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This year Imbolc was very quiet and subtle.  I’ve been sick and healing from several setbacks, but I’ve also met an unmatched capacity for love and serendipity, creeping in from the balance of solstice.  I chose not to do a set ritual this year.  I didn’t even journey, I merely put on some music and began to dance and stretch.  I had originally felt that the aspect of Brighid that would come to me would be the poet or the smith, as I’ve finally started writing again, and I’ve felt forged by the events of the last several months.  What I was not expecting was Brighid the warrior.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m strong; I’m a survivor.  However, I’ve never been known to be on the frontline.  I’m the healer that comes in afterwards.  I’m the strategist who finds ways to avoid the fight.  I’m the wife who stays at home and supports her soldier, and I always have been, but in this moment it was just me.

Our family is facing some tough choices, and I’ve felt like nothing I can do will protect us from failure.  For the first time in a long time I don’t have any answers, and it’s not just me surviving this time; it’s us.  Our country is under attack from within, not for the first time, but people are coming together and marching and making our voices heard as a country.  I’ve felt bad that I’ve been sick or working when these big events happen.  I want to stand up.  I want to shout.  I wanted to speak up against the men who stood in my workplace spouting hateful words, but my family depends on me to keep this job, so I kept quiet and wrote poetry in my head.  I felt defeated, so when Brighid the warrior came to me and called me her child I felt like a disappointment to my goddess.  For years she’s provided for me, and in this aspect I have not given everything I could have, but she wrapped me in her warmth and gave me a very important lesson.

There is a time and place for action, and this is going to be a long fight.  It’s ok to let the people who are out there raising their voices now stand for me, and when they need to rest and recharge, those of us who have watched on the sidelines will be able to take over and keep the momentum going.  Sometimes the loudest voices are the ones who whisper quietly on pages and surreptitious pipelines while the fires and the crowds distract attention.   The quiet warriors are powerful, like a silent rage that flows under the surface of this resistance.  We are the veins of the revolution, keeping the blood pumping and the tides churning.  We are the spirit of America.  We are Brighid the warrior.

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This year has been rough, for many of us.  I don’t mean ” I stubbed my toe and had to get a pretty serious ingrown toenail removed” rough; I mean “my soul got ripped from my very core and turned into mashed potatoes and taken to some sinister potluck in Hell, and  had to go find it and figure out how to make it a soul again” rough.  You may have noticed a lot of radio silence this year, as I’ve spent a lot of time inside myself trying to sort out what I wanted it to look like.  What better time to remodel than after a pack of demons has rampaged through your inner temple and torn it to shreds from the inside out.  Ok, maybe that’s a bit histrionic, but that’s what it felt like most of the time.

At Yule we are prompted to give up what no longer serves us, what harms us, and what stands in our way.  We keen, we burn, we eschew what we can no longer afford to hold in our lives.  People, things, sentiments, everything must go!  As we say goodbye to this darkness within we invite the new light that grows with the seasons.  We accept the sunlight into us to shine bright with hope and renewal, and we celebrate that we have survived the longest nights.

This year I have enough friends who have opted out of the holidays to feel it in my heart.  Some have lost loved ones.  Others are having health or financial hardships.  Still others have just become jaded for their own personal reasons.  This is not a new phenomenon, but it has been a bit more pervasive this year, but it always reminds me of my own holiday spirit and the lessons that come to be from the holidays.  I’ve told this story before, but it bears repeating, so excuse me while I wax a little Hallmark Special on you all.

My mom loved Christmas.  Every year, without fail, we had the tree that almost grazed our high ceilings covered in lights and ornaments.  We had garland, worn from years of use, strung around the beams and banisters and enough light up animatronic scenes and characters to confuse the cats enough not to touch any of them.  Some years the nativity scene would be almost buried in presents, but some years it would not, but I hardly noticed.

The warmth and joy that filled our house was tangible, and it instilled in me a Christmas Spirit that goes far beyond commercial messages or expectations we place on ourselves, beyond the stress and the worry, and beyond all the jaded skepticism and religious bickering I see every day on the internet or the news.  No, this Spirit is about love and togetherness.  The memories we made decorating the tree have outlasted any gift I’ve ever been given.  The snuggling on the couch watching Prancer and Miracle on 34th St is something I can still feel when I miss my mom around this time.  The love I felt at Christmas just from the time we spent as a family is something I’ve carried with me and tried to emulate in my own family during the holidays no matter what our situation might be.

