Category Archives: Christmas Stories

Christmastime Again” Chapter IX

“I am sorry ma’am, but these children are wards of the state. We will have to take them back to Mr. and Mrs. Johnson’s home, until after the holidays. Then we will find another foster care home that will take them, or they will go into a State run home, “Miss. Beasley told Joy.

“I want them, and I want to adopt them, so why can’t they stay here with me? I told the officer on the phone, yesterday, that I was going to talk to a lawyer Monday, to see what it would take to adopt them. I already love these children and I just wanted to tell the police where they were and that they were all right.”

Wiping her eyes, she continued, “How can you take Daniel and Tina away today, it is Christmas. Please let them stay here with me.”

“I am sorry Miss Jenkins, but we will have to take them now, the officer said.

Joy was crying as she allowed Officer Delray and Miss. Beasley into her home.

When they walked into the living room, Robert and David were sitting in the middle of the floor playing trains, while wearing tiaras, long dangling earrings, with long lace shawls draped around their necks and pretending to sip from teacups. The sight was so hilarious, that Joy laughed even though tears were streaming down her face.

Robert was the first to look around and see Joy’s tear-stained face and the two people there with her.

Getting up and quickly walking to her, he reached out and took her in his arms. “What is it Joy, what’s wrong,” he asked her.

Joy’s father had turned around to see what was going on when Robert had jumped up and he was now standing beside Joy.

Joy explained to them,what was happening, through tears and sobs.

Daniel and Tina had run to Joy and were hugging her tightly and crying.

“Please don’t let them take us Joy, please, please,” she cried.

“If they make us go back Tina,” Daniel said, “We will just run away again. I won’t let them hit you every again, I promise,” Daniel told her through tears.

Miss Beasley looked at Officer Delray with a questioning look on her face. Turning to look at Daniel, she said, “Daniel, who hit Tina?”

“Mr. Johnson hit her most of the time and Mrs. Johnson hit her sometimes.”

“Do you know why they hit her Daniel?”

“Because she cried at night. She just missed our Mama and Daddy, but Mr. Johnson would slap her in the face for crying. One time Tina started crying when Mrs. Johnson told her she could not have any dinner and Mr. Johnson hit her in the back with his fist. I yelled at him, and he slapped me, then he told me we could not have any food for two nights. That night is when I opened the bedroom window and we ran away.”

Officer Delray looked at Joy and asked, “Have you seen any bruises on either of the kids?”

“Yes I have, Tina has a large bruise on he left shoulder and she has what looks to be finger bruises on her arms,” joy told him. “When I asked her about it, she told me what Daniel just told you. Then I asked about the bruises on her arms and she said they were from Mrs. Johnson shaking her, and telling her to shut up crying.”

Joy felt an arm go around her waist. When she looked, she saw it was her mother standing there. Beverly Jenkins handed her daughter a handkerchief, and then reach out to both children and ran her hands through their hair, in a comforting way.

As Officer Delray questioned the children, Joy asked her mother where her father and Robert had gone.

“Robert came to tell me what was going on and I asked him to stay and take the biscuits out of the oven. When I walked in here, your father took off towards the kitchen. I am sure they will be back in a moment.”

Joy nodded her head and wiped her eyes with the handkerchief her mother gave her.

David came back into the room and whispered into Beverly’s ear. Nodding her head, she said, “Officer Delray, it is early and these children have not been fed yet. I have cooked a special Christmas breakfast for them. I can tell you are a decent caring man, so please, at least let these babies eat breakfast with us. Will you and Miss Beasley join us this morning; we would be honored to have you join us, in our Christmas morning breakfast?”

Looking towards Miss. Beasley to see what she wanted to do, Officer Delray looked as if he wanted her to agree. After a few minutes, she nodded her head.

“Yes, it is bad enough that we have to pull these children away from a home in which they are obviously happy. I have known Daniel and Tina for over two years now, and this is the first time that they have shown any signs of caring for anyone.”

As they followed Beverly, everyone turned to see why the bell on the Christmas tree started ringing. There was no reason for the bell to ring no one was there.

Mary Beasley was puzzled, she could not understand how it happened or why it happened, but for some reason, her usual tough shell had failed her. Why should I feel sad about taking these children from this home? While it was true that this family seemed to love these children and the children seem to love everyone here, she always went by the book. If the book said to take children then she took the children, never feeling bad or sad, just doing her job. In addition, why did she have the feeling that a burden had been lifted from her shoulders when she heard the bell tinkle, she asked herself. Slowly shaking her head, she followed everyone into the dining room.

Joy fixed David and Tina’s plate first. The two children waited until everyone fixed their plates and sat down with them. When they reached out to take each other’s hands to say grace, Mary Beasley was again surprised. It had been a very long time since she lived with her parents and somewhere through the passage of time; she had quit giving thanks for her meals.

Looking at Officer Delray, she knew saying grace was something he did every day also; Mary felt her heart soften once again.

Once again, everyone around the table heard the bell on the tree ring.

“Joy, how come the Christmas bell keeps ringing? I heard it ring before we left the living room also,” Tina asked.

“Well sweetheart, once when I was a little girl the Christmas bell rang and my Mom told me that my guardian angel was pleased with me. She said that I must have made a very good decision, or did something that would please God.”

“I want to be just like you when I grow up Joy. I love you,” Tina said as she stood up and hugged her.

Turning his head and looking at Joy, Daniel said, Joy,”I love you too, and I love Robert, David, and Beverly. When we grow up, and they let us leave that place, Miss. Beasley is making us go to, can we come back to live with you?”

“Daniel you and Tina can always come home. We love you. You will be part of our family, forever.”

As Joy started to cry, the phone rang.

Robert told them that he would take the call, and left the table.

When breakfast was finished, Officer Delray thanked Beverly and David for their hospitality and rose from the table.

“I am sorry, but if you would gather the children’s clothes, we need to be leaving.”

The whole family, three adults and two children embraced each other in a united family hug. Each one crying as if their heart was broken.

Joy and her parent’s held the children close as they walked into the living room, to start packing the children’s things.

“Joy, Mr. and Mrs. Jenkins, I have someone here I would like for everyone to meet. If you remember earlier tonight I told Joy I had another present for her,” Robert asked them.

They all agreed with him and then he continued, “I would like to introduce you to Mr. Allen Kinsley. He has something you may want to hear.”

“Can this wait? We need to leave quickly. We have already been here longer than we should have,” Officer Delray told them.

“No Officer, you will not be taking the children today or any other day. I have a court order here and it says that these children are to be left in this home pending adoption procedures. It is signed by Judge Thomas Morrow, dated, signed and witnessed,” Mr. Kinsley said as he handed the officer the papers.

After both Miss. Beasley and Officer Delray read the papers, they congratulated Joy on her pending motherhood. They left smiling and saying merry Christmas to everyone.

“Thank you Robert, how did you manage to make this happen,” Joy asked him.

Before you thank me Joy, you need to hear the rest of what Mr. Morrow has to tell you.”

Joy was a little apprehensive at the tone of his voice, but she continued to hold his hand while Mr. Morrow explained everything.

Once he had finish telling Joy and her family all the details, Joy just sat there with a strange look on her face. Slowly she turned and looked at Robert and burst into laughter. “So, what this means is that as soon as the adoption papers are final, that I will be legally their mother and you will legally be their father?”

“Yeah, I think that just about says it all,” Robert told her. “It was the only way to get this done in a hurry. I just told the Judge that I loved these two and I wanted to be responsible for their care and rearing as well. I told him that I was going to ask you to marry me, as soon as I could convince you that you love me as much as I love you. Judge Morrow said that when we marry, if you will have me, all we have to do is call him and Daniel and Tina will have my last name when you do.

Smiling up at him, they embraced and kissed the long sweet kiss of true love, while two extremely happy children, embraced them.

“Well my love,” David said as he kissed his tearful wife on the cheek. “It is defiantly Christmastime Again…

Outside in the swirling snowflakes, Nick, Grace, Mercy and Faith stood looking in through the window.

“Well Nickolas, it would seem you certainly knew the perfect Christmas gifts for everyone in this family and town,” Mercy told him.

“No Mercy, the only thing I did was to see that each one received their gifts on time. If I remember correctly my dear you are the one who prayed for help for Robert, Faith prayed for help for the children and Grace prayed for help for Joy and the many that lost their jobs. Now I must be going, but I hope to see you next year.”

Then Nickolas placed his index finger to the side of his nose and as his reindeer rose into the sky, he yelled to them, Merry Christmas.

“Ladies, I believe it is truly Christmastime Again,” Mercy said, as the three guardian angels shed their earthly clothes for their heavenly white robes, that glisten as the new fallen snow.Spreading their wings, they ascended towards the heavens.

The Christmas bell rang, once again.

