A Winter Dream, p.1Richard Paul Evans
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A Winter Dream
About the Author
The Christmas Box
Twenty Years Later . . .
I. The Widow’s Mansion
II. The Christmas Box
III. The Bible Box
IV. The Dream, The Angel, and the Letter
V. The Stone Angel
VI. The Angel
About the Author
About the Author
This book came to me at a difficult time. I would like to thank all those who helped me through it, beginning with my long-suffering and beloved wife, Keri, who dealt with my daily stress and middle-of-the-night panic attacks. Thanks to my daughter and talented writing assistant Jenna Evans Welch for her constant brilliance; my agent, Laurie Liss; and my editor, Trish Todd, for her patience and valuable coaching. Also, my friend, and copy editor, Gypsy da Silva—let’s hit Little Brazil next time I’m in New York.
I’m grateful for the ongoing support of my publisher—Simon & Schuster, specifically Jonathan Karp, Richard Rhorer and Carolyn Reidy.
On the home front, a big thanks to the rest of the family—David Welch, Allyson, Abigail, McKenna and Michael. Also, my assistant Diane Elizabeth Glad, Barry Evans, Heather McVey, Doug Osmond and Karen Christoffersen.
A special thank you to my dear friend Karen Roylance for her encouragement and support at a critical time in this book’s development.
I would also like to thank the fine people at Leo Burnett Chicago—a true Humankind agency—who lived up to their stellar reputation in every way. I could not have chosen a finer agency to base my story around. I hope you all enjoy the book. More specifically, a special thanks to Leo Burnett’s Tina Stanton and Kim Kauffman for welcoming me to your home and the tour of the Leo Burnett facilities.
I also wish to thank the infamous Bill Young for showing me Chicago in all her splendor.
To my brothers: David, Scott, Mark, Boyd, Van and Barry
Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours.
And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more that all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.
And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more.
And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed:
For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf.
And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.
And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.
And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?
And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying.
And his brethren went to feed their father’s flock in Shechem.
And Israel said unto Joseph, Do not thy brethren feed the flock in Shechem? come, and I will send thee unto them. And he said to him, Here am I.
And he said to him, Go, I pray thee, see whether it be well with thy brethren, and well with the flocks; and bring me word again. So he sent him out of the vale of Hebron, and he came to Shechem. . . .
And Joseph went after his brethren, and found them in Dothan.
And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him.
And they said to one another, Behold, this dreamer cometh.
Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams.
King James Version
Life is the soil, our choices and actions the sun
and rain, but our dreams are the seeds.
Joseph Jacobson’s Diary
My name is Joseph Jacobson, though most call me by my initials, J.J. For better or worse, I’ve also been called a dreamer. I take this as a compliment. I’ve always been fascinated by dreams. Both kinds: the kind we create with our hearts and the kind that come to us in the night when our mental gates are unlocked and unguarded.
Throughout history, dreams have been a source of wonder to humanity. Some of the world’s greatest authors, musicians, scientists and inventors have credited dreams with revealing ideas that have changed the world.
Some believe that dreams are the very secret to understanding life. Others, like the ancient Toltecs, believed that life itself is a dream.
The story I’m about to share with you begins with a dream. A Winter Dream. One night I dreamt of myself walking through a dark, snow-blanketed forest. I came upon a tree covered with brillian
Then, a great storm arose. Snow whited out all the forest except for the illumination of the one tree. When morning came and the wind stopped, the eleven trees were bent, bowing toward the tree of light.
Whether the dream was prophetic or the cause of all that happened, I’ll never know. But for years I kicked myself for telling the dream to my father, who, for reasons I still can’t understand, chose to share it with my eleven brothers.
Today I had my first big break. Funny term that. Only in business and theater is a break a good thing.
Joseph Jacobson’s Diary
I’m twenty-nine years old and the twelfth of thirteen children—twelve boys and one girl. My father was married three times before he married my mother, Rachel. Only my younger brother, Ben, is my full brother. Growing up, he was the only one of my brothers I was close to.
