It’s a warm, sunny day as we approach the plaza this morning.
The giant Christmas tree, tattered and nearly blown off its pedestal a few weeks ago, is righted, its lights restrung, glistening baubles hanging from every branch.
Gaily dressed elves and costumed dancers busily put the finishing touches on little ice-filled pens where hundreds of children will make snow balls and snow people later today.
Santa is nowhere in sight. His sleigh is tilted a bit, its sparkling packages strewn artfully about a tiny ice hill.
San Francisco’s gift to its children: A snowy hill to slide down in the sunny warmth of a December day, right behind us as we stand today. The sign says, no adults allowed!
We stand, easily distracted, and also buoyant with the festive air.
Yet, as I stand, with this extravagant, costly array behind me, I am aware that in this city, many children are sleeping in cars because they have no home. Far too many do not have enough to eat. Ever. Some of them will get a special Christmas box full of groceries and perhaps a present for each child to unwrap on Christmas morning.
I can’t help wondering if the rich food on tummies unused to such fare will be too much for the children. Will they throw up as my siblings and I did one winter after eating a modestly lavish holiday meal? Unable to digest meat, sauces and sugars our bodies had been so long denied, our bellies spit it all back out.
Text and images © L Kathryn Grace – All rights reserved