PITTSFIELD, Mass. – Nearly every year for the past four decades, Kevin O’Hara writes a short Christmas story to be published in the Berkshire Eagle.
“In 1982, I submitted my first story, which was an attempt, a rather rough attempt, to try to write an Irish folk tale, and it was called ‘An Apple for Christmas,’” said O’Hara. “And it became a bit of a tradition.”
What You Need To Know
- Pittsfield author Kevin O’Hara writes an annual short Christmas story for the Berkshire Eagle
- O’Hara has written 35 stories, with the first one being published in 1982
- Last month, he published a collection of his favorite stories over the years
- This year’s story will be about a patient O’Hara worked with while he was a nurse
Over the years, the retired nurse and Vietnam veteran has written 35 stories. His goal is to get to 50. All the stories are told from a first-person point of view and most are inspired by O’Hara’s experiences.
“I come from a family of eight, so my siblings are great characters in many of these boyhood Christmas tales,” said O’Hara. “Then I worked at the hospital as a psychiatric nurse for 30 years, Berkshire Medical Center, and that has given me a number of great stories over the years. You would ask patients about their Christmas memories and some of them are fantastic.”
Last month, O’Hara teamed up with the newspaper to publish a collection of 16 of his favorite stories, called “A Christmas Journey.’”
He’s already sold all of the original 500 copies, with more on the way. O’Hara said it’s rewarding to see how popular his stories are.
“You never know, and you’re full of doubt,” said O’Hara. “Often times you’d write a Christmas tale, and you wouldn’t hear too much about it, and you say ‘Gee, are you losing it?’ If you ever had it, right? So it’s very gratifying for me.”
O’Hara is just sitting down to get to work on this year’s story, and it’s usually not finished until a few days before Christmas. This one will be based on the experiences of one of his patients when he worked at the hospital.
“We also had a tomcat, a feral cat that used to come around to the courtyard, and they connected,” said O’Hara. “So it’s kind of a nice heartwarming story, and a true story, which always makes it better.”