Christmas Eve

By Beacon Staff

I had finished my last-minute Christmas shopping and driven back to where I was staying through the gathering darkness and the monotonous numbing noise of my windshield wipers.

There was still time to tell my 1-year-old son another story about Santa Claus. The thought once again passed my mind that my son was too young to visit Santa at the mall. But I knew I wanted to do for my son what had never been done for me when I was a young child.

This was going to be a difficult Christmas because my wife was gone. My son and I were staying with friends over the holidays so that it wouldn’t be too lonely in the apartment with my wife gone.

I had wrapped a few presents the day before and would put them under the tree after I put my son to bed. Now it was time to hold my son in my arms and help him hang up his stocking.

By 7 p.m. he was in bed. I said goodbye to my host and hostess and drove down the long hill into the real world once again. In the trunk of my car were presents that had yet to be delivered. Before the night would be over I would drive over 100 miles, stop at five different houses and leave my selection of toys for the children of my friends.

It seemed to me as though only a minute or two had passed until I was finally stopping at the last home I was visiting. A friend of many years, I knew that the man of the house would be up late putting his three kids’ Christmas toys together.

“Come on in!” my friend said, as he appeared at the door with a wrench in one hand and a pair of pliers in the other. I helped my friend put the wagon together first and then tackled the bicycle. Not an easy task when your eyes are red and swollen from a lot of crying and driving on Christmas Eve – tears of sadness without my young wife. This would be our son’s second Christmas and his first without her to help with the unwrapping of the presents and cooking the turkey dinner.

It was after 2 a.m. when I got back in my car and headed across town to be with my son when he woke up on Christmas morning. About 15 minutes into my drive an uncontrollable wave of remorse overcame me. I pulled over and screamed as though this might help me find an answer somewhere, some sort of an answer to explain why my wife was gone. She had died in the mounting agony of spinal cancer in nine short months at the age of 26 and left me and our 18-month-old son behind to somehow try and build a new life without her.

When I finally got control of myself and was able to see once again through swollen, tear-strained eyes, I caught a little movement of something out of the corner of my eye.

On a rain soaked bench at a bus stop in howling wind on Christmas morning was a man with a long white cane and a seeing-eye dog. They were waiting for a bus that might not be running on Christmas morning.

I came out of my self-pity induced stupor and spun my steering wheel to go back and give the blind man and his dog a ride to wherever they wanted to go. As I approached the intersection, a red bus pulled away with only one passenger on board: a blind man and his seeing-eye dog in a bus that was being driven by a man with a long white beard and a snow white hair.

For more of Warren’s wanderings go to www.warrenmiller.net or visit him on his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/warrenmiller. For information on his Foundation, please visit the Warren Miller Freedom Foundation, at www.warrenmiller.org.

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