Dear Mr. Beck,
You know, for years my father has sat me down to watch your show. He wants me to learn about the issues of the day, and about why they're so important. That's why when my father first gave me your book The Christmas Sweater two years ago, I was hesitant to pick it up — I just don't usually like to read about political literature. Of course, that doesn't mean I don't care, it's just that reading is my escape. I don't like it when books are too realistic, because then it takes away from the thrill of a new universe. But when I finally decided to read your book, it felt like a piece of its reality was catapulted into my consciousness, hitting me square in the face, and sending me on a journey through my own life.
As it so happens, I didn't really read your book until one hot summer's night in July, at least a year and a half after I got it. All I had wanted was a story that would take my mind off the heat, but even though I was soon enveloped in the swirling snow, I didn't expect to be so enthralled. It seemed like I was the little child holding my father's hand as we walked across the street on freshly fallen powder, and it's been a long time since I last felt that way. You see, while I love my father, he and I have I have always seemed to invoke the worst in each other — I question what he tells me, and then when I don't want to have a debate about it he gets frustrated and angry, which in turn makes me want to leave without learning his 'lesson.' I don't think he understand my connection to literature, or why it is that I don't think like he does. In some ways, I think he tries to live his life through me, pushing me to do and be my best — even when I really have no desire to continue something, or want to do things in my own way.
On that particular night, my father and I had been fighting again, and I picked up your book in an attempt to take my mind off of the aggravation. As I followed Eddie's story, I realized that my life could very easily be his. Your character made me remember all the wonderful times I had with my own father and how awful I'd feel if that were taken away.
In a similar way to Eddie's mother and the sweater, a few weeks earlier my father had taken me into his office and given me a few of his books on history. At the time, I said my due thanks and then promptly put them down in my room again, never to be touched. Not only didn't I see the value of his gift, but after reading The Christmas Sweater I realized that my father had been reaching out to me that day, and I had just cut down his offering of peace and rendered it worthless. I should have been thankful that he had tried to relate to me, using something I loved to teach me about something he loved. And I also realized that like Eddie's mother in the car crash, I could lose him at any time — he could just disappear one day, right this very second and I would've let him leave thinking that I didn't love him.
Mr. Beck, I wanted to thank you. Thank you for reminding me that love comes in so many more ways than just in hugs and words — it comes with the choices you make every day, and the things that you do to show it. You have inspired me to forgive and make peace with my father, even when it's hard, and be grateful for all the little sacrifices he makes for me every day. You have so eloquently reminded me to count all my blessings each and every day, and that every choice we make affects someone besides ourselves. Most of all, thanks to you I forgave my father that night — and I remember your words to this day. Thank you.