Commentary by Dr. Don Newbury

The youngster, maybe 6-7 years of age, is on one of those “select” league baseball teams that may play four games or more on a single weekend during most months of the year.


Dr. Don Newbury

Sometimes, they fly commercially to tournaments, but so far, I haven’t heard of any teams chartering planes. But that’ll be next.

Anyways, the youngster had just bounded off the mound, his pitching prowess proven yet again, even at his tender age.

Upon reaching his parents, his out-of-the-blue question proved that “little pitchers have big ears.”

Several other parents overheard the question which may have been contemplated for weeks, if not months.

It was simply this: “With all the trouble in the world today, do you think Santa Claus packs heat?”

Psychologists could work overtime on this one. It would have given me pause back there if a grandchild had posed the question to me.

I was proud of the poised mom who fielded the question admirably. Speaking in a conversational manner, she was comforting.

“Oh, I don’t think anyone would take on Santa,” she began. “He is beloved around the world. He’s far better known for ‘packing warmth,’ no matter the time zone, country or hemisphere.”

Her deft handling of the youngster’s question was worthy of applause. Just guessing, I’d say she has a keen understanding of our tumultuous environment, and probably wasn’t surprised that even her baseball-pitching son has been hearing–if not seeing–life’s ragged edges, even in his hometown.

The mom’s mention of Santa’s “packing warmth” stuck with me for days.

It is worthy of passing along, and something we can all do. We are “packing warmth” with a healthy laugh, a hearty handshake or a heartfelt gesture that seems simply to be “the right thing to do.” At Christmas time, may we reflect the love of the Christ child, unpacking the warmth of his love, spreading it far and wide.

I am often the “victim” of humorous moments, usually by choice. I do better, of course, if I have a few minutes’ warning, and sometimes, even more warning would be helpful. Certainly I couldn’t have improved on the mom’s instructions to “pack warmth.”

Very often, though, when I feel like I have instantaneously figured something out, the pendulum swings back. At such times, I feel lukewarm mush dripping from my face.

One such pratfall occurred recently at our Dairy Queen, where chicken and dumplings are featured during the cooler months.

The dish is delicious, and not to be confused with “fast food” only because it is offered at a place that typically known for timeliness.

I’m attesting that the chicken and dumplings are better than most grandmothers have made across the years, and would be a close runner-up to my long-departed “Granny.” She was “the best” when it came to chicken and dumplings, as well as fried pies, made with homegrown apricots, peaches and figs.

At the cash register, I asked a bonehead question upon discovering that I had been granted a 10% discount, no questions asked.

The receipt read: “10% discount for veterans.”

My heart soared. I was as excited as the young pitcher cited earlier. Had the cashier read my column last month about being a veteran–my very own self–discovery nearly six decades after becoming one? (Again, thanks to the Lowe’s guy who convinced me that the term “veteran” includes folks like me who served nine years without mobilization.)

I was coy—maybe even sly–upon reading details about discounts for veterans. “How could you tell that I’m a veteran?” I asked.

 “Oh, you didn’t read the next line, did you?” he countered.

Quickly, I unfolded the receipt. Under the line about 10% veterans’ discount was another claim, “10% discount to senior citizens.”

Well,  I’m gonna buy me a “VETERAN” gimme cap to avoid misunderstandings at Dairy Queen. But, I’ll find other ways to redden my face.

Dr. Newbury is a former educator who “commits speeches” round about. Comments or inquiries to: Ph.: 817-447-3872. Web: Twitter: @donnewbury. Facebook: don newbury. 


One comment

  • Thank you. Yes, we need to ‘pack’ warmth, compassion and many other adjectives and not only display but freely share them. Thank you for your military service Sir.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.