I had a friend in high school named Rika. When she was very young, her family had made a harrowing escape from Soviet Estonia. Rika spoke English well, but she was desperate to learn to speak American like a native. You know, to use words like groovy and cool and no way! and yuck!
At Christmas, she gave me a card with a picture of Santa and his reindeer bowing reverently before the Babe in the manger as Mary and Joseph, the shepherds and the wisemen looked on. “Is it a good card?” she asked. “Is it American?”
Well, yes, it really was.
Inside Rika had written, in her most heartfelt American: “Best wishes for a year of health, education and welfare.”
Years later, Rika’s Christmas message was my first sell as a writer. Kiplinger’s Changing Times paid me $25 for it.
Merry Christmas, Rika, wherever you are.
And to everyone else, have a Blessed Christmas!