Here’s the link to the beginning of the story, please share it with everyone and spread the Christmas Spirit far and wide (https://joebroadmeadowblog.com/2022/12/10/a-christmas-tale/)
Declan stood waiting outside the school, pacing back and forth. He’d look toward the front door, then look around to see if anyone was watching him. After what seemed like forever, the door opened and there she was, Ashley Brown, the nicest girl in his class.
Declan took a deep breath, then started toward her. As he got a few yards away, one of the big kids from the sixth grade ran out the door, bumped into Ashley knocking her to the ground, then kept going.
“Hey,” Declan yelled, helping Ashley to her feet. ”be careful.” The sixth grader just laughed and kept going. “Are you okay, Ashley?”
“Yeah, I’m fine, Thanks.”
Declan stood in awkward silence for a moment, then started to walk away. “Oh, I almost forgot,” he said, reaching into his backpack. He fumbled around for a bit then pulled out the Christmas card. “This is for you.”
“Thanks, Declan. I have one for you too. Here you go.”
“Thanks, Ashley. See ya,” Declan ran off searching for his grandfather’s car.
“Well that was painful to watch,” his grandfather said as Declan climbed in. “Why didn’t you stay and talk for a bit. She seems like a nice girl. Is she your girlfriend? He laughed.
“No! I don’t have a girlfriend. I don’t want a girlfriend. Mom made me make out cards for everyone.” He turned away, glancing back to look toward where Ashley was standing. She waved and he waved back.
“Ah, I see. Okay, but if you change your mind she’d be a good one.”
After a few minutes, Declan leaned forward. “Where are we going now, grandpa?”
“Oh, I need to stop and see a friend for a minute. I always like to check in on him this time of year.”
Declan shrugged and pulled Ashley’s card from his bag. Opening the envelope, glancing to make sure his grandfather wasn’t watching him, he read the card. “Merry Christmas, Declan. Love, your friend Ashley.” A warm feeling came over him and he hoped she liked his card as much as he liked hers.
“There he is,” his grandfather said, pulling up behind a small truck with lettering on the side that said, Senior Center Meals on Wheels.
“Come on, Dec. I want you to meet Sam.”
Declan got out of the car and followed his grandfather to the sidewalk. The truck was running, but no one was inside. After a minute, a rather small man dressed like an elf came out of an apartment house door.
“Tom? What are you doing here? Trying to scoff a free meal?”
“Hi, Sam. No, no just wanted to see how you’re doing and introduce you to my grandson. This is Declan.”
Sam reached out his hand, taking Declan’s in a firm grip. Sam stood barely an inch or two over Declan and Declan couldn’t help but stare.
“Are you a real elf?” he asked.
“Ha,” Sam laughed, “No, I just play one on TV.”
“What?” Declan said.
“Never mind, good humor is wasted on the young. I just dress like this around Christmas. Some of the people I deliver to are all alone in the world and they enjoy it.”
“What do you deliver?”
Sam pointed at the truck. “I volunteer at the senior center and deliver meals to people who can’t get out to shop or are unable to make their own.” Sam winked at Declan’s grandfather. “You want to help?”
“Sure,” Declan said, then looked at his grandfather. “Is that okay?”
“Of course, I’ll follow along behind.”
Declan ran to the truck and climbed in, buckling his seatbelt. Sam got behind the wheel. There were handles and controls Declan had never seen and he couldn’t understand how Sam could drive since he feet didn’t reach the pedals, but the truck started to move and they soon pulled up in front of an old house on Main Street.
“Declan, this house is almost two hundred years old and the woman who lives here is ninety-three. Her family built this house and were one of the first to live in this town.”
“Wow, ninety-three that’s pretty old.”
Sam laughed. “Okay, let’s go.” Climbing out of the truck, Sam opened the back and pulled out several trays. “Can you carry this one?”
“Yup,” Declan said, though he struggled with the weight. Sam carried two trays and a small bag and seemed to bound up the stairs. As they reached the top of the stairs, the door opened and a woman in wheelchair smiled at them.
“What’s this, Sam. You have an assistant elf this time?” she said.
“I do, Sally. Meet Declan, my assistant for the day.”
“Hello Declan, thank you for bringing my meals.”
“Your welcome, ma’am.”
Sally smiled “And a polite elf at that.”
With that, Sam went straight to his work. He put some of the food in the refrigerator. Put one of the trays in the oven, then did a little dance around room, spinning Sally in her chair. “And a Merry Christmas to you my friend,” he said.
“And a Merry Christmas to you, Sam and Declan,” Sally said, waving as they left.
“How long have you been doing this?” Declan asked, after they made several more deliveries.
“Oh, I don’t know, twenty years or so, I’d say. I started right after my seventieth birthday.”
Declan did the math in his head. “Wait, you’re like ninety years old?’
“Ninety-two to be precise. Why?”
“Isn’t that too old to be doing stuff?”
“You’re never too old to do things until you die. Up until them, you gotta keep going.” Sam smiled, then watched Declan climb out of the truck.
Declan’s grandfather came up to the driver’s window. “So how’d he do?”
Sam winked. “He’s a fine assistant. He can help me anytime.”
One the way home, Declan sat in silence in the back seat.
“Nothing to say, Declan?” his grandfather asked.
“I just can’t believe Sam is ninety-two. He’s so lively and quick when he makes his deliveries. And he’s so, ah, short.”
“Sam is a dwarf. He’s been that way since birth, but he’s never let it stop him. Ever since I’ve known him he’s always helped others. One might say he lives the Christmas Spirit all the days of his life.”
“I never knew someone like him could be so, so…”
“Happy?” Declan’s grandfather said. “Remember what your father said about accepting some things in life you cannot change?”
“Yeah, I guess Sam does that. Doesn’t he?”
“He does my boy, he truly does.”
“Maybe there is something to this Christmas spirit stuff I’m missing.” Declan said.
“Well then, Dec, we will keep looking…”
Tomorrow: Peanut Butter and Guitar Strings