Every issue of Yankee takes on a life of its own. Sometimes we plan it that way, when, for instance, we start with a theme in mind and then plump up the pages with stories that fit. But more often, it’s as though the individual stories hold a secret meeting without inviting any of us, […]
By Mel Allen
Oct 21 2016
Every issue of Yankee takes on a life of its own. Sometimes we plan it that way, when, for instance, we start with a theme in mind and then plump up the pages with stories that fit. But more often, it’s as though the individual stories hold a secret meeting without inviting any of us, and agree to all head toward the same destination, with no concern if the rest of us catch on. With this issue, I have a hunch that maybe the theme that swirled around in that meeting (probably late at night when our building was dark and silent) was “spirit.”
“December 1941” (p. 20) probably pointed out that just as the people of Keene, New Hampshire, readied for Christmas, bombs rained down on a distant Honolulu harbor and suddenly the people in every city, town, and village across the land saw their lives change forever. Yet even as they faced war, neighbors sang carols together, mirroring what would continue to happen everywhere—a determination to carry on.
No doubt “Life in the Kingdom” (p. 16) murmured, too. Readers who have followed the Hewitt family as they worked their Vermont homestead and then made their surprising decision to build anew, will see how they used fortitude, determination, and sheer spirit to move in with their animals in what became their very own manger. I suspect “Life in the Kingdom” was quite proud to have made that analogy.
I am sure “A Vermont Family Christmas” (p. 32) and “Christmas in Boston” (p. 108) and even “The New England Holiday Kitchen” (p. 58) clamored to be heard. The essence and spirit of both Thanksgiving and Christmas flow through each of these. Boston shimmers during the holidays even as the footsteps of winter have us reaching for light earlier each day. Just as the citizens in a small New Hampshire town came together to light a tree 75 years ago, so too, in these politically fractured days, do Bostonians. If ever a city glows with music and festive lights and a sense of deep tradition, it is here.
Finally, I am certain that both “Angels Among Us” (p. 130) and “The Way Back” (p. 124) said simply, “We understand what it’s like to find light wherever it shines.” All these stories carry their own voice, their own spirit. From all of us here at the rambling red building in Dublin to wherever you are holding these pages, we wish you happiness this season and hope that our stories speak to you as well. Just listen.
Mel Allen, Editor