I’m in Florida with my Helen for a few days. This is, believe it or not, the first vacation she and I have ever had without a gaggle of her friends coming along with us. 

And this morning I had a beautiful, simple, gentle kind of Red Boot moment. 

I was wrapping up a hot 5 mile run (yes…it was about 80 degrees) when I came upon two women laughing as one (Sue) was using her shirt to help wipe the sweat from her friend’s (Anita) face. Anita was wearing a dress so lifting her skirt to reach the sweat and sunscreen falling into her eyes might’ve created an interesting look-see for all the passerby’s. 

“You’d think I was her mom; but we’re just friends like that,” Sue said. 

I smiled a big smile. 

Sue then asked, “Want a candy cane?”

I said, “Of course. Who would pass up a candy cane?”

I asked her about the candy cane activity when I met her; but later on she explained it in more detail during a text exchange we had this evening. 

“The candy cane activity is actually something I asked my co-workers to do for me as an advent activity to help me keep some focus on blessing others while vacationing during Christmas. 

I have a cloth Christmas advent tree with pockets for every day of December. I use it as our Christmas tree whenever we travel over the Christmas break. I hung it at work and asked my co workers to put an activity in a pocket for each day of my vacation, starting on the 15th. The day before, I pull out the activity so I can plan for the next day. Today was handing out 20 candy canes and saying Merry Christmas.”

While I was with her she handed out another three candy canes to a family walking by. 

She explained a bit more about the advent challenge. 

“Other days I fed a homeless cat and loved on it. I also had 2 days of simply wishing a number of people Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays. Yesterday, I went to an animal shelter, gave a donation and bought a Christmas card to send back to my coworkers. It had 2 golden retrievers dashing thru the snow. I own 5 Goldens.”

While I was with them, I remarked that they looked like sisters. 

Anita laughed, “We are sister-IN-LAWS.”

Sue chimed in, “EX sister-in-laws.”

Anita said, “Yep, my husband’s brother got married and divorced and I decided to keep her as a friend. We take vacations like this, every year together.”

I wonder how things might be different if we all came bearing candy canes, a smile and the broken, beautiful relationships we could’ve left behind, but didn’t.