A Sailor's Christmas Gift
by William J. Lederer
Good King Wenceslaus
"I don't have change, monsieur," she said, "I'll get some from the waiter."
"No, ma'am," said the sailor, leaning over and kissing the ancient cheek. "This is my Christmas present to you." Straightening up, he came to our table holding the other corsage in front of him. "Sir," he said to me, "may I have permission to present these flowers to your beautiful daughter?" In one quick motion, he gave my wife the corsage, and wished us a Merry Christmas.
The piano player began to beat out "Good King Wenceslaus," beating the keys with magic hands, nodding his head in rhythm.
My wife waved her corsage in time to the music. She was radiant and appeared 20 years younger. The tears had left her eyes and the corners of her mouth turned up in laughter. She began to sing, and our three sons joined her, bellowing the song with uninhibited enthusiasm.
"Gut, gut," shouted the Germans. They jumped on their chairs and began singing the first in German. The waiter embraced the flower woman. Waving their arms, they sang in French. The Frenchman who had slapped the boy beat rhythm with his fork against a bottle. The lad climbed on his lap, singing in a youthful soprano.