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12/24/2006 5:47 AM PST

Last night I awoke early, about 5:15, with a smile on my face. For an instant I couldn't remember why I should be smiling but then it came rushing into my mind. I had been dreaming-- the place was a big old auditorium, like a school gym only this was (I now recognize) our local Grange hall, an ancient building, recently remodeled. I was emcee'ing a part of the program which involved introducing various members of the audience to come to the front and lead the group in a favorite song of their choosing. The last song leader to be introduced was my mother whom I introduced as (of course) "my mom". Mom climbed onto the folding table and sat cross legged (something I never remember her doing, but dreams are like that). Her song was "Let me call you Sweetheart" which she entered into with gusto (something I do remember her doing-- anything and everything was "with gusto"). She had a beautiful voice but an indifferent sense of tune and rhythm (like my own) for which lack she made up with volume (as do I). She was young middle-aged in my dream but with the beautiful flowing black hair which I remember from my childhood. As she ended I put an arm around her and helped her from the table as the group applauded. That was when I awoke with the smile on my face and the chorus, melody and lyrics, humming through my mind-- "Let me call you "Sweetheart," I'm in love with you".

It's Christmas Eve today, a day during which I always smile and am in love with the whole world. Remembering the sense of wonder and anticipation of childhood Christmas Eves has carried me through adult and parent-hood in which that sense was transformed into a joyous duty of making sure that the joy of Christmas giving and receiving happened just so for everyone around me, but especially for the children. Now, in a grandfather-like way, I still carry that non-burden of duty to make the deep, dark Solstice blossom into a day filled with in-the-moment fun backed up by a sure but subconscious knowledge that "I am cared for". The only nagging regret tugging at the back of my mind is the thought that I can only have a limited success with a very limited number of people in discharging my duty. I can only wish for you and for all the people of the world a great sense of being cared for and of caring for others.... and am saddened that it won't happen for so many around the world... as it does happen for myself.

love, --sam

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