An inverted NPR moment, thanks to Hank Stuever

NPR likes to define its “moments” as those times you sit in your driveway with the car running, waiting for a particularly enthralling story to end before going into your house.

Thanks to Hank Stuever and his marvelous book “Tinsel,” Lara and I had an inverse NPR moment recently. Our friend Barb loaned us an audio copy of Hank’s book, which we spent much of a 16-hour roundtrip drive to Pittsburgh listening to.

As we hit Abingdon, VA, I started wondering if we had enough book left to last the rest of the drive home. When we entered Knoxville, I started worrying that we wouldn’t have enough time to finish it and we’d be sitting in the driveway, waiting for it to end.

But as we pulled in our driveway, the last line of the book was read. It had lasted exactly long enough to get us home. Lara and I looked at each other, grinned and thanked Hank for a delightful drive.

If you haven’t read “Tinsel,” add it to your “must read” list. Wonderful book. Hank’s observational tale is perfect for this examination of Christmas and what it means to us, as seen through the folks in the Dallas exurb of Frisco, Texas. Some of it’s pretty strange, but Hank doesn’t judge. He just observes and lets the people speak for themselves. It’s clear that he developed a true affinity for many of the book’s subjects, and it’s uncanny how the holiday events offer a macroeconomic tale of a society consumed with debt, spending and materialism. But the Christmas spirit is in there, too. Buy a bunch of them and give them as gifts next Christmas.