news and pleasant events are so rarely reported in Bloggerville these days, I have to tell you what happened to me just two days ago.


I have a dear friend I’ve never met in person. We know each other only through correspondence and occasional telephone conversations. This in itself would not be so unusual in an age where it’s so easy meet and greet anonymously via the internet, but two days ago something extraordinary came to me because of this relationship.

A few days ago my friend and I were talking, and I happened to mention that artificial Christmas decorations, while practical, cheap and not bad looking, had made the annual celebration feel sterile and uninspiring. I missed the scent of pine and the wonder of decking the door and the mantelpiece with real greenery clipped from branches in my own backyard.

A couple of days later I my friend called, and asked me if I had seen what was on my front porch yet?

I don’t really have a front porch –– the entrance here is more outdoor vestibule than porch –– but I had to admit my curiosity was piqued.

“You sent me something, didn’t you?” I asked. “Well, I hope it isn’t food, you know I’m doing my best to lose weight.”

”No it’s not food,” she said. “I just want to make sure it got there, that’s all.”

“All right, I’ll take the phone to the front door, but I’ll have to put you on speaker for a while. I hope that’s okay?”

“Fine,” she said.

When I opened the door, a huge box lay just in front of the mat. I couldn’t imagine what it contained.

“What have you done?” I asked. “It looks heavy.”

“Shouldn’t be,” I heard through the speaker.

“Do I have to open it right now?” I asked. “It looks as though I’m going to have to use a knife to cut through all the tape. It may take some time.”

“Yes, open it now. If you wait, it won’t do you any good.”

The suspense was beginning to get to me, so I dragged the box inside, set it on the piano bench, which it pretty well covered, and rushed into the kitchen to get the knife.

The very second I broke the seal and started to cut through the packing tape a lovely aroma escaped from the box, and brought me straight back to the good old days when Christmas really felt like Christmas. It was the nostalgic scent of freshly-cut pine, balsam  and hemlock.

I lifted the burden out of the box, and beheld a beautiful long-oval centerpiece made from various types of fir studded with sprigs of variegated holly adorned with pine cones, clusters of red holly berries and a bright red bow. Three tall red tapers came with the package, and sure enough a built in candle holder was soon discovered  buried among the branches at the foundation of the pretty piece.

Naturally I thanked my friend profusely. I was genuinely touched, but at the same time felt I now had my work cut out for me.

I hadn’t said much about it to anyone, but I had pretty well decided not to bother with Christmas decorations this year. After all, I live by myself, have few visitors, and ... well, you know –– or maybe you don’t?

The upshot of it all was that yesterday I felt inspired and put up the tree, dug out the Dellarobbia-style wreath with the plastic fruit, dusted it off, and spruced it up with some small red bows, and hung it on the door. It looked pretty good, but it just wasn’t enough, so soon I felt compelled to adorn the wrought-iron branch sculpture over the wrought iron loveseat with the string of a hundred tiny, multi-colored lights bought for the purpose years ago. Then a big red velvet bow on the mirror over the half-moon console table opposite. That was much better.

It was beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Inside, however, the mantelpiece looked naked and forlorn, so there was nothing to do but dig through the boxes to find the fireproof holly garlands –– fake but very tasteful –– and the red bows set aside for the fireplace.

A quick search for the cinnamon and pine scented candles tucked away at the back of a kitchen cabinet completed the task.

After putting away the mess I quietly basked in the glow feeling once again The Wonder of The Season.

I went to bed exhausted, but happy, and slept late.

So, Christmas has arrived at my house this year after all –– thanks to the thoughtfulness and generosity of my cyber friend who lives a thousand miles away.

And they say miracles can’t happen! HAH!

Merry Christmas!!!
~ FreeThinke

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

My Christmas surprise has had the desired effect, I see.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

~ Cyber Della
(a mere analogy - I didn't really make a sacrifice)

-FJ said...

How thoughtful! Sounds like the beginning of a wonderful holiday!

Always On Watch said...

We ALL need a Christmas surprise or two. Good surprises, of course.

And Christmas is the time of miracles -- or should be anyway.

Merry Christmas, FT!

Anonymous said...

Is that your tree, FT? I have a feeling it is. It's beautiful. I'll bet your home is as classy as you.

Nice post. We need more stuff like that, especially at this time of the year.

Helen Highwater

Silverfiddle said...

What a beautiful Christmas story.

Thank you for sharing it with us!

Always On Watch said...

Once again, here we have an uplifting essay -- and bloggers are avoiding commenting thereto as if the essay were some kind of plague. **sigh**

FreeThinke said...

Philippians 4:8

King James Version (KJV)

" ... Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."

Good advice from Saint Paul, isn't it? Too bad practically no one wants to take it.

We seem to be a society split primarily between two factions:

1. Those addicted to rage, who want always to accuse, find blame, excoriate and punish.

2. The vast majority who simply don't give a good God-damn one way or the other.

Maybe Ducky's right about our being a sorry people.

~ FT

FreeThinke said...

Glad you stopped by, and glad you enjoyed the anecdote, SilverFiddle. Murder, mayhem, mendacity and misery may get more attention, but I still think it's important to express gratitude for whatever good comes our way.

Merry Christmas!

-FJ said...

Ducky may yet find redemption, one day....

...but NOT with that attitude, FT. ;)

FreeThinke said...

Redemption may come only to those whose hearts have melted. It could come only to those who love sincerely, unstintingly with no thought of benefit to the Self. Redemption has nothing to do with changing the world to suit our peculiar ideas of right and wrong.

Instead, it has everything to do with transforming our vanity, anxiety, cupidity, captiousness, cynicism, and self-righteousness to unreserved empathy for the plight of others.

Only in losing our sense of Self in a creative project, worthy cause or simple devotion to Duty might we find out who we really are and thus find Fulfillment.

Thersites said...

I disagree. Redemption comes from the sacrifice of your own personal "accursed share" for the "good" you care about. My empathy for others is not unconditional. Most times, when they feed a viscious cycle, the fates they suffer are well deserved. I have empathy for the innocent, not the guilty.

FreeThinke said...

Virtue is its own reward.

Crime is its own punishment.

I've said many times that those caught red-handed in the midst of violent acts should be shot dead on the spot preferably by the victim and not by the authorities.

The legal system guarantees a perversion of justice.

I favor summary justice when threatened or violently accosted. I don't like punishment. I'm happy to leave that up to God.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Divine Theatre said...

You don't live alone, Freethinke. We are right here. :)
Your home is so beautiful! I wish we were neighbors. I can already see myself there, annoying you with too many questions!
The gift of a memory. What a friend.

Merry Christmas!

xo

Andie

FreeThinke said...

Bless you, Andie.

I too wish we lived nearer one another. I still have great fun finding terrific things at places like Goodwill and Habitat for Humanity. It's astonishing what shows up there, and it's always priced at next-to-nothing.

Like you I love taking disparate "finds" from all over that work well together.

It's probably ore fun to LOOK rich than to BE rich.

Merry Christmas!