(Here’s the link to yesterday’s story https://joebroadmeadowblog.com/2022/12/11/christmas-story-2022-i-never-noticed/ )
Declan stood outside school, pacing back and forth to keep warm. He looked up and down the street for his grandfather, but he wasn’t around.
“Something wrong, Declan?” said Ms. Geddes, the school principal. “Why aren’t you over at the bus line?”
“No, Ms. Geddes, nothing’s wrong. My grandfather said he was picking me up and…” As the words came out of his mouth his grandfather appeared from the other side of the building.
“And here I am,” he said. “Good afternoon, Helen. Still as lovely as when we were in school together.”
“Always the charmer, Tom, always the charmer.” She tried to contain her smile but failed. “You shouldn’t leave him out here waiting in this cold, you know.”
“Ah, but the cold is invigorating, isn’t it. Adds to the Christmas feeling in the air. Have you been a good girl this year?”
“That is none of your business. Now I suggest you get Declan here into a nice warm car before he gets a cold for Christmas.” She reached over and touched his shoulder. “And, if I don’t see you before then, have a very Merry Christmas. We all miss Peggy, especially this time of year.”
“Thank you, Helen, and a very Merry Christmas to you. Peggy may be gone from this world but she lives on as she so loved this time of year. And I’m sure I’ll be seeing you before the 25th.”
Taking Declan’s backpack, the two walked down the street.
“Where are we going, Grandpa? Isn’t the parking lot behind the school?”
“It is,” the old man smiled, “for cars. Come on, I’ve got a little secret to share with you.”
“Not another one of those tricks of yours, is it?” Declan said.
“You sound like your mother. Do you want to find your Christmas spirit, or not?”
“I guess, but I don’t think it’s anywhere around here.”
Walking along the sidewalk, they came to a man, sitting in a wheelchair, dressed like Santa, ringing a bell. Next to the man was a small basket with a sign that read Donations for the Children’s Fund.” Merry Christmas” he said as they came close. “Merry Christmas.”
Declan’s grandfather took out a one-hundred-dollar bill from his wallet and handed it to Declan.
Declan’s eye’s lit up. “What’s this for?”
“It’s for you to decide. You can buy anything you want.”
“Yeah, let’s go into the mall,” Declan shouted, dragging his grandpa inside. As they headed toward the toy store, Declan stopped.
“What’s wrong?” his grandfather said.
“Oh, nothing. But I was just thinking when ever I came here with grandma and you, you guys always put money in the donation basket and I was just…”
Declan turned around, pulling his grandfather back outside. He walked over to the man in the chair and dropped the money into the basket.
“Merry Christmas, young man. Thank you very much.”
“Merry Christmas to you, sir,” Declan answered, then walked back to his grandpa.
“You sure about that?” his grandpa asked.
“I’m sure,” Declan smile. Now what’s this little secret?”
“If you think about it, you figured it out for yourself.”
Declan looked confused for a moment, then smiled. They started to walk back toward the school. “Grandma would be happy, wouldn’t she?”
“That’s it, my boy. She is very happy at the way you’re growing up. And she is always watching over us.”