“Otto’s revenge, this is. I never thought of myself as the vengeful type, but, I must confess, this is the best Christmas present I have ever given or received.”
“Ah, Emma,” says Judge Newton, “I believe it was best expressed in Beowulf: ‘It is always better to avenge dear ones than to indulge in mourning.’”
“Maybe, Gallie, that is indeed why this feels so good.”
“Aunt Emma,” says Corwin Priest, “eleven acres along the river is a Christmas gift for all of San Antonio. Otto Koehler Park. Uncle Otto must be kicking his heels together up above us. Is it true that part of that land might be haunted?”
Former Governor Thomas Mitchell Campbell, December 1913
“Nothing appears more boring, Papa Tom,” whispers Clarence Dilley, “than stringing popcorn and cranberries.”
“No need to whisper. They’re chattering like magpies, and their laughter drowns out anything we say. Popcorn-stringing evidently is hilarious entertainment for the girls. But untangling these strings of lights is frustrating. And if one is loose, the whole string fails.”
“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire….” It’s one of the first seasonal songs that pops into my head this time of year. But why have we latched onto a song that is rooted around a tree many of us have never seen in the United States?