Christmas Stars

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December 13th—there is a meteor shower tonight. That’s what they tell me. They say it will be a good one.
I am on a porch, waiting to make a Christmas wish on a falling star. But it’s raining.
If this rain ever lets up, I know what I’ll wish for first:
I am going to wish for a lifetime supply of cheese.
Laugh all you want. But when I was ten, I sat at a campfire with my Little League teammates and I saw a shooting star. I blurted out the first thing that came to mind. I wished for endless cheese.
My buddies cackled. They told me I’d wasted my wish.
“You poop monger!” My buddy Allen said, “You should’ve wished for more wishes! That way you could have all the cheese you wanted.”
Consequently, until that day, I had never heard of a “poop monger.” I’ve never heard of one again, either.
My friend Reynold reasoned, “You should’ve wished for endless money, then you could’ve bought all the cheese in the world!”
“Yeah,” my cousin remarked. “And girls would automatically like you because you’re rich. That’s always a plus.”
Well, hooey.
I wanted cheese. Not wishes. Besides, I’ve never been very good with money or girls.
Cheese is my game. I could live on smoked Gouda. I could bathe in melted Swiss and use spray cheese for hair conditioner.
Growing up, whenever we ran out of cheese, it was like the Great Depression in my house. I would lie on my side for forty days and forty nights, praying for a miracle.
Tonight, if I see a second falling star, I will also make another Christmas wish. This one is equally important.
I will wish for you and me to have our best day ever.
You might think I’m joking, but I’m serious about this wishing business. After all, I could certainly use a “Best Day Ever.”
The perfect day might start like this:
There I am. I’m going about my business, mowing the lawn, or painting the house, when something good happens.
Maybe I win a contest. Or I find a twenty in my pocket. Someone anonymously places a puppy on my porch. A group of cheerful men with German accents petition the city for legal permission to hold a beer festival in my backyard with moonwalks and bratwurst-eating contests.
This will lead to another good thing, then something else. Then, everything will spiral out of control and soon I’m shouting, “Hot diggity dog!” because I love bratwursts.
Maybe it will go like that for you, too. Perhaps you’ll get a phone call from someone you haven’t heard from in years. Or wonderful news. Or a letter in the mail. Or a sudden reunion with old friends.
Next thing you know, you’re dancing the Bossa Nova and breaking out the fancy pepper jelly from Harry & David.
It will be as simple as that. The stars will align, and things you thought were impossible will happen. Good feelings will sort of take over. And just when you think life can’t get any better, another thought will occur to you:
“Wait a minute here,” you’ll say aloud. “Life isn’t even over yet. There’s a strong potential that I could have even better days than this one if I keep on breathing.”
Holy Roquefort. This is could be huge.
So then, you’ll start to look at the universe with fresh eyes. You’ll practically be waiting around for more falling stars.
You meet someone, hear something, see something, or feel something that makes you smile so hard you crack teeth. And the more this happens, the more you will start to wonder why you ever doubted in happiness, beauty, and pepper jelly.
And if this all works out like I hope, you’ll forget about the hell that life has thrown at you.
Maybe you won’t feel so bad about the loved ones you miss, or the surgery you’re about to undergo, or the back pain, or the sibling who treats you like a refuse, or the good dog you just buried.
Or the spouse who left you when you needed them. Or the parent who said you weren’t good enough. Or the child who broke your heart. Or the boss who let you go. Or any poop monger who couldn’t see you for who you are. Then, maybe you’ll begin to love the reflection in your mirror again. And hopefully you’ll realize that this earth wouldn’t be quite this majestic without your pretty face in it.
Anyway, I know this all sounds far fetched. But that’s how wishes are supposed to be. So tonight, when this rain goes away, at the first sign of a shooting star, I’m going to close my eyes and ask for your Best Day Ever with all my heart.
Right after I wish for my cheese. And also the beer festival. You are loved.
Sean Dietrich is a columnist, and novelist, known for his commentary on life in the American South.

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