tree is up at the office, and the air is redolent with pine scents,
thanks to DH who chose and delivered a fresh and regal 7-foot
Noble pine to the office and Doni who artfully gussied it up,
it up to the nines.
Thank you, DH and Doni.
I forgot my camera at home. <snapping my
I'll be sure to take a
picture of it to dress up these pages, so I will resist describing
it here. In the meantime, think: purple
Year 'round, angels
alight at our office, and I am blessed by their presence in my life and
the opportunity to make their life's flight easier by servicing them.
This time of year, the Christmas
angels alight at our office, and I thought I'd share three of them
Writing about them will
also help me remember them in Christmases
to come. I would never want to forget any of them...
As soon as the front
door was open, Mickey Descents breezed in as Mother Christmas,
handing out candy canes. She was a picture to behold, dressed
top to bottom in Christmas:
drummer boy earrings, Christmas
sweater emblazoned with snowmen, a jingly Christmas
charm bracelet, Christmas
digital watch, Christmas
holly and rhinestones manicured on to her red fingernails (!), and
much more, I'm sure, that I failed to take in its entirety in the hour we were
She doesn't just
Mickey LIVES Christmas.
Last week, we received her Christmas
card in the mail. I cherish every card I receive, but Mickey's
is unique in every sense of that word. It is
one-of-a-kind. An original. She painstakingly and personally
makes them for only her closest kith and kin. It touches me deeply
to receive it every year and to be considered her kith. I have kept
every one of her masterpieces.
our first meeting, years ago, I learned that I shared the same
name, an uncommon one, with her daughter, D. Through the years
we've known each other, Mickey has suffered and weathered through
gigantic losses. First, her daughter D succumbed to
leukemia, after a prolonged, valiant battle, followed by her
husband, her dearest, Jerry. Recently, her fireman son was
disabled in the line of duty.
Yet, here she was today,
without a slightest hint of the weight of her suffering and pain,
full of Christmas
cheer, spreading it generously to all about her. Her bright
smile is unfaded, perhaps even brighter!
Mickey is Christmas
spirit, personified, and I am honored to be in her life.
I placed Mickey's Christmas
card at the reception desk, so she could see that we -- and
everyone else who came -- to our office will enjoy it. It pleased me
greatly to see her smile; she was pleased to see it so prominently
Thank you, Angel Mickey,
for your gift of endurance. You show us how it is possible to
rise above hurts and sadnesses and to keep fueling the happiness in your
heart, as well as ours.
It was a jam-packed
morning. The "war" has not affected our office at
all, and in fact, we are busier than ever. And so, Shirley
Vert's arrival in the afternoon was a welcome
Shirley is originally from my homeland, from Kahalu`u on O`ahu,
and we share a parallel island-country upbringing. Like DH
and I, she and her husband are expatriates, 2000 miles away from
Two weeks ago, she
told me that she sprung a surprise on her mom, when she
accompanied her husband, who was flying home for
This was the trip she
had talked about taking for years, but never did. For
Shirley, this trip had nothing to do with business, but all to do
with the heart.
From the airport, she drove out to see
her mother, now living in a senior residence in Honolulu. She
buzzed her mom on the intercom. Her mom doesn't get out
much, so Shirley wasn't worried that she might miss her. Sure
enough, her mom responded to the buzz.
Into the intercom
speaker, Shirley said, "Hi, this is Shirley."
who?" asked her mom.
daughter, I'm taking you out to lunch," answered
That's my friend,
Shirley. What a love of a daughter! Her impromptu visit is
silver lining to September 11, a date that will help us
remember to keep our priorities straight and take care of heart
She is also a love of a
friend. Today, with her bagful of treats, Shirley was also my Santa
Out of her bag, she
pulled out two loaves of banana bread, one for DH and me and another
for the office, made extra delicious and moist with a bit of sour
dough starter that she's cultivated for years; a bag of white and
pink fresh guavas from her backyard trees; a bottle of homemade
guava jam; and a crafted tiare (Tahitian gardenia) blossom for
One day, when I am
retired, I am going to be Shirley's student. We're about the same
age, but she knows how to do the "real" way of doing
things -- from scratch.
I have a lot to learn.
Thank you, Angel
Shirley, for your gift, your huge generosity of spirit, Aloha
Spirit, that is. Like us, you have had that spirit misinterpreted,
here on the Mainland. Yet, your Aloha Spirit is alive, well, and
bigger than ever. You inspire us to keep nurturing our Aloha Spirit,
undeterred by those with hard hearts or grasping natures, who may
mistreat or take advantage of us.
David II is a
young man I've know since he was a boy. Now he is this head-turningly
tall, dark and handsome young man.
David II 's father was killed when he was little. His mother
is about the strongest, unvanquishable woman that I (or you) will
ever meet. In Hawaiian, we'd say, "She's ikaika."
Ikaika is a word I reserve for only a few.
Being a mother of two
young children, Afro-American, and the sole support of self and family
has overwhelmed and defeated many, but not David II's
Her love for her
children is huge, and she has dug in her heels for their sakes.
Unwilling to give in and get on public assistance, she instead
works in a tough work environment that would fully callous
But not David II's
When it comes to her
kids, her heart is as soft as putty. When she speaks about
her children, she literally beams with pride and joy.
I have a eye for good
souls, and over the years of caring for David II, I have
sensed not only a good soul, but one destined for greatness. I
first perceived the potential for greatness when he was in high
school. I won't even try to put it in words. Suffice it
to say, I clearly perceived that elusive, intangible quality in him.
He was a track star, a
BMOC (big man on campus) at his high school, but not full of himself
at all as some are wont to be. His physical attractiveness is
right there on the surface for all to see, but what I responded to
came from within, the attractiveness of humility, kindness, and
respect for self and others.
I was very honest with
him. I outright told him I saw greatness in him. I urged him
to study hard, not to go for the short-term glory of being a high
school athlete, but to set his sights high, to go to college. His
diploma would be the ticket to fulfill that greatness.
He took my advice to
I know this because his mother, the following year, told me how he
had shared what I had said to him. What I said motivated him,
she said, and she brought out a manila folder.
From that folder, she
pulled out the hard proof: certificates of academic awards and David
II's report card. His grade point
average had soared!
He kept on applying
himself. When he graduated from high school this past June, his mother gifted
me with his graduation picture and a photocopy of his diploma.
David II himself updated
me on his life. He is now a freshman in college! My
heart burst with pride. And, yes, that greatness is still
there, perhaps even more there, as is that sweet humility, kindness
and respect. Christmas
came early this year, as I ate up that sweet smile of his.
Thank you, Angel David
II and his Angel Mom, Aline, for your gift of enduring family ties,
which allow the striving toward true greatness.
"Life is a Gift."
P.S. If you would
like to share a portion of yourself with words, in response to
this journal entry, you may do it here.
only gift is a portion of thyself..."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
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