“Think about it for a moment, my dear. Think about it. What is the most basic premise of the Christmas spirit?”
Emily thought for a long moment, then her face grew bright with a smile. “Sharing, of course. Sharing time with family and friends. Sharing a Christmas meal. Sharing gifts. It’s all about the sharing.
“Once again, so simple an idea,” said Emma. Happiness exists only when shared with others.
Part IX: Age is a State of Mind
Emily tapped her computer screen a few times, then closed the cover and reopened it.
“Problems?” said Emma
“No, just I thought the next site was in Canada, but the screen display is showing me a location in Morocco.” Emily tried to refresh the screen display once more. “What is wrong with this thing?”
“Perhaps we should just go where it says,” Emma smiled. “Could be something there we need to see.”
With that, Emma looked at the screen display, punched the numbers into the GPS and in a flash they were landing in a dusty field outside a small village in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains.
Two old men sat at a table outside a small café sipping coffee and playing the card game called Ronda. As one man dealt, the other rubbed his wrinkled arthritic hands.
“Much pain today, Mohammed?” said the other man as he shuffled the cards
The man shrugged. “Like always, Youssef. All those days in the fields and tending the goats took their toll.”
“We worked hard then,” said Youssef. “Long days in the scorching sun and frosty nights in the winters. But coming home to our wives made it all worthwhile. It’s hard to believe they’ve both been gone over ten years.”
Mohammed nodded. “Seems like just yesterday we were playing with the grandchildren and watching them grow into fine men and women.” He paused a moment. “By the way, I heard Ayoub passed away, praise Allah the merciful, he was just ninety-five.”
“Ninety-five, such a young man to go so soon,” said Youssef, as a smile broke out on his face.
Mohammed laughed. “I know, ninety-five for me seems like years ago.”
“It was two years ago, Mohammed. Are you losing your mind?”
“I have lost nothing, my friend,” slowly rising from the chair, “I can still beat you in arm wrestling any day.”
“Hah, I’d like to see that!”
Mohammed’s eyes narrowed. He reached over, knocking the cards from the table. “Well then, let’s see who the better man is, shall we?”
Youssef rubbed his wrists and stretched his arms, then placed his right elbow on the table. “Come on, old man. Let me embarrass you once again as I did last year.”
“Old man? Who you calling an old man? What are you, two days younger than me? And a lot uglier.”
With that, the two men locked wrists and began the battle. Soon, a crowd of people gathered around. They cheered the men on, yet seemed to favor neither one.
After a few moments of back and forth, grunts and groans, arms tipping one way then the other, the two men broke into wide smiles.
“I think we have drawn a crowd, my friend,” said Mohammed.
“We have. They always want to see the two strongest and most handsome men in the village compete. Plus,” he winked, “the girls all love us.”
Two women stood just outside the circle of people, shaking their heads as they watched the men.
“Do they do this every day?” one said.
“They’ve been doing this every day for years,” answered the other. “My great grandfather will never stop competing until the day he dies. At least today they only arm wrestled. Two weeks ago, they had a horse race into the desert and we thought they were both gone. Then they came riding back together, laughing and joking. They almost killed the horses; the two of them were fine.”
Emma and Emily stood listening to the women and taking in the scene.
“You know, Emily, your little computer sent us here for a good reason. Sometimes, people think the spirit of Christmas is just for the young when it is for the young at heart as well.”
Emily smiled, “One of the most important things people can do to hold onto the Christmas spirit is to keep it even after they are no longer children. But how can one do that? They have responsibilities as they grow older.”
Emma put her hand on Emily’s shoulder. “Remember this always, my precious young one. Age is a state of mind.”
Part X: Remember the past, look forward to the future, live in the moment