The cold, December night sent chills through Mary's body as she moved closer to the fire to get warm. She always tried to keep her distance from the others so as not to bring too much attention to herself. No need to become close to these people...one never knew how much he or she could trust them in desperate times. Yeah, they all seemed nice enough, but Mary refrained from answering questions, and giving too much of herself away. It was bad enough, now that someone had made off with her meager shelter...a cardboard box cast out, that had previously housed a new refrigerator. So, here she stood with the others, trying to stay warm and contemplating her next step for survival. With Christmas around the corner, there should be plenty more boxes available, waiting to be picked up by the sanitation department, unless Mary got there first! Why, there should be a lot to choose from, and Mary should hit pay dirt! But, oh, on this night, her legs and feet were suffering tremendously from the frosty air and the cold concrete beneath them, as were the others around her.
She caught herself humming 'Silent Night' quietly, hoping no one would hear, and, then her mind wandered back to the last time she sang the carol out loud with her mother and father. It was three years ago, when Mary was just fourteen, the three of them sat in front of the fireplace in their modest home singing Christmas Carols together, marveling at their brightly lit Christmas tree, and the stockings that adorned their fireplace. It was a joyous occasion, that would be the last of Mary's fond Christmas memories. After the accident that took both of her parents' lives, Mary was left alone in her sadness. Her parents' home and furnishings were auctioned off by the state to pay off debts, and, with no apparent family members to be found, Mary was placed in foster care. Being a vivacious teen, she became unhappy and restless...thus, it became evident that her time within the present confines had come to an end. So, with her meager belongings, the following year, Mary slipped out on a summer night, and did not look back. A series of small-time jobs delivering flyers, washing dishes and mopping front stoops, barely kept Mary going, and there was little chance for further education at this time.
Sometimes Mary became angry at her predicament...after all, whose fault was it that her parents perished after that horrible truck hit them? They were on route to her school Christmas pageant, when they were hit head on while crossing a bridge, and forced off the bridge into the icy waters of the river. Later, there would be the devastating double funeral with Mary there, accompanied by her school teachers and a few friends. Sadly, no one could avoid what inevitably came next. Mary lost everything else along with her precious parents. And, in her mind, she was destined to roam through the streets of life alone. At the city foster care center, Christmas was celebrated as well as it could be with a wonderful tree, caroling, good food, and, even a jolly old Santa Claus bearing gifts for all. But, Mary still felt the emptiness, that engulfed her, and the loneliness brought on by the absence of her loving parents.
After a tumultuous night's sleep within the alcove of a long ago abandoned dress shop, Mary awoke just before dawn, feeling vigorous and ready to go hunting for her next abode. Quietly she moved through the sleeping street tenants, making her way to the back alley that would lead her to a more prosperous part of the city. And, she whined to herself, "Oh, will my feet ever be warm again?" It was hard to find socks on the street. Mary was able to acquire a pair of tennis shoes from one of the churches the previous month, but no one seemed to have any socks. "Maybe today I'll find some", Mary mused optimistically.
By 9:00 AM, having combed the better neighborhoods, Mary still hadn't found a proper box for her dwelling. Even though the air was crisp and cool, the day was embraced with a beautiful, bright, and heartwarming sun. And...Mary just knew she would score in a big way on this day!
Greetings, my dearest readers, and, Happy Holidays to you all. I hope you've enjoyed the first chapter of my Christmas story for the year 2012. I'm afraid the story escalated somewhat, as I wrote, and wrote, and, wrote! I will have to post Chapter 2, let's say in 2 or 3 days if that works for you.
In the meantime, I would like to congratulate the 'Rolling Stones' on their 50th anniversary! This group was formerly the 'Bad Boys' of rock and roll in the 1960's, having come to the USA on the 'coattails' of the Beatles, so it is said. Actually, their fishing boat ran aground, (or amuck), somewhere on the New Jersey shore as they tried to head off 'The Beatles' arrival! Well, needless-to-say, they lost a few months to 'The Beatles'! But, they're still here!
Really, I'm kidding! I have always adored the Rolling Stones, and, watch their concerts when they become televised. I got to see them in concert in Dallas, Texas in 1988, and it was fabulous! They have endured the 'rock' of time, and, I applaud these guys!
Mick, Keith and Charlie
NY * December 8, 2012
*** And, now, I must make my way back to reality...where temps in Fort Worth are expected to take a major nose dive tonite and tomorrow! I'm getting my woolies ready, and, dusting off that wool coat! I think Christmas is REALLY in the air this time-no 80° holiday for us, eh?
Take care...thank you so much for coming by. If you get a chance, say hello. I will post Chapter 2 in a couple of days.
I would like to thank Thisisme at Southhamsdarling (her blog link is on my sidebar) for inspiring me to write this little Christmas story! I don't think she meant for me to write a book tho! I'm trying to keep it short!
Love to you all! xxoo
Thanks also to:
The Associated Press
'The Rolling Stones' *** YAY!