"Spock, help yourself to anything you'd like to drink out of that cabinet," James T. Kirk called to
his friend from the computer console in his cabin. "Sorry I'm being so rude, but I've got to finish
answering these Starfleet memos before I can relax."
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"It does not offend me, Jim," Spock said reassuringly. "Your duties as captain take precedent
"Yes, and I'll be done soon enough," Jim affirmed, his eyes still mesmerized by the glowing
Spock poured himself a drink from Jim's carafe of water and set the glass down on the table beside
the chess set. As he waited for Jim to finish up, he occupied his mind by examining the objects
on Jim's leisure shelf. He wandered from one side of the shelf to the other, with his hands resting
casually behind his back.
Jim finally dismissed the last of the messages with a satisfied grunt and left his seat. When he
turned to Spock, he found his friend standing by the shelf holding something and studying it
intently. He seemed so absorbed that Jim wasn't even sure that Spock had noticed Jim was done with
the computer, but then he looked up. "Jim, what is this?"
"It's a snowglobe, Spock." Jim stepped closer and took the decorative sphere from Spock's hand.
"You shake it, like this--" and he shook. Tiny white particles swirled around inside the glass,
burying ceramic firs and a matchstick house in their paper blizzard.
Spock watched curiously as the fake snow settled, some of it on the roof of the tiny house, some
on the trees. "Fascinating," he commented. "A dynamic representation of an Earth snowstorm." He looked
from the globe to Jim's face. "Why do you possess such an artifact?"
"My mother collects them," Jim explained. "Some people collect stamps, or rare... rock specimens,
or even dolls. With Mom, it's snowglobes."
"I understand the concept of collecting as a hobby," said Spock, with a puzzled look on his face,
"but can think of no reason why your mother should wish to accumulate a great quantity of these...
models which are, essentially, a bubble of unpleasantness."
Jim's face broken into a glittery grin. "You're looking at it the wrong way, Spock. Snow isn't
always a natural disaster; it can be one of the most beautiful parts of winter!"
"You forget, Captain, that Vulcan does not experience snow," Spock reminded him. "And while
I have spent several years on Earth while in Starfleet Academy, the weather in San Francisco is more
predisposed to rain rather than snow. I have no positive memories of snow, and to a desert-born
individual such as myself, such an amount of frozen precipitation does not seem desirable."
"I understand, Mr. Spock..." Jim trailed off, gazing into the snowglobe as he thought. "Somehow
it doesn't seem that inhospitable to us, looking into these things." He pondered a moment more.
"I've noticed that these things always seem to have a house in them, or at least--a dwelling. Maybe
you're supposed to imagine yourself inside the house, where it's cozy and warm, while the snowstorm
Spock still looked skeptical, but he said gently, "Jim. I am not trying to be contrary. I may not
share your species' romantic associations with inclement weather, but through my questions I endeavor
to understand it." He looked at the snowglobe again. "The workmanship is admirable."
"This was one of the first pieces my mother acquired," said Jim. "They used to be common, back in
the twentieth century, before going out of fashion for hundreds of years. There was a minor antiques
revival just around the time my mother was accepted into dental school, and someone gave her a
snowglobe as a congratulatory gift. She needed a hobby to keep from going nuts while studying, and
the result is that now she's got over a hundred or so of these things." Jim shook the globe again
and continued talking while the snow fell. "She uses some of the less fragile ones to keep her younger
patients occupied. Keeps their minds off the laser in their mouths."
"A novel approach," Spock said, nodding.
"My mother's an original woman." Jim was still watching the dust swirling around the fake trees.
"She gave me this one for luck the first time I was posted to a starship..."
"And has it, in fact, brought you luck?" asked Spock, who of course did not believe in the concept.
"I'd say it has," Jim said genially, nodding. He placed the snowglobe back on the shelf and turned
to his friend. "Time for chess?"
