MERRY CHRISTMAS Everyone! We are celebrating with Hubby’s family. I hope you are feeling warm today… and if not, here is a very warming story from Michael Johnson. Hugs to all!
THROWING MY LOOP…
Christmas Lights on the Barn!
When was your best Christmas? I certainly remember mine.
Like it was yesterday. I had experienced some rather trying years back then and let’s just say the “Christmas Spirit” hadn’t been around for some time. Spent the last few years alone. No gifts exchanged, no Christmas tree, and no Christmas lights. Then something happened. The phone rang, and I said…
“Dr. Johnson? This is Patsy Bolton. Do you remember me?”
“Certainly I do, Mrs. Bolton. I never forget impressive people.”
“Remember when you came to our school and I bought your audio books for my granddaughter?
I took a deep breath and said to myself, “How could I ever forget that.”
On that day, Mrs. Bolton, the Superintendent of Sulphur Springs, Texas ISD had appeared before my booth with an armload of audio CDs.
“My goodness,” I said. “Why so many? Are you buying those for the school?”
“No,” she said. “I’m buying them for me granddaughter. She’s nine years old and she loves audio books. She’s blind, you see.”
Her words slammed into me like a hollow-point. That was the moment in my life when I knew what it must feel like to be shot. The child had “retinoblastoma” and in her case, was left with a family that had to decide to take her eyes because of the cancer or let her die.
“We chose life,” said Mrs. Bolton.
And now on this day, Mrs. Bolton continued, “Of course we have all sorts of presents for Tacey, but when we asked her what she wanted Santa to bring her, she said, ‘More than anything else in the world, I wish I could talk to Little Blue on the phone.’ She has fallen in love with that horse in your book who speaks so rapidly with his speech impediment that prevents him from saying “R’s”. So we were wondering if it might be possible to “hire” Little Blue to give that precious child a special gift from Santa? Would Blue do that – and what might he “charge” us?”
“Yes, he would, Mrs. Bolton,” I said. “But let me suggest something that I think Blue would want to do even more for no charge. Why don’t you bring that child to our farm and let her not only talk to Blue…but she could ride him!”
Shortly before their arrival, I had a Christmas tree in the den and found myself furiously stringing Christmas lights all over the barn. I was a bit worried when I saw them coming up the lane to the farm because I didn’t know exactly what I would do when I met Tacey. She stepped from the back seat holding her grandmother’s hand – a beautiful child not deformed from the illness. And her grandmother said, “Here’s Michael, dear.”
She didn’t say hello, she didn’t giggle, she just looked so intently at me and said,
“You know that story you wrote about going to the North Pole and roping on those reindeer with Santa and Mrs. Clause – and how you rode those reindeer and they were so warm and fuzzy that you weren’t even cold? You ‘member that?”
“Yes,” I said. “I do.”
“Well,” she said, “I just want to ask you something, and I want you to tell me true…
was that real?”
I bent down by her pretty face with my mouth close to her ear and whispered, “Of course it was, you silly child. Do you think I could make something like that up?”
And to the arena we went where Blue, Shine, and Joe Ben were saddled and waiting.
I lifted her up onto Blue and after just a moment, I heard something come from inside her.
Soft and low, but I could hear it. It was laughter with joy in it. And then to my surprise, I heard it again. This time it came from Blue.
And round and round we went from one end of the arena to the other, with Tacey laughing all the way. A sunny, crisp, cold, starched shirt of a winter day. Round and round we went. Dusk was coming on when they drove away and the barn lights twinkled on. The thought occurred to me those lights on the barn gave me such joy, and I told Sherry that.
“Me, too,” she said.
“But it’s funny, you know,” I said. “I put the barn lights up for Tacey and Blue – but since Blue never goes around to the front of the barn, he can’t see them. And Tacey…well, she can’t see them either ‘cause…well, ‘cause she can’t see them.”
“Oh, I think they knew they were there,” Sherry said, smiling.
Their car lights disappeared from view and we stood there looking at the Christmas barn lights.
“Boy,” Sherry said. “We got the Christmas Spirit now, don’t we.”