Here’s a story I have not yet told:

The second Christmas Hubby and I spent together was a bit bleak.  We were i our first apartment together.  I had just started having fibro issues and hadn’t worked much.  All I wanted was a tree.  The fake one my father in law had given us was in storage, and it was locked up until the 1st of the year because we were behind on our rent.  Hubby’s grandparents had just replaced their tree, so they had an extra, which they offered to us.  It was bigger than the space we had for it, and it shed like a nervous chinchilla.  After an hour of measuring and furniture scooting I gave up.  I was sad, but we had tried.  Hubby, on the other hand, was not going to let me concede to a fake pine tree so easily.

I watched the wheels turn as he surveyed our kitchen and dining area, then we put the resulting plan to work.  What we ended up with was a quarter of a tree.  We had stood the base of the tree against the wall behind our kitchen table and only used the branches for the top three sides we could see.  It was a bit of a stretch, but we decorated the hell out of that little patch of tree, and we laughed and sang the entire time. I knew then that there would never be a dark Christmas at our house even in the worst times.  There have been years that have tested us, but we have managed to find ways to make every one special.

The point?  I’m getting to it.

The point is that Yule isn’t about eradicating the darkness, it’s about finding hope and joy in the light. It’s the stars and moon at night, just as we must also embrace the shows and shade in the daytime.  It’s about approach and soul building.  When I eventually found my soul, it wasn’t really any different than it had been before.  I merely had to scrape off a layer of negativity, pick out some things that made it seem spoiled, and put it back where it belongs.  The darkness didn’t ruin it, and the light didn’t do anything but show me what was already there.

This year has been rough, and we weren’t sure we’d be able to even afford gifts for the kids.   When I left work with a flight bag full of small handmade gifts I never imagined I wouldn’t make it all the way home, but a few days later I returned to California feeling deflated.  I hadn’t even send cards.  We just hadn’t had the money.

I put everything in a box and sent it to Hubby and his girlfriend hoping it would at least make him smile for Christmas.  The rest I carried with me on trips I picked up for the time I was supposed to be home.  The cards, I sent.  I figured that was the end of it.  Then I saw the smiles on the faces of people I saw on my trips and the happy Facebook messages from people who were surprised by my cards.  I heard Hubby and Mouse’s voices when they called me after opening their gifts on Yule, and they were so full of joy that, while I was still homesick, my spirit was renewed.

Yesterday as I placed a blue and while Yule/Christmas bouquet at my mom’s headstone, full of her favorite flowers, I caught the scent of pine that rose from it and was immediately reminded that I get to spend the holidays with family I haven’t seen on Christmas in many years, that I have been able to spend the better part of this year with people who are no longer with us and that I have been able to be a part of the lives of the children in our family again.

This was my first home, and it remains a very special part of me and my Christmas heritage. When I got back to y room I set up an impromptu alter, some festive things my grandma had left as a surprise for me, and the cards Hubby had brought me on a surprise overnight visit, and my heart was immediately lighter.

Light.  There it is.

Light of hope.  This doesn’t mean suddenly everything is better.  This doesn’t mean all the injuries we’ve sustained this year are gone.  This means there is hope.  This means a light has been shed on our strength and our resilience.  This means a light has been shed on those around us who love us, so we know we’re not in this alone.  That light means guidance and a promise that if we are growing we are alive.

Light.  Light reminds us that there is more than darkness.  The fact that we recognize darkness is, in part, due to the very light we hail, as we are reminded when we speak to balance.

Aloha, Light.  Aloha, Darkness. Aloha Christmas.

Go now, be joyous.

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Let me be clear before I start posting these stories that the point of this little Lessons in Love experiment was not to rehash old wounds or dredge up old drama.  I had a few reasons, the main one being that we don’t always see how these things change our lives until those wounds have healed and we have seen what something better looks like.  Some of these experiences were the same lesson, but sometimes you have to repeat a mistake to realize what it was that was wrong.  Another reason for this series was to show that there’s nothing wrong with faith, because there’s always a new lesson out there, but there’s also always a new adventure.

