In 2005, I found a magical web site, Leslie Harpold's Advent Calendar, a virtual Advent Calendar, I read each morning with delight.
Each day Leslie's site held small treasures of music, "Maybe This Christmas", folklore, What's a Wassail?, recipes, Sugarplum Recipe, games, Memory Game, and visual delights Paint the Sky.
I followed her her writings throughout the year, coming to greatly appreciate her talent as a writer Hoopla 500, and as an extraordinary person. I couldn't wait for Leslie's 2006 Advent Calendar to begin.
From December 1st through the 6th, 2006, I visited her Advent Calendar. Yet on December 7th no entry appeared. Checking again, and again..no entry.
Sunday night, December 10th,2006, the reason for the missing entries became clear. Leslie had died, alone in her bed, most likely on Friday evening, of bronchitis complications. Her mother finally found her on Sunday. She was barely 41.
A true sadness swept across the Internet. Many loved her, and cared about her. A private person, she enriched readers lives with joy, hope and happiness. I think she was a wonder.
So here, a year later, Advent is again upon us. I still look to Leslie's beautiful Christmas pages, knowing this year will bring no new entries, no comforting words. Yet, I look to them still.
Leslie's Advent Calendars from the years 2001 through 2005, still remain on the Internet. Most links continue to work, filled with thoughtfulness, joy and delight, just as Leslie planned.
Beginning tomorrow, December 1st, each morning I will open a door on these calendars. And I will think of Leslie, and of how she made me feel.
Advent Calendar 2001
Advent Calendar 2002
Advent Calendar 2003
Advent Calendar 2004
Advent Calendar 2005