My father was a better businessman than he was a family man. He’s the founder and president of Jacobson Advertising, a successful Denver marketing firm specializing in retail advertising. If you’ve seen the Ski Heaven campaign for Vail, Colorado—the one where all the skiers have glowing halos—that was one of ours.
My father was not only the President and CEO of the agency, but the main creative force as well, garnering enough awards to cover the walls of our agency. Dad had that rare ability to cut right to the heart of consumer desire, divining what people really wanted and were buying. That’s not as simple as most people think. Most people don’t know why they buy the things they buy.
My father’s given name is Israel, but his friends call him Izzy. Or Ace. My father is an American hero. Before he was a successful adman, he was a decorated Air Force pilot during the Vietnam War—the first American conflict where living Medal of Honor winners outnumbered the dead. My father was one of them.
All thirteen of his children, including my sister, Diane, worked at the agency. I suppose the agency was my father’s way of keeping the children from three broken marriages together. I started as a copywriter, working under my stepbrother Simon, a taskmaster who thrived on impossible deadlines. I spent most of my time writing brochures and radio commercials for our smaller accounts. At that time, my father was still president of the agency, but he’d begun spending less and less time at the office to travel with my mother, leaving the company management in the hands of my eldest brother, Rupert—the agency’s general manager.
My stepbrothers were, understandably, loyal to their mothers—Leigh, Billie, and Zee Jacobson (all of them kept my father’s name)—and resented all the time my father spent with my mother. My mother was younger than my father by more than twenty years, beautiful and, as he often said, “the love of his life,” which pleased Ben and me, but grated on my stepbrothers’ feelings. On more than one occasion I had heard my stepbrothers refer to my mother as “the trophy,” when I was too young to know that it wasn’t meant as a compliment.
My stepbrothers’ jealousy extended deeper than their feelings toward my mother. My father had spent the early years of my stepbrothers’ lives working, building the agency at the expense of their childhoods. Only later in life, with his agency established, did my father begin to enjoy the fruits of his labors, which included spending more time with those still at home—my younger brother, Ben, and me. I really did understand their resentment, but it still didn’t make my life easier.
If I had to pick a day to start my story, I’d peg it at three years earlier on the Friday morning we pitched the Dick Murdock Travel Agency—a Denver-based travel company and one of the top-twenty travel agencies in America. Perhaps it was a test, but for the first time since he’d started the agency, my father sat on the sideline, leaving the pitch totally in his boys’ hands.
Sitting in on the pitch meeting were my brothers, Rupert, Simon, Judd, Dan, Gage, my father and me. On the opposite side of the table from us were three executives from Murdock: the tour coordinator, Bob; the marketing director, Marcia; and the president and company namesake, Dick Murdock, a barrel-chested man who wore ostrich-skin boots and a Bolle tie.
Our conference room had a table large enough to seat sixteen and the walls were decorated with the scores of awards we’d won, nearly all of them bearing my father’s name. We dimmed the lights, and on a pull-down screen we projected our proposed slogan.
Dick Murdock Travel
We’ll get you there
Murdock’s silence screamed. Finally, Marcia, a tall, thin woman with spiky black hair, said, “I don’t get it.”
Simon raised the lights. “We’ll get you there,” he said, taking on the tone of a radio announcer. “It’s a powerful phrase. Travel is a matter of trust. Your clients want to know that their families, their employees and they, themselves, are in good hands. No matter where they’re going, Dick Murdock Travel will get them there, safely, on time, on budget.”
His explanation was met with more silence. I glanced over at my father. He sat expressionless. This was a man who could maneuver a jet while surface-to-air missiles were shot at him—a crash-and-burn pitch was nothing.
“Where are you getting the ‘safely, on time, on budget’ part?” Bob asked.
Simon squirmed a little. “It’s implied.”
Bob nodded slowly, the way people do when they have no idea what you’re talking about but really don’t care to hear an explanation.
Rupert stepped in. “Let’s face it, for the business person, travel is exhausting, a necessary evil, a means to an end. Our end is getting them there so they can do what they really went to do.”
