(Here’s Part I if you missed it https://joebroadmeadowblog.com/2022/12/10/a-christmas-tale/)
“Ready to go to school?” Declan’s grandfather asked.
“Yup,” Declan answered, finishing the last of his cereal and grabbing for his coat.
Declan’s mother looked up from her computer, her eyes betrayed a wary look. “Dad, why are you taking him to school? He likes to ride the bus.”
“A bit of a special Christmas project, that’s all.”
Declan’s mom shook her head, returning to her work. “Well, make sure he gets there. I don’t want to get any calls saying he didn’t show up because of some little adventure of yours.”
“Of course he’ll get there. When have I ever not…”
Declan’s mom put her hand up. “Let’s just say you have a history.”
Declan’s grandpa smiled and winked at Declan. “Come on, Dec. We’ve things to see on the way and I don’t want to feel the wrath of your mother if you’re late.”
Climbing into his grandfather’s car, he latched the seatbelt, and settled in. As the car backed out of the driveway he looked at his grandfather.
“Ah, grandpa, the school is the other way.”
“Yes, that is true. But learning something about Christmas Spirit lies this way.”
Declan shrugged and looked out the window. Soon, the familiar sights of his neighborhood disappeared and he found himself looking at an unfamiliar part of town.
“Where are we?” he asked.
“Just look out the window and watch.” His grandfather put down the window.
“Hey, it’s cold outside.” But Declan felt no cold air, instead he felt a warm, gentle breeze. People on the street, dressed in some weird looking clothes waved and called “Happy Christmas” as they passed by. Along the street, which had turned to dirt, they passed farms and small cottages. In the windows, green holly branches surrounded the frames and inside on the windowsill were candles.
A horse drawn carriage came up slowly alongside and passed them.
On the back of the carriage sat a little girl and her brother, each had on a bright Christmas sweater and waved as they passed by. “Happy Christmas!” they shouted, laughing and giggling.
“What part of town is this?” Declan asked. “I don’t think I have ever been here before.”
“Oh,” his grandpa smiled, “it’s just an older part of town most people never pass through.”
“It’s like going back in time,” Declan said.
“It is, indeed, my boy, it is indeed.”
As they turned onto another street, the local mall came into view, a more familiar part of town. Declan felt the cold air rushing in. “Ah, grandpa, it’s getting cold back here.”
The window went back up and the heat from the car soon warmed him again.
Arriving at the school, Declan could see most all the kids were already inside. “Jeez, grandpa, your little shortcut almost made me late.”
“Here in the nick of time, my boy. But tell me, what did you think of that little ride though the past?
“You mean that old part of town?”
His grandpa just smiled.
“Well, it did seem everyone was excited about Christmas. But I still don’t feel the same about it.” He paused for a moment. “Funny how I never noticed that part of town before,” climbing out of the car. “Bye, gramps.”
“I’ll be back at 2:00 to pick you up.”
“Okay, but I can take the bus. I am a big boy, you know.”
“I know, I know,” his grandfather smiled. “But indulge me.”
“Indulge? What’s that mean?”
“It means we have more things to do about finding the Christmas spirit.”
“Okay, see ya.” Declan ran toward the school, then turned to wave. His grandfather was already gone. Hmm, he thought, I never noticed he drove so fast.