by Phil Yeats
Christmas was the saddest day of the year, the only time he regretted not having a family.
The orphanage taught him about frugality and hard work, but not about love. Through university, an interesting career as a computer specialist, and three years volunteering for charities, Kevin Anderson worked hard and saved his pennies. He didn’t lack friends, but after a drink or two, always went home alone. It had been his choice, what he was comfortable with. He’d never been on a date or visited the home of a colleague.
Staying alone and aloof from social interaction hadn’t been difficult. He didn’t have a psychological need to be with others, and the structure of his workplace made it easy to maintain his distance.
After retirement, everything except his work with Meals on Wheels continued as before. Spending three hours a day, two days a week, delivering meals with fellow volunteer Pamela Barlow led to a closer friendship.
He’d maintained his distance until she invited him to Christmas dinner with her family. He accepted Pamela’s invitation and ventured forth to buy wine for dinner, and presents for her family. He discovered that he enjoyed buying things for others.
On Christmas Day, a terrified Kevin Anderson climbed the steps to her modest house, a sixty-four-year-old man on his first date with no idea what to expect. The door opened and Pamela’s welcoming smile bewitched him. The joyous noises and warmth from within quelled his fears. A warm fire, mistletoe and the traditional turkey dinner beckoned.