Tis Every Season: Goodwill to Men, Women, and Children

DECEMBER 20, 2016
Last week I was (and still am) in full Christmas mode. I was in my car buzzing up Viewmont Drive to Commerce Boulevard where the local Shop-a-rama is located. The Lettermen were velvety as they crooned my all-time favorite Christmas songs (thanks, Dad) and my 4-foot long Santa hat never looked better. I was all ready to fa-la-la my way through a few stores, so I could spread some cheer on the 25th. This was going to be fun.
 
Then I saw a man and a woman walking down Viewmont Drive, with the traffic, and the man was carrying an infant’s car seat! I continued on, but I could not shake the image from my mind. It was anything but warm outside. Get them, said a voice in my head. I just knew that this was not a pack of vicious carjackers, and pulled a U-turn as soon as I could. Sorry, Mom; I know what you taught me about picking up strangers, but I had to do this. It felt like there was no room at the inn.
 
I pulled up to them and asked, “You guys need a ride?” They replied in the affirmative. As they got in the car, I noticed something else. Not only was it 2 adults and a 1-year-old in a car seat, there was an infant tucked in the young mother’s bosom.
 
“Where are you headed?” I asked, because I would only take them as far as Shickshinny.
 
“The pediatrician’s office.”
 
“Did your car break down?”
 
“No,” the gentleman replied, “The bus only goes as far as the Viewmont Mall.”
 
I was instantly saddened. I never thought about a situation like this. When Julian had a doctor’s appointment, I popped him in a car seat, turned a key, and was there in 20 minutes. I never thought twice that I would have to take a bus then walk nearly a mile, in dangerous traffic, while carrying my son.
 
I dropped them off and felt bad that I had things to do, because I would have waited for their appointment to be done and given them a ride back up the hill.
 
“Thank you, we will pray for you.”
 
“That’s the best payment there is,” I replied.
 
I cried a little after I dropped them off. I had done what I could for the least of our people, but it didn’t seem like enough. I fear that with a new political regime about to be seated, what I saw that day is about to become the new normal.
 
Ignorance and want dominate our society. I don’t see it changing anytime soon, but I, too, can pray that we all come to know the wisdom expressed by the character of Jacob Marley in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, changed by me to the present tense, because it is just as relevant now as it was in 1843: “Mankind is my business. The common welfare is my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, benevolence are all my business. The dealings of my trade are but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!” Such things need to be “our business,” at Christmastime and always.
 
Jay Sochoka, RPh did what he could to take care of “business.”
 

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