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“Christmastime Again” Chapter VIII

“Joy, are you awake? Tina and I want to go downstairs to see if Santa came last night.”

Opening her eyes, she saw two little faces bending over the bed looking into her face. Smiling and grabbing them both, she pulled them into her bed with her, “Good morning and Merry Christmas, I will just bet Santa found you here last night.”

Getting out of the bed, she put on her soft white robe and matching house shoes, then said “Now what are you two lazy kids doing in bed? I’m going to go find out what Santa brought last night, anyone want to go with me?”

“I do,” David said as he swung his feet of the bed.

Tina was sliding of the side of the bed as she said, “Me too Joy, I wasn’t to see if Santa brought me a doll. I hope he remembered to bring me a ‘Cat in the Hat’ book too.”

“I think Santa has a very good memory, if he had that book, then he surly brought it to you.”

Opening her bedroom door, Joy heard the doorbell ringing. “I wonder who that could be at seven-thirty in the morning,” she said to the children. Daniel stopped and looked back at Joy, raising an eyebrow and giving her an outlandish half-smile.

“Ok Mr. Smart guy, what was that silly smile all about?”

“You know who it is, it has to be Richard because it’s Christmas and Richard said he would see us today. He likes you and you like him,” Daniel told her.

“Ruffling his hair, Joy said, “Yes I do like him, and I think he likes you and Tina also.”

“He does like us, he told me he did,” Tina told her.

As they came to the top of the stairs, they heard Joy’s father say “Merry Christmas Robert. Come in, you are just in time for fresh coffee and breakfast. I would imagine Joy and the children will be down very soon, especially since everyone will to see what Santa brought last night.”

Daniel and Tina were so excited when they saw the Christmas tree with its lights on, and surrounded by presents. Both children started squealing with delight.

“Joy, have you ever seen so many presents before? I think there must be hundreds of gifts under the tree. Oh look Joy, there is a train and the train is going around the tree on train tracks,” Daniel said as he started clapping his hands in excitement.

“Look,” Tina said in an awe-struck voice. “It is a doll in a stroller, and she has brown pigtails just like me. Is she mine Joy, is she really mine?”

“Yes sweetheart, she is really yours, unless Santa decided to give my Dad, Robert or David a doll this year.”

Joy heard laughter behind her as everyone came into the living room.

“I do not think Santa meant that beautiful doll for me or Daniel, but maybe David asked for a doll for Christmas.”

Daniel and Tina ran to Robert and gave him a hug. Then they went to hug Joy’s parents David and Beverly.

“Is it all right if we open presents, or do we have to eat breakfast first,” Daniel asked them.

You know Daniel, I learned one important thing when Joy was a little girl and that is, that on Christmas, presents come first,” Beverly told him.

“Dad, would you mind handing out the presents,” Joy asked her father.

“My pleasure, but I think I will ask Robert if he will help me. There are so many presents here, that I would have to miss breakfast if I don’t get some help,” David said laughing.

As the children were opening their gifts, Joy whispered to Robert, “Did you buy out every store in town yesterday? I swear they have everything for children their age.”

Keeping his voice low and unsuccessfully trying to suppress a laugh, Robert said, “Yeah, I told you it was hard trying to stop buying for them, last night. I also added a few things to the back yard this morning, before your family woke up.”

“Are you serious? Thanks for reminding me, there are so many presents here, that I had forgotten the tether ball, in the yard.”

“When are you going to show them the tether ball?”

After breakfast, I guess would be best. What did you buy for the yard,” Joy asked him.

Before he could answer, Tina ran to them to ask if she could put on her dolly and me dress.

“See Joy it looks just like my dolls dress,” she said holding it up for everyone to see. “I also got some dress up shoes, a tea set and a table and chairs and I got a whole bunch of clothes too.”

“Hey Robert, do you want to play with my remote control car with me? We could take it out to the driveway to drive it if you want to,” Daniel asked.

“Why don’t we wait until after breakfast, Daniel? You will have to get dressed before we go out anyway.”

“Ok, I am kind of hungry anyway.”

“Then I think Joy and I should go into the kitchen and get started fixing breakfast for everyone,” Beverly told them.

As Joy got up and started to leave the room, Robert asked them to wait a moment and open their gifts from him. He asked David if he would help him bring in their gifts. David followed him into the front entry room.

Robert brought an armful of gifts, placed them on the coffee table, and went back to the entry room.

When David walked back in the room, he had a large box in his arms and he carried it to his wife and set it down on the carpet in front of her. “I don’t know what is in this, but it is real heavy and Robert said I was to be real careful when I set it down,” he said with a big smile, as he once again followed Robert, to get more gifts.

When they came back into the room, they were carrying a box that was six feet in length and about four-foot in width. Sitting it down on the carpet closest to the wall, Robert told David that this was his gift, but he wanted him to wait until last to open it. David agreed, but everyone knew the he was dying to open it.

After they brought all the boxes into the room, Robert asked Beverly to open her gift first.

The first gift she opened was filled with drinking glasses of all kind, they were Waterford Crystal. Beverly was stunned.

“Oh Robert, you shouldn’t have,” she said with tears of joy in her eyes.

“Yes I should have, now please open your other gift.”

Opening the large box, she gasped with surprise. The box contained fine china dinnerware.

Standing up, she walked over to Robert, hugged him, and told him thank you through tears of joy.

“Now, David, I want you to open these three gifts in any order you want, then you may open the large box.”

David chose the smallest box to open first. Opening it up and seeing what was inside, had David’s mouth hanging open. He reverently lifted it up for everyone to see it was an authentic antique Jim Bowie knife. There was a letter of authenticity that said it was the very same knife that Jim Bowie used in a duel, known as the ‘Sandbar Fight,’ on September 19, 1827.

After David had thanked Robert, then exclaimed it was the best gift in the world, he opened his other two smaller gifts. In the next box was a set of first edition Samuel Colt gun dated eighteen-thirty-eight,
the world’s first practical multiple-shot revolver, the “Patterson Revolver,” six-shooter, revolvers. In the last box, there was a small black velvet box and inside it was a key.

David was told to open the big box and when he did, he saw that it was a beautifully hand carved locked gun case.

Next, was Joy’s turn to open gifts from Robert. He handed her Three small boxes. After opening all three boxes, Joy had received a four-carat diamond teardrop necklace with matching earrings and a diamond bracelet.

“Oh Robert, thank you, but your gifts were too much. It makes my gift to you seem so insignificant in comparison,” she said as she kissed him on the cheek.

“No Joy, the cologne you gave me is wonderful, and I will wear it every day.”

Before Joy could say anything else, Beverly said, “All right now Joy, why don’t we go fix that breakfast. I am sure the children will want to go outside to play pretty soon.

As they started to go into the kitchen, the doorbell chimed.

Joy went to the door. Opening it, there was a police officer and a tall skinny woman with short black hair and black rimmed glasses, standing there with him.

“May I help you,” Joy asked them.

“I am Officer Delray and this is Miss. Beasley from the child protective services. We are here to pick up Daniel and Tina Masters.”

The color drained from Joy’s face. “No, please don’t take them. It is Christmas and it would devastate them, to be taken away today of all days,”she said with tears streaming down her face.

To be continued…

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“Christmastime Again” Chapter VII

Joy finished cleaning the tables and refilling all the condiments then filled the napkin holders. When she had finished her work for the night and it was time for her to go home, she ran outside to get her Christmas gifts for Nick, his wife Faith and Grace. She had wrapped them earlier, before she came to work. When she came back into the diner, Nick and Grace were standing behind the counter talking.

“Nick, Grace, I wanted to give you your Christmas gift, before I left. It is not much, but I give them with all my love and wishes for you to have a very merry Christmas. Nick, Please give Grace hers when you see her later tonight,” Joy handed them their gifts as she talked.

“Joy, you did not need to give us gifts, but thank you so very much,” Nick said as he leaned over and gave Joy a hug.

After Nick moved away, Grace handed Joy a square tin box, “Merry Christmas, Joy. I filled the box with your favorite cookies. I hope your family will love them, as much as you do,” Grace said.

“Grace, this the most wonderful gift in the world.” Opening the box, the aroma of fresh-baked cookies filled the air. Joy inhaled the aroma and threw her arms around the short, robust, grey haired woman, thanking her for the thoughtful gift.

Offering the cookies to Grace and Nick, Grace declined saying how she had probably eaten a dozen already when she was cooking them. Picking up a cookie, Joy took a bite, “Oh Grace, these are so delicious. I only hope I will not eat all of them before I get home.” Laughing Joy said, “I know Daniel and Tina will absolutely love them.”

When she headed for the door, Nick called to her, “Joy wait a moment, I almost forgot to give you your check.” Nick hurried to the office, as Joy waited for him she talked with Grace about the children.

