A Christmas Bedtime Story - Santa's Letter
Jimmy Newman was alone. A 5 year old boy who had lost his parents. He couldn't even remember their faces, their laugh, or the feel of his mothers hair as she hugged him. He saw other mothers hugging their sons and daughters and often wondered what it felt like.
He lived in the attic of the orphanage right downtown. It was a make shift set up, created above St.Johns homeless shelter. Often times he wasn't sure if he preferred to wander the streets or to head back inside to the warmth of the attic. The second story of the building below Jimmy's feet, was where the bigger kids slept. Kids he rarely saw and kids who certainly wanted nothing to do with him. They worked in the shelter. Something the Mrs. Cadill had told Jimmy he was too young for just yet.
Twas the 12th of December, when Jimmy took a stroll to the park. He was excited to see Thomas, another young boy who he had met near the swing set some time ago, and who had been nice to Jimmy. They had had such fun ever since, just playing in the grass and joking around. Thomas wore a dark red coat with shiny gold buttons, and a nice long hat to cover his grown out black hair. Jimmy knew that he was from the upper part of the city, but he didn't hold it against him.
That day Thomas was there. Jimmy had noticed footprints in the sprinklings of snow on the way to the park, and had been hoping they belonged to his friend.They swung side by side on swing set, seeing who could reach the highest of heights. Jimmy pretended to be a bird. Maybe even one of the birds he liked to watch from the window of the attic. He felt so free, soaring through the air, not minding the cold that he could even feel through the tattered blanket that he used to pad his brown, scrappy jacket.
"I have to go soon", exclaimed Thomas from great heights. Jimmy could feel his heart drop, but he knew that little kids had to return to their families before the sun dropped in the sky. "Oh, alright", said Jimmy, feeling the snow between his toes as he dragged his boots on the dirt. "What are you getting from Santy Cwaus?" asked Thomas, as he jumped from the saddle and landed like a pigeon on front of Jimmy. "Santy Claus?", asked Jimmy with wonder, "What's Santy Claus". "Oh Jimson, you're cwazy" responded Thomas, putting his hand around his shoulder. "Santy Cwaus is a magic man", he said, pointing his mitten covered right hand to the sky where the cloudy sky was darkening. "He fwies awound the worwd, bwinging pwesents to evewy wittle boy and giwl who has been good", explained Thomas as he swooshed his hand across their view.
Jimmy gasped a little, wondering what he had done wrong this time. He had never received a gift from this Santy Claus before. "He fwies in a swed and it's pulled by the reindeer......But....But you have to wite him a lettew and....", they both turned as Thomas mother called for him. "Here, I'll see tomowow, and bwing your letter. Actually, I'll bwoing one fow you", yelled Thomas as he ran toward his home. Jimmy stood for a second, watching Thomas walking toward the tall woman at the other end of the park. "Thomas", she called so gently. A tear dropped from Jimmy's eye as he turned away.
The Next Day......
The next day, Jimmy woke from his little wooden bed. As he glanced across the empty room, his eyes set on the only poster he owned. A tatty map of the world. "Santy Claus", whispered Jimmy to himself excitedly. Mrs. Cadill was never too mean to Jimmy, nor was she friendly. He was sometimes full of fear to head downstairs for breakfast, as she often beat the older boys for being rude or aggressive. But that day, Jimmy was content and full of hope. No one around him noticed his little smile, but it didn't bother Jimmy. He munched on his toast and beans with joy in his heart before setting out toward the park.
Again, there was a small trickle of snow, just enough to have built upon yesterdays layer. As Jimmy approached the park, he did not see any footprints. And when he reached the park, he did not see any sign of Thomas. He wrapped his little blanket tighter around his chest, and hunkered down on a nearby bench to keep warm. After awhile Jimmy started to wonder, 'Maybe Thomas has forgotten', he thought. 'But that's ok, Thomas was probably busy, or maybe it was too cold for him to come out today'.
The snow fall began to intensify, and Jimmy knew it was time for him to leave. He stood for just a moment by the swing set, hoping to see his friend arrive through the gusting snow. 'That's ok, there is always tomorrow', he told himself, as he turned his face toward the long walk back to the orphanage. As he trudged his way through the ever building snow the bottom of his boot, and squashed it's way around his toes, he heard a yell from behind him. "JIMMY" cried Thomas, "Waaaaaait".
Jimmy turned with glee. Raising his chin, he ran back over to the swing set. "Jimmy, I didn't let you down. I bwought the lettew and it just needs your signature.". Thomas produced a fancy envelope, slightly tattered around the edges and pulled a letter from it. Jimmy felt like Thomas knew he had no things and he was aware that Thomas knew he had no parents. "But I can't read or write Thomas", Jimmy said. "That's ok, neither can I siwly. I'm onwy six. My mammy wote if fow me but she said you have to sign it and we can send it latew. As wong as Santy gets it, and as wong as you'we good, he will bring you suwpwises on chwistmas eve ". Jimmy wasn't sure how to feel. He was exstatic, yet reserved. This was all very surprising and not something he was used to. "Hewre", exclaimed Thomas, handing a pencil to Jimmy. He grasped it awkwardly in his hand and scribbled on the bottom of the page, almost feeling bad for ruining such a pretty document. "Thomas", came a call from across the park. It was his mother again. "I have to wun because thewe is a stowm coming. A big snowy stowm", yelled Thomas as he backed away. "Yeay, we will mail youw wettew Jimson, I pwomise."
Jimmy stood for a moment, once again, unsure how to feel. "Bye Thomas...thank you", he yelled, just loud enough for the running boy to hear. "No pwoblem" responded Thomas as he scuttled toward his mother.
Jimmy made it back to the orphanage just as the winds picked up. He went straight to the attic and sitting on his bed he stared at the map on his wall. He began to imagine Santa flying around the world, dropping gifts to all the little boys and girls. He fell asleep that night, a happy little man.
As the days passed, Jimmy became more and more excited. He couldn't go outside as the snow was now deeper than he had ever seen it. Before long it was the 24th of December, and Jimmy was glad to see that the weather had improved greatly. He could once again see out of his little window at the end of the attic, and the snow below looked like a lot of fun.
After his breakfast of eggs and bacon, he padded up his jacket and made his way down to the park. Thomas was there already and he had been building a snowman. This time, his mother stood beside him. "Hi Jimmy", she said in the sweetest of voices. She was so tall and friendly. Something Jimmy wasn't used to. She stood so straight, all warm and toasty behind her scarves and mittens. While the two little men played, she stood by the bench. Jimmy noticed her giggled whenever they fell over or when they were joking with each other. And soon enough it was once again time for Thomas to go. "Thomas" she called with a smile. "See you soon", yelled Thomas as he ran past his mother and started to trudge home to the snow. "Thank you for playing with Thomas", said his mother with a smile, as she turned and walked away.
That night, Jimmy had never felt such excitement before. He wore his coat to bed to keep extra warm and wrapped his legs up with his blanket. He closed his eyes with thoughts of Santy Claus, of toys and of the magic of the world. As he drifted away to sleep, his ears were full of jingle bells and his heart was as warm as ever.
He awoke the next morning and jumped out of bed. The sun had not completely risen in the sky, and the sole window in the attic had not yet done it's job of lighting the way. All Jimmy could see was a letter by his bed. He opened it, but was unable to read it. He searched around the attic, but no gifts were to be found. Maybe he had been naughty? Maybe he didn't deserve gifts? He sat back down on his bed as tears filled his eyes. Just then, there was a knock upon his little attic door. He wiped away his tears and got to his feet. He opened the door, to Mrs. Cadill who was smiling. "Jimmy", she said. "Santa seems to have left you a few gifts." Jimmy's eyes widened and a smile like no other broke on his face. She produced a Teddy Bear, 7 books and some kind of magnifying glass kit. She then handed him a box with a blue, wooden train and track pieces in it. Jimmy burst into tears and Mrs Cadill reached out her hand. "Jimmy, I'm sorry if I can't do more. I...I just don't have time or money and I'm sorry for that" said Mrs. Cadill emotionally. Jimmy knew it was true and he knew that a large amount of boys lived down stairs, not to mention how Mrs. Cadill had her own family too. It was, however, so nice of her to bring his toys upstairs on Christmas day.
"Merry Christmas", she said, turning to make her way back down the old rickety stairway. "Mrs. Cadill", called Jimmy, "could you be so kind as to do me a favor?" he asked, holding up a letter to the old lady. "Could you please read me this letter?", he asked.
Mrs. Cadill entered the attic, crouching so as not to hit her head on the rafters. She sat on Jimmy's little bed and began to read the letter.
You have been a very good little boy this year and I was very happy to receive your letter. I understand that some little boys and girls don't have parents and that's ok. Because if you are smart and nice, and if you learn as best you can and treat people with respect, someday you will have a family who will love you and care about you more than anything in this world.
After reading the letter Mrs. Cadill gave Jimmy a hug and was on her way. Jimmy spent Christmas day playing with the toys he received and thinking about what Santa had said to him. Before the sun went down, he picked up the books and began to try to read them. There was one that caught his attention the most. It seems to be a book that could teach him how to read, with fun pictures and animals.
As the Years Passed
As time passed, Jimmy visited the park as often as he could and Thomas and him remained the best of friends. Jimmy spent the year learning to read and even got to visit Thomas's house for play time and ate meals with Jimmy's family. He had never eaten like that before, and it was the best of experiences. Thomas' father was even as friendly as his mother and Jimmy felt so welcome.
It wasn't long before Christmas arrived again, and again, and again. And as time passed, some of the boys from the orphanage were adopted and the building grew more and more quiet. As he watched each and every one of them leave the orphanage, he didn't resent them. Jimmy was never so lucky to get that family that Santa had promised.
He received a letter every year stating the same very words from Santa. Over the years, he learned to read and write and before long had a nice collection of books and toys. Thomas' parents noticed how smart Jimmy was and even had him enrolled in the school with Thomas.
Around the time when the two were no longer little boys and Santa stopped bringing them presents, Thomas' family had to move far away. Thomas promised to write to Jimmy, but over the years, the 2 drifted apart and the letters eventually stopped.
In no time, Jimmy was a man, and would soon depart for University. He had studied so hard and achieved so much, that a full scholarship to the local University found itself in his lap. Jimmy knew how lucky he was, and it was quite clear to him that without Santa, and all of the books he had delivered to him, he wouldn't have achieved so much.
On the day he was due to leave, a very frail Mrs. Cadill paid him a visit in the attic which was now chockablock with books, maps and writing materials. "I'm sorry I couldn't pay you more attention Jimmy" she stated again. Jimmy kindly interrupted her and his typical nature told her, "Mrs. Cadill, even after the homeless shelter closed down, you allowed me to stay on her and live in the attic. You have done more than you know for me". She hugged him once more and reluctantly left. As she closed the door, she smiled at him. A smile that Jimmy had never seen before.
Jimmy excelled in University. It wasn't long before he had made friends and had met someone very special. He met Mary. The woman who would become his best friend and they would grow to do everything together. As time passed, the two got closer and eventually married. It wasn't long after they graduated from University that they had a little baby girl. They named their little angel Gemima.
Christmas Eve Once Again
On Gemina's first Christmas eve, Jimmy and Mary rocked her to sleep. Once she was fast asleep, the two retired to the living room to play some festive games and drink some eggnog."Why are you so nervous?", asked Mary, noticing how excited Jimmy had been. "It's....It's just....Well Santa will be arriving tonight. I'll finally get to meet the man who inspired me so much", he said. Mary knew of how difficult it was for Jimmy when he was a child. Just as she reached over to hold his hand, they could heard jingle bells, followed by a knock on the door.
Mary opened the front door as Jimmy got to his feet. There he was. Santa, in all his Jolliness. His large belly, red hat with white trim, button nose and outstretched hand. He approached Jimmy with open arms and gave him a hug. He entered the house so briskly and dropped the large brown sack he had been carrying onto the floor by the christmas tree. "Santa", Jimmy sighed in awe, stuck to the very spot he was in when Santa Claus had entered. "I can't stay long, but I've brought you some gifts, the old man said, handing Jimmy an envelope. Mary and Jimmy opened the letter and began to read it.
You have been a very good man your entire life and I was always happy to receive your letters. I understand that some little boys and girls don't have parents and that's ok. Because if you are smart and nice, and if you learn as best you can and treat people with respect, someday you will have a family who will love you and care about you more than anything in this world. I believe now, you have that family. You have your own little girl who will wake up every Christmas morning with that magic feeling, wondering what I have left under the tree.
They looked up from the letter but Santa was gone. They raced to the door which was wide open, allowing the falling snow to ever so slightly enter their living room. As they looked to the sky, they were just in time to see Santa Claus' sleigh flying through the air, pulled by his reindeer. And they could hear him yelling through the wintry air, "MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT".
They hugged each other tightly, with Jimmy feeling so lucky to have such a wonderful family. When they turned, they immediately noticed that under the tree, Santa had somehow arranged many gifts for little Gemima within the blink of an eye. They stepped back inside with smiles on their faces and the warmest of hearts to return to their Christmas games. That night, Jimmy went to bed feeling thankful and excited for Gemima to wake up the next morning and see her gifts. He had given her the life that he had always wanted, yet he would always make sure that they had so much in common. Appreciation.