Wrapped In Warmth Third Place Our Holiday Fiction Winners

December 23, 1990|By SANDIE NAGEL

I turned 50 last June, and that was the day I decided I was finally old enough to wear a fur coat. Unfortunately, I didn't decide until I was already 50, so it was too late to ask for one for my special birthday. July arrived and I launched my campaign for that very special Hanukkah present.

On the first night of Hanukkah, as we lit the candle, I reflected on the day's activities. Most of the day I spent cleaning closets and piling up never-to-be-worn-again winter clothes to take to the homeless shelter. At the top of the pile I threw in my good old Republican cloth coat. After tonight I wouldn't need that anymore.

Candle one flickered. The gifts were distributed among all of us. That included my children and one special grandchild. I managed to ooh and aah sufficiently over the warm red sweater that was just my color.

The next day I went to the shelter. There was a lady with boots whose soles flopped on the sidewalks. Four torn, ratty sweaters layered were all she had to protect her from the freezing weather outside. I wrapped her in my good old Republican cloth coat. She kissed my hand and a tear from her eye landed on my knuckle.

I was warmer than any fur coat could make me.

I knew that they had only been teasing me the night before. As we began to light the second night's candles I mentally practiced how I was going to act surprised. I didn't need to practice. I was surprised by the new cushion for my summer chaise longue.

Then my granddaughter Margo opened up her special doll, gave it a huge hug and ran to me. "Grandma, I love you more than anything in the whole entire wide world," she screamed as she smothered me with a million kisses.

That made me warmer than any fur coat in the world.

MA Day three was the perfect night for the "big" present. It was

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PICK UP: Then my granddaughter Margo opened up her special doll, gave it a huge hug and ran

End of wrapped-

By Sandie Nagel

I turned 50 last June, and that was the day I decided I was finally old enough to wear a fur coat. Unfortunately, I didn't decide until I was already 50, so it was too late to ask for one for my special birthday. July arrived and I launched my campaign for that very special Hanukkah present.

On the first night of Hanukkah, as we lit the candle, I reflected on the day's activities. Most of the day I spent cleaning closets and piling up never-to-be-worn-again winter clothes to take to the homeless shelter. At the top of the pile I threw in my good old Republican cloth coat. After tonight I wouldn't need that anymore.

Candle one flickered. The gifts were distributed among all of us. That included my children and one special grandchild. I managed to ooh and aah sufficiently over the warm red sweater that was just my color.

The next day I went to the shelter. There was a lady with boots whose soles flopped on the sidewalks. Four torn, ratty sweaters layered were all she had to protect her from the freezing weather outside. I wrapped her in my good old Republican cloth coat. She kissed my hand and a tear from her eye landed on my knuckle.

I was warmer than any fur coat could make me.

I knew that they had only been teasing me the night before. As we began to light the second night's candles I mentally practicedhow I was going to act surprised. I didn't need to practice. I was surprised by the new cushion for my summer chaise longue.

Then my granddaughter Margo opened up her special doll, gave it a huge hug and ran to me. "Grandma, I love you more than anything in the whole entire wide world," she screamed as she smothered me with a million kisses.

That made me warmer than any fur coat in the world.

Day three was the perfect night for the "big" present. It was Saturday night and we would be leaving for a party after we lit the candles. I would wear my new fur coat and everyone would say wonderful things.

We lit the three candles. My husband handed me a small box. I lifted the lid and "our song," A Summer Place, lilted through the air. It had been decades since we shared that special song and he still remembered.

A warmth spread through my entire body better than any fur coat could possibly make me.

Fourth candle coming up. Sunday and the entire family gathered at Aunt Sophie's house for the annual family Hanukkah party. We've grown to 47 people, what with children and grandchildren. We ate in shifts the traditional latkes that Aunt Sophie had been cooking all day. Uncle Sam lit the menorah candles. His frail voice recited the blessings. I held hands with my brother and we all sang songs. It was real corny but important to me. I remembered my childhood -- Mom, Dad, brother David and I setting off to Aunt Sophie and Uncle Sam's house.

I was grateful for another year with these two dear old folks who bring back so many childhood memories.

And I was warm. Warmer than any fur coat could possibly make me.

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