blue moon (2)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Christmas Monk ©

Look at that calendar.
Is that right?
In four days it will be Christmas.
For some reason this time of year brings out the sadness as well as the happiness we feel.
All the lights and excitement of the season clouds our minds and we sometimes forget that life doesn’t stop.
In the last 30 days I have lost 2 family members in two countries.
Some of you have lost loved ones recently also.
Others sit by a hospital bed wondering if this will be their last Christmas together.

To many of us take life for granted until it’s to late and we loose something that's important to us and then find ourselves wondering what happened and why?
A son told me that not to long ago.
There will come a day when you’re sitting alone in a chair thinking of someone and as much as you remember you find there wasn’t much.
If you live to be 75 years old that would mean you have lived for 1,642,500 minutes.
That’s a lot of minutes and a lot of memories, if you make them.
We determine the memories we make and with who.
I have learned the hard way how fragile life is and try my best to make as many good memories as I can so that when the time comes and the sadness comes over me during this season I can think back and remember the smiling faces of those not here with me today and I usually start laughing because some of my friends knew how to make me laugh, as some of you do to me now.
It’s not only tragedy that brings sadness during the holiday season.
There are those who can’t be with their loved ones due to obligations and jobs.
While most of us are with our families, there will be those such as police, fire, hospital staff, military and the list goes on, of people who will be away from those that love them, so that we could enjoy our time with our families.
To then I say thank you, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Have a Merry Christmas and make many happy memories.
I would also like to wish a Happy Holidays to those of other religious faiths who celebrate this time of year.


Frank looked at the clock on the wall and it said 9:34 pm.
He was trying to finish all his work so that he could take an extra day off to spend with Janet and the kids for Christmas.
Looking out the window he could see the wind swirling the snow into a dancing frenzy.
He was hoping the weather would settle down before he left work but it was beginning to look worse.
He had to get everything done so that he could catch the bus to the train depot then it was one-hour trains ride to the car park and another a one-hour drive home, on a good day.
It would take him a lot longer in this weather.

He kept on working as fast as he could and when he was finished he again looked at the clock and it said 10:45 pm.
That gave him plenty of time to catch the last train to the car park.
He walked to the closet and took out the bags of gifts he bought for his family and put them all in his gym bag, grabbing his coat he left the office for the next five days.
On the way down to the ground floor he buttoned himself up so when the door opened to the lobby he just picked up his packages and walked out of the building towards the curb and the bus stop.
Looking at his watch he saw he had 15 minutes before the next bus at 11:15pm.
He stood there in the swirls of snow stamping his feet to keep them warm when he looked through the snow towards a bench not far from the bus stop.
He could vaguely make out a figure.
After looking up the street for any sign of the bus he made his way to the bench and the motionless body curled up in one of the ends of the bench.
He could see it was an old woman
There was no response.
Putting down the bag he reached out and touched her torn coat and gently giving her a nudge.
The woman started to stir but upon see him she recoiled to the other end of the bench in a defensive manner begging him not to hurt her.
With his hands up and palms facing her he told her he wasn’t going to hurt her.
She shot out and grabbed the bag she had left at the other end of the bench and went back into her defensive stance.
He asked her what she was doing sleeping on a bench on Christmas Eve and on such a cold night?
She told him, that she had no place to go and had no money so she decided to sleep on the bench.

Frank checked up the street for signs of the bus then looked back at the woman.
This was not a night to be homeless.
Frank pulled his glove off and went into his pocket.
Looking into his wallet he found a ten-dollar bill and a couple of hundreds.
He looked at the old lady and passed her the hundred and told her to go find someplace warm to sleep and something hot to eat.
She refused his money saying she didn’t want charity.
Frank told her she could repay him one day.
She reached out slowly and took the money.
Smiling at her Frank picked up his bags and started to go when she asked him to wait.
Reaching into her bag, she pulled out something and walked to him.
She held out her hand with an object in it.
Putting his bags down once more he looked at her first then took what she offered him.

“That was my great grand mother’s” she said.
"It’s a bust of a monk that is said to be friends of the poor and those who help those who are misfortunate.
My great grand mother got it from got it from an old monastery that had crumbled down.
She said this brings luck to those who are kind".

Frank looked at the bust and the smiling face of the Monk then he tried to give it back saying he didn’t want something that old and personal but she refused and had no one she could leave it to when the time came.
Frank thanked her and slipped the small bust into his pocket.
As he picked up his bags he saw the bus coming up the street,
He wished the old woman a Merry Christmas and went towards the bus stop.
It was a quick drive to the train depot and only a short wait for the midnight train.
It was Christmas morning.

Janet looked out the window at the snow slapping up against the window,
She hated when Frank drove home in this weather and had spent many a night worried while waiting for him to come home.
She love living in the country but hated thinking of the long commute Frank had to take daily.

Frank got comfortable in his seat on the train.
Putting his gloves on his lap he went to get a stick of gum in his pocket when his hands touched the small bust.
Taking it out, he looked at it closely.
The bust showed its years by the chips on its edges to the discoloration time had weathered into it.
The monks face had this benevolent look to it.
It almost made you want to smile back, if fact Frank was smiling back.
Putting the bust back into his pocket he settled back for the next 45 minute ride.

Sam sat in the dimly lit lounge smoking on his pipe.
It was a hard year and the farm’s crops had failed.
This was going to be a lean Christmas with no gifts for the kids.
Mary walked in and snuggled up next to him in front of the fire.
She knew her husbands thoughts and understood his pain.
Christmas was more for the kids but they were together and that was more important to her.
Sam knocked out his pipe out in the ashtray and wrapped his arm around his wife and stared into the warm fire with her.