After any one of these relationships, or any others I’ve had, I could have stopped trying.  I could have buried myself in work, friends, life, and never let another person into my heart.  Why didn’t I?  Because I have faith in love.  Because I enjoy the act and emotions of loving.  Because even if the love isn’t real there’s still something to be gained from the experience.  Likewise, I have applied for the same job thrice.  Even though I felt like giving up, I tried again and got it on the third try.  I start training in two weeks.

As the new growth of Imbolc begins to take root we begin to feel cabin fever and a need to emerge from the hibernation of the dark season.  We have taken the time for introspection, and our soul searching and demon dancing is done.  We are ready to emerge from the darkness renewed and ready to test the lessons we have learned from our time inside.

This year Brighid has taught me many lessons.  She has taught me how to be strong enough to be patient, but how to be strong enough to walk away when the optimism that fueled that patience has run dry.  She has taught me when to be calm and when to speak up for what I need.  She has taught me when to be a caregiver and when to say no in situations where the burden has simply become too heavy.  She has taught me to stand tall and be confident no matter how ugly, stupid, foolish, or hopeless I fee.  She has taught me when to sit still and listen to the darkness and when to light a candle and push through it.  She has taught me to dream when the world tells me that dreaming is illogical.

At Yule we celebrated the return of the light and the faith that the spring would return.  At Imbolc we begin to see signs that our faith has not been wasted.  So it is with life and love.  The dark is never permanent unless we believe it is so.  There is always light on the other side. That has been the point of this experiment.  Yes,  have had some rough relationships and some serious heartbreak, some that were even my fault, but I have come out of every single one of them with some amazing stories to tell.  It is these stories that make me who I am, these stories that make my life wonderful, and these stories that will sustain me in the dark as I await the sun.

Aloha

Go now, light a candle.

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Note: This letter is written mostly as snark, but partly as a genuine list of concerns families have on both sides of coming out.  I found that when I stopped trying to gently explain things and just started pointing out to our family just how ridiculous some of their concerns sounded to us, they began to understand more that our lifestyle choice didn’t have to be a lifestyle change for them, that we were still the people they raised to be responsible adults, and that we weren’t going to destroy our extended families with our poly laser vision.   Maybe don’t print it out verbatim, but feel free to use it as a rubric for conversation.    

Dear Friends and Family,

I have chosen to be open with you about my family and how we choose to live.  This honestly means that I trust you to at least not condemn me, though I hope you’ll try to open your heart and accept my extended family even if you do not understand how or why we have made these choices.  I understand that this may be unfamiliar and possibly uncomfortable territory for you to navigate, so I will do my best to give you some helpful highlights to make this holiday season enjoyable for us all!

1.  My partners are people, not aliens or monsters.  They have lives, families, and personalities of their own.  Try having a conversation.  About anything, really.  You don’t need my mediation.

2.  My partners are not made of glass.  See above.

3.  My partners are not homewreckers.  See number 1, and see my husband/wife/etc.  That smile?  That means we’re still happy together and that this is a mutual decision we’ve made.

4.  Remember when I went to prom and you met my date at the door cleaning a shotgun and interrogated him until he had sweat through his cummerbund?  Don’t do that.  We’re all adults now, and the fact that these are people I love and value alone should convince you that they’re good people.

5. There is no need to tiptoe around our children.  They know exactly what they need to know, that they have a family full of people who love them and that there are presents to open.  I assure you they are more concerned about the presents than who sleeps in what bed with whom.

6.  You don’t need to buy us all gifts.  Don’t worry, this is not a scheme to get more stuff.  If you want to include us all, and we hope you do, you can give us something we can all use!  Or feed us.  We LOVE that.

7.  We don’t care if you say Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, or Hi.  Just be nice, and smile.

8.  There is no need to worry about us acting inappropriately at your gathering…unless it’s that kind of gathering.  The important thing here is that we’re people, not animals.  Those manners we’ve exhibited for years?  Didn’t disappear when we chose to love more than one person.  Let’s add to that that we won’t discuss our sex lives out loud if you will promise the same.  Lookin’ at you, Grandma.

9.  I understand that members of our extended family may not understand our relationship situation.  If they question you, tell them whatever you feel comfortable saying.  It’s not integral to our household that you use titles.  When I introduce my family to people who might not be poly-friendly I simply say “this is Jane”.  Jane knows she’s my girlfriend.  People who have asked me know she’s my girlfriend.  Let Aunt Gertrude make her own assumptions.  People do it all the time for all kinds of ridiculous things.  Again, see that part about acting appropriately at a family function.  We have this covered.

