An old man, with a beat up hat, and a long beard, stands before
The mirrors vision is clear, yet the old man must squint and
His beard appears as if a billowing snowstorm, a blur of gray and white.
He rubs his eyes.
The mist from a lifetime of tears of sorrow and joy, is joined by thin
huffs and puffs of soured mortal breath. Tainted by age, and human trial,
each breath now wheezes laboriously through yawning gaps, where once
stood rows of strong white teeth.
The mist freezes in crystal layers upon the mirror, distorting the
old mans face. Yet, not his faith.
For the frozen mirror still seems to him somehow true, and timeless
in its way.
Hearts can still fly when legs falter, he mumbles to himself.
And, as he continues to squint deeper into the confusing blur, faces
of the ages appear to him, as if by magic.
You are still here, with me, he whispers back to each of
them while placing a gnarled hand upon his chest.
Mostly, there are young faces, full of curiosity, and vitality, and
promise, and an oh so desperate love.
There are sounds of singing, and dancing, and grateful celebration.
Smells of wood smoke, and hearth, and all day cooking fill his nose.
He raises his right arm and tentatively places his palm upon the crystal
glass. For a moment his handprint melts the frost, providing a brief
patch of clarity. It is in this glimpse, that a vision of a lone fir
tree, covered in snow, appears to him.
Upon the topmost branch, a small bird begins to sing. The old man is
startled, for the song of the bird seems to speak to him, as if in human
Those who understand the gift, must never give up. We are lost
The old man slumps heavily into his favorite chair. The wind moans
outside, while ghost cyclones whirl and spin like snow ballerinas, past
It takes a sigh of hesitation before the old man awkwardly reaches
around beside himself to answer the ringing phone.
We are worried about you, came the voice of the caller.
I remember your voice, replied the old man. You started
out with a passionate interest in fire engines, which you soon transferred
to cocktail waitresses and cocaine.
This isnt about me, old man, spoke the voice. No
one seeks comfort in me.
I am you, replied the old man, his tired voice barely whispering
into the telephone.
No, argued the voice. I was born naked, and confused,
and afraid. I have lived my life that way. And, now, I wait - empty,
and terrified, and faithless.
And, yet, you are calling me, chuckled the old man.
Youve spent a lifetime finding people to live your life
for you. You created me to keep the faith you claim you dont have.
And, yet, here you are, on Christmas Eve, calling me! You are the guardian
of faith, my friend. Not me. You claim you do not understand the gift,
but you do. You just dont want the responsibility.
The callers voice was silent for a moment.
Its true that it is Christmas Eve, old man. And maybe there
is still a little faith in all of us. Is there enough in you for one
The old mans gaze fell upon his old wooden cane leaning up against
the fireplace. The clatter of dozens of hoof beats suddenly shook and
rattled the roof of the old mans cabin.
I suppose, said the old man, that if the world has
one more Christmas left in its heart ... well, then so do I.
Thank you, said the caller as he hung up the phone.
I must thank you, as well, muttered the old man. I
might have died tonight. But, now, theres no time for that - too
much to do!
One more Christmas, he smiled to himself. God bless
us, every one.
And with these words, a surge of energy made the old mans tired
limbs young and strong again.
He slung a huge and heavy, seemingly bottomless bag over his shoulder
as if it had no weight.
As he climbed the stairs up to the attic window, he reached into his
deep red coat pocket to check for reindeer kibble.
P.S. - To my wonderful Taxi News extended family, I thank you for years
of kindness. May we continue to find, each year, that there is one more
Christmas left in our hearts.
Editors Note to Christmas shoppers: Norm Hacking
has 3 critically acclaimed CDs available - Skysongs... A
Writers Collection, One Voice and Orange
Cats Make the Very Best Friends. Check his website: www.normhacking.com
for details on how to order, or call Festival
Distribution toll free at 1-800-633-8282. Also available at most
CD retail outlets. (Orange Cats is a perfect gift for
kids and/or cat lovers of all ages.)