He was the kid everyone laughed at in junior high a couple of decades ago. He walked on the front of his feet, almost on tiptoes, with his arms flapping at his side. He was very smart, but he was clearly different, and the students recognized that difference immediately and were often merciless. On top of everything else, he had a weird name, both first and last—names I've never heard anywhere else, before or since. Although this wasn't his name, I'll call him "Tribular Norstwick." It was a name just that strange.
A couple of years ago, I was reading a wire service story about a couple who had made it their practice to adopt severely handicapped children, even children they knew were dying. It was a moving story, but what really got my attentionwas the name of the father: Tribular Norstwick. Certainly, there could not be another person in the universe with this name. That weird little boy had grown up, married, and was treating other children with the kindness he hadn't received himself as a child. I knew where he had learned his compassion for those who were different.
Somehow, during the Christmas season, Tribular Norstwick often enters my mind as a bit of a miracle himself. I'm happy for him and for the children in his life.