When Nick returned he gave her the envelope with her check in it. “Joy, I did not know what to give you for Christmas, so I decided that I would just give you a Christmas bonus this year.”

Thanking him for everything and wishing him a safe journey to be with his family, everyone said their goodbyes and Joy left for home.

As Joy drove off four people watched her leave. “Well ladies, I have a long journey ahead of me tonight. I know that Robert, Joy, Daniel and Tina, are going to be fine, with the three of you watching over them. Is there anything else I can do to help, Nick asked them.

“No nick, Your gifts for the people in this town have been generous, more than anyone could ever expect. Now you get going, you do not want to be late now do you,” Grace said.

Nick gave a hearty laugh and his large girth shook all over. As he left, he called out, “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night,” then he was gone.

When Joy walked up the steps to her home, the door opened quickly and Daniel ran to greet her. He threw his arms around her waist and hugged her as hard as he could.

“Joy, guess what, we went to see Robert today where he works and there was a big party. They had tiny little sandwiches, cake, cookies, and candy canes too. There was a real tall tree and it had a thousand Christmas lights on it with lots of decorations too.”

“I bet it was beautiful,” Joy told him as they walked into the house. Joy started to ask where Tina was, when Tina came running from the kitchen and gave her a hug.

“Joy we went to a Christmas party today and Robert was there. We ate a lot of food, and then Beverly said we had to leave. David said we could go see Santa at the mall, and he really was there. Except it was not Nick, so I told him he was not the real Santa, but he said he was Santa’s helper, because Santa was so busy today. I ask him to tell Santa that we were here with you and he said he would tell him. Isn’t that great Joy,” Tina asked.

“I think that is wonderful, Tina. Now let’s go in the kitchen and have some cookies and milk. Grace gave us some of her wonderful monster cookies for Christmas.”

“Monster Cookies, are they made of monsters or are they for monsters to eat,” Daniel asked her.

Laughing, Joy looked at the two children. Both had green eyes and curly light brown hair, with streaks of gold in it. When they smiled, there were dimples in their cheeks. To Joy these children were the most beautiful in the world, and she prayed the courts would let her adopt them. This was the only Christmas gift she wanted.

“Sorry kiddo, I hate to break it to you like this, but monster cookies are what Grace calls the cookies that she packs all kinds of good stuff into. They have chocolate chips, M and M’s, peanut butter, oatmeal and many other goodies in them. Do you two think you would like to try one,” she asked them.

Kissing her parents on the cheek, she then placed the tin of cookies on the table and poured the children some milk. Joy and her parents poured themselves a cup of coffee and joined them at the table, to enjoy a cookie with their coffee.

“Ok Dad, what is going on? You and Mom have been grinning ever since I walked into the room.”

“Robert called this morning to ask us to bring the children the Christmas party at Windermere and Tate today. I did not want to go, but Robert almost begged me to come. He begged and pleaded, until I finally said yes. We arrived a little after noon and there were so many of my friends there, that in no time, I was glad we went.”

After eating the last bite of his cookie and finishing his coffee, he continued, “We had not been there long, when Robert came over and spoke with us. As we were talking, his father keyed in a mike, and started giving a speech. Anyway, Mr. Windermere and Mr. Tate said that Robert had shown them that they were wrong in their decision to lay people off and they gave everyone their missed wages and reinstated us. I have my job back.”

“Oh Dad, Mom, I am so happy for you. I know how worried you have been. What a wonderful Christmas indeed.”

“Yes it is, but now we need to get David and Tina off to bed, so that Santa will come here tonight to leave Christmas gifts.”

David and Tina got ready for bed and when both children kissed her good night, Joy felt love in her heart. It was with pure love and happiness that she hugged and kissed them good night.

“Now close your eyes and go to sleep and dream wonderful dreams. Tonight is Christmastime again, the time of year when we celebrate Jesus’ birth. Then tonight, while you sleep, Santa is in his sleigh, going to all the good little children’s homes.”

Joy told the story of Joseph and Mary and how that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, in a manger and in a stable. As she talked, both children closed their eyes and drifted into dreams of someone who offered them unconditional love, something they had not felt since they had lost their parents, so long ago.

Walking back into the kitchen, Joy said, “Mom, do you know where Dad is?”

“He is out in the back yard, cementing in the volleyball pole. After you took the children upstairs, he brought in all the presents from your car and put them in the living room so that you could get them wrapped tonight.”

“That is great, tell Dad thanks. I will go wrap them now.”

Joy had just gone in to wrap the gifts, when she saw car lights turn in the driveway. When she got to the door and opened to see who was there, she saw Robert, going around to the back of an SUV, and soon he was walking to the front door loaded down with packages. Joy held the door open for him. Robert said merry Christmas as he walked past her.

“Please do not bother locking the door Joy; I will have to go in and out a few times. The SUV is loaded down with gifts. It is so strange, once I started buying gifts, I just could not seem to stop.”

Laughing and agreeing with him, Joy helped him bring in the rest of the gifts. That night they talked, drank hot chocolate, wrapped gifts, laughed and enjoyed each other’s company.

When it was time for Robert to leave, Loy walked out on the porch to see him off. The weather had been steadily getting colder all day and as they stood their talking, snow flurries started drifting around them.

“Look Robert, it is snowing. Now it truly is Christmastime again.”

Looking at the happiness on Joy’s face, Robert took Joy in his arms and kissed her. “Now it is Christmastime again,” he said.

They both heard the jingling of bells and they would swear for the rest of their lives that they heard Santa Clause’s jolly Ho-Ho-Ho, then the sound faded away, as if it never was.

Looking at each other, Robert said, “I did not just hear Santa laugh, no way, right?”

“Well Robert, if you heard what I heard, then I think we just heard Santa Clause. And if that is the case, we must be crazy or extra tired.”

“I think I am going to pick tired. Good night Joy, merry Christmas.”

Joy asked him to come back the next morning so that he could spend Christmas day with her family. Then wished him a merry Christmas and said good night.

Getting in his car, he waved goodbye as he drove away.

As Joy walked in the house, she could have sworn she heard soft voices in the swirling snow. Shaking her head, Joy decided that she must be more tired than she thought.

To be continued…

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“Christmastime again” Chapter VI

“Merry Christmas,” Joy said as the three men at table four started to leave. Gathering up the dishes from the table, Joy’s arms were full as she headed back towards the kitchen, when Mr. and Mrs. Morrison and their two children, walked into the diner. Passing them, Joy smiled and told them to have a seat and that she would be right back. As she walked past Edgar, he stuck out his foot to trip her.

Just as she started to stumble and fall, Nick reached out and steadied her. Mr. and Mrs. Morrison, continued on to the table, but Edgar and Ellen, had stayed to watch Joy fall.

Nick leaned down and whispered something in Edgar’s ear and in a hateful voice, Edgar said, “I will not get coal in my stocking from Santa. I will get everything I want, you stupid old man.” With that, Edgar and his sister walked over to their table and proceeded to start yelling and
fighting.

Joy came out of the kitchen with four glasses of water for the Morrison table, smiling and saying thank you as she passed him, she hurried to take their order.

“That is a little boy in need of learning a lesson if I ever saw one,” Nick whispered to Grace when she walked out of the kitchen.

“Yes Nickolas, I do believe you are right. Of course, I think his parent’s, also need to learn a lesson, before it is too late. It’s a shame how many parent’s raise their children, allowing them to act
that way and then cannot understand it when their children get in trouble with the law, later in life.”

“Perhaps there will be another miracle and they will learn before it comes to that. The boy is still young yet, and God is still on the throne, so my dear, we will just have to wait to see. Who knows,
when they come back to visit family, next Christmas, the child may act totally different.”With that statement, Grace went back into the kitchen.

Joy went in to the kitchen to give Grace the Morrison’s food order.

“Were you able to go Christmas shopping for Tina and Daniel, before you came into work today,” Grace asked her.

“Yes, and it was wonderful. I found so many great gifts for them and because today is Christmas Eve, everything was reduced in price. I found Tina the cutest doll and it even talks. It has short brown hair and it came with a play dress, in Tina’s size that matched the dolls dress, I found a table and two chairs and then I bought her a tea set, which was more adult looking from the tea sets I had when I was a child.”

“For David, I bought a very nice train set, And then I found the accessories that went with it at a wonderful hobby shop in town. I also found a volleyball and pole at the sports shop. Of course, after I bought it, I remembered it had to be concreted in the ground. I had to call and ask my Dad if he would go down and get some concrete, so that we can get it set in the ground tonight while they are sleeping. I had so much fun shopping today that I was almost late for work.”

“What about your other job? Were you off today,” Grace asked her.

