Place on the Eastside where Christmas spirit thrives year-round | Guest Column

Crossroads Mall in Bellevue is a melting pot of people.

Peace on Earth — good will to men.” Words sung at Christmas time, only to be forgotten soon after. Perhaps if we celebrated the holiday once a month, “peace on Earth, good will to men” would become a reality in our everyday lives. Until then, there’s a place here on the Eastside where the spirit of Christmas thrives year-round.

Crossroads Mall in Bellevue is a melting pot of people. All are immigrants; a mix of newcomers, long-time residents and citizens, born and bred. Baby boomers abound, especially on Saturday nights. Sitting in front of a small stage, they enjoy a cozy evening with entertainers obviously delighted to be sharing their talents.

Young folks saunter by with friends, or hurry along as though Wile E. Coyote was in hot pursuit. Their hands tightly clasping cell phones; besties they can’t do without.

When I glimpse a mom with her little girl, I’m reminded of mall trips with my own daughter. McDonald’s Happy Meals with chicken McNuggets was her absolute favorite. Until she discovered Burger King’s chicken sandwich, which we shared until she was older. She relished having her very own to savor slowly. Married now, she loves reminiscing about the “good, old days.”

Walking through the mall, it’s apparent everyone is “color blind.” Their ethnicity, inconsequential. They dine at small tables; crowded together. More than likely they’re just glad to be enjoying a delicious meal prepared by someone else, and not having to clean up afterwards.

The array of tasty options in the sizable food court is unbelievable! I’ve tried most, if not all — Japanese, Korean, Thai, Chinese, Hawaiian, Italian, Greek, French, Mexican, Russian. One of my go-to-choices is the Vietnamese’ wonton soup; comfort food on a bone-chilling day. The warm broth, a soothing elixir for my arthritis. Another favorite is the Thai cashew nut chicken over brown rice. My husband salivates while waiting in line for his usual Indian curry.

One of these days we’ll revisit the American diner, and once again savor its mouth-watering burgers. Our resolve, however, is always waylaid by the aromatic smells wafting our way as we enter the mall.

I can’t imagine Christmas without presents. My gift to me? Visiting Half Price Books. I enjoy perusing the stacks of books, always leaving with an armload or more. My small, home library is a happy collaboration between HPB and me. Biographies are my thing, usually “old” Hollywood. Recently, my fixation has included political and historical memoirs. My latest snags include “In the Frame, Helen Mirren (My Life in Words and Pictures),” Ray and Mary LaFontaine’s “Oswald Talked, The New Evidence in the JFK Assassination,” and “Some Girls, Some Hats, and Hitler (A True Love Story)” by Trudi Kantor.

From the book shop to the food court, we pass through Starbuck’s. As usual, coffee lovers are leisurely sipping their beverages. Whether conversing together in lively discussion, or sitting alone in quiet thought, they’ve one thing in common with all the other mall patrons.

“Peace on Earth, good will to men.”

Merry Christmas!

Millie Vierra lives in Issaquah.