Thursday, December 21, 2006


My friend Claudia sent me a Christmas questionnaire to fill out. One question (13. Do you remember your favorite gift?) prompted a fun memory.

My favorite and most memorable Christmas gift was given to me more than 10 years ago. It was Christmas Day, the day after my 2nd back surgery, and Diane Thornton, contralto and then-member of Saint Anne's choir, brought me cookies in the hospital. I said, Nice, thank you, but I want another gift from you: to sing Christmas carols together. And we sure did. Those of you who remember Diane can also remember the rich timbre of her singing voice -- absolutely marvelous to harmonize with! We had a great time, taking turns selecting carols to sing from memory. As you can imagine, we were thoroughly engrossed in the moment. Then a uniformed nurse about the size and shape of a professional wrestler came bustling into my room. Diane and I cringed in abject apology for being too loud. The nurse laughed us to silence and shanghaied us to sing for an elderly man whose room was down the hall, around two corners and in another wing (a very long walk for me!) In the three months he had been in the hospital, his only visitor had been his wife. She was with him on that Christmas day. And Diane and I started all over again, singing carols they requested and sang along with. It was an absolutely unforgettable gift/experience! I will never forget Diane's precious gift of self. And her cookies were delicious.

Sunday, December 10, 2006