“Yes thank goodness. There would have been no way I could have done any shopping if I would have had to work there today. Bookkeeping of a morning and waitressing in the evening does not leave me much time for anything else.”

While she had talked, Grace had cooked the food for the Morrison family. Joy took the food to their table, and for once by Edgar did not pay her any attention. Edgar was too busy yelling at his father about something he had seen at the mall and wanted.

“I want it. We need to go back there and get it now,” Edgar shrieked at his parents.

Joy placed the food down in front of them and asked if they needed anything else. No one answered her, so she left the table and walked over to Nick.

Standing beside him at the counter, Joy whispered, “If I am lucky, I may not have to change my uniform tonight.”

Nick started chuckling, and said, “No, tonight I believe Edgar’s father will be the one who is going to have to change his clothes.”

Looking in their direction Joy saw Mr. Morrison wiping ketchup off the front of his shirt and Ellen was laughing and pointing at her father. Shaking her head, Joy said, “Lord I wish those people would figure out that this new wave ‘Time out’ stuff is simply not working.”

“Oh I have a feeling that sooner or later, they will figure it out. Emma Morrison. Mr. Morrison’s mother is a good friend of my wife. Faith said that Emma said that both have their Doctorates in Law. Now you know that they of all people should know better than to put up with
that, from a child.”

At that moment, Edgar yelled at his parents and ran out of the diner, followed by his sister. Mr. and Mrs. Morrison simply sat there and finished their dinner.

About ten minutes after the children had gone outside, Joy looked up to see a couple of police officers, bringing the two Morrison children back into the dinner. The officers were not too happy from the looks on their face. They walked the children over to the table and began to tell the Morrison’s what their children had done.

“Mr. Morrison, I am Officer Wagner of the Fort Worth police department, and this is my partner Officer Tuttle. Are these your children?” After receiving the answer, Officer Wagner continued. “Do you happen to own a Cadillac Escalade?” Mr. Morrison nodded his head in affirmation.

The police officer continued, “My partner and I were driving past and we noticed that your car had deep scratch marks covering every part that we could see. We decided to pull in to the parking lot and get a closer look, and as we pulled around to the other side, we saw these two children, holding broken rocks and they were scratching up the side of your SUV. “Would you and your wife mind stepping outside with us,” the officer asked them.

Mr. Morrison stopped to pay for their dinner, and Joy asked if him if he wanted her to box up the children’s food. Mrs. Morrison said no, and actually thanked Joy for asking. With looks of total disbelief, they followed the two police officers out of the diner.

It would seem, that those people are finally going to learn their first hard lessons in child raising, and just how much of their ‘Time out,’ is not working.”

Joy shook her head and said, “Well, I guess it is better that they learn it now instead of when it is too late to help their children, but it is horrible that it has to be today, Christmas Eve, that they have to learn.”

When Joy went to fill the salt and pepper shakers, Nick quietly said, “so it is, but next year at Christmastime, they will be a happier family. Sometimes what seems bad on the surface can prove to be a most glorious gift indeed.”

From the kitchen, he heard a whispered, “Thank you lord, that family truly needed your help. Now Lord, our own Joy will need your help, tomorrow. Please tell us what we can do to help her.”

To be continued…

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“Christmastime Again” Chapter V

“I will need to get a little rest tonight, because in a few hours, I will be in for a fight with my family.” Having spoken his thoughts aloud, Robert sighed, parked his car in the garage, and went into his home for the much-needed four hours rest.

“Good Morning, Mercy and Merry Christmas, I would appreciate if you would make a cup of coffee for me and come into my office, we have some important things to do today, before the party. Oh yes, bring your coffee with you, because we will be some time figuring out all that needs to be done, and bring your pen and notebook.

I almost forgot, ask Jake Banner and Susan Williams to come to my office also, have them bring all the stats on the layoff with them, on paper, I want a paper copy of before and after the layoff. I need the best number cruncher and stats person we have in the firm. We have the sale of a lifetime to push past my Grandfather and father today at eleven o’clock,” Robert said as he walked into his office.

Hi-fiving some unseen person, Mercy danced her way over to her desk, “Now we’re talking earth-mover, Robert is not a garden spade anymore, yes, she almost shouted and quickly covered her mouth, with her hand. After making the calls, she filled two cups with coffee and headed for Roberts office. As she started to open Robert’s door, Jake and Susan walked into her office with stacks of printouts in their arms.

“Just in time, come on in and let’s see what the boss is up to,” Mercy told them as she opened the door to Robert’s office. Jake and Susan followed her into the room. Within a few minutes, all four heads were bent down over Robert’s desk, While Mercy took notes Robert fired questions one after another, to Jake and Susan. He wanted to know all there was to know about the layoff and the profit and loss of the company. Robert was after all going up against the odds, when he had to stand against his father and grandfather.

At precisely eleven o’clock, Robert Thorsten Windermere the second and Jeffery Alexander Tate  walked into the front office. Greeting Mercy with “Merry Christmas,” then walking into Robert’s office, unannounced.

Mercy bowed her head and said a small prayer for Robert and this wonderful crusade he had set upon himself. She then went back to work. Every so often she would hear raised voices come from her boss’s office, then just as quickly it would become quiet again. At precisely eleven-fifty-five, Mr. Windermere and Mr. Tate opened the door and walked out of Robert’s office.

“Robert, I have changed my mind, I will be at this year’s Christmas party and your father will be with me. We will see you there in ten minutes,” smiling at Mercy, then leaning over he whispered something into her ear. Standing up and moving away from the desk, he gave her a wink and said, “I imagine we will see you there within an hour?”

“Yes sir, wild horses could not keep me away from this one,” Mercy said. Both men left in a hurry.

Robert walked out of his office and using his fingers, he combed them through his hair. Get on the pipe line, Mercy. I want everyone who works on this floor making the calls. Tell them we did it, we win.” Laughing he picked up his slightly plump, short and very grandmotherly secretary  and swung her around, kissing her on the cheek, as he sat her down.

Joining in on the laughter, Mercy slapped at his hands and said, “If you will let go of me, I will see to the phone calls right this minute.”

Straightening her glasses on her face, Mercy grabbed the phone and started calling the ten people on her list.

Within five minutes, each of the ten people she called had called ten people each and each of those ten people called ten more that was one their list. Within fifteen minutes, everyone, including the newspaper, knew what was going on at Windermere and Tate’s software firm.

The lobby of the Windermere and Tate building in downtown Ft. Worth decorated from top to bottom, filling the eyes and ears with the wonderful feel of Christmas.

Employees were walking around, eating, talking with friends or admiring the twenty-foot Christmas tree, which was, decorated in beautiful holiday colors of blue and gold ornaments. There were red bows tied on the limbs of the tree. Along the walls, tables overflowing with finger foods, of every kind imaginable.

Robert and Mercy stepped out of the elevator into the lobby at one-thirty. Everyone in the room was in a festive mood Christmastime was here once again. Shouts of Merry Christmas were freely given and received, throughout the room.

Robert looked at Mercy and smiled. Smiling in return, Mercy asked, Robert, do you see them?

Looking all around, Robert started to say no, when he heard a small boy’s voice yell his name. “I do now,” he said, as he started walking quickly across the lobby.

“Robert, here we are,” Tina yelled as she saw Robert and Mercy walking across the room.

“I see you made it just in time,” Robert said as he bent down to give Tina a hug and she threw her arms around his neck. Picking her up as if it was the most natural thing for him to do, he reached over and hugged Daniel.

“What do you two think of this party,” he asked them.

“I like the cookies, and the Christmas tree,” Tina answered.

“I like everything, but is Santa going to be here today,” Daniel asked him.

“No, I think Santa is a bit too busy today. I am sure he is getting everything ready for tonight. You know he has a lot of present’s he has to be delivering, to children and he might even be taking a nap just so that he can stay up all night tonight.”

Daniel and Tina agreed with him. Robert said hello to David and Beverly Jenkins and then asked if Joy was with them.

“No, Joy had to go to work today. She also had some things she needed to do before work, so she left early today. She does not know you called and asked us to bring the children. What time would you like Beverly and I to come back and pick them up,” David asked.

“If you do not mind sir, I would love it if you and Mrs. Jenkins would please stay for the party. I think you will find it will be enjoyable and I am sure you have many friends here also.”

David looked at his wife and Beverly nodded her head in agreement.

“Well I guess it wouldn’t hurt to stay, and let the children enjoy the party for a while. I also would not mind talking to a few of my friends…” David Jenkins voice trailed off as a couple of his old coworkers walked past and said welcome back. David started to say that he was only there for the party, but was stopped by the sounds of a microphone as it was turned on.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, if I may have your attention for just a few moments, I have an announcement to make this evening.”

