Showing posts from December, 2013

What Christmas Means to Us

Neither of us spend Christmas with our family, spending it instead with each other and the ad hoc, unlikely family we have assembled here in Philadelphia—good friend and dog walking buddy, Shirley; Daniel who is a pain in the ass but who I have known since God first coughed the universe into existence; Lloyd and Sandy who used to live across the driveway.   They are the core group. The rest is an ever changing mix of new friends and acquaintances. This year we had a colleague from work and her son. When Levi they arrived, I hugged Wendy and shook 5 year old Levi’s hand. “Merry Christmas,” I said. “We don’t celebrate Christmas,” Levi responded. His response made me think about Christmas. We’re not particularly religious so for us it is not so much about the birth of Christ. It’s not really about what’s under the tree, either. It’s more about what’s in our hearts. And who’s around our table. It’s about being grateful for what we have and have accomplished. Our Chris

Lost & Found

We were out on our before-bed pee walk. As usual, Stanley was trailing a half block behind Toby and me. I hate the dark and the cold so Toby and I were moving at a brisk pace.  So, I was surprised when Stanley suddenly appeared at my shoulder. “Hey,” he said, “There’s someone sitting on the curb back there crying.” I turned to look back at the corner, could make out a huddled black form and on the still chilly air, I could hear sobbing. Toby was pulling at his leash so we walked on, turning to look back every few feet, the sound of crying falling around us like rain. Finally I stopped and asked, “Do you think we should go back and check on them?” “Yes. There are two of us,” he said, “So it should be okay.” I knew what he was thinking. We live in the city; you have to be cautious.   We turned around. As we approached, I took off my hood so as to appear less threatening. We called out, “Hey, are you okay?"   Wrong question because there’s generally one answer, “Yes, I’m

The Sissy Triumphant

My brother outed me to our 88 year old aunt. I was stunned, shocked. I’d never told her even though we are fairly close and talk at least once a week. Still, with uncharacteristic restraint and reticence I never told her. We just didn’t discuss that aspect of my life. It’s not that I was ashamed. I was just unsure. Maybe it wasn’t really true. Why agitate everyone and then say, “Oh never mind, I made a mistake?” Now at the other end of the phone my aunt was saying she knew. Michael had told her. She didn’t ask why I hadn’t told her myself. Or why my parents had never mentioned it. “I’m so proud of you,” she said. “You wrote a book!” “Actually,” I said finding my courage at last, “I’ve written three.” We talked awhile longer about other things then hung up.   She called a few days later to tell me how proud of me she was and she mentioned she’d like to read “Unbroken.”   It wasn’t until she called again and asked where she could buy the book that I took her comment seriously. To