2017
two thousand seventeen
Twenty-Seventeen
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SUBMITTED by Bev Owen (21-Dec-2010)
This is a story about a little girl who understood the true joy of Christmas.
It was about a week before Christmas, and thoughts of candy canes and a sled seen hanging in Wagner’s hardware store, danced in Jamie Lee’s head. She was always excited about holidays. She was a bubbly little girl just turning 9. She had 4 older brothers. The oldest had just joined the army and was in Germany. 2 others went to live with their father to learn the piano business. There were only the 2 younger children at home with mom. They were very poor, on welfare, and stood in food lines called army surplus to get canned beef, block cheese, corn meal, and powdered milk. They never went hungry, and other than standing in line, Jamie didn’t feel poor. It seemed they had everything! Now it was near Christmas, and Jamie wanted to get something for her mom and brother Tommy. Since she had no money, Jamie had to think of something she could make. She thought and thought. Yes, a car for her brother. She found a piece of wood just right to hold in your hand. She glued black buttons on the side for wheels, 2 small white ones for headlights, and a broken one on top for a steering wheel. lt was perfect! Jamie even painted flames on the sides, with mom’s red nail polish. She was sure he would think it was really cool. Now she had to think of something for mom. What would she really like? Not a car for sure, and not a doll either. It would have to be very special. Meanwhile she still dreamed about the sled, but it was too much money. Unless ----- unless ----- of course! Santa could bring it! Tommy had told her there wasn’t a Santa Claus, but Jamie still believed, and had asked her mom about it. Her mom said that there was a Santa, but sometimes he needed helpers because there were so many little girls and boys, he had a hard time keeping track of all the addresses. So if we can help him by giving each other gifts, everyone would surely not be forgotten. Sooner or later, he would catch up even if the special gift weren’t till next year. Jamie got even more excited! They lived in the middle of town! Surely he would be able to find them. Yes, Santa would bring the sled. Every night she dreamed about her sled in Wagner’s hardware.

Now it was the night before Christmas and Jamie still hadn’t thought of what her mom would like. Someone knocked on the door, and a friend of her mom came in. While they talked in the other room, Jamie overheard her mom say how much she wished all the family could be together for Christmas. That’s it! The perfect gift would be all the family for Christmas! Jamie remembered a family picture that was in a suitcase with a lot of others. She could give that to her mom, and then everyone would be there for Christmas! That would be the best present! So as soon as she could get it without being noticed, Jamie wrapped it in a pretty blue cloth with red tulips on it, from her moms sewing kit. She made a big bow with red string. Now Jamie was happy. She had found the perfect gifts for both, and just in time to put them under the tree. The tree was a small, clear plastic gumdrop tree, with all colors of gumdrops on it. It sat on top of a small wood table, and the presents would go on the floor below it. Jamie wondered where Santa would put the sled, but he was magic, so he would figure it out. Now it was time to go to bed.

Christmas morning Jamie ran down the stairs, expecting to see her sled. Where did he hide it? Mom was fixing breakfast, and called Jamie and Tommy to come eat. Food sounded good, so Jamie plopped herself down beside her brother, and they were served 2 big pancakes, special made with chocolate chunks. Yurrnny! After breakfast they all went to the living room. This is when their mom let them eat the gumdrops off the tree. Jamie was so full she didn’t want them. So she just sat there while Tommy ate a few. Finding it hard to contain her excitement, Jamie finally said, “let’s open the presentsl” She jumped off the couch and got the presents for her mom and brother. Her mom was very surprised to get one. She wanted Tommy to open his first, so she rested hers on her lap. Tommy opened his, and his eyes went wide. “I love itl” He exclaimed. Jamie smiled, knowing he would. Next Jamie turned to her mom. She anticipated her mom’s excitement when she saw what was inside the cloth wrapping. “Open itl” Jamie exclaimed, jumping up and down. When her mom opened it she was silent, and then tears flooded her face. “Mom, this is our family together at Christmas! Why are you crying? Isn’t this what you really wanted?” Jamie questioned, seeing her moms tears. Mom gathered herself and said, “These are happy tears. This is exactly what I wanted. Thank you Jamie.” She got up and placed the picture next to the tree. Then she went to the other room and came back with 2 filled stockings. She handed them to Tommy and Jamie. As they reached into the stockings, Mom said she was so sorry she could not afford anything else. Jamie pulled out an orange, a banana, some walnuts and peanuts. She could see her mother’s tears starting. “I did not have any money to buy anything, and I am afraid Santa could not find his way” said their mother sadly. Jamie looked around the room. There was no sled. Then she remembered what her mom had said about Santa catching up. “Next year?” she thought. Then she looked at the spilled stocking gifts. She realized at that moment, this was it, and this was Christmas. She went over to her tear-filled mother, hugged her and said “Mom, I love bananas and oranges, and I really love walnuts. I love you and Tommy, and we have everything we need right here!” She turned to her brother. He nodded in response, and said, “we have love and food and each other.” They all hugged.

They spent the rest of the day cooking, baking, and singing Christmas Carols, with mom playing the piano. They had a lot of fun, and had the true feeling of Christmas. The last song they did was Joy to the World. This was truly a Christmas filled with love, gratitude, understanding and joy.

Oh,--- the sled? Every week Jamie went by, it was still there with a tag of $7.95 on it. That summer Jamie went around town with her wagon, for weeks, collecting and cashing in pop bottles worth 2 cents each, until she had saved up $7.95. She went into Wagner’s store, but the sled was missing. She thought someone else had bought it. She turned around and started walking out very sad. Mr. Wagner saw her and asked if she needed help. She had tears welling up, but she held them back and explained about the sled in the window she loved and wanted, and how Santa could not find her house, and now it was gone. He said, “Hold on just a minute.” He disappeared into the back room, and came out a few minutes later with the very sled she had been dreaming about! He pulled a piece of paper from his pocket and started reading. “Please see that Jamie gets this. I did not have enough room on my sleigh. Signed, Santa." Then Mr. Wagner asked, “are you the Jamie he was talking about? We couldn’t figure out who he meant, so we put it in the back room till we could decide.” Jamie jumped up and down with a big smile and said, “Yes, I am the Jamie he was talking about!” With that he handed it to her and said “well this must be yours then.” Jamie took it out and put it on her wagon, and then ran back into the store and dug out the money she had in her pocket. She put it on his counter. He looked at the $7.95 in change with a questioning frown. “This is your sled from Santa," he said. “Why are you paying for it?” “Well Mr. Wagner”, she said in a matter of fact way, “at Christmas I couldn’t afford to buy anything, so I made presents. I really, really wanted this sled. Now I can afford the sled and Santa already bought it for me! Will you see that Santa gets this money so he can buy one for another little girl or boy who wants one next Christmas? Oh, and tell him I love my present!” With that she ran out the door, and wheeled her new sled home, humming Joy To The World, smiling, anticipating winter snow, and sledding with her friends.

Originally composed by Bev Owen on 11/11/04.

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