Tom Foreman | BIO
Reporter's Note: President Obama is enjoying his second Christmas as president. I am enjoying my second Christmas as his favorite pen pal. Or at least I think I am . . .
Dear Mr. President,
Merry Christmas! I hope you have something better to do today, than waste time reading a letter from me, so I will keep it short. I certainly hope you do not have to work. I suppose that is not likely. With the whole world still turning, I’ve always figured that even your off days are really just slightly less hectic versions of work days, and I figure Christmas is among them. Take heart. I have worked a lot of Christmases too, and trust me for a lot less money and acclaim than a president gets.
One of my nicest holiday memories involves a working Christmas in New Orleans. I was at WWL TV at the time, a great news station then and still today, and with no family in town, I had agreed to come up with some kind of story for the Christmas evening newscast. Not an easy task, because barring some spectacular crime to create headlines, it is typically one of the deadest days of the year. Hard to find people. Hard to convince them to do interviews even if you track them down.
But I slogged through the day as best I could, enjoyed a turkey dinner that the newsroom provided, and when it was done, made my way back to my apartment on St. Charles Avenue. I put some Christmas music on the stereo. Opened a few presents alone by my tree. Made some phone calls to family, and then went to a movie. I saw Fanny and Alexander, which I recall was lovely at points but pretty bleak otherwise. (Hey, what did I expect from a Bergman film, puppets and balloons?)
That was it. And yet the simplicity of the day, and the fact that my efforts kept someone else from having to work, all made for an oddly wonderful Christmas. I believe I worked at least the first ten Christmases of my adult life, and I had worked several more before that as a radio announcer in high school and college. To this day I have a very warm feeling toward anyone I see working on Christmas - police, firemen, hospital and nursing home employees, and more. And I know they are making it easier for all of us to enjoy the holiday.
So again, I hope you are not working. But if you are, good for you. I hope it is short and easy, and you are back to simple Christmas cheer as soon as you can be.
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