The train started slowing down and Frank buttoned his coat up once more to go out into the cold night and colder car.
He found his car with a blanket of snow on it.
Wiping the trunk lid with his arm he put the packages in it.
While the car warmed up he walked around it cleaning it off for the 40-mile drive.
When he was done he sat in his car and took out his cell phone.
He called Janet who was happy to hear his voice and know he was on his last leg home.
Frank moved out onto the highway and on his way home.
It was snowing harder now and with the wind blowing like it was it was hard to see so he slowed down to a crawl almost.
About 20 miles from home and the car park the car stalled.
Frank cranked the engine a couple of times but it wouldn’t start.
He tool out his cell phone and called 911.
There was no answer and he looked at his phone and there was no signal.
The weather must have been effecting the reception.
He sat there waiting to see if the car would start after a bit.

Janet looked at the wall clock it was 2:30 am.
Frank should have been home by now even in this weather.
She was now beginning to worry.

Frank sat in the car freezing watching the snow gather on the car blending it into the rest of the snow-covered countryside.
The wind was picking up making visibility impossible.
He must have been there for an hour now and the car still wouldn’t turn over and the phone was still dead.
As he sat there looking through the windshield he though he saw something out there moving in front of the car.

Janet was now scared it was 3:30 am and Frank wasn’t answering her calls and the answering machine was kicking in.
She didn’t know what to do.

Frank blinked a couple of times and stared back out into the blizzard.
He was sure there was someone out there.
A shadow seemed to move again in the distance.
Frank pulled his gloves on and went outside to see if there was someone in need of help.
He took a couple of steps away from the front of the car but still couldn’t see much.
He looked back to make sure he could still see the car and moved farther ahead looking for that shadow.
There was still nothing out there and was about to go back when a hooded figure moved in the distance.
Frank yelled out but got no response.
Putting his head down a bit he pushed forward and walked about 20 yards ahead and just the whole area lit up and there was a loud noise.
He turned around in time to see shrapnel flying at him
He dropped to the ground and covered his head with his arms.

Frank opened his eyes and the first thing he saw was what looked like a car engine resting no more than a foot by his head.
Looking past the engine he saw a tractor-trailer in the opposite ditch.
It looked like the truck had gone off the road and driven into the back of Frank’s car shattering it to pieces.

He was about to cross the road to see about the truck driver when the area filled with light again.
Frank turned to face the on coming headlights.
The car stopped and an officer walk out to him.
It seems Janet was so worried she called the police and they told her they would look along the highway incase something happened to her husband.
Frank and the cop walked over to the scene.
The truck driver was is shock but otherwise fine.
There was nothing left of Franks car,
Highway crews showed up an hour later to clean up the mess and the policeman drove Frank home.

Janet was waiting at the door when he got out of the cruiser and ran out to him.
It was a long night.
He sat in the living room retelling his tale when it dawned on him.
He had the Christmas gifts in the truck of the now trashed car.
He looked at Janet and told her.
She didn’t care the best gift they got was that they had him home safe the car and gifts they could replace.

Sam woke up at 5 in the morning; he look over at Mary.
He got out of bed slowly as to not wake her up, took his clothes and got dressed to go outside to look in on the livestock.
He walked by the kid’s room and looked in on them.
They were tucked into their beds snug and asleep.
He was a lucky man.
Sighing to himself he went downstairs and put on his coat in preparation of going out into this bitter cold morning.
The wind had died but it was cold, a cold that burned your face like fire.
After tending to the animals he went for a walk around the front to the street.
As he got closer to his front gate he saw something lying out there on this side of the gate.
Stepping closer what he saw sitting out there in the center of his driveway was a gym bag………….

Frank and his family had a wonderful Christmas even without the gifts he had bought but on Boxing Day he decided to take everyone out shopping so he could buy them something they wanted since all the presents were lost in the crash.
While waiting at the cash in one of the stores Frank noticed the headlines on the front page of the national new paper so he picked it up and read it.
A smile started to spread across his face.
Putting the paper back in the rack he took his family and started home.


As Janet drove home he went to get a stick of gum and his hand touched something.
He pulled out the bust of the Monk and looked into his face.
“Yeah”, he thought,” you just keep smiling”.


Merry Christmas to all and to all, good night




Peter said...

Great story for this season Walker, have a very Merry Christmas.

hellbunny said...

Have a wonderful christmas and thanks for the christmas card.

One Mother's Journey said...

Merry Christmas Walker.

Sarah said...

Hey Walker...

Just passing by to wish you a very very Merry Christmas to you and your love ones!

{Hopefully you remember me} :)

Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

Nice story always!

Have a wonderful Merry Christmas and a very very Happy New Year!!!


poet said...

merry christmas peter, and thank you very much for the christmas card. the special gift of friendship is espeically significant around the holidays, thank you for yours, marta.

craziequeen said...

Hi Walker, excellent Christmas message and wonderful story.

I always think of my absent friends and family at Christmas.

Nice message at Minerva's, btw - it seems everyone knows someone with breast cancer these days - isn't that terrible?

Merry Christmas, my dear new blogbuddy - and many, many more.


Lindy.. The Alien Keeper said...

You always manage to yank my heartstrings. Merry Christmas. Be safe. God Bless.

elvira black said...

What an incredible story, Walker! Merry Christmas to you and yours.