Jody woke up with a start. The pleasant dream was gone and reality set in. He tried not to feel sorry for himself. But deep down he was angry and depressed. Dad was deployed in some place he hated to think about. Fighting for a cause he did not understand and possibility dead. His mother cried a lot and he did not understand why.
But the why was his father was missing and she held that secret from Jody. He was too young to comprehend the problem and it was Christmas.
The Blizzard came out of nowhere. It blanketed the city and made it miserable to go out. “How would Santa come to my house now”, thought Jody. He realized it would be bleak this Christmas because money was tight but now with the weather he did not expect anything.
Then out of the blue he spotted from his window a light at the end of the street. He stared at it and realized it was a neon light stating, “Open”
He stared as hard as he could. And then he made out that the empty space at the end of the block was inhabited by someone selling Christmas trees. In this weather?
This was crazy. But he talked to his mom and they both bundled up and braved the weather. Half of a block took ten minutes in this mix of snow and cold.
But they made it. A man was there selling trees. Christmas trees in the blizzard. How crazy was that. His mom talked to the guy explaining that money was tight. He did not say much.
He gave her a tree, a small one, and tied it up. They dragged it home. They started to put it up.
Jody looked out of the window. The sign was gone and there seemed to be no one in the empty space.
They decorated the tree with small things. Old rolls of thread were used. And aluminum foil was cut up for tinsel.
The tree looked dismal. But mother and son were pleased. It was something.
They put an unlit candle on the top. And they made a wish. Both kept it to themselves but it was the same wish.
They wished for Dad to be home. Impossible. But they wished it as hard as they could.
That night they slept and hoped that when they awoke that the dream would come true. But it did not. The stupid tree was there instead. A dumb Christmas tree.
And everyone was sad.
The blizzard stopped and the sun came out. The doorbell rang.
Now you believe it was Dad. And if there was a pang of hope in your brain then this story worked. For deep inside of all of us is the hope that things will work out.
This Christmas gift to you was my gift to you. Remember to hope for the best. It sometimes happens.