Murdock glanced at his two employees, then sat up in his seat. “There’s no zing,” he said bluntly.
After a moment Rupert said, “That’s just our first concept.” He nodded to Judd.
Judd stood. “Like Rupert said, travel is a necessary evil, getting from A to B. So I created a play on that principle.”
Dick Murdock Travel
From A to Z
Judd continued, “From Arizona to Zimbabwe, from Alaskan Cruises to the San Diego Zoo, from the Amazon to Zambia.”
“Where’s Zambia?” Bob asked Marcia facetiously.
Murdock said nothing. Worse. He looked annoyed.
“Too much like the amazon.com logo,” Marcia said. “From A to Z. It’s been done.”
Judd looked blindsided. “We’ve created a television spot,” he said meekly.
“Don’t bother,” Murdock said. “I’m not sure we’re broadcasting on the same frequency.” He turned to Rupert. “Unlike you, we don’t think of our business as a ‘necessary evil.’ From what I’ve heard so far, you’d think we were torturing our clients for a price.”
“That’s certainly not the message we intended to convey,” Simon said.
“Intent is irrelevant, it’s what’s perceived that matters. And that’s what I heard,” Murdock said. “Travel is evil.” He turned to my dad. “Is that the best you’ve got?”
I could only imagine what was going through my father’s mind. Mayday, Mayday, we’re going down. Pulling the eject cord. My dad looked at Simon, who looked more angry than dejected. Then he turned to Rupert. “Is that our best?”
Rupert glanced at my father, then said, “Actually, we have one more concept we want to show you. It’s a bit unconventional.”
“Unconventional?” Murdock said.
For Rupert, “unconventional” was a polite way of saying “out there.” Three days earlier I had had a dream of a suitcase bouncing around with excitement. The words came to me, Pack your bags!
Rupert turned to me. “J.J., show Mr. Murdock your idea.”
Truthfully, I hadn’t planned on sharing my idea. When I had shared my dream with Simon, he gave me that “nice try, kid, now get me some coffee” look. Every eye in the room fell on me. I lifted my portfolio and walked to the front of the conference
“I’m kind of new at this, so bear with me.”
“Nowhere to go but up,” Murdock said.
Simon’s jaw tightened.
“When I think of travel, I think of having fun—seeing exciting places, seeing people I care about. I think of the excitement and anticipation of getting ready. When I went to Italy a few months ago, I spent six months preparing for just ten days. So, to me, travel is more than just the time away from home, it’s the anticipation leading up to it . . . like Christmas. The fun of Christmas is the preparation, the secrets and wrapping and decorating. So I came up with this.”
Dick Murdock Travel
Pack Your Bags!
The slogan was inset over a cartoon drawing of a travel trunk plastered with colorful stickers from different countries.
Marcia nodded encouragingly. “Pack your bags.”
Bob also nodded. “I like that. I like the trunk. It’s iconic. We could use it on brochures, TV commercials, tour signage, Facebook, even luggage tags.” He looked at me. “What about electronic media?”
“Like Rupert said, my idea is a bit unconventional,” I said. “But when the competition zigs, you should zag. Since almost all travel commercials are really just video travel brochures, in order to stand out, I think we should create a campaign with a decidedly unique look—something different than what your competition is doing or has ever done. I envisioned our Pack Your Bags travel trunk reproduced in clay animation excitedly bouncing around. Then it falls open and something representative of one of your destination pops out, like the Eiffel Tower, or Big Ben . . .”
“. . . a pyramid for our Egypt tours,” Bob said, catching the vision.
“Or a gong for China,” said Marcia. “Or a panda.”
“No one’s done it before,” Bob said to Murdock.
“Isn’t that clay animation really expensive?” Murdock asked.
“It can be, but the bouncing effect is extremely simple and we’re producing doughnuts: the opening and closing of the spots will always be the same, just the middle needs to be changed, so for one spot it’s more expensive, but for three or four spots it will actually cost less than what you’re currently spending on production.”
A Winter Dream by Richard Paul Evans / History & Fiction / Romance & Love have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes