| 06 June 2010
Late in 1968, I had the great pleasure of being in charge of my first issue of Reader’s Digest. My days at the office were long but satisfying, and it was often late when I left for home, where a wife and two children awaited. Christmas approached, and I barely noticed. My wife did all the shopping, and tended to the other arrangements. Me? I was working on an issue that would soon be read by 50 million Americans. What fun! What a challenge!
Two nights before Christmas found me again late at the office, working happily away at my new table of contents. I was alone in the department, it being after seven o’clock, and totally absorbed in the task at hand. Christmas carols were playing on the carillon in the Headquarters tower. I didn’t hear them. (Click Read More above)
Nor did I notice when a large car stopped at the front entrance. Wally and Lila got out and came inside. The traditional Christmas tree was up in the rotunda, beautifully decorated, and Lila liked to come down when no one was around and look at it and listen to the bells. On this evening, after viewing the tree, the two of them decided to take a stroll around the editorial department, to see the other decorations Lila had ordered. Inevitably, they approached my office, where my light spilled out into the dark hallway.
They paused and watched me working. Then Wally spoke. “Peter!” he said. “It’s late! And it’s Christmas! Go home!”
I looked up in amazement. Wally! Lila! I stood up to greet them. But before I could get any words out, Lila entered the office with a smile on her face. “Peter, you have a lovely family waiting at home. Whatever you’re doing here can wait. Go home to your family.”
“I’m just finishing up,” I said. “I’ll be leaving shortly.”
“Good,” said Lila. “Merry Christmas to you. And to your family.”
“And Merry Christmas to you!” I said. “And to you, Wally. Merry Christmas to you both!”
As I stood there, it occurred to me that I was a pretty lucky fellow. Torn between a job I loved and a family I loved. And ordered home to the family I loved by the very people who employed me!They were one of a kind!
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