It is going to be a very hard winter and we all know it in our bones
an almost atavistic memory with instruction—wear heavy clothes
horde food, drink water, stand against the wind



EVERETT, Pa. (AP) — An anonymous donor has paid off all the items on layaway at a Pennsylvania Walmart, giving 200 families a holiday gift.

WJAC-TV reports that staff members at the Everett store say this is the second year in a row that the anonymous donor has made such a gift.

Store veteran Barbara Kearns says she’s never seen generosity and humility on this scale before.

The Walmart staff has been making calls to families with the news, letting them know their Christmas gifts on layaway are paid off.

Nobody knows who the secret donor is, not even the Walmart staff. They just call him “Santa B.”

In total, the staff says the donor paid a total of $40,000.


People want to be generous and brave and good and true. They always have. They always will. And we have to act to make them otherwise. We have to do violence to them, we have to tamp them down, we have to cut them out, we have to take them apart to keep them from being decent and kind. Left to our own devices, we would have enough and enough of us would share so that everyone would have something. Left to our own devices, this is what we do. There are a thousand of these stories every single day.

Our leadership on every level is telling us that’s not the case, that we can’t take care of one another. That we can’t make room at every inn for every family traveling, just looking for a place to lay their heads for the night, for a soft place to lay their baby down, for some warmth on the chill night road so far from home. Our leadership on every level wants us to think we have to lock our doors, that we have no other choice, that we can’t share what we have.

It’s going to be a long hard winter. The squirrels in my neighborhood are the size of beavers and they’re hiding food everywhere, digging up all the bulbs I planted, gnawing on the leftover Halloween pumpkins, stripping the trees of acorns and nuts. They’re hoarding so they’ll be ready. Left to our own devices we would hoard, too, stockpile flour and yeast so we would always have bread, lay in a few gallons of clean drinking water in case the power goes out and the streets shut down. I made everyone food this year, for gifts: dried homemade pasta, olive oil with herbs. Things that last in the cupboard. Things that wait til they’re called.

It’s already been a long hard winter and we’re barely a month in. It’s been a long hard year, a blur from last November to now and it’s so easy to get cold. But remember: We are here. If you are reading this, we are here together and we have food to share and the impulse to kindness and generosity is never the wrong one. There’s a candle in the window burning and if you can see it, you should come inside.