Monday, December 4, 2017

Mission: Secret Santa

Mission: Secret Santa
             By Valerie L. Egar

When Jason and Dawn walked to the bus stop on a frosty December morning, they saw their neighbor, Mrs. Brewster, struggling to carry logs from the woodpile into the house. Mrs. Brewster was older than their Grandma and lifted one small log at a time, walked it to the porch, and then walked back to the woodpile for another. She looked cold and getting enough wood for the day was going to take a long time.
            Jason whispered in Dawn’s ear and her eyes lit up. “Yes,” she said. “That sounds like fun!”
            That evening, just before dark, Jason and Dawn piled all the logs neatly on the porch, just outside Mrs. Brewster’s door. They worked quietly and quickly because they wanted it to be a surprise. When they finished, all the wood Mrs. Brewster needed for the winter was right outside her door. They couldn’t wait to see what happened the next morning when she saw what they’d done.
            Jason and Dawn timed their walk to the bus stop just right. As they passed Mrs. Brewster’s house, her door opened. She stepped out, looking glum, then noticed the perfectly stacked wood on the porch. “Oh!” she cried. “How wonderful!” Her smile warmed Jason and Dawn all the way to school.
           “Let’s think of some other things we can do,” said Dawn.
            When Mrs. Brewster drove to the store on Saturday, Jason and Dawn were ready. They had a good supply of Christmas decorations their family no longer used. They wrapped a garland around Mrs. Brewster’s porch rails and hung a bright wreath on the front door. They trimmed the fir tree in the front yard with shiny Christmas ornaments, a suet bell for the birds and a popcorn garland they’d made.
            They waited for Mrs. Brewster to come home. Her eyes widened as she stepped from her car. Slowly, she walked to the little tree and touched its branches. Her face beamed when she saw her porch.
            Soon the phone rang and Jason ran to get it.  “Did you see who decorated my porch and yard?” Mrs. Brewster asked. 
“Santa?” said Jason.
Mrs. Brewster laughed. “Well, if you see him, tell him thank you.”
The next morning, Dawn baked chocolate chip cookies. She rang the door bell and ran away. Mrs. Brewster opened her front door and found a big plate of warm cookies.
When it snowed later in the week, Mrs. Brewster walked outside to find the snow swept off her car’s roof and windshield.
A beautiful home-made potholder mysteriously appeared, tied to her door knob. The next day, she found a catnip mouse for her kitten, Binky. A few days later, a few pieces of chocolate candy and a bag of kitty treats.
        On Christmas Eve, Jason and Dawn crept to Mrs. Brewster’s house to leave their last secret Santa surprise, a small pine tree they’d dug in the woods and potted. They’d decorated it with cut snowflakes and silver tinsel. The tree leaned a little to the left and they worried it wasn’t as pretty as other trees, but it was the best they could do.
            When they got to the door, they saw a big envelope that said, “To: Secret Santa.”
            The children left the little tree by the front door, took the envelope, rang the doorbell, and ran.
            When Mrs. Brewster opened the door, she found a Christmas tree that was just the right size for Binky and her.  She put it on the table in front of the window in her living room and smiled.
            The children opened the envelope as soon as they got home.  It said, “ Thank you so much Santa, for sharing the gift of love. Merry Christmas.”

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Copyright 2017 by Valerie L. Egar. May not be copied or reproduced without permission from the author.
Published December 3, 2017, Journal Tribune Sunday (Biddeford, ME).

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