It was a cold, overcast, dreary day, much like today, when I received the call after walking home from work in the dismal dark. “You’re hired” is all I remember him saying. “Thank you,” I replied and with that information my life began changing. All the dreams of living and working in our nation’s capital had become a reality and at that moment, my dream was soon to end and I would return home.
When I walked outside this morning, I told my husband it felt exactly like a Washington winter in the drizzling rain. I remembered the long walks to work and thought (again) how wonderful I didn’t have a smartphone back then to distract me from seeing the beauty around me on my three block walk to work. I didn’t walk far to 316 Pennsylvania Ave., SE – Suite 203, but it was long enough to contemplate life every morning and every evening. Taking the fastest route to work, I passed beautiful historic row houses and very few people. The main person I looked forward to greeting, besides my roommates and coworkers each morning, was the cheerful security guard outside my building. He was a fatherly figure about the age of my dad, so it was comforting to hear him say, “Good morning and good evening.” In fact, when I went back to D.C. this past summer, I stopped by my old workplace and checked to see who was standing guard; he was no longer there and I wished he had been. He brightened my day on so many of those freezing mornings.
Just thinking about returning to my hometown in sunny North Florida warmed me from head to toe. Within weeks, I would pack-up all of my belongings, say my goodbyes and start a new adventure. It was a bittersweet moment standing in the beautifully restored row house kitchen, owned by the most generous man from Florida who truly was a Godsend and allowed three of us Southerners to live there for less rent than you can imagine… So many events had led me to that moment. So many people. So many prayers. And there I stood accepting it was time to go home.
A dear friend of mine drove me back home to Florida. To this day, I’ve never forgotten his kindness or his freezing home state of Pennsylvania during the Christmas holidays, especially on a frigid day in the 40s like today.
Wherever you are this Christmas, I hope you find time to be with those you love, especially your family. I’m so very thankful to have lived the past 20+ years at “home” making memories with mine.
My heart found Christmas in 1994. If you haven’t found it yet, maybe this is your year.
The song posted above, ironically, is one of the songs on the Harry Connick, Jr. Christmas CD that my friend and I listened to on the 12-hour drive home. I have continued listening to it every Christmas with much fondness.