Reading Through His Sister’s Eyes

Unexpected Christmas Hero

Just finished Unexpected Christmas Hero by Kathi Macias. It’s a story chronicalling a few weeks in the lives of a homeless widow and her two children and the Vietnam vet who befriends them. For most people, it will read as a heartwarming story. But for those of us who have been there by either being on the streets ourselves or having a loved one who was, there’s an extra filter with which we read through. For me, I found myself placing my brother in Rick’s shoes as he trudged, and later shuffled, across town to find shelter. The hands that pulled the blanket tighter around cold shoulders did not belong to a vet but to a mechanic. Rick’s voice even sounded vaquely familiar. Yes, I said vaquely. I’m starting to forget how Paul’s voice sounded.

I realized early on that if Rick Johnson had a sister, it would be me, because old feelings surfaced as I read.  I cannot draw a complete paralel between the book and my life for one key, and vitally important reason: setting. Kathi’s book takes place in the wet and cold Pacific Northwest. We lived in sunny Southern California. Oh, it rained and there are days I’d consider cold but nothing like the characters in the book experienced. I’m thankful for that. Really, I am, at least on the days I’m not lost in a rainstorm remembering how worried I was twenty years ago.

Even if you’re reading with a different filter than I am, I highly recommend Unexpected Christmas Hero available here.



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