"I am extremely touched by this real "tear-jerker""
Reviewed by Kay Quintin
Posted August 26, 2015
Holiday | Contemporary | Romance
In KEEPING CHRISTMAS, empty nesters Judith and Stan Winters are spending
Thanksgiving and Christmas alone. All three children, spouses and
children have all moved to jobs away from Florida. The only things
they leave behind are the memories and homemade ornaments,
now called ugly ornaments that Judith can't bear to hang.
Delving into a real funk, Judith's depression is denying her the right
to enjoy the holidays. Even decorating the house and tree for
Christmas, and it's especially unbearable to take out the "ugly
ornaments" that took years and years for her children to make.
Stan and his friend Barney continue their normal routine in Mount
Dora, Florida, planning the purchase of their new fishing boat, at
first oblivious to the depth of Judith's depression. Every effort only
seems to land her further and further in depression. It will take an
extreme sacrifice by Stan to give her the only gift that will bring her
out of her suffering.
I have not had the pleasure of reading any stories written by Dan
Walsh before but have to say I couldn't have been more impressed
with this man's ability to create such a touching tale. KEEPING
CHRISTMAS is definitely one of those poignant and beautiful stories
that will last forever. No one could have written a story with more
feeling or emotion than Dan Walsh has. I am extremely touched by
this real "tear-jerker" and hope to read more from this astounding
For the first time since their children were born, empty
nesters Judith and Stan Winters spent Thanksgiving
kids, and it's looking like Christmas will be the same.
can't bring herself to even start decorating for the
her kids always hung the first ornaments on the tree,
ornaments they had made each year since they were
Sure they were strange-looking--some could be called
ugly--but they were tradition. A tradition she's
to miss this year.
With Judith refusing to decorate the bare spruce tree in
living room, Stan knows something must be done. And his
hope for saving the holiday is found in a box of handmade
Fan-favorite Dan Walsh invites readers to enjoy this
Christmas story that celebrates all of our most cherished
seasonal traditions, especially the importance of family.
Readers will join in remembering the things that make
own Christmas season so special.
ExcerptLeyte Province in the Philippines. Her running steps
echoed from the walls. Would he catch her? It meant white
slavery if he did. Slamming open the kitchen door, she
burst out of the hotel despite the typhoon ravaging the
eastern coast. The destructive winds and rains were
buffered in the alleyway behind the hotel, but she still
had to fight for each step away from the man she knew was
just behind her.
Without warning, massive walls of water rushed into the
alley from both ends. The sixteen-foot wave scooped her
up and battered her against the buildings. When the storm
surge receded, she lay bruised and unconscious beneath a
mass of water-logged debris.
â€śIâ€™m told there are eleven buildings, besides this
church, serving as shelters,â€ť Father Donovan said. â€śI
havenâ€™t left here since the typhoon hit four days ago. Is
the damage extensive?â€ť
â€śYes. Very. Many people with no homes, no food,â€ť Deshi
Father Donovan put his hand on Deshiâ€™s shoulder. â€śYou
brought much-needed food and supplies. Your movies are
loved but your charity work is well-known here in the
Philippines. I thank you. You are truly doing Godâ€™s work,
Deshi watched as a volunteer passed out the blankets he
had brought, which would help to cushion the pews they
were using for beds. He shook his head. â€śI wish I do
â€śPerhaps there is something â€¦â€ť Father Donovan began.
â€śWhat, Father?â€ť He followed the priest to a courtyard. A
young woman sat beside a storm-crushed rose bed. Deshi
guessed her to be American, in her early twenties. â€śWho
â€śNo one knows, not even her.â€ť Father Donovan tilted his
head to the side and sighed. â€śShe has no memory of
anything before the typhoon. One of the doctors informed
me that she just needs rest to regain her memory.â€ť
Deshi watched the girl slowly gather the broken branches
from around the few unharmed plants. A child about five
years old ran up and tapped her on the shoulder. The
young womanâ€™s solemn face broke into a smile as the child
led her away toward another section of the church.
Father Donovan turned to Deshi. â€śBut she wonâ€™t get that
rest here. She has nightmares and cries for the orphaned
and injured children. Iâ€™ve prayed for someone to claim
her and take her away from here.â€ť
â€śWe delivered the supplies to the kitchen.â€ť Jun Chew,
Deshiâ€™s assistant, spoke in Cantonese as she approached
Deshi turned away from the doorway, nodded at Jun then
called to his business manager, â€śWhere the next shelter,
Paul Wu shook his head then responded in English. â€śWe
have distributed all the supplies we brought, Deshi. That
is all we can do today.â€ť
â€śBesides,â€ť Jun continued in Cantonese, â€śwe have to get
back or you will be late for the senior citizen center
The supplies had gone so fast. They had only been to six
of the eleven shelters and there were so many people
still in need. â€śMaybe one more thing I can do today,â€ť
Deshi said with a sigh. â€śFather?â€ť
The priestâ€™s right hand clutched the large cross at his
neck and he smiled. â€śYes, my son?â€ť
â€śI will take her.â€ť
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