Turning to see who was speaking, David saw Robert walking towards the stairs. As he looked up the steps, he saw that Robert Thorsten Windermere the second and Jeffery Alexander Tate, were standing at the top of the first landing. Clearing his voice once again, Robert Windermere the second, raised the hand-held microphone up to make his announcement, as his son joined them.

“I hope everyone is enjoying the Christmas party.” When he said this, cheers went up in the lobby.

Raising his hand to quite the crowd, he continued, “I am sure you have noticed there are quite a few of your friends her today, who were recently laid off. We ask some of the office personnel to call and ask them to be here today for one reason. We want to ask them to please come back to work for us.”

Robert Windermere had to wait a few minutes to let the clapping and cheers die down before he could speak again. Holding his hand up once again, the crowd hushed.

“This morning, I received a phone call from my son; he informed me that we, at Windermere and Tate, had made a grave mistake in our decision to lay off some of our people. My father-in-law and I came in to see for ourselves. After going over the information my son provided us with, I am ashamed to say, he was right. We had made a grievous mistake. So today, many of our office personnel, worked together to call and ask everyone who was recently laid off, here today. At this time, we wish to formally apologies to them, and to ask them to come back to work for us.”

The applause was deafening. After it finally quieted down, Mr. Tate took the microphone. “Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to say, that we had acted prematurely and rashly in our decision to lay off personnel, we now realized that it was time we step down, and let Robert run the business. From now on, Robert will be in complete control of Windermere and Tate.  I am proud to say that all lost wages will be paid to you today, if you will just see my grandson’s secretary, Mercy Adams. She is at the table to the right of the front doors. You will receive this money due you, even if you decide to return to work or not. We owe it to you, and we are sorry for all the worry and problems this lay off may have caused you.”

David was stunned, and elated at the same time. He was just standing  there with a dazed look on his face, when Beverly grabbed his arm and pulled him close so that she could be heard over the applause and voices raise in the sheer happiness of everyone.

“Oh David, I cannot believe it, you have your job back.”

Pushing a few loose strands of gray hair out of Beverly’s face, he smiled and took his wife in his arms. “I cannot believe it, honey, but somehow we were granted a Christmas miracle. Not just us, but so many Christmas miracles at one time, what a wonderful Christmas this has turned out to be.”

Robert made his way back across the room to speak with David and Beverly.

“What do you think, was the trip here today worth it sir,” Robert asked David Jenkins.

Reaching out to clasp Robert’s hand, David said, “Son, I do not know how you made this happened, but what I do know is that I will be forever grateful and you have made an old man very happy. You see Robert; no one wants to hire someone my age, now days they only want to hire only young people.”

“That I find to be bad business sense. Laying off or retiring older personnel from their jobs, loses many years of knowledge and pride in and of the company. A company will only benefit from keeping those who have been with the company many years. That is what I discussed with my father and grandfather earlier today.”

“Mrs. Jenkins do you know where Daniel and Tina are, I do not see them anywhere,” Robert asked.

“As a matter of fact I do, and if I do not pull them away from the cookies soon, we will have a couple of tummy aches to deal with this afternoon,” Beverly said laughing.

Looking towards the tables with all the cookies and other holiday treats on them, they saw both children grabbing more of the colorfully festive cookies.

“I will go get them, if you do not mind. I have some last-minute shopping I need to do today and I would like to say goodbye before I go. If it is all right with you, I would like to bring some gifts over later, preferably after Daniel and Tina are asleep. I mean, if you or Joy will be awake and if it… I guess I am jabbering on here, aren’t I,” Robert said quickly.

“Of course you may come over tonight Robert. I believe the children should be asleep for nine o’clock tonight. We would be pleased to have you. Thank you Robert, thank you for everything,” David told him.

Robert walked over to Daniel and Tina and squatted down to talk to them for a few moments. After a while, he stood up and hugged both children and they started walking towards David and Beverly.

“You know honey,” David said, “I believe it will be a fine Christmas after all.”

To be continued…

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“Christmastime Again” Chapter IV

It was eleven-fifty-five and still no word of the children had come. Grace hung by the phone, Nick sat at a table smoking his pipe and Joy paced the floor and worried about Tina and Daniel’s safety. For the fifteenth time that night Joy said, “Do you think we should call the police Nick?”

Smiling up at her Nick said, “No Joy, the kids are safe. I happen to know that Robert Windermere is a good man. He will bring them back the moment he finds them in his car, assuming of course, that they did get in his car. You know Joy those children may have decided to not take a chance on you and…” Seeing the surprised look on Joys face, Nick stopped what he was going to say in mid sentence.

“What is it Joy, did I say something wrong?”

“Robert Windermere? Of the Windermere’s who just laid one-third of everyone in Fort Worth Texas off from work, including my father, those Windermere’s, “She asked incredulously.

“Why, er… yes I do believe he is of that branch of the family. Why, is that going to be a problem?”

Stamping down on her initial anger, Joy berated herself for her one moment of anger. Shame on me for thinking bad thoughts, I was taught better than that. Mama would be so ashamed if she knew that I was acting that way.

“No Nick, it is not a problem. My father was laid off work, but I know the Windermere’s must have had their reasons.”

Before she could say anything else, Nick said, “Well I do believe there is someone pulling into the parking lot.”

As Nick walked to the door to unlock it, Joy and Grace ran to the window to look out. It was Robert all right and he was carrying Tina in his arms, her little head on his shoulder. Daniel was walking beside him, but was rubbing his eyes.

“Poor little darlings are so tired,” Joy said as Nick opened the door.

“Sorry it took us so long to get back, but I was on the other side of town when I finally realized, that I had company. Daniel and Tina explained about the red car mix up and everything else. I am sorry, but I did not remember to pick up my phone, when I left work, or I would have called.”

Smiling sheepishly, he continued talking as he gave Tina to Joy, “After hearing their story, I decided to stop at Wal-Mart and buy them a few things they will need. It is not much, but it will get them through the night and tomorrow. They needed pajamas, clothes, socks, shoes, coats and…”

“Enough. You do not have to keep on explaining to me. I am not going to bite your head off you know,” Joy said laughing. “I know it was not your fault. How much do I owe you for all the things you bought them tonight?”

“Owe me, why on earth would you owe me anything,” Robert said. “I took them shopping and bought what I thought they needed for a couple of days. Let’s Just say that I finally know the true spirit of Christmas, I just got a late start on shopping.”

Before she could say anything, Tina said, “I am glad you didn’t bite his head off Joy, cause Ashley bit it off enough tonight.”

“Well, I guess that Mr. Windermere will have a lot of explaining to do tomorrow, and we must apologize to him for any inconvenience we may have caused him,”

“Oh we did, Joy, but he said we were not any trouble that he had not enjoyed. Robert even said we had helped him,” Daniel told her.

Looking at everyone’s tired faces, she thanked Robert again; turning to Nick and Grace, Joy told them how much she appreciated their staying with her. As she grabbed her purse and started to the door, Robert took Tina out of her arms and walked to her car with her.

He asked her to wait while he went to his car to get the clothes he had bought for the children. Returning with the clothing, Robert asked her if he could follow her home and help get the children ready for bed. Joy agreed if for no other reason than that she had only spent a few minutes with them, Robert had spent a couple of hours with them.

They pulled out of the parking lot, Robert following Joy and the children. No one noticed the four faces watching them leave, from inside the dinner.

After they arrived at Joy’s home, she told everyone to try to be quiet, that she lived with her parents and that they would probably be asleep. Joy unlocked and led everyone into to the old antebellum style home. She told of how one of her ancestors built her home back in eighteen-hundred and fifty-three, and that her family had lived in it ever since.

Daniel looked up at Joy and said, “Wow, I guess Santa knows where you live. I wonder if he will know Tina and I will be here. Santa has not been able to find us since Daddy and Mama went to Heaven, because we had to move so many times. Do you think he will know where we are, this time?”

Before Joy could answer him, Tina said, “I think Nick is really Santa Claus, because he looks like Santa. And, when I looked at him, he put his finger to his lips and winked at me…uh oh… I think Santa will be mad at me now, because I was not supposed to tell anyone.”

With that remark, both Robert and Joy laughed, and Joy told her that Nick would not be angry with her, “Tina, Nick is not Santa, even if he has a white beard and he is jolly.”

Seeing the sad looks on Tina and Daniel’s faces, Joy realized what her words had taken from the children.”

However, everyone knows that adults cannot see all the magical things children see. Therefore, I guess it could be that Tina is right and that I am wrong, after all it is Christmastime again and anything is possible.”

Watching their eyes and seeing them sparkle with happiness, once again, Joy resolved herself to ask Nick not to tell the children, that he was indeed not Santa. Joy wanted to give a wonderful Christmas, to these babies this year and if possible, all the years to come.

The lights in the front room came on, momentarily blinding them. “See there, David Jenkins, I told you it was not Christmas mice that I heard,” Beverly Jenkins said to her husband.

