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A Christmas Carol Revisited
By Dwayne Joseph Pagnotto
Friday, June 06, 2003
A short Christmas story i submitted to the local newspaper last year for their holiday story contest. It's about a boy who goes out of his way to help a needy family during the holidays.
Written by Dwayne Pagnotto
A Christmas Carol Revisited
Yes, it was Christmas time again, and as usual that same old heart-warming holiday magic was in full swing. Teddy felt it too.....for his body was all aglow with anticipation, as he, his parents, and his younger sister prepared to go out Christmas caroling. This was Teddy's favorite holiday activity, next to opening gifts of course.
On Christmas Eve Teddy and his family went from door to door thru the neighborhood singing songs and spreading holiday cheer, leaving a trail of joyful smiling faces behind them. As the night wore on they had gone up and down many streets and visited many homes, eventually bringing them to their last stop for the night. As they approached the house before them, Teddy felt that it was perhaps occupied by a family less fortunate than the others they had visited. For the outside of the house looked to be rather run-down, nor were there any cheerful decorations adorning the place as there were on the other homes.
As they stepped up to the front door, Teddy's father knocked....and they waited. Then finally
a cute tho poorly clad little girl opened the door. Right then Teddy's father raised his arm, gave the signal and the family began singing that old-time holiday classic "What child is this?" The carol so loved for its beautiful simplicity. As his family continued singing, Teddy glanced around, and saw none of the modern comforts of life in this home that there were in his own. There was no VCR, no washer and dryer, there was no microwave oven in the kitchen, and no console stereo to enjoy during the holidays. There were just the bare essentials for living. As he looked around some more he noticed that there were two other children present besides the little girl who first greeted them. A small boy sat in a corner by himself, playing with a little red firetruck, seemingly unaware of everything going on around him. The other child, an infant....stood upright in his crib and began crying uncontrollably. At this point the mother, who had been setting the table for dinner, rushed over and after picking the baby up, began rocking him in her arms.....whispering to him ever so softly. Once he had quieted down, she laid him in the crib once more.
Off in another corner of the room sat a small Christmas tree. It was plain and simple in its appearance. There were no pretty blinking lights, nor were there any garlands hanging
down in graceful patterns, and no candy canes for the children to enjoy later. Just a few Christmas balls and some old ornaments carefully perserved over the years weighed down the branches... along with a few scattered strands of tinsel. On top of the tree sat a bright glowing angel who seemed to be watching over the family as they were about to eat. Underneath the tree were just three small gifts. It was obvious to Teddy that was no gift for the mother.
As he took the whole scene in, Teddy could'nt help feeling sad for this humble family. Despite this
he continued singing, tho he kept losing his place in the middle of each song. As he looked over
he saw his father frown at his inability to keep up. Then, just as they were finishing their last song
"Silent Night", he glanced inside once more and saw that the mother was now dishing out the food
and calling her kids to gather at the table. Occasionally she would look up and smile at Teddy and his family, who by now had finished singing and were waving goodbye to the family inside and wishing them a merry Christmas. As they turned to leave for home, Teddy still lingered behind and stared into the doorway. Then he heard his father calling "C'mon Teddy, let's get going!" As he backed away slowly from the doorstep, the little girl closed the door till it was open just a
crack. As she stared thru the opening, her eyes sad and distant....he struggled for something to say. Finally the little girl spoke up: "Merry Christmas" she said, then she shut the door. Teddy stood there for a moment. Merry Christmas" he whispered to himself. Then he ran and caught up
to his family.
The following night was Christmas, and Teddy sat by his bedroom window, watching the snow fall gently. What good was the Christmas spirit Teddy thought, if it did'nt include everyone both rich and poor, just as the first Christmas had done which took place long ago in Bethlehem. Both Kings and shepherds were there by the manger to honor the young child whose birth would bring hope to men's hearts. In his mind, he tried to imagine what it would be like if he were in the place of one of the young children he and his family had visited the night before. As he did, he felt sorry that he and his family had so much, while others had so very little. As scenes from last night took place over and over again in his head, he decided what he had to do. He took an old laundry bag that was lying in the bottom of his mother's closet , then he searched the whole house and collected all the toys that he and his sister were too old to play with. He then placed them carefully within the bag and tied it up. Then he took the money that he had earned from shoveling the snow off people's driveways, and putting the bag in a little red wagon, he headed over to the local supermarket.
When he arrived there, he left the bag up front....and with the manager's permission he went around making up his own little basket of holiday goodies. He put into the basket all kinds of meats and cheeses, a whole mess of fruits and nuts, and of course what holiday basket would be complete without lots and lots of candy?......so he put that in there too. Then he took it up front to pay for it, but was short exactly one dollar. The manager who happened to be standing right there when he was rung up, generously offered to make up the difference out of his own pocket. Teddy thanked him, and promised he would return later to pay him back. But the manager politely declined his offer. "I'm sure there's someone out there who needs that dollar more than i do" he said. "Thank you sir" Teddy said, "May you have a wonderful Christmas." The manager answered back and said: "The same to you young man, and be careful out there tonight." Teddy assured him he would as he rolled his little wagon out the door, with the bag of toys and the gift basket inside.
After some walking, he finally arrived at the house that he and his family had visited the night before. Then he rolled the wagon up near the door, and just as quiet as a churchmouse he lifted
the bag out, set it on the front step and did likewise with the gift basket. He then knocked on the door and quick as he could he ran dragging his wagon, and hid behind a nearby tree. As he looked out, this is what he saw: The mother opened the door a little, but saw no one there. She then
opened it all the way, and saw a fruit basket sitting alongside a green bag tied with a red bow.
She stood there, shocked for a moment.....not knowing what to do. She then looked around to see
who might have left these two delightful suprises behind so that she might thank them. It was then that she almost caught sight of Teddy's head peering from around the tree, but he pulled it back just in time.
As he peeked out once more, he noticed the mother was now calling the two oldest children to come outside. They both stepped out at once, and immediately began fumbling with the bag, talking excitedly about what might be inside. Then as Teddy looked on, he started chuckling to himself as the two young ones began laughing, screaming, and jumping up and down as they
pulled all sorts of toys out of the bag. He then saw the mother.....who had been standing by wiping away tears of gladness, pick the basket up and examine it more closely, after which she turned and took it into the house. And once the children had put the toys back, she came out and brought
the bag in also. After a few minutes she returned, hugged her kids.....and gazing up, she smiled gratefully towards the starry heavens. Then all three of them went inside and closed the door.
For Teddy, seeing what just took place added something special to this Christmas which he would remember for years to come. That night as he walked back home with his little red wagon, the stars shined brighter, the air smelled sweeter....and as he made his way thru the snow for once in his life he did'nt mind the cold.
Because he felt warm inside.
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