A Cold Christmas Day In Island Of Jersey

Christmas Day

A peep into 1974 I remember it was snowing still. It had snowed for a few days and was thick on the ground.

The streets were icy and slippery and I just didn't want to go out. No matter how much planning and preparing there is always something that is forgotten !

This time it was candles. Not important ! Oh yes ! very important for me on this special Christmas day, all had to be perfect.

I decided to walk the mile or so to the shop on Seele street it would be open, even on Christmas day,it never closed.


I checked the turkey was okay in the oven and paused to take a bite of the freshley baked bread still warm.

I hesitated as a snippet of John and Yoko singing, was echoing through the hallway,tempting me to linger and enjoy the atmosphere of my warm and cosy home ,before it was besieged with my guests.

I walked down the Victorian stairway and sighed inwardly at the prospect of the slippery walk whilst John Lennon was singing the words from one of his songs 'slipping and a sliding.'

I slammed the door and walked past my car in the street, then changed my mind and returned back to the car ,climbed in and turned on the engine ,just as though I had never intended to do anything else.


The shop was open as I knew it would be, luckily, it was empty, except for Three young children, well when I looked again they were mere toddlers.

I brushed the snow off my sheepskin coat then, before closing the shop door, I banged the snow from my warm leather boots on the step then shivered as I took off my gloves to put them safely in my coat pocket.

The snow was inches deep and I wanted to get back to my warm house where all the Christmas cosiness was going on with the wonderful smells of rich food and the wood fire burning brightly in readiness for my guests.

The radio in the shop was playing a medley of Christmas carols and I was half listening to 'away in a manger.'

I purchased my items and caught the shopkeeper giving a funny glance,like beckoning me to be aware of something !

I looked down at the small children huddled together and part of my mind wondered where their parents were ?

I was horrified to realise that they were barefoot and dressed in little skimpy clothing . No coats ! They were probably aged three ,four and five, three little girls in bare feet on the coldest day of the year !

'Where do they live ?' I asked the shopkeeper. He knew them and told me their address. It wasn't far.

Without another thought I grabbed their tiny hands then picked up the smaller two and ushered the five year old into the big warm old Rover car.

They were shivering. I found the house in about ten minutes.

I knocked frantically on the door which was swinging open. I waited ! Nothing !

I looked in the window, it was broken !

Neglected nylon curtains were hanging through the broken glass,now mixed with icicles.

I heard a noise. A young woman carrying a baby appeared in the damp smelling hallway. She just glanced at me and gave the children a welcome home smile just as though everything was normal and correct !

'I brought them home because they had no shoes on in the snow' I said.

Somehow my voice sounded ridiculous. In her world what did snow matter ?

Maybe she was thinking that there were more serious considerations than shoes and snow.

Maybe she had no food for the new baby ! I told her I would bring some shoes for the children and she nodded like she'd heard it all before....

First thing I did on reaching home was to arrange for her door and windows to be repaired and I did take some shoes,clothing and other items.

She didn't take them from me so I just placed them by her feet.

She didn't focus on anything and I was depressed for the whole of christmas. I wondered what she had been and how she had become this shadowy person at such a young age.

*************************************************************************************

This happened in Jersey, Channel Islands. An Island of millionaires,billionaires now!

I have witnessed worse poverty than this in the beautiful island for the wealthy, maybe slightly better today than in the 70s.

I have often wondered what happened to the little family !

Comments 15 comments

H P Roychoudhury profile image

H P Roychoudhury 5 years ago from Guwahati, India

Christmas is always memorable. It reminds the past.


K. Burns Darling profile image

K. Burns Darling 5 years ago from Orange County, California

What a kind and loving heart that you have! What a wonderful reminder about the true meaning of Christmas.


jandee profile image

jandee 5 years ago from Liverpool.U.K Author

Hello K.Burns Darling,thank you so much for your lovely comment.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 5 years ago from South Africa

Jandee, gosh, I have no words. I’m trying to figure out why do stories like this, not to talk about seeing it in reality, upset me so painfully? Let me be honest, and feel free to search your soul with me. I have no feeling of guilt towards the poor, and I don’t want to use space to justify this. Confronted with them, and note my word ‘confronted’, I feel pure empathy, powerlessness, and fear. I am too afraid to get involved, because I know the consequences. Giving the small finger, most of them grab the whole arm. Some even get aggressive when you don’t have anything more to give. I do know they are not all like this. Some of them have not yet lost there pride. Let’s face it, most of the poor need much more than merely clothes and food. This is such a hopeless issue, and so sad. Most of the time government projects fail, because donations in whatever form disappear between government and the poor. Another hopeless issue! So what do I do, I look up and say: “Thanks God for my blessings. Please bless them too.” And then I will give some money or clothes to the local welfare organization who is suppose to do the work I am not emotionally capable of doing.

I’m going to link this to my latest hub, Day of Goodwill. What you have done to that family was goodwill. And yes, in that specific case, I would have done the same.


jandee profile image

jandee 5 years ago from Liverpool.U.K Author

Hello Martie,

I do agree with you . The injustices of this world are unbelievable ! Thanks for your sensitive

thoughts on this story,regards jandee


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 5 years ago from South Africa

Poverty and want in the midst of plenty is always very hard to deal with, as giving, while so necessary, is palliative (not that that is a bad thing) and doesn't address the deep systemic issues which create such poverty.

Your kindness and sensitivity is wonderful and I'm sure that mother and her children were warmed by it (and the gifts you gave).

Thanks for sharing this cold story with a warm heart!

Love and peace

Tony


jandee profile image

jandee 5 years ago from Liverpool.U.K Author

Hello Tony,thanks for comment!

my main reason for the telling of the story was to illustrate the vile system,almost feudal,in play in jersey in those days when the unemployed males would have to chop wood all day in exchange for food vouchers.These days one would hesitate at putting the children in a car no matter the circumstances. m


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 5 years ago

Gee! Gee! That's a great Christmas story! I sat around with my tofu! Great write jandee!


jandee profile image

jandee 5 years ago from Liverpool.U.K Author

Hello Mickey,

thanks for reading and nice comment,jandee


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago

I absolutely love this beautiful Christmas story. This is love in action. Love your neighbor as yourself. God Bless You!


jandee profile image

jandee 4 years ago from Liverpool.U.K Author

Hello H.P Roychoudhury, Yes Christmas is special if only for the reuniting of family's,thank you for your comment,

best from jandee


jandee profile image

jandee 4 years ago from Liverpool.U.K Author

Yes James,This is certainly the Socialist/Communist way as taught by Jesus of Nazareth no matter what colour or race or gender and as you know all his followers stick to this principle.'Love your neighbour as yourself,'

thank you for reading about a minute part of my life in my adorable Island of Jersey,

jandee


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago

Well, you had to spoil a beautiful moment. :D

Jesus of Nazareth told you and me to care for those in need personally, just as you did that Christmas. He never said to have government take from some people and give it to others. The act of caring for your neighbor by your own free will-as you did-is the concept, not being forced at gunpoint to give. Every communist/socialist government in history is also been anti-Christ. That is because that ideology is diametrically opposed to the ideas of Christ. You were a Good Samaritan. That is being Christ-Like. There was nothing Christ-Like about the Soviet Union or Red China or East Germany or North Korea.


jandee profile image

jandee 4 years ago from Liverpool.U.K Author

James you are one of those rare people who have a talent for unrealised comedy ! Too busy just now !but be back soon,watching Dickenson Real Deal !(your first line made me giggle,haven't read the remaining yet)j


jandee profile image

jandee 4 years ago from Liverpool.U.K Author

Oh I see ! you mean like the way Palestine has been stolen by USrael ! I would like to remind you that "love your neighbour as yourself" is part of "The Golden Rule"as often written about by our good poet and writer Micky Dee(who is missed a lot on hubpages)

Thank you James,

very best regards,

jand

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