David Treadwell

David Treadwell

I emerged from the holiday season feeling upbeat about 2018, thanks to several events that occurred in December. Those who hate Arctic weather might call me teched in the head (that’s a West Virginia expression, not a typo), and they might be right, but let me explain.

On December 12, Doug Jones beat Roy Moore (a “Christian” shyster and alleged child molester who had once been removed from the Alabama bench) in the Alabama Senate race. Yes, it’s appalling that nearly 70 percent of white voters saw fit to vote for the disgraceful Moore, but at least the final result came out on the side of sanity.

Two readers of this column wrote very thoughtful notes to me. My West Virginia column prompted a woman to write about her days living in West Virginia. Another woman noted that my “Thankful” column evoked fond memories of two local plays she’d seen. Yet another loyal reader — and a fine source for story ideas — suggested I write about “Puppy Love,” an organization devoted to placing abandoned dogs from the south into homes in Maine. I will be doing just that.

A friend at a Christmas party suggested I write a column about old people and driving. Good idea! (See next week.) A few days later, the host of that same party gave me several left-over bottles of nonalcoholic beer (I call it “fake beer”), which she knew I drank.

After seeing craven GOP congressional goons celebrating a tax cut that would enrich the rich, hurt the poor and line their own pockets (while cynically calling it a “Christmas present for the middle class”), I needed a reminder of the real meaning of Christmas. The Family Service on Christmas Eve at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church provided such a reminder. During the nativity scene, one young angel — played by an adorable blonde girl — smiled broadly and gave a spirited two thumbs up to one of her fellow angels who had finally managed to find her right spot in the nativity ensemble. Now that’s the Christmas spirit.

A good high school friend, with whom I’d had little contact over the last several decades sent an email, inviting me to visit him in San Diego. I may do it.

One icy afternoon, I was walking down Maine Street and passed by two men engaging in conversation. One of the men carried an “I am homeless” sign with some words underneath. The two men had established a real, if brief, human connection. Later, when I passed the man with the sign I handed him some money, and he expressed warm appreciation.

At the recommendation of a friend, I read “Wonder,” a best-selling novel by R. J. Palacio. The book is about an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face who endures the challenges of entering a mainstream school in the 5th grade. The author describes the book as a “meditation on kindness.”

The holiday highlight was the five-day visit of my niece Maggie and her two kids, 14 year old Noelle and 11 year old CJ. They live in Los Angeles and the kids had never seen snow. On the way back from the airport, we stopped at Goodwill to buy some winter wear. After we parked the car, CJ jumped out and ran over to the side of the lot, picked up a few handfuls of snow and tried to make a snowball. The rest of the week featured games of Twenty Questions and Scrabble; the spectacular light show at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens; the new Star Wars movie (the good guys won); two Bowdoin women’s basketball games (easy wins); and a sled-riding excursion, cut short by the icy air.

The heartwarming events of recent weeks led to my New Year’s resolutions: Spend more time focusing on life’s small wonders and less time getting depressed by the horror show running in Washington. Turn off the television. Remember what matters. Embrace family and friends. Spread a little kindness. Happy 2018 to all!

David Treadwell, a Brunswick writer, welcomes commentary or suggestions for future “Just a Little Old” columns at [email protected]


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