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Thursday, December 23, 2021

A Christmas Visitor

Posted by Warren

(Originally posted on "Longrange" for Christmas 2004)

4:00 am 12/24/04

There was a knock on my front door which startled me awake. My dogs were barking which required my dire threats to quieten them as I answered the door.

Maybe you have heard of our weather and the unusually cold temperatures and large amount of snow that has fallen in the last 24 hours. I live just south of Interstate 64 in Southern Indiana and you may have seen the news about the closed Interstate and stranded motorists on the national news.

A man in his early fifties, about my own age, stood at the door. He was wearing tennis shoes, jeans, a field jacket and sock hat. His glasses were frosted and his pale white hands and reddened knuckles gave witness that he wore no gloves.

He told me he was lost and asked for directions to a certain address. I told him that he missed his mark by a mile and a half and asked him where his car was. He said he was walking.

I invited him in and sat a chair for him by the warm air from the furnace vent. He was shivering uncontrollably and a faint whiff of alcohol was on his breath. I asked if I could fix him something to eat but he refused and accepted a hot cup of coffee.

My wife talked to him as he warmed himself and I could hear him speaking as I prepared his fresh coffee.

My son heard his voice and came into the living room to sit and listen, and to watch, just in case.

His story unfolded.

He was homeless veteran, he had been sleeping in a box, under a bridge over the Ohio river, several miles to the West. He had decided that it was too cold and he might freeze to death if he didn't find safe shelter with more than a cardboard box to keep him warm. About midnight, he had left his meager possessions and headed for his sisters home, a mile or so from my own home. He had walked past in the blowing snow and the dark but continued walking. He was lost, confused and probably somewhat drunk. Hypothermia can add confusion to even the sober mind.

As he spoke, I realized that he had mental problems as do many of the homeless.

There are places that provide refuge for the indigent, I'm sure he knew, but they don't accept anyone who is intoxicated, which I'm also sure he knew.

He drank his coffee then asked me if I would drive him to his sisters home. He then offered me two dollars. Of course I refused the money but offered to take him where he wanted to go.

I intended to take measures to see after him and he seemed anxious to leave.

As I drove, he told me that his sister was out of town but he had permission to use her house in an emergency. I was worried that he was just lying for reasons of his own but I was determined to see the thing through, even if I had to call the police to ensure his well-being through this cold weather.

As we drove up to the house, there was a porch light on and smoke coming from the chimney vent. Even so, it was apparent that there was no one home, the snow around the house was undisturbed.

I asked him if he was sure he could get in, he said, "Yes, she (his sister) told me where the key is." He reached out his hand, as if for a hand shake, and when I offered mine, pulled my hand to his lips and kissed it saying, "God bless you".

I was profoundly embarrassed but stayed long enough to see him dig around in the snow and find a key, unlock the door and wave goodbye.

I drove home, my thoughts disturbed, by the events that had taken place.

My wife was relieved as I returned and I started preparing food (very early,) for Christmas Eve. As I cut up fruit for salad and prepared the turkey for baking, my son came up behind me, hugged me and kissing my head, said, "Dad, you did a good thing."

Again, I was embarrassed, not by my son's hug and kiss but by his praise.

It was the right thing to do.

My son told me that he tries to help the homeless ones that hang around his place of employment. We spoke of how little we can actually do for them and I was proud of my son for being a good man and doing the right thing.

As I continued to prepare food for Christmas Eve, my thoughts drifted to a couple seeking shelter in Bethlehem and the birth of the Lamb of the New Covenant, and I felt God's Peace.

May God's Peace and blessings be with you all!
Merry Christmas.


Post Note:

First, please watch "Mary, Did You Know?" as performed by the Pentatonix, an a capella group. I hope that you love it as much as I do:


Eighteen years ago, I first posted this true story -yes it actually happened- and I am always asked to brush the cobwebs off and re-post it for Christmas. The post note is changed to reflect my feelings and events.

"Mary, Did You Know?" by the Pentatonix, is my favorite Christmas Carol. If you haven't heard this version before or if you would like to hear it again, I urge you to put on your headphones or good speakers and have a listen. 

Maybe below you could tell me your favorite Carol.
This year, I'm spending Christmas with my new bride, AOW, in our new home. It has been a year of many happy changes.

Christmas Eve, we shall celebrate with one of my brothers and my son and daughter-in-law.

Once again, and to all my friends -and you know who you are!-
Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all who stop by this site. Be blest!


  1. Well Warren, you did it, you made me cry! I may write like an iceberg, but truth be told I am a softy on the inside. What a beautiful story. What a beautiful song by Pentatonix. My favorite Christmas song is posted on my blog, Hallelujah (the Christmas Version).

    I wish you and AOW a very Merry Christmas and a beautiful new year of good health and making new memories! Jesus is the reason we celebrate this season. Too all peace and goodwill.

    1. What a wonderful version of “Hallelujah”! Brought tears to my eyes — and I’m a tough old woman.

      Merry CHRISTmas!

    2. It is truly wonderful. Merry Christmas!

  2. @ Elizabeth
    "Hallelujah (the Christmas Version)"
    We had Christmas music on most of the day and that was one of the songs we listened to. Nice.
    Cooking most of tomorrow.
    Don't cry. The story wasn't quite finished. After I was done cooking, I took him a terrific Christmas dinner. :^)
    Merry Christmas to you and yours

  3. Well, how lovely. I am sure the homeless vet was very blessed. You and AOW are very good people. Merry Christmas to all!

