His name is Danny, 7 years old, a bundle of energy with a face full of freckles and shocking red hair that bounces with every move. He could have passed for one of Santa's elves - an elf with a heart as big as the North Pole. Danny was an only child in a family without Mommy, who had died that past summer. Danny was surviving the only way he could, with a Daddy whose evenings were consumed with his own pain, with a terrible sorrow that he could not disclose to Danny.
     I was age 18, with a military husband in Viet Nam, spending my first Christmas season without him or our families, who were all 2,000 miles away. I felt justified in being full of self-pity, so I developed quite a 'poor me' attitude.
     Danny lived two doors down in our base housing complex. I would see him from time to time walking to or from school. Although I thought to myself, "Poor little guy, so young to not have a Mommy", I was way to busy wallowing in my own self-pity to think more about him.
     ...Until the night a little freckled face, surrounded by springy red hair, brought me to my senses. Sitting on my porch glider, the sun setting, I was crying once again out of self-obsession. Danny sat down next to me. At first, he didn't say a word, just glided along with me.
It's Just Life      "How come you're so sad and crying?" he at length asked. I told him that my husband was far away fighting with other soldiers, and would not be home for Christmas, and that our families lived too far away for us to be together. I then declared, "Life just wasn't fair!" - a rather stupid, insensitive, self-centered answer to a small boy... who had just lost his Mom.
     We quietly continued swinging. Then I felt this little hand on my arm, and heard these words: "Life don't gotta' be fair, does it? It's just life, so we gotta' live it the 'bestess' we can." Little Danny - hurting worse then I could imagine - had words of wisdom that slapped me right back into reality.
     That night, the stars shown bright over us as we glided away. Danny and I talked, and we cried, and we shared. We decided to help each other live life the "bestess" we could through that Christmas and onward, and...so we did!
  -- Jeanne Clements,
      Farney Center Director