Woof! Woof! Each year I like to tell a Christmas Story. This year it has a message … a positive one! Please share with your pups, family and friends.
A Christmas Story in the park.
Hi. I’m Sandy the Golden Retriever. I want to tell you a story.
Each day my human takes me to the park. We meet some interesting people there … and we get to watch what they do. That’s how we got to know Sam, and the Wilson kids.
Sam is an old fellow who spends most every afternoon sitting in the park. He comes there to feed the birds. The old man doesn’t seem to have anything else to do. Sam is short, plump, and bald. I like to think his hair slipped ten inches because he has a long white beard and a mustache. He always has a big bag or two with him. The bags are loaded with goodies for his bird friends. All the birds in the park and the surrounding neighborhood know Sam and flock to him when they see him walking toward his favorite long bench. It is right across Main Street from Miller’s Department Store.
The Wilson kids like to hang around the same area. Billy is five. He loves to play “fetch” with me and his sister, who is a very wise ten, is one of the greatest dog petting people in the world. Trina knows just how to scratch behind my ears. Both the Wilsons love to feed the birds. I don’t chase the pigeons, starlings, and sparrows because Sam, the Wilson children, my human and me are all friends. We spend a lot of time sitting together and talking.
It gets cold where we live … very cold in December. The Wilsons don’t seem to mind the cold. They don’t wear heavy coats like most folks. Both Sam and my human have suggested they should dress warmer, but Trina and Billy never want to talk about it.
The leaves had all fallen, some patches of snow were scattered on the ground, and Christmas decorations filled Miller’s Department store. It was the day before Christmas. We were all seated on the bench feeding the birds from Sam’s huge bag of day-old bread. Little patches of white fog marked each breathe we took. The birds ate so much they could hardly fly. Sam said, “I think we need to stop feeding our buddies. I’m afraid some of them might pop.”
“Do we have to?” Billy was disappointed. I think he’d like to see a bird pop.
“Billy, Sam is right. Besides we can go look at what’s in Miller’s windows before they take everything out after Christmas.” Trina grabbed her brother’s hand and tried to pull him from the bench.
Billy resisted. “Awwww, I don’t want to. It makes me sad.”
My human asked, “Sad? Why does it make you sad?”
Trina answered, “Because he knows we’ll never get those things. Mama can’t afford it.”
“What does he want?” Sam asked.
“The train set with the yellow engine.” Trina tugged on Billy’s hand, half pulling him off the bench.
“You seem anxious to go look. What do you want from the window?” Sam smiled. “It must be important.”
“A cell phone. I don’t care which one. I want to call my friends and have them call me. I get left—” Trina didn’t finish her sentence.
Sam rubbed his beard for a few seconds. “Have you tried to ask Santa?”
“I would, but Mama doesn’t have time to take us. She’s too busy working this time of year.” Billy looked enthusiastic. Trina just smirked.
“You don’t have to see him in person. Just ask, he’ll hear,” Sam said.
“I don’t think so,” Billy said, “I’ve tried that before and it doesn’t work.”
“Will you walk me across the street?” Trina asked her brother.
Billy snorted, shrugged, and got off the bench. He walked to the street. Trina started to walk with him, but ran back for a second and whispered, “Don’t get his hopes up. He’ll never get it.” She raced back to catch Billy before he crossed the street.
My human shook his head. “What size coats do you think they wear, Sam?”
“The boy wears a size 4 the girl a 9. I’d buy them a size or two larger.”
My human nodded. “I hope they get something for Christmas that they want.”
Sam remained silent for several seconds before saying, “I want them to get something more important than a train set or a cell phone.”
* * * * * *
Christmas afternoon my human and I were walking in the park when Billy and Trina ran up to us. Both wore new coats that were a little large. Their smiles were wide, but not as wide as the one on my human’s face. I figured out what the two of us had left outside the Wilson’s door. I barked to let them know, but my human just said, “Shsssh.”
We walked to the bench and our Friend Sam was already there. He looked tired, but happy. Two huge bags rested at his feet. “Merry Christmas,” he said as we approached. We answered, “Merry Christmas.”
“The bakery had an extra-large supply of bread to throw away and I intend to see the birds have a great Christmas, too.” Sam patted one of the bags.
Billy plopped down on the bench next to Sam and yelled, “Hooray.” My human and Trina sat on Sam’s other side.
Sam said, “Those are big Christmas smiles.”
“Yep, look at our coats,” Billy said.
“They’re so nice and warm,” Trina added.
“Well that’s good,” Sam got a serious look on his face. “I thought you’d be disappointed.”
“Why?” Trina asked.
Because Santa made a mistake and delivered some of your presents to my house.” Sam opened the second bag lying at his feet. He handed a large gaily wrapped package to Billy and small one to Trina. The wrapping paper tore easily and soon Billy was admiring his new train set … with a yellow engine. Trina held her I-phone in her hand with a grip so tight her fingers turned white. Tears entered her eyes and my humans. And, I admit, mine. Trina looked at Sam and said, “Thank you.”
“Oh, don’t thank me. These really came from Santa. Look,” Sam slid his fingers over the cell and a message appeared. He handed the phone to Trina and she read the e-mail.
“From: S. Claus … To: Billy and Trina Wilson …
I hope you enjoy the wrapped presents. I have two more gifts for you that are far more important. One is hope. The other is belief. As long as you keep these two things in your hearts and minds, anything is possible in your lives.”