10.  Please don’t feel like you can’t ask any of us questions or trust us not to make the entire family name look like a circus.  I’m still your son/daughter/etc, and we are all family.  We want to share these celebrations with you, and we are thankful to be included as a family.

Love,

(sign here)

With the popularity of my last holiday post, I figured I owed it to the Spirit of Valentine’s Day to spread some tips and treasures.  If it’s the holiday of love, we should own it!  If it’s just a cheesy holiday made up to sell cards and chocolate, well, I like chocolate. Recently I did something I can’t remember being aware of in past years.  I bought all my Valentine’s Day cards at once.  To make it better, the cashier decided to express her assumption that I was shopping for an

Scan of a Valentine greeting card dated 1909.

yone other than myself.  My simple reply was, “No, they’re all from me.”  She stood there for a moment, frozen in her shattered assumption mixed with my disregard for her conventional ideals, and would not make eye contact for the rest of our exchange.  While I felt a little bad about the event, the sadist in me had a field day.  I also felt a little proud that I had no shame or awkwardness about it.  This is my life, and this, my friends, is my Valentine to you all!  I’ve put together a list of helpful (sometimes), humorous (if you have a sense), and otherwise interesting things to do or consider this year.

Shopping:  Shopping for one person can be hard enough.  Shopping for four?  Herculean.  For the practical family you can always buy a very pretty flowering houseplant and hope no one notices it’s the same one you gave last night’s date.  This would cut down on the field of flowers and months of allergies you’d have to deal with otherwise, especially with the holiday mark-up on roses.  You could also find those cute teddy bear couples, bonus if there’s a magnet inside that makes them hug or kiss,  and ask if they would sell you an extra boy because you need two.  If you’re a quad or some other configuration, sit in the store and try to see how you can link them all together.  The ladies at Hallmark love this.  Then buy your sculpture with one of those huge cards and put it on the couch for everyone to enjoy!

Valentine’s Week vs. Group Event:  If you really like the idea of intimate one-on-one dates for Valentine’s Day, you will most likely end up with plans all week.  To help this along, I suggest you get a preferred guest card at your hotel of choice and book a room all week.  Who cares if the second key card is used by four different people?  It’ll give the ladies at the desk something to talk about.  The upside to the Valentine’s Week is not having to worry about a babysitter.  If we all take turns, everyone is taken care of!  The downside is that a poly family on valentine’s Day could cost you the month’s budget if you’re not careful, and even the most accepting partner is not going to see the romanticism in the Denny’s $4.99 menu.  If you’re not a millionaire, may I suggest a group activity?  Family style restaurants are amazingly empty on Valentine’s Day, or make it an adventure!  Go bowling, mini-golfing all dressed up (in warmer climates that is), or to family karaoke.  Go to dinner theatre and ask for the big table, or catch a movie and shift seats once in a while so everyone can cuddle.  If nothing else grab a case of wine and have game night, slumber party, and  potluck. It even gives the ladies a chance to wear those fancy little things they bought for the occasion.

Make it look like a million! The important thing to remember is that Valentine’s Day is a chance to show everyone how much you love them.  You can do that without breaking the household bank account or scandalizing some poor checkout girl at her first job.  Hubby surprised me once with a dozen crystal roses he found at the dollar store.  He arranged them on the kitchen table for me to see when I got home from work.  Another year he had  I ❤ U stuck to our bedroom ceiling in glow in the dark hearts.  We’ve written poems, created crossword puzzles , and made new fancy recipes together.

The secret to all of this is that it doesn’t have to be Valentine’s Day to do any of it.  We can make each other feel special any day of the year, but this gives us a reminder and an impetus to do something nice for one another whether it’s a handful of individual romantic moments or a group event to celebrate love.  I, for one, get as cheesy and crafty as possible.  I love a good romantic evening, but sparkly foam hearts get me every time.  Just don’t tell the girlfriend.

Go now.  make something sparkly!

Aloha.

I’ve been doing an awful lot of serious topics lately, so tonight I decided to do something festive and fun!  If you’re like the boyfriend, you wait for the last minute to buy gifts, and if you’re still trying to that perfect gift for your poly friends, here are some functional as well as a few non-functional ideas.

A BJ’s Membership: We go through a lot of…well, everything.  Stores like BJ’s, Costco, and Sam’s Club were made for the poly household.

