Sunday, November 16, 2014

My Christmas Angel

Roger in 1952 and the
The young man in this story receives a unique Christmas gift.

My parents abandoned me at the age of 4 and my grandparents placed me in an orphanage. By my eleventh birthday I was seen as a chronic runaway.

It was Christmas Eve and my school let out early. As I exited the gate instead of getting on the bus I just kept walking. By the time it became dark I was tired, cold and afraid.

I had not eaten all day but my first concern was the police. If they found me and returned me to the orphanage I would be beaten.

With no alternative I just kept walking. I entered a park and sat on a wooden bench that was in the shadows hoping not to be seen.

It was now very cold and I started to shiver. 

“Well, hello young man.” A voice came out of the quiet that surrounded me.

I jumped almost falling off the bench. My heart was racing. I could feel its beat against my neck.

I looked up and saw an old woman standing behind me. She watched me with piercing brown eyes.

“You look cold.”

“I am cold, real cold.”

She approached and wrapped her shawl around my shoulders.

I asked, “But ain’t you gonna be cold now?”

“I’ll be okay. Is there anything else you need?”

“I sure could use some food.”

She started down the sidewalk. “Follow me.”

As she stopped under a streetlamp she held out her hand to me.

“Here, you take this letter and give it to a store owner.”

I looked at her outstretched hand but didn’t see anything. I looked up her. “There is nothing in your hand.”

She shrugged and firmly stated, “Roger reach out and take what is in my hand.”

Slowly I reached out and pretended to take something. She nodded her approval.

“Now close your finger and thumb and hold on tightly.”

I did as she instructed as if I was grasping the letter.

“Take it to any store owner.”

“What do I say to them?”


“But what store do I go to?”

She smiled, “It doesn’t matter.”

I walked out of the park. I came to a store where a woman stood behind the counter. I entered the shop and stopped directly in front of her.

“Can I help you?”

“Yes, Ma’am.” I looked down at my shoes.

She reached out and touched my hand. I opened my tightly closed fingers. She drew back and smiled as she looked down at her own hand.

She then walked to the back of the store. I slowly inched toward the front of the store afraid she was calling the police.

As I reached the door she called out my name. I whirled around and saw a paper plate in her hand.

“Roger here is something for you to eat.”

“How did you know my name?”

“It was on the paper.”

“But there is no paper.”

She just smiled and indicated with her hand that I should eat. I cleaned that plate quickly and I drank two Coca Colas.

“Are you full?”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

“Then it is time for you to go.”

As I turned to leave she touched my shoulder. She held out her hand. “Here, you almost forgot your letter.”

Again, saying nothing, I closed my finger and thumb tightly as if taking something from her.

I walked back to the park. When I arrived the old woman was sitting on the park bench.

“Did you eat?’

“Yes Ma’am, I drank two Coca Colas.”


I looked at her and asked, “How do you get the magic?”

“Its not magic.”

“But how does everyone know my name?”

“It was written in the letter.”

“Can I keep the letter so I can be magic too?”

She reached out and opened my firmly closed fingers. She took whatever it was I was holding and tucked it in her apron pocket.

She looked at me steadily. “Would you help someone if they were hungry?”

Yes, Ma’am.”

“Would you help someone if they were hurt, cold or scared?”

“Yes, Ma’am, I would be their friend.”

She smiled at me. “Roger, you are a very lucky little boy. You will never need the letter.”

She stood up, kissed me on the forehead removed her shawl from my shoulders and walked down the sidewalk.

I watched as she disappeared into the darkness.

Roger is an author and storyteller today.

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