For once, this week, I had my post pretty much done by yesterday, knowing today’s schedule would be even busier than most Saturdays; I had given my faithful helper at the store the day off to go to New York with friends, and an early evening social event meant rushing from work to home to the event. But my lovely description of life in a bookstore during the holiday rush will have to wait until next week. Today was busy, but not a typical pre-holiday Saturday; everyone wanted to talk about the horrible events in Newtown, Connecticut, and the mood was somber. This is a shared tragedy, and I have written before about the way people seem to open up about their feelings in a bookstore.
I was already heavy-hearted as a parent and a human being, trying to wrap my mind around how such a heartbreaking crime could happen to such innocent young children in such a peaceful town. I have some familiarity with Newtown, as a close college friend of my son’s is from there; we stopped several times to drop-off or pick-up on the journey from New Jersey to Boston and back. The town is the epitome of quiet New England charm. Its peaceful aura is now shattered.
The evening’s social event was a quiet and the conversation kept turning to the awful events of yesterday. The holiday season has had a pall cast over it. The shared shock and grief has brought us all a bit closer to each other. It is not a time for lighthearted commentary on the quirks of Christmas shoppers. Instead, it is a time to be kind to those we love, to hug them whenever possible, remembering that in this random universe, the only guaranteed moment we have is right now.