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room at the Inn

January 2, 2016

For the past several years Jude and I have helped out with the free community Christmas dinner at the HBI.  We go early so we can eat first and waddle home while others clean up.  This year my main job was greeting people at the door.

This served two purposes: (1) to greet people; and (2) to keep traffic flowing smoothly through the door to keep out as much frigid air as possible.

We had a huge turnout, about 175 folks.  Problem was, we only had seating for about 140.  Revelers gamely squeezed in as much as possible, but late arrivals could find no space.  Among them was a young couple with a baby. They sat near me in the cold lobby.

I told them I’d talk to Lois the manager.  She opened the pub for them and the other unseated.  Everyone got served a marvelous meal.

I’m not a huge fan of the end of the year, except for the solstice and the football games, but I was genuinely moved by the symbolism of a couple with child finding warmth and food in a caring community.  I don’t believe that effects my credentials as an agnostic and cynic.


P.S.  I’m hoping to avoid as much hype as possible in a Trump-filled 2016, but it may be in vain.  In changing my satellite TV package to receive more bowl games, I was put on hold and a pleasant voice told me “Thank you for waiting.  You’re awesome.”  Random Chance, give me strength.



  1. January 2, 2016 1:51 pm

    Oh Allen, what a lovely post. Yesterday was awesome for my family. We had our Christmas/New Years dinner and we did a Mexican theme. My daughter did a marvelous job with the help of her sister who burned the rice lol…. everyone warned her not to let Laurie cook the rice ha, but it turned out edible. Poor Laurie…. she gets joked about all the time by her cooking.
    I am trying to avoid the Trump stuff so I mainly stick to Netflix on my tablet these days… Happy New Year 2016 to you and Jude!

    • January 5, 2016 6:00 pm

      Thank you, Beth. I’m really glad you had great holidays. It sounds like you’re happier now. Avoiding Trump could be the key.

  2. Gordon permalink
    January 2, 2016 4:05 pm

    In Jackson Browne song, The Rebel Jesus” which I first heard on a Chieftains Christmas CD, he talks at the end of being “a heathen and a pagan on the sise of the rebel Jesus.” Only a short drive from being an agnostic and cynic on the side of the rebel Jesus. One of the best Christmas stories of my season. Merry Christmas!

    • January 5, 2016 6:04 pm

      I really would have liked to meet him, especially before his message got so exploited. My mind consistently boggles over how many of his followers are so hostile toward the poor.

  3. January 2, 2016 4:26 pm

    I admit, even though it may be habit, anytime someone says “You’re the best” it makes me feel good.

    • January 5, 2016 6:11 pm

      I like to hear that, too, when I think I’ve earned it. My issue is how the value of praise decreases when it’s routinely assigned to everyone. I can’t grasp how sitting and holding a phone ranks me among the awesome,
      just like Willie Mays or Marie Curie. My best guess is that they’re placating me because — even though my call is very important to them — they don’t have enough staff on duty.

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