‘Chicken Soup’ and melted chocolate:Royalston writer has Christmas anecdote in famed book series

  • Royalston writer Sharon Harmon has a short story published in “Christmas Is in the Air: 101 Stories about the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” of the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series. The book was published in October. COURTESY ‘CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL’ FACEBOOK PAGE

  • About to encounter an unexpected surprise, Shon Harmon reaches into his stocking on Christmas morning about 30 years ago. Shon’s mother, Royalston resident and writer Sharon Harmon, has written about a story about the incident for “Christmas Is in the Air: 101 Stories about the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” of the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series. The book was published in October. SUBMITTED PHOTO

  • Royalston resident and writer Sharon Harmon. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 12/24/2020 8:58:53 AM

The whole world could use a few warm, uplifting short stories in the age of COVID-19. Sharon Harmon says that is where the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series comes in.

The collections of 101 wholesome, inspiring stories have been published in 250 books that have sold at least 100 million copies since the series was founded in 1993. Harmon is no stranger to seeing her name grace the pages, having had a story printed in “I Can’t Believe My Cat Did That!: 101 Stories about the Crazy Antics of Our Feline Friends.” Now she’s at it again, with a story in “Christmas Is in the Air: 101 Stories about the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” which was published in October.

Harmon’s contribution, titled “Hung by the Chimney with Care,” is an anecdote from a Christmas morning about 30 years ago, when her son and daughter reached into their stockings for the traditional walnuts, tangerines and chocolate, only to find the chocolate had melted and their hands were covered in goo.

“I actually have a picture in the morning of my son sticking his hand in there,” the Royalston resident said. Her son, Shon, died in a car accident in 1991. “But my daughter remembers it all and laughs about it. So it’s kind of become a family thing with the grandchildren.”

Harmon wrote a shorter version of the story for a central Massachusetts newspaper in 2000 and her writing has also appeared in “A Patchwork Christmas Collection,” made up of local writers’ essays, poems and Christmas stories.

Her story in “I Can’t Believe My Cat Did That!” is about her childhood cat who saved the family by waking them up during a house fire only to die in the blaze. She stills gets choked up recalling that story.

Harmon said she has been compensated with $200 and 10 copies of the books that carry her stories.

Harmon has been a freelancer writer off and on since 1980. She was published in the magazine “Highlights for Children” in 1981 and now writes for Uniquely Quabbin magazine. She recently wrote “Horatio Mortimer Loved Music,” a book for children ages 2 to 8, which can be found on Amazon. Professionally, the 70-year-old retiree referred to herself as having been “a jack of all trades and master of none.” Her final job, which lasted six years, was driving a van for children with special needs.

“I am a self-taught writer, because I never went to college or anything,” Harmon said, adding she has always been an avid reader and had poetry published in a newspaper when she was growing up in Worcester. She moved to Royalston 32 years ago, having wanted a house in the country, and lives there with her husband, Wade. Her daughter, Brandy, lives in Athol.

“Christmas Is in the Air” is one of five books “Chicken Soup for the Soul” earmarked in 2020 as fundraisers for specific nonprofit organizations. Twenty-five cents from every book purchased with go to Toys for Tots. The book can be found on the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” website at: bit.ly/3gXEt8k. Harmon’s website is sharonannharmon.weebly.com.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.

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