He ran into the room, his heart pounding, and his clothes soaking wet. The pool house was quiet, Jessica had left an hour ago to explore the local town with Daniel in tow, and Mother was still outside cackling as his brother danced his best victory dance.
Where to hide? He knew that he couldn't get the furniture wet, his Mother was volatile at the best of time and damp upholstery was a sure fire way to ruin everyone's afternoon.
He walked through into the small conservatory he had helped his father build round back the summer before last, it...

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Christmas parties at work. Always held during the day. I lift my head from my desk, shuffle to the lunch room, punch out.

No booze, no music. A potluck. This close to Thanksgiving in a soup kitchen. The owner of the company is a well-known philanthropist and a lesser-known miser.

The meal's adequate. Warm soda floating in the ice of a wet cooler. Outside, the rain falls. The ground's as soggy as the bread slices set beside the ranch dressing.

Merry Christmas. Back to work. I see Caesar in the hall and thank him for his salad.

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"Travel light, but take everything with you. No cases full of cuddly toys. No toys, in fact."

These were the terse instructions from my mother as I prepared to pack the contents of my life into one tiny, child-size suitcase, a suitcase barely big enough to accommodate a change of clothes, let alone anything sentimental, useful or practical. What on earth had possessed her to choose such a ridiculous object for such a momentous adventure? I couldn't even begin to think. It was completely unsuitable and my mother was usually such a meticulous woman. Nothing escaped her notice. The house...

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Leaves golden and red. A New York fall is among us. Chill to the air and inevitably the snow will be coming soon. Rushing to stores for turkey and stuffing, then rushing to the store for last minute gifts for loved ones. The red and gold leaves change to red and gold Christmas ornaments. The colors of fall and the colors of winter.

Holidays in New York are unlike any other anywhere. Snow blowing, chilly air, hustling, bustling, rushing, racing. Decorating for Christmas on Thanksgiving night, playing music, eating leftover turkey while baking cookies. The movie 'Elf' on in the...

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