Thing 1 and Thing 2 T-shirts: One for each partner!

Utensil Sets: I don’t know where our forks and spoons go…maybe the kids have started eating those, too.

Hula Hoops: Three kids.  One hula hoop.  Watch the hilarity ensue…for hours.

His and Hers Towel Sets…in bulk:  His and hers and hers and hers and his and his…..you get the idea.

Storage…of any kind: We like leftovers.  We really like leftovers, because cooking 3 meals a day for that many people takes forever.  We have lunches to pack, and there are never enough places to put the freshly cut veggies or newly shredded cheese I want to use later.  In addition, we have boxes of orphaned crayons and art supplies, books, socks, camping gear, and outdoor equipment that would run the place if we weren’t obsessively organized.  Believe me, it’s happened.  My OCD won’t have it!  We love bins, totes, and those neat canvas drawers.  If you’re not sure, The Container Store sells gift cards.

Picture frames:  Have you met my girlfriend?

The Trojan Variety Pack:  Just sayin’.

Band-Aids…first aid kits in general: Boys will be boys, and girls will continue to beat them up.  Bumps, scrapes, burns, cuts, and all sorts of freak injuries happen in our family.  Maybe we’re more accident prone than most households, or maybe it is some odd side effect of being poly.  Our kids love the fun Band-Aids with everything from Angry Birds to Shrek on them.

P-touch labeler:  Never have to hear anyone fight about whose anything is again!

Pasta boat: Good for singles, good for families. You can prepare tons of pasta quickly in a pasta boat. Pasta boat. http://www.pastaboat.com

Family passes to the zoo (or local waterpark as the boyfriend suggested):  Usually these come with multiple passes, and you don’t actually have to be related to be on a family pass.  Way to go, Dorney Park, for being alternative family friendly!

Toiletry kits: For all the non-live ins!

Netflix: Whether it’s obscure foreign films, 80’s cartoons, or Troll Hunter, there’s something for everyone.  Hopefully they have enough computers or TV’s to stream them on…or you may also need to provide dice, duct tape, and more Band-Aids.

Magnetic Poetry:  You’ll be surprised what your partners…and kids…will make your fridge door say to the world.  Or, maybe you won’t.

Pillow pets:  Because sometimes you just need a puppy pile on the floor.

Giant mixing bowls:  If you cook like Hubby you cook for a small army, and our family happens to eat like a small army.  These bowls are lifesavers…I’m talking stick-your-head-in-em sized bowls.  As it has been pointed out, they also make excellent helmets, drums, and baby doll beds.

Finally, I hate to admit it, but…

Those giant cans full of popcorn: My family can’t keep their hands out of these things!  Just don’t let your 3 year old shake the can.  Then it’s a surprising collage of flavours every time.

There you have it, friends, everything you need to shop for the polys in your life.  Happy Holidays, and happy hunting!  You’ve got 10 days!

Aloha!

Go now, be merry.

It’s that time of year again.  Well, it’s several “that time of year”s again, but I mean one in particular.  As witches, it is our 15 minutes of fame.  Suddenly, we’re everywhere.  We’re in movies, cartoons, the costume aisle at Target (what exactly is a Future Witch anyway?), and all sorts of mass media.  The History Channel starts running documentaries about everything from  the Salem Witch Trials to the rituals of the Knights Templar.  For a couple of weeks no one has any problems with us.  Now, I realize that’s a grave simplification, and there are still people who make their displeasure with the pagan community known, but for a short time every year we are a flamboyant commercial cliché.  In a few months we will see the same thing as Christians everywhere fight their own “Jesus is the reason for the season” battle, even going as far as the ever more popular image of Santa bowing over the baby in the manger.  This image alone is why I write on this particular topic, because it illustrated something poignant about holidays, the innate fact that they are both sacred and secular in nature does not have to be a negative thing.

There seems to be a belief that Jesus Christmas and Santa Christmas cannot coexist.  I believe that they can, and do, as two separate  pieces of a celebration.  In some ways the two have become two unique holidays, as some people celebrate one but not the other.  I don’t believe it is disrespectful, and I don’t ever believe a day that brings people together in a spirit of joy and hope is wrong.  Pagans have been doing it since before it was Christmas, calling it Yule, and we didn’t complain when new holidays with suspicious similarities started cropping up.

