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Thursday, December 14, 2006

May I tell you a story?

Allow me to take you back in time, 20 some odd years back. To a time when White snake and Def Leopard reign supreme. A time where it was all about excess and me, me, me. If you wandered the streets of Denver Colorado during this time, that would be Christmas time 20 some odd years back, the streets would have been covered in snow, carolers out in full force, decorations to blind a normal persons eyesight, and crowds rushing about buying that must have Cabbage patch kid, too busy to notice the two little boys that walked meekly along, in worn through clothes.

“Santa will be here soon.”
“He never visited us before.” the smaller of the two boys replied. His older brother could only look down at him, not sure what to say. He knew that Santa had visited them before. But that was a long time ago, when they were very little.
“Maybe Santa will give us a hotel room on Christmas eve.” The older brother said, making an attempt to brighten his little brothers mood.
“Maybe.” the littlest tried to fight off the grin that was forming at the thought.

School had let out for winter break {or Christmas break as it was called then}, the brothers had no where to spend their days, as their parents both worked. Sometimes their mother would sneak them out some hot lunch during these times, but more times then not they were on their own, filling the time by looking into store windows and imagining finding those toys under the Christmas tree.

“Do you think we can get a tree to decorate this year?” The littlest brother tried to brighten.
“Maybe.” Was the oldest reply.

There would be no tree, it wouldn’t fit into the car they lived in. Their parents were hard workers, and had never been bad with their money. Things just seemed to always be against them. The littlest brother had been born with a rare spider web like cancer, and hospital bills had to be paid. For the past 7 years, they boys could never remember living in a house, it was always a car or motel room. It was hard to get ahead of the bills. The boys parents were proud, too proud to take hand outs, or allow a debt to remain. Even at the expense of their children.

“We’ll have turkey with stuffing!” the oldest got into the game.
“And hot biscuits and hot cocoa!” the littlest rejoiced.

Could they ever have those things? They wondered, and even if their young minds knew the reality, they imagined it different. They walked into the parking lot where the car they slept in waited for their return. The boys pretended it was a grand house, the windows full of multi-colored lights. They opened the front door, and laughter and warmth spilled over them.

“Shut it you eejits!” a girl’s voice ended their game. The boys sister laid under several blankets and dirty clothes, trying to keep warm against the Colorado winter. The boys complied, and curled up with their sister before falling asleep and dreaming of wealth.

“Wake up.” someone was shaking the three children. Their mother beamed her smile down at them, then beckoned them to follow her. The car had moved, now it was parked outside of a motel. The children were ushered into a single bed room, and there next to the television was a present for each, a handful of hard candies, and a mug of hot cocoa for them to share. “Merry Christmas.” their father said. It didn’t matter to the children what was in the packages, what mattered was that Santa had came through. He had heard them talking on the street and brought them what they needed.

“Tomorrow we move to Kansas,” Their father was saying. “And everything will be different.” And indeed it was different. They moved into a house, and stayed in one place for many years. Santa had out did himself. Every year they would find one present for each of them under the small tree, it was a reminder of what had happened that Christmas 20 some odd years ago.

Now the boys are grown, with families, homes and worries of their own. They both tell their children about Santa Clause and what wonderful things he did for them. And at night when their children are sleeping in a bed, and not under a dirty pile of laundry in the back of a car, they thank Santa, their parents and swear that nothing like that will ever befall their own families. And when the situation presents its self, when they see another family like what theirs had been those 20 some odd years back, they try to help Santa out.

~based on a true story~

5 comments:

abbagirl74 said...

It was a beautiful story. Full of hope.

Stephanie said...

Whitesnake wow that takes me back!

You made me cry. I can't imagine that life. I completely understand why your family goes all out for Christmas. You enjoy and appreciate the blessings!

The Unusually Unusual Farmchick said...

The car, motels, dirty clothes,the siblings, the homelessness,wondering in the streets but we were wondering in public parks... That was my life 20 years ago. Except the birth parents were not dedicated workers.They were the woe is me type. They are a piece of work.
Not to detract from your Wonderful story writing Phelan! I too do not like to purchase useful and practical gifts. I will get the children a toy or two but nothing big purchase or something they may throw off to the side for me to find at the bottom of the toy box in a month. My husband & I do not purchase for each other unless it is something needed. No diamonds or fancy gadgets here unless the inlaws purchase them to give.
~Tammie

Bug said...

That brought so many tears to my eyes! Thank you for sharing, it's always good to have a reminder about the less fortunate :)

Annette said...

I am so thankful to not have experienced something like that and to not experience it now. Who knows what the future holds.

thank you for the reminder!

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