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Opinion >  Column

The Slice: Video conferencing Christmas morning

Technology has changed the ritual of opening presents.

Today there is the very real possibility that you will be connected via video to relatives across the country as you unwrap packages.

It sort of makes you want to comb your hair.

Now I don’t want to make this sound like some sort of onerous burden or imposition. It’s not. It is a happy thing to share Christmas morning with far-flung loved ones, assuming you have made yourself reasonably presentable.

Just make sure your pajamas are covering what they need to cover, Uncle Bob.

Let’s move on.

Slice answers: If Santa’s base of operations were at the South Pole, he might swap his reindeer for penguins, said Judy Kauffman, John Bafaro, Donna Potter Phillips, Jan Jenne, Caryl Lawton, David Townsend and others.

Mike Storms said if Santa lived at the South Pole he would not have to worry about his whole operation sinking into the sea as a result of global warming. “There’s solid ground under the South Pole’s ice.”

And Tom Gigler said Santa would need new directions to his house.

Today’s Slice question: A couple of weeks ago I arranged, with the help of friends there, to visit with eight or 10 residents of the Touchmark retirement community on the South Hill.

We talked about how Christmas was different when they were young.

I enjoyed our conversation. But when, some time later, I finally got around to organizing my notes, I discovered my tape recorder had malfunctioned.

And because I had been concentrating on listening to the residents, my backup notes were inadequate.

Still, one thing I heard that afternoon had been committed to memory.

A man who, as I recall, is either 90 or about to turn 90, remembered something his father told him long, long ago. The man’s father told him that one year, when he himself was a child, he got an orange for Christmas. That was it. An orange.

I think this man’s father had offered that story not as a complaint, but as a point of perspective. He was glad to get the orange.

Now that was a long time ago. The world has changed in so many ways. These are different times.

But you know what I have to ask.

How would a kid today react to receiving an orange – and nothing else – for Christmas?

Write The Slice at P. O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email I’ll tell my neighbor’s elderly cat “Merry Christmas” for you when I see her today.

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