Socrates just stopped by, as he regularly does, with gifts.
Bread and cakes for the belly. Good cheer for the heart. Wisdom for the mind.
Socrates is Socrates Papadimatos, Greek immigrant, American patriot, businessman, and an inspiration for the Lodi News-Sentinel newsroom.
He has been stopping by the newsroom for at least ten years, always bringing gifts of fruit or bread or pudding or wine. So generous.
But there are other gifts, too. One is the gift of the good cheer. In the newsroom, we hear plenty of requests for coverage, lots of complaints.
We are, as most folks are now, doing more with less.
Socrates has never complained, never asked for anything. When he comes into the newsroom, a fresh breeze has arrived.
"Hi ya everybody, how are you today?," he'll ask the room.
We are instantly energized.
As Socrates came into my office this morning, where I was talking with Maggie Creamer, our city hall reporter, his opening line was, "You guys keep up the good work now. You guys do a great job."
I just wanted to hug the man.
Socrates is a man of strong, old-fashioned principle.
"You guys work hard here," he told me and Maggie. "That is so important. America is not for the lazy. It is for the workers. I come to America with $25 in my pocket and I built a business, have a home, property, a wonderful family. How did I do that? Work."
He dropped off a cake and bread for us.
"You guys have a great holiday. Merry Christmas now," he said, waving to the room as he left this morning.
Some people come to the newsroom to complain. Some to ask for coverage. And that's fine.
Socrates comes to inspire us, buoy us. That is a very special gift.
Merry Christmas to you, too, my friend.