This is a short story that wasn’t quite ready in time to be included in Other Copenhagens, but is very much in the spirit of the other stories in that book. If you enjoy it, you might enjoy the rest of the collection.
Abraham Washington, seven years a widower, had not put up Christmas lights in seven years. But on December 21st—the same day that the freakishly warm spell finally snapped cold—Abraham’s son James called from San Francisco. While Abraham was still breaking down the latest Steelers loss, James changed the subject abruptly.
“You’re not going to put up those lights this year, are you, Pop?”
Abraham hadn’t planned to. Why?
Because just yesterday Malina’s father—Malina was James’s wife—had taken a spill from a ladder while putting up outdoor lights and broken his wrist and sprained his ankle besides, and he was a full five years younger than Abraham.
So this was the year for Christmas lights.