Some weeks later, the Enterprise was absorbed in an festive atmosphere vaguely
associated with an amalgamation of Earth winter holidays. It was, indeed, time for Christmas and
Chanukah and other such celebrations back on Earth, and, old habits dying hard, the crew wanted an excuse to spread good cheer.
Parties were thrown in quarters and rec rooms, Uhura hummed carols under her breath on the bridge,
and packages from home were eagerly collected with each Starbase visit.
At Starbase 427, Kirk received one of these packages himself. It was large, because his mother was
a generous woman and usually liked to bestow presents on not only her son, but his closest friends. It
was her way of accepting that they were his family, and of showing him that she didn't resent him for
the fact that his adventurous career had prevented his choice of family from being a more traditional
He set aside his own gift, a large book of true naval adventures taken from hundreds of years of
Earth history, and sifted through the package to see who else her generosity had smiled on this year.
There was a box for Bones that seemed to have a heavy object encased in padding within. From the looks
of the box it was apparently some kind of medically relevant statuette. Another little box in the shape
of a music data chip was labeled for Uhura.
Kirk picked up a square box that was labeled "Spock". There was a note under it. It wasn't the only
note in the box, so he wasn't surprised at how short it was.
I wanted to get something special for Spock, because I can tell he's really become
a very close friend to you. I'm glad somebody's out there taking care of my boy, even though he's a big
grown-up captain now. I hope he likes it. You know me well enough; guess what's in the box.
Jim sat on the edge of his bed contemplating the snowglobe. He should have known his mother would send
something like this for Spock--it was her way of saying that she really liked him. It's what she did
for everybody. And he was grateful for her recognition of Spock's place in his life, and for her
thoughfulness in picking out gifts for all his friends.
But how would Spock react? The Vulcan had never really understood the object's appeal, and had actually
looked slightly disconcerted by the meteorological calamity it housed. Jim supposed that to a man who
had never experienced snow and seldom known true cold, a snowstorm must seem like the gates of Hell had
broken loose, in reverse. The gift would mystify him, possibly even make him uncomfortable.
He had the intelligence and courtesy to recognize that to get a gift was an honor, of course...
Kirk was not afraid that his friend would be rude when presented with the token. But he sighed as he
left the room with the box, headed towards Spock's cabin. He didn't want Spock to feel obligated to
display the globe in plain site in his cabin, which he knew the Vulcan would do even if it made him nervous.
Kirk buzzed the door to Spock's cabin and walked in when admitted. "Busy?"
"I was translating a research paper of mine into Andorian," Spock replied. "I was dissatisfied with
the computer translation of my last paper, and since I possess a rudimentary knowledge of the language,
it seemed an appropriate effort."
Kirk nodded. "Ah." He approached Spock and placed the box into his hands. "Merry everything, Spock.
This is from my mother. She wants you to know she appreciates you always being there for me." He paused.
"And so do I."
"Thank you, Captain." Spock peered at the box. "This is from your mother? Do you know what it is?"
Something in his face made Kirk think he had his own suspicions already.
"Well, knowing her....probably a snowglobe..."
"That would be the logical content of the box."
"Well, I suppose we better find out!"
Spock carefully unfolded the corners of the box and pulled out the round, polished glass ball within.
It was of moderate size, and sat on a black lacquer base of Asian design. Inside, a small branched tree
sat beside an elegantly sculpted, five-story pagoda. A miniature crane completed the scene. "From the design of the
pagoda, it appears to be Japanese," Spock commented.
"Give it a shake," Jim suggested, a little wowed by his mother's forethought.
For when Spock picked up the snowglobe and shook it, it wasn't snow that swirled around the picturesque
scene in gentle flurries--it was cherry blossoms. They wafted around the pagoda and came to rest all
about the scene.
"Fascinating," Spock said softly, watching the beautiful pink petals dance. "It would seem that your
mother has found a way to share her love of snowglobes without offending my Vulcan sensibilities."
"I'm glad she found the perfect way to share her hobby with you." Kirk smiled.
They played with the snowglobe a little bit longer, before Spock placed it on his desk where it could
sit safely and watch their chess game.