A Christmas List for Santa

“The [person] who refuses sentiment refuses the full spectrum of human behavior, and then just dries up. … I would rather give full vent to all human loves and disappointments, and take a chance on being corny, than die a smartass.” — Jim Harrison


A Christmas List for Santa

A Wednesday afternoon with no thoughts of Thursday

Three weeks in the woods, two by myself, one with my father

My father

Cups of tea, plates for sugar cookies, the first ones I ever made, the dough still sticking to my fingertips

Comic books from the late ‘40s: Little Lulu, The Green Hornet, Felix the Cat

Every creek from the upper peninsula of Michigan

The last page from twenty unpublished novels

The ease of a dog’s sleep

Five gold rings

A moon-draped evening among the birds in the hemlocks

Any snow-covered pile of leaves

Photographs, I don’t care how many, of my daughter just before she smiles
for the camera

Seven moments with the lucidity of cutting yourself with a bread knife

Whatever happens between what happens

The liturgy of an old monk laughing

–Jack Ridl

from Practicing to Walk Like a Heron (Wayne State University Press)


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12 thoughts on “A Christmas List for Santa

  1. Here is my Christmas List for Santa, to be delivered to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on Jan 20, 2017:
    humor, sympathy, emphasis, kindness, humbleness, humilty.

    If that is too much I stay with kindness since Henry James has said: “Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.”

    Thank you Jack. Your warm thoughts and wise words give solace in turbulent times!

    • Norbert,
      You are Henry James’s words incarnate. When I asked my first employer, a dean, what he
      said when as a child he was asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, he said that he
      answered, “Kind.”

      Solace is our shelter.

  2. Jack, this brings a smile to my face and a catch to my throat. Wishing you all these good things and more at Christmas and always.

    • It makes this elf happy to know that you love this, dear sister.
      You have helped me in sooooo many ways over all our years with one another’s hearts.
      XX Jack

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