A Sailor's Christmas Gift
by William J. Lederer
The First Noel
The Germans ordered wine for everyone. They delivered it themselves, hugging the other customers. One of the French families called for champagne, made the rounds, kissing each one of us on both cheeks. The owner of the restaurant started "The First Noel," and we all joined in, half of us crying.
People crowded in from the street until many customers were standing. The walls shook as hands and feet kept time to the Christmas carols. The miserable evening in a shoddy restaurant ended up being the very best Christmas Eve we had ever experienced.
Just because of a young sailor who had Christmas spirit in his soul, he released the love and joy that had been smothered within us by anger and disappointment. He gave us Christmas.