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Friday, November 10, 2006


Vacation time for Yours Truly, so I won't be posting a new Web column until a week from Monday, which is Nov. 20.

When I return to the office, we'll hold the traditional tree lighting in my department. We all gather around a pathetic, 18-inch-high "Charlie Brown tree" I inherited from an aunt-in-law. We all hold candy canes. I play a split-second from Nat King Cole's "O Holy Night." The tree lights get plugged in. The whole ceremony lasts about 30 seconds. We do it every year. It kicks off the season.

Back in December 1985, when Kathy and I returned from our honeymoon in Venezuela, we visited my parents on Christmas Eve. They told me that my Uncle Harold (my dad's big brother) was in the hospital that night. Something told me I should go see him. He'd never met Kathy, so we turned it into a combination HOSPITAL/CHRISTMAS EVE/MEET THE BRIDE visit. I remember as we left Harold's hospital room, there were Christmas carolers at his door. It was a sweet moment. I never saw Harold again. He died not long after that visit.

Years later, when Kathy's Aunt Jenny was in the hospital on Christmas after a serious procedure -- I think she had a double-hip replacement -- the superstitious Irishman in me made me insist we visit her. If memory serves, Aunt Jenny had that 18-inch-high Christmas tree in her hospital room. And guess what -- it was the last time Kathy and I saw Aunt Jenny.

So now I TOTALLY believe that if someone you care about is in the hospital on Christmas, GO VISIT THEM.

Anyway, somehow or other, I inherited what we came to call The Aunt Jenny Tree. It's here at the office year 'round. It picks up an ornament every couple of years or so. Kathy took a picture of it with her then-new digital camera around the time of her final Christmas on Earth, in 2004.

Boo hoo.


Anonymous Gail Jeanne McGillicuddy said...

nice story. Thanks for sharing that, as I wipe a tear from my eye.

See you soon!

1:30 AM, November 12, 2006  

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