Find a friend named ‘Ho Ho’

For this holiday season, you have one single goal: to find a friend/make a new friend named “Ho Ho.” When you read this instruction, does it make you smile? Does it make you curious? Does it seem like a happy thought?

A few days ago, sadly my mother was taken ill and had to be rushed to the hospital.  After a four-hour drive, I was able to be with her to ensure she was safe and had been properly treated. To avoid hospital cafeteria food, I ran out to a local restaurant to pick up sandwiches for my mother’s visitors. I waited for my take-out order at the bar area and overheard two gentlemen talking. 

Their conversations included talk about Pittsburgh Steeler football, cold weather, traffic through the tunnels and other ailments that affect Pittsburghers in general. These were their worries… whether or not Ben Roethlisberger would be back for another season, whether it would snow that night, whether the potholes on the parkway would be repaired. My worries were about the health and well-being of my mom. Living alone at 82 in a cold climate with steps to tackle in my childhood home causes many concerns. 

One man then said, “Well, I called my friend ‘Ho Ho’ and told him we’d be over to see him and his family over the holiday break.” I thought, how simple and comforting. Whether his friend had earned that nickname due to his fondness for the Hostess brand’s cylindrical, frosted, cream-filled chocolate snack cake or whether it was paying homage to a celebrated holiday figure, it was nice. 

The man then shared that his wife was making stuffed cabbage and pierogis to take over. He talked about their traditions of going into the city to see the holiday lights and told a story about going to the Strip District, buying pepperoni rolls for his family and making a point to purchase a new Steeler T-Shirt at his favorite street-side vendor.

My worries lessened as I put myself into the mindset of these two men. I left the restaurant feeling more positive and looking differently at the nice things around me. As I write this, my mother is feeling better, I am hungry for traditional Pittsburgh food and my search is on to find a friend (or at least call one of my friends) “Ho Ho” this holiday season.


May you enjoy the holiday season, avoid conflicts, find happiness, health, joy, and be content. “Most People Don’t”…