She was standing in the doorway under the mistletoe, wearing her soft red robe. On her head was a Christmas cap with the white ball on the tip hanging down over one ear and with a smile on her face. In her hands, she had two Santa cups two-thirds full of hot chocolate with tiny marshmallows floating on top.

“Well, since we do not have any Christmas mice to give this hot chocolate to, I wonder if there are any children who want it instead,” David Jenkins said in reply to his wife’s statement. He too was dressed in his red Christmas robe and hat, except that his hat looked in danger of falling off of his head.

Daniel and Tina both giggled and said they would drink the chocolate. Then Tina said, “I’m sorry if we woke you up. Joy said we were to be real quiet and we tried to be quiet, honest.”

“Then I suppose I will have to tell you the truth. Mrs. Jenkins and I were in the kitchen baking cookies for the Christmas mice and for Santa, when he comes tomorrow night. Now if we hurry, we may get back to the kitchen before those mice eat all the cookies.”

With that, everyone started talking and headed for the cozy warmth of the small table in the kitchen. Once they were at the table, Joy introduced Robert to her parents.

Robert was readying himself for the tongue-lashing he knew was to come, and was surprised when Joy’s parents never stopped smiling and talking and acting as though they were all family.

Joy started helping her mother with cleaning the kitchen when Beverly whispered to her, “He seems to be a fine young man, and he truly seems fond of the children.”

Glancing over her shoulder and seeing Tina wiping some icing off Robert’s cheek, Joy answered, “Yes he does and they seem to like him also. Mom, I am going to see if I can adopt Daniel and Tina. I cannot stand the thought of having to send them back to a place where someone will mistreat them, or having to move from one house to another, all the time. I believe we have enough love to share with them. What do you think?”

“Sweetheart, I think that your father and I would love to have these sweet little darlings for our Grandchildren. We have all the love in the world to give these babies, and however many more grandchildren you wish to give us. If you need our help to get them, we will do all we can.”

Reaching over and giving her mother a hug, Joy thanked her. Joy then told everyone it was time to get Daniel and Tina ready for bed. First, they needed to take their baths.

Joy showed Daniel to the guest bathroom and Robert stayed outside the door getting pajamas, underwear and toothbrushes out for of the bags for the children.

Joy then took Tina into her own bathroom for her bath. As Joy bathed Tina and washed her hair, she started singing softly, never even noticing that she was singing. After she dried Tina off, and Tina had brushed her teeth, Joy took her back into the guest bedroom for bed.

When they entered into the room, Robert was just tucking the covers around Daniel. Daniel yawned then smiling up at Joy he said, “Robert said he would tell us about “Twas the Night before Christmas,” when Tina was through with her bath. Will you stay and listen with us?”

“Yes Daniel, I would love to hear that poem, after all it is one o’clock in the morning and you know what that means don’t you?”

Tucking Tina into bed, Joy smiled at the cute little kitty cat pajamas with matching house shoes. Tina said, “I know what it means Joy, it means we should be asleep, right?”

“Yes, I suppose it would mean that, but what I was going to say was, it is Christmastime again, because today is Christmas Eve. And we celebrate the birth of Jesus on this day each year.”

“We use to, when Mama and Daddy were alive,” Daniel whispered.

Clearing his throat, Robert said, “Then I think we need to turn on the night-light and get this bright spotlight out of our eyes, because it is story time.

Joy went to the dresser and turned the small carousel on. When Robert turned the overhead lights off, a soft pink light reflecting the turning carousel cast the room into a magical glow.

Robert began the poem in his soft baritone voice, with the gentle lullaby sounds in the background, and his reciting the poem, the magic of Christmas soon filled the room.

“This Christmas poem was written By: Clement Clarke Moore, one-hundred and eighty-eight years ago, for children just like you…”

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there…

Beverly smiled up at David, they were standing outside the guest bedroom door listening.

David bent down and kissed his wife, and then they quietly walked down the stairs heading towards their bedroom.

“I think everything is going to work out for the best, now. Joy made the right decision bringing those poor little darlings home tonight. They need a home where they are loved and well cared for,” David quietly said.

Our sweet Joy has enough love for a hundred children. Although, I would not know where we would put them if she were to want that many,” Beverly said, with a laugh, as they walked into their room and shut the door.

The two children were asleep long before the last words of the poem were spoken, but Robert could not or would not; he was not sure which, stop reciting the poem until it ended.

When he said the last words of the poem, Robert and Joy quietly left the room. As they walked down the hall Robert said, “I have enjoyed this evening more, than I can ever remember having enjoyed an evening.

Tonight, felt magical somehow, strange as it may seem for me to say that. It felt as if for once I was not in control, but that unseen forces were in charge of everything that happened the moment I walked into the diner and saw you. Am I making any sense here?”

“Yes Robert I understand, you are only saying what I felt myself. Perhaps it was unseen forces; Lord knows those two babies needed help. I only hope I can convince the courts to let me have them. I saw bruises on Tina that the last family left and I will fight with all I have to make sure that never happens again.”

Stopping at the front door, Robert looked up and saw that Joy was standing under the mistletoe. Smiling, he pointed up and when Joy looked up to see what he was pointing to, he asked her if it was all right to kiss her.

“Yes Robert, It is all right for you to kiss me, under the mistletoe of course.”

Laughing at the grin on joy’s face, Robert took her in his arms and gently kissed her. Saying good night, he left her standing there, waving to him until he pulled out of the driveway.

To be continued…

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“Christmastime Again” Chapter III

Having driven across town to get to the Mira Vista Country Club, it was still a couple of winding miles through the meandering hills to the Prendergast mansion, sitting on the top of a hill. Robert dreaded going there more every time he went. He was already late by fifteen minutes and he knew what would happen when he got there.

Robert had stayed at the diner longer than he had planned, but he just could not leave until he had seen Joy one more time. Joy was beautiful, but that was not what had held him there. Every time he started to leave, he had just as quickly changed his mind. He had felt an overwhelming need to see Joy once again before he left, so he had waited.

Now in just a minute, he was going to have to pay for it. What was so stupid about the whole thing was that he had never even liked Ashley Prendergast. His father had arranged the whole thing and told him he would be marrying her or else. As Robert pulled in the circular drive, he saw Ashley heading for his car and she looked angry.

“I should have chosen for the ‘Or else,’ option two years ago,” he groaned.

Screeching in her highest shrillest voice, Ashley said, “Robert Windermere, how dare you embarrass me like this. Important guests have been here for hours and you put me in the shameful position of having to great them alone. This is devastating for someone in my position.”

“Ashley, calm down,” he said raising his hands in a cajoling manner.

At that moment Ashley started screaming and screeching so loudly, Robert had to cover his ears. Everyone was pouring out of the house to see what was wrong. Roberts’s parents were in the group also.

“Where did they come from,” Ashley screamed at him.

Robert looked to where Ashley was pointing to, in his cars back seat and was shocked to find two very frighten little children.

“Ashley, he said firmly. Shut up that horrible screaming and screeching you are doing. You are scaring these poor children to death. I do not know how they came to be in my car, but if you will shut up for two minutes, I will try to find out.”

Turning his back on the still screeching Ashley, Robert simply got into his car and shut the door so that he could speak with the children.

“Ok, so would one of you like to tell me your names and what you are doing in my car?”

Noticing that the tiny girl was crying, Robert pulled out his silk handkerchief and handed it to her to wipe her eyes. Sniffling, the small girl reached out and took it from him.

He was taken aback, when the tiny little angel looked into his eyes and said, “Thank you, my name is Tina.”

“I’m Daniel. I’m sorry sir, but we thought this was Joy’s car, because it was red, and Joy said we should wait in her red car.”

Looking at Daniel and Tina, as they explained what had happen in their lives to put them in their present situation, he finally noticed how dirty and poor these two sad eyed babies were.

For once in his life, Robert was ashamed of his overabundance of wealth. He began thinking about the people his family had hurt by laying them off and all of their little children. At that moment, the wall of ice, his grandfather and father had taught him to build around his heart, melted away.

“Does she always scream like that? She makes my ears hurt,” Tina said covering her ears with her hands.

“Yeah, and she makes my ears hurt too. Her daddy needs to give her a good spanking. She would stop screaming then I bet,” Daniel said.

Robert laughed and agreed with both children, “I think so too, she is definitely getting on my nerves. Give me one moment and I will take you back to the diner and we will see if Joy is still there.

Getting out of the car and raising his hand to quite everyone down, especially the wailing Ashley, Robert said, “I find I have two children, who accidentally climbed into my car for a nap. I am going to return them now. Mr. and Mrs. Prendergast, I offer my apologies for the…” looking at Ashley, he went on, “The scene this has caused.”

