Friday, December 22, 2006

Recent commentary: Christmas memory

What is your favorite Christmas memory?

(published 25-Dec-2006, Appleton Post-Crescent)

I learned something important about manners one Christmas in Appleton twenty years ago or so. My peripatetic younger brother (currently in Afghanistan managing a military construction operation. No! Not Halliburton! Settle down!) hosted a family Christmas gift exchange. I'm a voracious reader; thus it can be chancy buying a book for me. Well, my mother bought me a book I'd just read! I unwrapped it and smiled a big smile, but I made the mistake of saying, "I already own this." My mother, always gracious, made light of it; but I realized instantly that it would have been better to say, "I've been meaning to buy this for myself! Thank you! He's my favorite author!" It brought home to me that it's far better sometimes to tell a lie that brings a smile than to tell a truth that makes one's mother feel that her son is an unmannered galoot!

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