Red: That woman actually insisted that you go first! And you had just as many items as she did.
Kathy: I know. It’s the coolest thing. People are just so kind this time of year. Did you know the waitress patted my arm yesterday when she said “Happy Holidays?”
Red: (smiling widely) I did. Course, she wouldn’t have done that if she’d known you were having lunch with your imaginary friend – me!
Kathy: (laughing) Maybe not – but still… I feel like hugging the whole world.
Red: They’ll arrest you if you try, you know. (I nodded sadly) But there’s stuff you can do to feel the spirit of Christmas way down deep without endangering your freedom. Like how about getting a bunch of $1 bills and going in search of Salvation Army bell ringers?
Kathy: Hey! That’s a fun idea. I’ve actually only seen one this year. Mini-road-trip. Are you up for it?
Red: Tell you what, why don’t you save that one for when Vanessa (my daughter) visits next week. She’ll love it.
Kathy: Yeah, she will. Okay, so what can we do together?
Red: I liked your mall-sitting idea with a cup of hot chocolate and a good seat near where Santa’s taking wishes. You can wish everyone you see a Merry Christmas and it won’t even seem weird.
Kathy: Let’s do that today, okay? And I’ve had another idea floating around in my head. I want to buy a bunch of socks, wrap them up and give them out when I see people sleeping on benches around town. These folks are everywhere.
Red: That’s a great idea! If you end up with extras we can take them to the homeless shelter on Christmas.
Kathy: (tears threatening) That’s the spirit, Red. In the meantime, I’m writing a poem this year for my family as an extra Christmas gift, so they know how special they are to me.
Red: I guess there’s only one thing to do when the Christmas spirit fills you up…
Kathy: What’s that?
Red: Dump it on everybody else!
We laughed together and raised our glasses of eggnog in a toast to the best in people. Happy Holidays everyone – from your two redheaded friends on the Veranda.