Hemingway's Trunk

One of my all-time favorite nonfiction books is Ernest Hemingway's A Moveable Feast.  (More on why this book makes my all-time top ten list in an upcoming post)

 If you haven't read A Moveable Feast, I highly recommend you indulge.  The audio book version is a delicious treat for your ears.

 Speaking of Hemingway, I thought this was a great little story about him. (Question for YOU after the story)

"In 1956, Ernest and I were having lunch at the Ritz in Paris with Charles Ritz, the hotel’s chairman, when Charley asked if Ernest was aware that a trunk of his was in the basement storage room, left there in 1930. 

Ernest did not remember storing the trunk but he did recall that in the 1920s Louis Vuitton had made a special trunk for him. Ernest had wondered what had become of it. Charley had the trunk brought up to his office, and after lunch Ernest opened it. It was filled with a ragtag collection of clothes, menus, receipts, memos, hunting and fishing paraphernalia, skiing equipment, racing forms, correspondence and, on the bottom, something that elicited a joyful reaction from Ernest: 'The notebooks! So that’s where they were! Enfin!' There were two stacks of lined notebooks like the ones used by schoolchildren in Paris when he lived there in the ’20s. Ernest had filled them with his careful handwriting while sitting in his favorite café, nursing a café crème. The notebooks described the places, the people, the events of his penurious life."   -- Hotchner, A. E. (2009-07-19). "Don't Touch 'A Moveable Feast'". The New York Times.

Wouldn't it be something to find an old suitcase filled with things you haven't seen in 30 years? What would YOU want to find in your suitcase?

Backpack Full of Goodies: Helping the Homeless

When I lived in Anchorage, I frequently made donations to a homeless shelter, Beans Cafe, and a youth shelter, Covenant House. It was difficult to forget about the homeless in that city because Beans Cafe was located close to where I lived.  I passed the homeless lined up outside the charity every time I ran errands.  This year, they asked some of the city’s homeless to write their holiday wishes on a piece of paper.  Then, they photographed them holding their wishes and posted those photos of social media.

Steven's request for a "backpack full of goodies" really touches my heart.

We don't have a lot of visible homeless people where I now live, but just before Thanksgiving I saw a clean, well-groomed homeless man riding a bike with a little hitch on the back.  He had posted signs all over the hitch saying he was homeless and hungry but capable of doing odd jobs for food.  I don't have a place for him to do odd jobs, so I grabbed two warm drinks and I went and sat with him for about 20 minutes.  I was wearing a Spock tee shirt and he told me what a fan he was of Star Trek.  He also told me about his dog - Maggie - a former bait dog he rescued.  I told him I was sorry I didn't have any odd jobs for him and I gave him enough cash for a hot meal or two...

I tell you that story not to toot my own horn - but to say that so many homeless people are so beaten down by their circumstances they lose their spark.  They have to focus on finding necessities like food, not the things that feed the soul.  This man, holding a sign asking for a backpack full of goodies, still has his spark. 

I am so blessed.  Truly.  And I am full of spark.   My Christmas hope this year is that we all do something to help preserve the spark in a homeless person.  It takes just a few minutes - a warm drink - a few extra bucks - a thoughtful conversation - to help preserve someone's faith in humanity.