Sarah lived alone. She was a widow of many years. Her children were scattered all over the globe, as often adult children are. She dutifully sent packages of love to her grandchildren, who often as not, didn't respond. This hurt her feelings. She knew when she shipped off her packages that like years past, nobody would tell her they arrived safely. But she sent them anyway.
This year she had decided not to decorate for Christmas. She just wasn't in the holiday mood. The stores all had started advertising early in October. The television and radio ads did the same. It was so commercial, she almost forgot what Christmas was all about.
None of her children or grandchildren had called her on Thanksgiving Day. She had eaten out in a restaurant with strangers. The strangers all seemed to have friends or relatives with them at their tables. Sarah had eaten alone.
It was soon approaching Christmas and she had received a few Christmas cards from the friends and family who were still among the living. These were all the decorations she had up in her house. The cards sat atop her television set. She was truly feeling downhearted and wondered why she was being kept alive. Her arthritis was acting up and she was in great pain. She felt so very lonely.
As Christmas Eve came upon her, she wandered down to the church to listen to the music and see the pageantry. She shook hands with the people she knew and sat down to listen. Tears ran uncontrolled down her face as she remembered happier times, when her husband would sit next to her for these affairs. People around her became uncomfortable with her sadness and shied away as people often do when they don't understand another's unhappiness.
After the service, she went home to her empty house and prepared for sleep in her empty bed. She didn't sleep well, but she managed a bit of sleep that night. The next morning she threw on her tatty old flannel robe and went into the kitchen to make coffee. That was when she heard it. Singing outside her window. She looked out and couldn't believe her eyes. She rushed to the front door and opened it.
There on her porch stood her brother, whom she had thought was dead. Nobody had seen nor heard from him since he turned eighteen years old. Her father had thrown him out of the house when he got in some serious trouble with the law. He had disappeared after that and not been heard from since.
Here he was, in tattered and dirty clothes, an old man, standing on her porch, singing Christmas Carols. She threw her arms around him and hugged until she nearly broke his ribs. He loosened her arms, and the two of them went inside to catch up on their past life. She found some of her late husband's old clothes and told her brother to clean up in the bathroom, then to come and have breakfast.
When he was done bathing, he came into the kitchen and looked very handsome indeed, with a clean-shaven face and clean clothes. Old, but handsome. During the day, the sister and brother got re-acquainted. He told her how he had gone into the army years ago, gotten married, and had two sons. His wife had left him for another man, taking their boys with her. He had gotten so despondent that he had started drinking. He had lost his job and become a homeless person, and this was how he lived his life. Until a few weeks ago, when he had awakened in the county hospital. Somehow, during one of his blackouts, a social worker had found him passed out and next to a dumbster. She had hauled him off to the hospital.
Then and there, he had decided to change his ways. He wanted to find his family. He was standing outside last night, looking at the old homestead which Sarah had inherited from her father when he had seen her coming from church. She was, of course, much older than he remembered, but he knew it was her. This morning he had gotten it in his head to sing Christmas carols on the porch. He was delighted when she came out and hugged him.
Sarah treated Dan to a Christmas buffet at a fine restaurant. Then she took him home. She made him promise to stay, telling him that she was terribly lonely and needed him. It wasn't charity, but instead to help her. He agreed to do so, as long as she would let him do odd jobs around the place to keep it repaired. She had the money and house, and he had nothing, so it would only be fair if he worked for his home and meals. This was agreed on. She asked if he wanted to try to find his boys. He told her no. He knew where they were and they were happier not knowing him; he didn't want to disrupt their lives. Sarah asked where they were. He told her which town they were living in.
She didn't say she was going to call the boys, but she did some checking and found the phone number of one of them. That evening, Dan was surprised when two strapping men arrived at the house. He didn't recognize them. The last time he had seen his boys was when they were small children. They wanted to get to know each other. The boys hadn't realized just what had happened to their father and were amazed when they leanred that he hadn't deserted them, but it had been the other way around. Before they left, they agreed to keep in touch. He would soon meet his grandchildren.
Although Sarah didn't hear from her children that Christmas, she no longer felt sad about her plight. This had turned out to be one of her best Christmas' ever.
Watch these pages for more stories by Sharon.
In the meantime, click the links below for other poems and stories by the authors at Lara's Den.
The Reason For The Season
Just A Simple Christmas
The Christmas Doll
And.......for many others, click the index image.