Chapter Eight – That’s What Christmas is All About, Huh?

Between Sunday, December 12 and Christmas Day, enjoy a daily post in our Christmastime short story: The Christmas Eve Santa Came To Iowa. For a complete list of all 14 chapters, click here.

“Ahh . . . Nick . . . ahh,” Pastor Bruce sputtered, “I suppose we could arrange for Mary to get a tree in here maybe next year, for sure. But right now . . . ahh . . . let me go get the kids from the car and we’ll see if they’re OK.”  

Still in a bit of shock, Pastor Bruce ran out into the cold, gathered up the four children and brought them quickly into the duplex. Everyone was just a bit shell-shocked from the whole situation, so as they all took off their coats, Pastor Bruce moved the kids into Mary’s living room. Finding a seat, everyone just sat there for a moment, staring at Nick, who was relaxing in the easy chair, saying nothing. After about five minutes of silence, Joy and Edward walked into the Willson’s dining room and picked out some of the kids’ toys and started playing with them. Joey and Sarah were just fine, and now that Mary was finally calming down, no one seemed any worse for the wear. Mary looked intently over at Nick, who by now was quite comfortable reclining on Mary’s sofa.

I don’t know how to thank you both, Pastor Bruce and ahh . . .” Mary hesitated. “I’m afraid I don’t know your name.”

“Nick, ma’am. Nick’s the name.” Looking over to Pastor Bruce, and without even taking a breath, Nick continued, “Yes Pastor, I really do envision a nice Christmas tree over there by that picture window, don’t you?”

Pastor Bruce quickly changed the subject and began to ask Mary how her new job was coming along down at the hospital. Mary had struggled to find and keep a job until Pastor Bruce called a friend at Mercy Hospital. It turned out they needed some additional help in the cafeteria there, and Mary had a real knack for making something special out of just a few basic foods. Nick leaned back on the couch, listening quietly to the conversation. He quickly observed the calming effect Pastor Bruce and his kids had on Mary and her children.

As the conversation between Pastor Bruce and Mary continued, Nick gazed around the room and remembered visiting this exact home nearly two decades ago. Back in the late 1980’s, a nice family named the Websters lived here with their three small children, Bobby, Linda, and Katie. It was a full house back then, not a duplex, and Nick remembered a big Christmas tree that always stood over by the picture window. Nick smiled to himself as he remembered the tree. The fact is, however, that in ‘92 (1992 that is), when the Webster family moved out, the home was abandoned. Nick was really glad to see that this old house was now coming back to life again, but he sure missed seeing a big Christmas tree over by the front window.

“Can I get you some coffee?” Mary asked politely.

Nick waved his hand, shaking his head as he replied, “No, no, no.”

“Thank you, Mary, for the offer, but the kids and I need to get ourselves over to the church.” Pastor Bruce explained as he looked at his watch. “We have an eight o’clock band rehearsal. Carol and I need to set up for the Christmas Eve service as well. If you need anything more, just give us a call.”

“Hopefully,” Pastor Bruce continued with a warm smile, “we’ll see you tomorrow morning at the church for Christmas morning services. It’s always so meaningful when Christmas comes on a Sunday.”

Pastor Bruce picked up some of the toys, returning them to the dining room. With a wave, he motioned the kids to get their coats and gloves. As they moved toward the front door, Nick politely smiled to Sarah and Joey with a whimsical look in his eyes.

“Yes, Pastor.” Mary smiled. “Joey and Sarah and I will see you and the kids then. God bless you. And God bless you, Nick for coming to our rescue.”

“Good night, ma’am, and Merry Christmas.” Nick replied as he slowly got up from the couch and began moving toward the front door.

As they all walked back to the Dodson van, Nick turned to Pastor Bruce and said, “You know, Pastor, that’s one great thing you’re doing there, helping that nice lady and her children out.”

“Well, Nick.” Pastor Bruce said with a smile. “Hopefully that’s what Christmas is all about, huh?”

“Guess you’re right.” Nick said with an uncomfortable look on his face.

“Say Pastor.” Nick continued. You said you’re going over to the church for a band rehearsal. Mind if I tag along? I’m curious about a church that has a band rehearsal. I don’t think I’ve been to a church down here that does that.”

“Well, sure, Nick. You can come along. It’s not a big thing. We just have a four piece band that leads our music on Sundays. We’re practicing a few Christmas carols for tonight’s candlelight service. Nothing too special, but you’re welcome to sit in.”

“Sounds good to me.” Nick replied.

Pastor Bruce strapped Joy into her car seat while Edward buckled himself in. The van was still a bit warm, so no one asked if Nick was cold without a coat to keep him warm.

As Nick adjusted his passenger seat so that he could lean back a bit, he started to reflect on all that had happened to him thus far. While he was still puzzled on why and how he got from his bedroom at the North Pole to sitting in a minivan somewhere in Iowa, he leaned over toward the window and watched the snow as it slowly fell to the pavement below. The glare of the streetlights brought each flake to life as they landed on the frosted plate-glass of the Dodson van.

“So you’re interested in music, Nick?” Pastor Bruce asked. Nick pulled his attention away from the falling snow and replied politely, “Yes, Pastor. I love music.”

Click here to go on to our next chapter…

Click here to read about Thomas Nast, the creator of the Christmas art used in our story…

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1 thought on “Chapter Eight – That’s What Christmas is All About, Huh?

  1. Pingback: Chapter Seven – Fire in the Fireplace. | Our Iowa Heritage

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