Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Celebrating Holy Days

My wife, Linda, and I have returned from visiting my family in the Palm Beach area for the last several days and I am reflecting on how blessed I am to celebrate these holy days with loved ones close by.

Before leaving for the visit, Linda and I enjoyed one of our very favorite holiday rituals: the annual candlelight service at a quaint church with an old-fashioned steeple that is straight out of a Hallmark movie.

On the way to and from the service, we waved at and chatted with friends and neighbors who live in our Mayberry-esque village of Mount Dora. And the candlelight service itself moved me with its reminiscences as it always does.

Once in Palm Beach, we took our four- and eight-year-old nieces to a matinee movie and ice cream and had the pleasure of treating my mother and father to a breakfast celebrating their fortieth wedding anniversary today.

At the close of a year filled with its share of ups and downs, it is a priceless act to recount the blessings of God, and to paraphrase a long-ago advertisement: it simply doesn’t get much better than this.

Friday, December 26, 2008

High Tech and High Touch

The toys of choice for my wife and I this Christmas were a couple of matching Nokia cell phones. The quad-band GSM world phone includes Bluetooth capability, a music player, a camera, a radio, and email functionality, among other stuff. I spent the better part of the last couple days familiarizing myself with its bells and whistles and am impressed with it. But what I am even more impressed with is the service of the local AT&T store manager.

We actually purchased the phones on sale at the Target store across the street but went to AT&T to get them activated. During the process, a store associate unnecessarily got in a hurry and sliced into my wife’s new phone with a razor blade while trying to retrieve it from the vice-like grip of its plastic packaging.

To his credit, even though we did not purchase the phones at the AT&T store, the manager not only agreed to give us a brand new phone but also allowed us to keep the damaged one for its extra battery and memory card. One does not ordinarily experience such extraordinary service, so I am seizing this opportunity to celebrate high tech stuff and high touch service.