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Friday, December 12, 2014

It's Santa, Baby!

Tap, tap, tap.

There's someone tapping on the front door. We aren't expecting anyone to come over and visit. In fact, we had an incident one evening last week that was a bit disconcerting. We were sitting and watching tv, minding our own business, and someone turned the doorknob and pushed on the door to see if it was unlocked. We looked at one another, a bit stunned, and were glad that we make a habit of locking the door even when we are home. We were also quite relieved that we didn't have some stranger just walk into our home.

After a momentary delay, I looked out through the peephole in the front door, and there was nobody there. I opened the door to find a notice that there was an attempt to deliver a package, and the package would now be delivered to the leasing office. Well, we knew that it would take a bit of time until the driver made his other stops and went to the office, so we simply called to see how late the office would be open that evening. Knowing our wonderful staff, though, we shouldn't have been surprised that we received a call later telling us that our package had been delivered.

When we got to the office, we found that it was a package for me. As I eagerly opened it, I found a lovely red-wrapped package inside, sent from an online merchant. The gift tag had the name of someone I know but have never met. And it was a book that I really want to read. How did all of this happen? It's quite simple, really. I am on a social network known as Google Plus. Every year (this is my second year participating) there is a wonderful thing that happens on this network. A group of elves maintains a page for Secret Santa. In November or early December, the notification goes out for people to create wishlists, and where they will be located. 

Some people don't create wish lists, preferring to be Secret Santa's helpers and sending gifts to members around the world. One can simply put their list out there, or also be a gift giver. There are no firm rules. And that is how Mary Z., whom I've never met, and who lives across the country from me, came to send me a book that I really, really wanted to read. I was thrilled and touched, and posted a picture online of myself with my nose in the book, so to speak.

I'm not entirely sure that I will have the funds to send anyone a gift this Christmas. Last year, I did manage to send one, and it felt really good to give. I also was sent a couple of gifts that I was thrilled and honored and touched to receive. A friend in Ohio sent me a lovely jar of Hungarian Acacia honey, and another in Switzerland sent me a Chromecast device. Both have been immensely enjoyed, and always remind me of the kind people who gave them to me.

I have been trying to delay reading my new book so that I will still have some of it left to read at Christmas. It's been really hard to put off reading the book, but I keep trying day by day. Every time I pick it up, I think of Mary Z. and how wonderful she made me feel. I hope that her Christmas season is full of joyful surprises like the one she gave me a couple of nights ago! Many thanks to Mary, Rich, Eve, and all of Secret Santa's helpers. Your gifts made my holidays very happy.

p.s. I know that if there is anyone out there who is as inquisitive as me (inquisitive, I said, not nosy!), they will be thinking, "Hey! what was the book?" It is called Full Dark, No Stars, and is a collection of four stories (long short stories? short books? novellas?) by Stephen King. One of the selections, Big Driver, is about a female author who takes a shortcut on her drive home from a speaking engagement, a shortcut that leads her into horror. Another story, A Good Marriage, is about a woman who literally stumbles on evidence in the garage that her husband is a serial killer. You know, basic mellow bedtime reading!