As he started to get back in his car, Ashley started shrieking at him again, “No you don’t Robert, you will call the police and have them pick up these little filthy beggars. You will have to fumigate that car as it is, before I will ever consider getting into it again. Do you hear me?”

“I cannot help but hear you. In fact, Ashley, I would imagine all of Fort Worth could hear your obnoxious voice and your evil hurtful words. I will not need to fumigate my car, since you will never be invited to get in it ever again. Now, did you hear me?”

“Getting back in his car, he glanced over at his father and mother to see them grinning. Turning around in the seat he said, “Daniel, help your sister buckle up, then buckle yourself in, we are getting out of here.”

“Yes sir.” After Daniel had buckled Tina in and was buckling his own seatbelt, Daniel said, “I never saw anybody act that way before. Robert, have you ever seen anyone act as awful as that Ashley woman did, before?”

“Come to think of it Daniel, yes I have. In fact, I have seen Ashley do that every time she did not get her way. Then tonight at the dinner, I saw two little children and their parents acting just as bad as she did. In my own way, I am ashamed to say, I have acted as bad as the rest of them.”

“You have fits like she does,” Tina quietly asked him.

“No princess, I do not scream or throw fits, but I have never thought of anyone but myself and my wants. Many people in town have been hurt because of my family’s greed. In that way, I am as bad as Ashley is.”

“But you can fix it if you want to. Tina and I will help you, after we find Joy. I bet Joy will want to help, she wanted to help me and Tina today,” Daniel told him.

“You know Daniel, I just may take you up on that offer, after we find Joy,” smiling at the smart little boy, Robert Thorsten Windermere the third, knew what he must do, first thing in the morning.

To be continued…

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Christmastime Again” Chapter II

After changing her uniform and putting on her sweater, Joy stepped out the back door. She thought she heard whispering. Joy stood there listening when she heard a small ping coming from the dumpster.

Joy moved cautiously and quietly closer when she heard a small child’s voice whisper, “Do you think she will throw some food away soon. I’m so hungry Daniel”

“Hush up Tina, or she will hear you. It won’t be long now, I’m sure.”

Joy’s heart broke at the sound of the precious child’s plea for food. Hurriedly, she walked back into the kitchen and asked Grace if there was any food, already cooked, that she could have.

“As a matter of fact, sweetie, we had a pick up order, which no one came for. If you want it, it is over in the warmer.”

“Thank you Grace,”

When Joy opened the bag, she saw that there were three large cheeseburgers and three large orders of fries. She went to the milk dispenser, filled three medium size paper glasses with milk, putting the glasses into a cardboard cup holder, Joy headed out the back door again. She never saw Grace, Bow her head in prayer. She also did not see Grace walk to the phone and place a call.

Standing near the dumpster Joy said, “I sure wish I had a couple of children to give these wonderful cheeseburgers and fries to. I truly would hate to throw them in the trash; after all, they would probably fall apart and get so nasty. Of course these two glasses of milk would just pour out, and be of no use to anyone.”

After hearing, some muffled whispering, Joy heard a shuffling sound came from the dumpster. Two dirty little heads raised up and peered over at her. Setting the food down, Joy reached up and helped the children down.

“Now, if you two are hungry follow me over to the picnic tables and we will have a picnic. How does that sound to you?”

“Thank you,” the little girl said, hurrying to stay up with Joy.

“You are welcome, sweetheart,” Joy said as she started taking the food out of the bag. After placing the food in front of the children, she stopped them from grabbing the food by saying, “First we give thanks, and then we eat, ok?” Both children nodded and reached out and held each other’s hand. Joy felt her eyes tear up and a lump in her throat, when both children reach out to hold her hand also.

After saying grace, they ate their food and talked. Joy told them her name and found out the children’s names were Daniel Masters, who was eight years old, and his sister was Tina Masters, age five and that their parents had died in a wreck over a year ago. Since then they had been in and out of many foster homes.

“What are you doing here? Surly someone is looking for you,” Joy said.

“We stayed with some people who had a whole bunch of foster kids, but they were mean and would hit Tina when she cried at night. I don’t think they are looking for us, they never even knew our names,” Daniel told her.

“What did they call you then?’

“They called Daniel boy and they called me girl, sometimes they called me cry baby,” Tina replied sadly.

Reaching out and caressing Tina’s tiny dirty cheek, Joy knew she had to do something to help these children. “Well, I am not sure what I must do to help the two of you, but I will do what I can.”

Both children had eaten every bite of the food she gave them. They had also drunk all their milk, and were starting to look as if they were falling asleep at the table.

“Alright, Daniel why don’t you and Tina get in my car, to keep warm, it is the small red car, around the side of the diner and it is unlocked. Both of you look as if you need to take a nap. I will be off work in only thirty minutes. I have the key, so lock the doors when you get in; I want you safe, alright?”

“Yes ma’am,” both children said. Before they went around the corner, she heard Daniel say, “We cannot forget to lock the doors Tina, Joy wants us safe.” Once again, these two little darlings had managed to touch her heart.

“Would you care for anything else,” Joy asked Robert.

“No, thank you. Wait,” he said as Joy put his ticket on the table and started to leave. “How does someone as young as you know so much about raising children?”

“Wonderful parents, sir, simply wonderful loving parents,”

“By the way, my name is Robert. It was nice meeting you Joy. Merry Christmas,” he said as he turned to leave.

“Merry Christmas, Robert, I hope this will be your most blessed Christmas yet.” Joy answered in reply.

Then turning to clear off the table, she found a one-hundred dollar bill under his plate. Grabbing the money to run give it back to him, she turned and saw he had already left.

“What’s wrong,” Nick asked as she ran to the front door.

“Robert left this under his plate, and I was trying to return it to him,” Joy said handing Nick the money.

Nick looked at the one hundred-dollar bill and said, “Joy, he did not accidentally leave this money, it is a Christmas tip for you.”

“I did nothing for him; you had to take him the food, so it is for you.”

Now Joy, do not be so stubborn. There is no way that young man or anyone else would leave a large tip for the owner of a restaurant. Now put this in your pocket and go home. It is already five minutes past eight. I will see you tomorrow at two o’clock.”

“I do not feel right about taking this money, Nick. I can defiantly use it but I did not earn it,” Joy said as she headed to the back to grab her purse and sweater. Thinking about the children in her car, Joy walked out the back door of the restaurant and headed for her red Kia.

When she opened the door to her car, she realized the door was already unlocked. Bending down, she looked into the back seat, only to find the children were not in her car. Joy was frantic with worry.

After spending almost an hour searching every car in the parking lot and everywhere she could think of Joy sat down at the picnic table and started to cry. It was breaking her heart that there were two little children somewhere, all alone and unloved and that she had somehow failed them. Wiping her eyes as best she could she went back inside to call her parents to tell them she would be late and to seek guidance in what to do.

‘What do you mean, you lost two children,” Grace said, waving the soup ladle in Joy’s direction. “As far as I know you do not have any children.”

Nick came into the kitchen, having said goodnight to the last customer and locking up. “Joy why are you still here, I thought you left some time ago?”

Joy told Nick and Grace what had happen when she had gone outside for her break earlier. She related what the children had told her and her offer of a safer place to rest in her car. Once she finished telling them the story. Nick nodded his head.

“Ah yes, I think I understand. If I am not badly mistaken, Robert has a small red car. If he had left it unlocked, then perhaps Daniel and Tina climbed into his car, mistaking it for your car and that is where the children are. I would imagine the moment he sees them, he will bring them right back. We will just wait here for a while longer and see,” Nick told her.

To be continued…

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“Christmastime Again” Chapter I

It was Christmastime again. Mercy was grumbling under her breath as she went about her duties filing papers and straightening up the office. Everyone was saying Merry Christmas, every time she saw any of the owners or executives. They would nod and say Merry Christmas, Miss Adams, all day every day, since they had returned to work, the Monday after Thanksgiving.

“Over half the people in the software firm of ‘Windermere and Tate,’ were laid off from their jobs, the Monday after Thanksgiving, and no one seemed to care one, whit or iota, about them. These people make me so angry. The only person they care for is themselves.”

In her office alone three other secretaries, or office personnel, as Mr. Windermere, preferred to call them, had lost their jobs. It was heartbreaking for them, but Mercy was heartbroken also. What had angered her more than so many losing their jobs was, that just that morning Mr. Windermere had informed her of the company Christmas party, that was to be held the Thursday before Christmas.

“Tomorrow he is having a party and those poor souls who were laid off, will be worrying about keeping a roof over their heads, food, bills and simply surviving until they can find another job. That Scrooge needs to learn a lesson, if only I was smart enough to figure out a way, to be the one to teach him that lesson.”

