Nick Varney (courtesy)

Nick Varney (courtesy)

Unhinged Alaska: A special friend’s wish for Santa

It’s hard to recall a year of such blanket angst and quandary, yet, somehow, someway, there’s always a light shining through gloom if you look for it.

OK, so here we are. Holiday shopping sprees are nearing their apogees as we slide deeper into December with nervous confidence that 2020 doesn’t have an evil twin with a wicked gas problem, waiting in the wings.

Flashy products are everywhere. Many of them requiring enough power to operate part of a space lab while employing the cyber capabilities to conduct a successful touchdown of a flight module on a wandering asteroid. And, that’s just the latest video game consoles.

Of course, the price of such items normally requires a second mortgage for the basic models. Add drones, tablets and minicomputer cellphones that are more expensive than an Alienware Aurora R11 Gaming Desktop – w/ 10th gen Intel Core – 128GB – 2T and you have the fundamental cause for the abrupt explosions of spontaneously combusting credit cards.

Unfortunately, nowadays, many of these purchases won’t include a safari into stores featuring holiday music for those cruising bustling aisles in search of special items for special people.

On the fortunate side, there are significantly fewer brawls and smackdowns for Black Friday specials featuring thundering herds of individual acting like they are auditioning for a rugby team rather than politely scrimmaging for some prized deal buster. It’s somewhat difficult to get flattened while shopping from your keyboard.

2020 has also changed a lot of things, especially when it comes to belt tightening.

Luckily, frugality was a lesson that my sister and I learned from our unrealistic wishes during past Christmas seasons when we battled it out in our letters to Santa to see who would end up with the cooler present. Somehow our mom and dad caught wind of those missives and taught us few lessons about living within a budget along with being very careful about our wishes.

One year I ended up with something less than an expensive “must-have” calvary fort set when I found myself with a new pocket knife and a note from the bearded one suggesting that I carve some sturdy sticks and build the fortification myself. Sis got her Easy Bake Super Deluxe Oven substitute by constructing it from instructions left by the jolly elf on the proper use of a large cookie pan, tin foil housing and small mechanic’s work light.

Yeah, things were tight that year but we both still ended up with something we would treasure such as a special doll for my sister, and my knife came with rudimentary Boy Scout gear that, with some ingenuity, I could construct a shelter and lay out a foundation for a warm cooking fire.

There is no question that each new generation faces unique challenges to weave a path through, but this year has been a blitzkrieg of b.s. for every age bracket to overcome.

It’s hard to recall a year of such blanket angst and quandary, yet, somehow, someway, there’s always a light shining through gloom if you look for it.

This week, we received a Christmas letter from a wonderful friend and weaver of words. It is a hopeful and soothing read to welcome the Christmas holiday and I deeply appreciate the author’s kindness in letting me share it with you.

“Dear Santa,

It’s December again, already, so soon,

And there’s always so much to be done.

There’s a tree to put up and some cookies to bake

And a long list of errands to run.

But I’m sitting here thinking of family and friends.

Of their challenges, losses, and joys.

Wondering how I can help, what to say, what to do

At this season of trinkets and toys.

What I want to give them is so different this year.

2020’s a whopper, you know.

It’s too big a job for mere mortals, I’m sure,

So, I’m asking for help from the pro.

Can you help me out, Santa? It’s right in your lane.

You’ve a system already in place.

These things aren’t too bulky or heavy to pack,

But are blessings in every case.

When you’re thinking of gifts for delivery that night

And packing them tight in your sleigh,

Would you add something extra this season of need?

And just drop it along on your way?

Since our spirits are worn and we’re weary,

And we’re angry and worried and sick.

Pack a big bag of hope and acceptance.

Human kindness might just do the trick.

Scatter everywhere bundles of mercy,

Understanding and patience and love.

These are needed by everyone, all round the world.

Would you spread them around from above?

Oh, and hugs! Oh, my friend, how we need them.

Big, long hugs that make things seem alright.

Could you dole out abundant supplies of them please,

As you make your deliveries that night?

Thanks, Santa, for dropping off mercy and hope,

Leaving healing and joy as you do.

Get some extra strong hugs for yourself ‘for you go.

And a lot more whenever you’re through.

— Ronni Sullivan

Christmas 2020

Merry Christmas everyone and it is my sincerest wish that Santa comes through for Ronni.

Nick can be reached at

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