  4. Your story brings warmth to my eart every year! Merry Christmas to you, AoW, and the rest of our extended blogging family!

    1. FJ, my friend,
      Over many years, you have broadened my horizons.
      "The time has come, the Walrus said,. To talk of many things: Of shoes — and ships — and sealing-wax —. Of cabbages — and kings —."
      Somehow, you manage to tie them all together, not in neat little packages but the pieces are there for anyone to put together if they are curious enough.
      Merry Christmas to you and yours, my friend.

    2. "I weep for you," the Walrus said:
      "I deeply sympathize."
      With sobs and tears he sorted out
      Those of the largest size,
      Holding his pocket-handkerchief
      Before his streaming eyes.

  5. I enjoy reading this story every year. Thank you for posting it.

    Jesus Christ, God made man, enters our lives as a vulnerable little baby. Like the father of the prodigal son, our God is a loving father, always seeking us, to deliver us out of the shadows of sin and into His eternal light.

    Merry Christmas and a prosperous new year to Warren, AOW and all my blogger buddies!

  6. Thank you, Silverfiddle! You have done so very much while we have been unable to ride herd on this pounce of cats we call a blog.
    May God bless and keep you.
    Merry Christmas to you and yours!
    (Waiting on the pot roast and those who will consume it.) :^)

  7. We have a very full house this year. Madness! Merry Christmas!

  8. Wishing everyone a wonderful and blessed Merry Christmas!

  9. Yesterday, before Christmas Eve dinner (which Warren prepared), Warren typed in the following in-hindsight comment:

    (Waiting on the pot roast and those who will consume it.) :^)

    We had all had one helping of everything when suddenly all hell broke lose: my juvenile dog Callie stood up on her hind legs and grabbed the entire aluminum serving tin of pot roast and gravy, and gobbled up all the meat before any of us could even speak.

    I was too stunned to react.

    Warren jumped up and grabbed a yardstick, and Warren's son dashed over and cleaned up the mess on the floor -- while I sat there thunderstruck.

    I count our blessings that Callie didn't eat the potatoes next to the meat. She's allergic to potatoes and pukes them all over the place.

    PS: Callie is not very hungry this morning.

    1. Make that "in-hindsight IRONIC comment"

    2. You all will be recounting that incident for years to come!

    3. WOW! It sounds like it came right out of some holiday movie comedy! I'm curious how you all felt other than stunned. I don't know whether to have a good laugh or be shocked that your juvenile dog Callie had an insanity moment! :) Poor Warren after all that cooking and we all love pot roast, and poor you must have been mortified Callie did that!

  10. Callie certainly has much to be thankful for this year. A reminder to us all to never compromise our desire.... :)

    1. I didn't mean for my words to become prophesy! ;^)

    2. Warren, never temp a dog with pot roast next time hide it from Callie! Callie is something else. I cannot help laughing but I feel so bad for you and the embarrassment Mrs. AOW must have felt. God bless you all for feeding Callie way too well! :)

    3. Elizabeth,
      Yes, embarrassment was one element of what I felt.

      It's ironic that I have such a juvenile-delinquent dog. For well over a decade, I was a private school's "discipline officer" and was noted for making progress with wayward students. Yet, I have a dog that is "Peck's bad boy." Sheesh.

      BTW, Callie could not have been hungry. She had already been fed her dinner -- and some tidbits besides.

    4. AOW LOL really too funny! I am surprised any pet you own would do such a thing! What a little rascle! :)

  11. WARREN! Come listen to me singing/playing "Mary Did you Know!" it's not Pentatonix (they are SO GOOD), that's for SURE, and it's recorded on a cell phone at church a few years back, but if you like the song, I hope you like my rendition!
    Merry CHristmas to you, to Mrs. Warren (so wonderful!) and to all your AOW readers!!!

    1. Z that is wonderful. Did you post it? I would love to hear it.

    2. Z,
      Thank you for the Christmas wishes.

      I love your rendition of "Mary, did you know?"

    3. Thanks AOW I figured that out! Z has a lovely voice and I truly
      enjoyed her rendition. I wish I could sing. Maybe I should sing for Callie it might scare her into good behavior!!! :)

  12. Merry Christmas from NYC. Although the numbers are dire there is much to be thankful for. We may indeed have 350k in lockdown but as it is Omicron most will be just fine.

    Of course common sense solutions like getting homeless people off of public transportation eludes us. One of the coronavirus virus myths was the great homeless die off. In fairness they did get many into vacant hotel rooms.

    Okay its bad, but we have experience treating it. Moreover many people previously survived it and were vaccinated. It could be much worse and nobody is sending infected people into nursing homes.

    May everyone have a good holiday including Ducky if he is still amongst the living.
    If he isnt he is probably complaining about film editing somewhere in the boring section of the great beyond.

  13. If Ducky bit the big one, no doubt he's watching endless re-screenings of Ingmar Bergman movies. Heaven for Ducky, hell for us normals.
    Merry Christmas, my best man and blogging buddy!

    1. Warren, Ducky passed? I had no idea. You are right. Heaven for Ducky, hell for us normals! :(

    2. @ Elizabeth,
      I really don't know if he's alive or dead but I haven't seen him anywhere for quite some time. I know that the last time that happened he had serious health issues.

    3. Yes, things happen. I hope he is ok though. Sometimes people as they age, they become disinterested in many things that used to spark their interest.

  14. Remember when he won one of our stupid blog contests and he was bitching because he didn't even get "a cheap coffee mug". I offered to send him a I -heart- Beakerkin mug if he would publish his address... (silence) Good Times! LOL


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