Mercy was thinking about all the many things she wished she could do, when Robert Windermere strode into the room. He was so young and handsome, Six foot two, thick wavy dark brown hair, cut to perfection. His suits were the finest Brioni suits; Italy had to offer, one of the wealthiest men in America. Why did he have to be such a self-centered hateful person?

“Miss Adam’s, I forgot to tell you, but I will need you to order ten cases of champagne, for our party. Make sure it is some of the better champagne, not the cheep imitation variety. I believe “Pol Roger Brut 1998, should do nicely; after all, we will be celebrating our best year of profits to date.”

Mercy was shocked. Had Robert Thorsten Windermere the third, really said that this year’s profits were up, for the whole year? He must have said it, because he had also said the champagne was to be a “Pol Roger Brut, which may not be considered expensive by some, but at eighty-two dollars a bottle and he wanted ten cases, this was purely insane.

“Would you mind telling me why so many lost their jobs, and now we are going to celebrate record profits?”

“Not that it is any of yours or any other employees business, Miss Adams, but it was nothing personal, just simply good business and profit margins for the company,” he said with a definite snobbery sound to his words. Oh, and do not forget to call the caterers, to make sure everything will proceed as planned. I want them here to set up by noon tomorrow and not one minute late. Everyone will be getting off early tomorrow, since it is Christmas Eve.” Having said this, he started to leave the office for the day, only to stop as he opened the door and say,” “Oh yes, Merry Christmas.”

“Merry Christmas, then none of my business, all in the same sentence… Did that spoiled little brat, really just tell me it was none of my business? Perhaps he thinks it is “not any of my business,” but… we will just see about that.

“I am so tired of hearing Merry Christmas, from those who do not care in the least, about any of the people who lost their jobs.” Looking towards the ceiling, she whispered a prayer, “Father, these people need a lesson in humility. I need your help to give me strength of tolerance, or I may scream the next time anyone, who does not in truth wish a Merry Christmas, for others, says it to me,” she said in prayer.

Nodding her head and smiling, as if she had received an answer from God. Mercy said, “Yes Father, thank you. I know he was just repeating his father’s words and attitude toward people and business,” and went about completing her work. She had just thirty more minutes until she could leave for the day. Then the work would begin…

Robert Windermere stepped out of the elevator into the private floor that offered the executives in the building, everything from a luxury heated pool, to a five-star restaurant, and headed straight for the door to the executives parking lot.

Quickly walking to his candy red and black, Bugatti Veyron sports car, he got in, never noticing its sleek opulence and elegance. To Robert, it was just a car. Raised in a home where elegant and expensive things were simply mundane needs, it never occurred to him that he was one of the few who had so much. Nor did it ever enter his mind, that there were so many needy people in the world.

Robert, at the age of twenty-nine, was next in line to inherit the family business, a business he hated. He had never wanted to create new software for computers. His love of computers was all in the hardware end of the business, a love that his grandfather and father had denied him, a long time ago. Since that day, Robert understood that he was to do as he was told, in all aspects of his life, one of those aspects being, the lovely, and utterly cold, Ashley Prendergast.

Looking at his watch, Robert saw that he had two hours to spare before he was be at Ashley’s home for their Christmas party. Ben and Evelyn Prendergast were a bit on the stuffy side, Robert thought, but Ashley… Lord, what was he going to do? “It’s Christmas again, and I still don’t have the nerve to say what I want to say,” he said to himself.

Deciding he was a bit hungry, Robert decided to stop in at a small diner he frequented. For some reason he had always liked the little nostalgic looking diner. It was an old Pullman dining car from the early nineteen hundreds and for some reason; he enjoyed going there.

At five foot six and easily two hundred and fifty pounds, the owner was a jolly old man, everyone called Nick. Robert wished his father and grandfather were more like Nick, easy with a laugh and always there with words of encouragement, for anyone who entered the diner.

Laughing sarcastically, Robert said aloud, “The only time I can remember my father or grandfather laughing is when they force someone out of business or a merger.” Sadly shaking his head, Robert parked his car at the side of the diner and went inside.

“Robert, it is so good to see you today. Where have you been? It has been weeks since you were here last,” Nick said, with a big smile on his jolly round cheeks, as he came around the counter to shake Robert’s hand.

“Hello Nick. I was in Tokyo, on business for two weeks. I see business is good for you today. Do you happen to have a table or booth for me?

“Actually, I believe a booth in the back has just been cleaned, follow me.”

As they walked to the booth, Robert asked, “Is this one of Faith’s booths? You know she is my favorite waitress.”

“I am sorry to say that my wife is out-of-town this week, but grand children refuse to be born when it is convenient for everyone. Mary just made us the proud grandparents of twins. One boy named, Adam and the little girl, she named Alana. They are two days old today.”

“Congratulations, when are you going to visit them?”

“I will close the diner Christmas Eve, then I will be on my way. It is quite a drive to Austin or I would have gone up for a quick visit already, but someone has to stay and work,” laughing, Nick informed Robert that his waitress’ name was Joy and that she would be there in a moment, then he left to go back to the front of the diner.

“Joy, I have just seated a customer in booth nine, please take him a glass of water and get his order, Nick informed her as she walked past him. She was carrying a tray filled to overflowing with food to table number five.

“Thank you, I will see to it as soon as I give the Morrison family their food.”

Groaning, Nick said a whispered “Good Luck,” to her as she passed him.

Rolling her eyes and smiling at Nick, she said, “Thank you,” and headed off to the dreaded Morrison’s table.

The fighting and screeching reached her ears well before she got to the table. As she started to put the plates on the table, Edgar jumped up and proceeded to squirt ketchup all over his sister, Ellen, and in the process, squirting it down the front of Joy’s uniform also. Squealing, Ellen grabbed the hot sauce preparing to strike back at her brother. Joy deftly sat her tray down on the next table and grabbed both the ketchup and the hot sauce from the children.

Mr. and Mrs. Morrison said nothing to their children. Mr. Morrison looked up at Joy and said, “I will be needing a fresh bottle of ketchup and do not take so long that the children’s French fries get cold, or you will be having to replace them at your own expense.”

Anger suppressed, Joy reached over and picked up the tray, grabbing the ketchup also. Placing the ketchup in front of him, along with the food, she said, “I will just leave the ketchup in your care then, so that you may see to both children, getting their equal share.”

Walking to the back of the diner, to booth nine, Joy was so angry she wanted to cry. How could people not see when they were raising little monsters? All the children wanted were for their parents to pay them some attention. Now they were to the point, that if loving corrective attention was not forthcoming, they were desperate enough for any attention at all.

Robert looked up when the screeching began at the table. He shook his head, watching the whole scene take place. He watched as the little boy squirted the waitress with ketchup. He could not help thinking how beautiful she was. Small with sun streaked short blond hair; she made him think of the fairy tales, his mother would read to him long ago.

After leaving their table she walked towards him, with ketchup all down the front of her dress, she was acting as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened. This was strange to Robert, instead of acting angry and screaming at the child or the parents, she had smiled and quietly removed the weapons of choice from their reach. Everyone he knew had always screamed and thrown fits, especially his future wife. Ashley Prendergast.

“Hi, may I take your order please?”

Grinning, Robert said, “I do not mind waiting if you wish to go clean up.”

“Thank you, but I have learned, in the week that I have been here, to wait to change after the Morrison’s leave. I will take your order and then while the cook is preparing it, I will see if I can clean up a bit. If that is alright with you,” she asked in a shy voice.

Nodding in assent, he asked, “Why is it, that you did not even raise your voice, storm off or even order them to leave, after what happened?”

“It is not their fault, it…”

“What are you talking about? Of course, it was their fault. They were being spoiled brats and their parents are no better than they are, allowing them to do that to you.”

“It’s simple; I will not do anything to run customers off. Nick and Faith are both wonderful people and they gave me a job when I needed it. Besides that, as I said, it is not the children’s fault.”

“Parents now days are so wrapped up in their jobs and lives. Most are struggling, trying to survive from one day to the next. Somewhere along the way, they tend to forget the most important things, such as spending loving quality time with their children. By the time children learn this, they are so desperate for attention, that they are willing to accept any form of attention.”

Blushing, Joy quickly apologized for talking so much and took Roberts food order. Hurrying back to the kitchen to turn the order in, Joy was so ashamed of herself, how could she have told a complete stranger her theories on child rearing. Tears started to form in her eyes.

As she hurried past Nick, he reached out and gently stopped her. Joy, why don’t you try to clean up a bit, and then step out back for a break? I will see to the few customers we have, now do not argue with me dear, I know that look. I should know that look; I have been married for over half a century.”

Joy could not help but smile; Mr. and Mrs. Clausen were such sweet and wonderful people. They had given her a second job, after her father was laid off from the software company along with so many other people that day.

To be continued…

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