Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Best Christmas Gift Ever Came to the Door

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Best Christmas Gift Ever Came to the Door

Article excerpt

'Twas a night before Christmas, when all thro' the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

Then the phone rang.

It was our friend Lisa, whose tall and slender frame is animated by abundant energy and extravagant personality. "Are you in bed?" she asked the sleepy Mama of the house.

"Yes." (Of course, yes -- it was about midnight and not a creature was stirring, not even a husband.)

"Well, I am coming over in five minutes," Lisa said. "You have to see the most exciting thing ever!"

Five minutes passed, punctuated by a drowsy thought: What could be more exciting than sleep on a weeknight?

The doorbell rang. The Mama of the house put on her dressing gown and went downstairs. I remained in bed, because it is not my habit to receive women with large personalities after business hours.

Suddenly, shrieks, crying and more shrieks erupted. Then a bellowed order: "Reg, come down here quick!" That got my attention. I quickly threw on a pair of sweatpants, not knowing whether I might have to punch Santa Claus in the nose or give him milk and cookies.

But what to my wondering eyes should appear, but ... my daughter Allison.

Wait! That couldn't be true. Allison lives in Sydney, Australia, with her husband and their daughter (our grandchild) Matilda, known as Tillie. It's at least a 20-hour trip on a couple of flights to Pittsburgh. We thought they were going to have Christmas in Australia, where Santa uses kangaroos rather than reindeer because they can carry extra presents in their pouches.

Then I saw Tillie; her cheeks were like roses, her nose like a cherry and she would be a right jolly elf if only she weren't screaming from all the grandmotherly shrieks that marked her entrance.

But what about Lisa? She was a co-conspirator to keep the visit secret and in the middle of the night drove them home from the airport.

Surprise, surprise! Of course, we were not surprised, just utterly shocked. It wasn't until I kissed Allison and felt a real cheek that I was sure I wasn't dreaming. But even now it seems like a dream.

At 15 months, Tillie is toddling now, making trips around the house in search of biped adventure. …

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