It was Christmas Eve in LA and we didn’t have a tree. From the windows of our Lyft we passed a tree farm. Our night of fun began with dinner at The Grove, a glorious Hollywood creation in Beverly Hills with a 3-story high tree festooned with baubles & lights. Every other tree, lemon, orange, palm, also lit with billions of lights. Santa rides around on his own double decker trolley throughout the grove. Then, on cue, you’ll hear “Let it Snow” singing through the speakers and movie soap bubble snowflakes float through the air! Gotta love this town!
Approaching midnight but still Christmas Eve, we went looking for a tree of our own. Three blocks away from my son’s apartment, the tree farm was still open. Little did we know that we had entered through the Christmas miracle door. We were shown around the leftover trees by a solicitous young gentleman farmer from New York. We three east-coasters connected like alien strangers in a strange land. And from the dregs we found the perfect tree. He wrapped it up, and gave us a free tree stand, also a bushel of ornaments. Then when the Lyft driver refused to take our tree, his boss threw it in the truck and drove us home.
Braving the untrustworthy elevator, he brought the tree up to the apartment. Then unwrapped our fir, set it up, and also gifted us with two wreaths, crackling with humor and fun all the way. As is the way of the world, he was offered a tip which he refused, “Friends don’t accept money from friends.”
We now have the last Hollywood Christmas tree and our Christmas Eve miracle. The miracle of human friendship is always available even when you least expect it. And if you are sad or alone, reach out, there are others who need a friend this time of year, go find them.
Gretchen Altabef is an MX author of Sherlock Holmes novels. Mondadori Publishing has contracted to translate her novels into Italian. Ms. Altabef strives to emulate Dr. John Watson’s and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s literary style. The first, These Scattered Houses, is in Holmes’ own voice and resourcefully chronicles the last two months of his ‘great hiatus’. The second in the series is, Remarkable Power of Stimulus. After 3 years away, Holmes finds London awash in murders, No. 221B under siege, anarchists threatening Paris, and the return of Irene Adler. Fully aware he is being watched by Moriarty’s men, Holmes steps out of the cab into Baker Street knowing he will find Watson’s friendship and unerring aim are as dependable as the British Rail. THE KEYS OF DEATH is the genesis story of No. 221B Baker Street.