The best Christmas ever?

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Little People Airport

When I got this toy, it was my best Christmas ever!

Isn’t it amazing how you can think back to when you were a kid and distinctly remember what happened at Christmas?  Granted, not every Christmas, but you remember the great ones.

We used to open our presents on Christmas Day.  We would run to the tree and see what Santa had brought us.  I remember the Little People Airport I got back in, I think, first grade.  Loved it!  And the weird chemistry set I got in the 8th grade.  Hated it!  And the awful row my mom and dad had when he didn’t like a sweater she got him.  It somehow ended up being one of his favorites.

Today we enjoy Christmas vicariously through our kids – or our nephews and nieces.  It’s their day!  As adults we take our enjoyment from hanging out with friends and family.  But once in awhile something memorable still happens.  And that is what happened to a friend of mine this week.

He called me yesterday, in quite a tizzy.  His dad was finally out of prison!  How did he get there?  Well, strap in, grab a cup of coffee, and check out this international tale of woe.


The Republic of Vanuatu

My friend’s dad has worked for years as a mid-level diplomat for the Island nation  of Vanuatu, which is in the South Pacific.  It just became a Republic in 1980.  If I recall correctly, my friend’s father was an intermediary.

About a year and a half ago this gentleman was driving in San Diego, when he witnessed a motorcycle rider who was on the street.  He appeared to have been in an auto accident.  The intermediary pulled over, to check on him, and when an ambulance showed up, he left.  But a witness later told police that the intermediary had hit the fellow on the motorcycle.

So the intermediary flew to Europe, on business for his employer, and was arrested for hit and run.  He ended up in a horrid prison in Belgium.  He told my friend and his family to get him out based on diplomatic immunity.

So that is what my friend tried to do.  For a year.  To no avail.  Eventually he virtually lost contact with his dad.  And that is when I met up with my friend at a political conference.  When he told me what had happened, a review really as he had told me about this before, my advice was that he get a good lawyer in San Diego and fight the hit and run charge, as the prosecutors didn’t have much evidence.

My friend was hesitant to do this.  But I insisted.  Get your dad out of jail before his ill health puts him in an early grave, I told him.

When my friend called me yesterday he said that my advice had left an impression on him and while he had heard similar advice, this time he did get a lawyer.

My friend had hesitated to do this because he thought it would permanently affect his father’s ability to work as a diplomat.  But, as I pointed out, if he died in prison, he would have a similar, although more permanent, result.

So the lawyer he hired got his dad out and the sentence was probation.  Not sure of the particulars, but who cares?  Yes, he will never again work as a diplomat, but he is alive and home with his family.  Their best Christmas ever!

There are those who wonder if there is a God.  I can’t answer that, but sometimes mysterious things happen that cannot be easily explained.  Sometimes you run into a friend and his advice helps you get your dad out of a seedy Euro jail.  I don’t know about you, but I do believe that there is a God, and what we call serendipity is sometimes his plan.

Merry Christmas to all our readers!  What is your best Christmas ever?  Let us know…

About Art Pedroza