Opinion: Outside In

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The Fruitcake Miracle

By David Weinstein

What an interesting year! I thought I knew a lot of stuff, but evidently not. For instance, I didn’t know what a supply chain was. I thought it might be something I could use to tow my 1987 VW Westfalia to the repair shop when it broke down, which unfortunately has been happening all too often lately. It turns out the Supply Chain is something that will keep all the gifts we ordered for the grandkids for Christmas from arriving until Easter. Wonders never cease. I also found out that it makes more sense for us to build an “end of days” refuge below our garage instead of remodeling the upstairs bathroom. According to the Internet, an unimpeachable source for some, this will add more value to our home. I’m excited because I can use it as a man cave until the apocalypse comes. Ann is less excited.

Speaking of excitement, I am having trouble mustering up any for this holiday season. I should be ecstatic to have made it through the preceding year. Maybe it’s the unending virus, the continuing political rancor, or the fact that the sun now goes down at 4:30 p.m. So I call my daughter Beth to commiserate. She’s more sensitive and insightful than me and has always been good at cheering me up.

Beth reminds me that December is the dreariest month of the year. That everything in the natural world around us is dead and dying before it’s reborn again. “December is tough,” she says, “and if a person can just make it through to the New Year, everything always seems to get better.” She continues that the idea we even celebrate a holiday this time of year is counterintuitive. We should be mourning or at least hibernating. Our expressions of joy are a radical and rebellious act during an otherwise gloomy period. But we celebrate to manifest our hope – “we talk the talk until we are able to walk the walk.” We light candles and string lights on trees, and across our homes, to say, “We will make it through, hope persists.”

I decide to venture out to look at the lights the neighbor has strung. But as I open the door, I trip over something. I shine my iPhone down to discover a box of fruitcakes. These crazy fruitcakes have been arriving at our home every year since Ann and I were married. Her mother used to send them, but despite the fact her mom’s been gone for over 30 years, they keep coming. Supply Chain be damned, this is a Christmas miracle. And I am encouraged because I can store them in our “end of days” bunker when it’s finished. They last forever, and if you affix a broom handle to them, I hear they make a pretty good sledgehammer.

I’m feeling a bit better now; more hopeful, and thankful. The last thing Beth reminds me is, “Goodness begets goodness, and this is what transforms the world.” I resolve to remember this in the coming year. Maybe include it in my New Year’s resolution in addition to losing those 10 pounds.

Love, peace, hope and joy.

David lives in Newport Beach and is an occasional contributor to the Independent.

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