This story was published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch on Christmas Eve in 1993, while I was an editor at the paper. It was quite a project and represented a new feature, a work of fiction on the news pages. Not only did it prove quite popular, but it also started a tradition of staff writers and editors creating short stories, designed as family-oriented Christmas pieces (think of a Dickensian fireside “read aloud” setting). Each piece was illustrated by one or more of the newspaper’s staff artists. Tom Bond, who was art director at the time, was instrumental in getting the project approved and on track. The inspiration for publishing a Christmas story in the paper, however, came from Mary Garner-Mitchell, a staff artist at the time (she now has her own design business). The newspaper’s tradition has waned, but the spirit continues.
I wrote two other pieces, “Time Enough to Love” and “Song of the Wind” as part of that tradition. Both are included on the website.