It is Monday morning. Outside my study window the Elgin street cleaner hovers over the clean street and cleaves the brooding silence with its low roar.

Yet another day has passed since Christmas, whatever that was: a mélange of the absence of God, of loneliness, the routine of ADLs, frigid winds of angst, tasteless food of my diet, expectations for consolation that never happened. My psyche felt like ashen chips of worn out fillers. Finally, it was time for my nightly “cocktail,” the oblivion of sleep, and relief Christmas was over. I did the best I could.

Then, a cheerful voice tore asunder my mood.

Earlier, I’d left a voicemail for my handyman who had been servicing my appliances for years. When he had first knocked on my door, he reminded me of Santa Claus with his white beard flowing over his belly, gold-colored spectacles, his bright orange suspenders, the rolled-up sleeves of his blue shirt, and black boots. Prompt, knowledgeable, personable with a quiet manner, his service was impeccable, even innovative. He’d been helping other customers for over forty years.

“Yeah, that’s right,” he said, “I’ve finally retired.” This I had known from calling his other number and learning of his replacement. The cheerfulness in his voice warmed me.

Santa did come—just a few days late!