An Unusual Christmas Story

Telling stories is a great way to share more of yourself with family and friends. Today I'm sharing a quick story in hopes that you'll be inspired to tell more of your own stories in the new year.

Stories can be about almost anything, as long as they follow good storytelling guidelines:

  • Start in the middle of the action

  • Help people feel that they are right there with you

  • Be clear about what is at stake

  • Engage emotions

  • Share how the event informs your choices today



Sometimes a small event can have unintended and lasting consequences...The story of why I stopped drinking Coca-Cola

I adored my grandfather, and so when he asked me to get him a glass of Coke, I was thrilled to do something nice for him. It was just a few days before Christmas, and I was eager to please.

Turns out I was in for a nasty surprise, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

I went to the kitchen to get the tallest, prettiest glass I could find. Because I was only nine years old, I had to stand on a kitchen chair and stretch to reach one of the “good” Christmas glasses on the top shelf. I managed to get down off the chair without breaking anything, and then I filled the glass with ice. I poured the sugary liquid into the glass slowly to make sure that there wasn’t too much foam at the top.

I wanted to make it just right for Grandpa.

Once the drink was ready, I put it on a Christmas tray. Why not go for gold, and make him a snack, too? I pulled out four Ritz crackers, his favorite, cut up a piece of American cheese and carefully placed the squares on top of each cracker. To add flourish, I put a green olive on top, with a red pimento peeking out. I even folded a Santa napkin and placed it just so.

Now it was time to deliver this treat, made with so much love.

I found my grandfather working with plyers, trying to reattach a broken metal rod to a wind chime. He often did small projects for my parents when he came to visit. The windchime looked weathered and rusty, like a piece of junk, and I remember wondering why he didn’t just throw it away.

He looked up and saw me standing there will my tray. I waited, anticipating the praise that would surely come.

There was silence between us, as he registered what I had done. I could hardly contain my excitement, and I imagined him taking a long drink from the fancy glass of Coke, and telling me what a thoughtful, wonderful little girl I was.

Proudly, I placed the Christmas tray on the table.

Grandpa Bill didn’t say anything, other than “Oh, I didn’t need ice.”

With that, he picked up the rusty windchime and plopped it into the glass of Coke. He grabbed a cracker with cheese and took a bite.

I was speechless. Why would he ruin the Coke? This wasn't what was supposed to happen!

The nine-year old me was shocked and hurt. I must have looked crestfallen, because he laughed and said, “I wanted the Coke because it will eat the rust off of the windchime. You’ll see. Tomorrow it will be as good as new.” He added, “Oh, and thanks for the cheese crackers.”

The next day when I pulled the windchime out of the glass, the rust was gone. It vanished completely. The Coke had indeed “eaten” the rust.

And I never drank Coke again.

Merry Christmas!


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