It's shortly after eight o'clock on Christmas morning. The sun is shining. The snow is melting. The day looks bright and happy.
I'm sitting in the empty newsroom of The Bristol Press, while my wife is off at the American Legion to write about a breakfast there for the homeless and down-and-out. My children are there, too, playing Christmas carols on the trumpet and piccolo for entertainment.
In a little while, I'll go over, too, and see if I help out in some way. But from the number of cars out front on Hooker Court, I don't think they're short of hands. Those old veterans are amazingly generous with their time and money. You can't help admiring that.
With the possibility of both of our jobs vanishing next month, Santa was a bit skimpy this year, but I know that's true for millions of households around the country, many of whom are in far more dire shape than we are. We're sitting pretty by comparison.
Besides, we have reason for optimism.
There are ever more rumors here that the Journal Inquirer's interest in acquiring The Bristol Press and the New Britain Herald has gone beyond simply considering the option. Some say a deal has been struck, which I cannot verify.
I hope that's true, of course, because the JI has managed to hold on tight to its journalistic mission and stayed true to its readers through these hard years for newspapers. As an owner, it would be worlds better than the Journal Register Co., the current owner, which has long specialized in abusing its papers, employees and communities.
So on this Christmas, I look around at the silent newsroom and I wonder if it will fall dark forever next month or if the new year will bring the kinds of change for which many of us have yearned for what seems like an eternity.
I'm counting on Santa to have one last present in his bag, for us at this little daily and for the people we serve, in this historic city in the middle of Connecticut.
Whatever happens, I do hope that everyone reading this feels the joy of the season and can find the hope that it embodies for a brighter future full of peace and plenty.
Those old veterans serving up breakfast, those men and women who have seen too much of war and death in their time, understand that the future we all want is going to come one tiny miracle at a time. In getting up early to help the neediest this Christmas morning, they are doing what they can to make that happen, as we all should, on this day -- and all days.
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org