All snark aside, there is nothing wrong with secular celebration.  As little witches our kids learn to honor their ancestors on Samhain.  In time, they will learn the Wheel of the Year and what the sabbats mean.  They learn Samhain traditions and correspondences in the same way we know and celebrate them.  They learn to respect and revere the holiday as something sacred.  They also get to dress up in the costumes of their choice, go trick-or-treating, carve pumpkins, and all the other fun stuff that Halloween brings.  In that same vein, Santa will visit our house on Christmas, but we will have had our Yule fire.

It is also important to note that when the kids are older they will also know the history of the traditions for both sacred and secular holidays, as one is just as important as the other.  We must know about our history and how our cultures have evolved over time.  We must know how people of the past have celebrated and why to really appreciate the seasons now.  Yes, we add our modern touches, which are also important, as holidays must grow and evolve with us, but nothing can grow without roots.

There is nothing that says that celebrating a secular holiday takes anything away from the sacred holiday that generally accompanies it.  We are complex and beautiful creatures, and it is that multi-dimensional capacity that makes us unique.  While the sacred days bring us together in the spirit of faith, the secular days bring us together in the spirit of community no matter what our beliefs are.  The more fundamental reason for the season is joining in celebration, no matter what you call it.

So, yes, this weekend I will be partying in costume, handing out candy dressed as the most cliché witch I can muster (don’t judge me, the costumes are all in storage), and honouring my ancestors in both private and group ritual.  I will watch the same rerun documentaries on the history channel, and I will giggle every time they use the same outdated clip of some Samhain ritual from the 70s.  I will meet with friends and family of all beliefs and traditions, and we will find a few moments of joy and laughter in a time when there is so much negativity and uncertainty flowing about us.  This, my friends, is the reason for the season.  Well…this and giant bags of candy.

Go now….smell my feet, give me something good to eat…

Aloha

I was going to write a post about Yule, but you can Google “yule” and get the idea pretty quickly.  Instead I thought I would relay something that happened to me last weekend.  Maybe Hallmark will make a movie about it.

Last week brought more snow than some places had on record.  By Saturday night we had close to two feet in our backyard, but my story takes place on Friday.  Since Hubby’s accident we have no car, so I have been taking the two-bus trip to the grocery store and back with a wheeled cart and bungee cords.  I knew Friday was supposed to be bad.  Our weekend Yule ritual had been cancelled, and they were talking about roads being closed all the way to the coast, so I decided to take one last trip to the store for “snowed-in” comfort food.  I loaded my reusable shopping bags and my backpack with milk, soda, soup, crackers, and ice cream on special request from our resident invalid. Oh!  And a rather risky venture….eggs.

At the register I told the checkout clerk not to worry about bagging my groceries, as I needed to carefully puzzle them into the few bags I had to make sure I could get them on the buses home.  A demure little Jewish woman behind me in line asked how far I had to go and marvelled at the adventure it was to simply get groceries home, wishing me luck and dryness on my way.  From there I lugged my bags, which had just enough room to not spill over the street, across the parking lot and to the bus stop a block away.  I am never sure when these buses show up or if they even run on a set schedule.  As many times as I have read the schedules I never seem to get a bus at that time.  It was getting colder and colder as the Noreaster approached and darkness fell, but more uncomfortable was the feel of a handful of reusable grocery bags cutting into my chaffed, freezing hands. I was tempted several times to leave half of my loot behind and start walking.

Not ten minutes later a car pulled up to the bus stop.  Lo and behold, it was the nice Jewish woman with her husband in tow!  “Won’t you please let us give you a ride home?” she said as he pushed aside a Teton of books and gifts in the backseat to make a hole for me and my groceries.  This wonderful woman whom I had known for all of three minutes in line at Acme was willing to go out of her way to make sure I got home safely and warmly.

We had a very nice conversation on the short trip to my house.  I told her about Hubby and his hand, she told me about her daughter and her past as an art student in Philadelphia.  I was sad to see them go, and I wish there had been something I could do to tell them just how much it meant to me that they had given me a break and a couple of smiles when I felt i was struggling on my own.  I thanked them profusely and wished them a Happy Hanukkah as he helped me out of the car.  They waited for me to get to the door and waved as they drove away.

We talk a lot about the world changing for the worse and people forgetting to care for each other, but I will never forget the love that nice couple showed me that night.  It was probably one of the best gifts I received this year.  A kind gesture.

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