So out with the cap, scarf and gloves and off with me. I'm nearly finished with my Christmas cards (I'm glad I started in August :-)), combing the cats and baking cookies for the neighborhood.
So here's another little story for you my friends. I hope you'll like it.
I have no clue why the cut won't work - but technique and I ... fire and water ... sun and rain ...
it's all the same *g*
Title: The Scout
He’s a good guy despite what people say. To them he seemed to be reckless, when he thought about his “no-shit-attitude” he had to smile. He let people believe whatever they want to. It wasn’t his problem.
He had a secret. A sweet and lovely secret, unexpected. Through all the year he collected… things. Special items. Month before he set several advertisements in the newspapers to get those things people didn’t need anymore or which are simply damaged. The latter was the usual cause. But he was skilful and most of the broken toys he could repair. For the dolls two of his neighbors helped him with the clothes, restored the faces, broken arms and legs. He was responsible for the hairstyle of these little toys (to his neighbor’s amusement). They had much fun in preparing the little teddy bears, dolls, doll houses, baseballs, toybooks, little cars and toy airplanes. All these things filled his garage as well as piles of little shirts, jeans, jackets – neatly folded and stowed away in a wardrobe.
This year was a good year. People were very generous. He spent many days with wrapping all the items in glittery shiny wrapping paper. The more colourful the better. With the last of the dolls on his knees, combing her carefully he suddenly burst into laughter. Oh, if his football team would see him like this.
Or Casey. He thought about him a lot. Frequently the last days. There was no reason, he doesn’t know him that long. They aren’t very close friends, not yet. But he’d like to change this. Arranging the doll on his knees he buttoned the little dress and put a little note on its belt.
Breathing in deeply he put the doll – he named her Amy – in a pink glittery bag and all of it in his big brown sack, stepped out into the cold and snowy night, very careful that no one might see him. It was his secret after all.
He was tired, very tired but people in the poor quarter counted on him and he wouldn’t disappoint them. How he knew about them? How he found them? He watched – of course secretly – the little ones, girls and boys at the play yards he passed day in day out and sometimes he followed them invisible. The first year he did this there were only 6 kids – now there were 35 children on his list. They became more and more with every year. He knew them all by their names and he knew some of their little wishes. The sadness of the toddlers, the hopelessness in their eyes had broken his heart so many times.
Walking with big steps, his heavy jute sack on his shoulders he felt much better now. Maybe he could give them a little smile, at least on Christmas Day.
He stopped at a hut on the edge of the road and put a doll, a toy fire brigade car and cookies (home made by his lovely neigbors) into the red rubber boots beside the door. Shelly and Tim – oh, how he’d like to see their faces next morning. He hoped they’d like what he had chosen.
He remembered his very first visit here and how it had left him touched. He could still see the shabby room with limb stockings hanging over an empty fireplace. He still remembered when he caught a glimpse of her mom sitting there – weeping bitter tears.
He knew exactly what to do then and headed home to look for some of his old toys at the attic. His stockings were always bursting with presents. But the greatest gift was always missing. The love of his parents. He always missed it. This hasn’t changed. That’s how all began. When he had put the little gifts on the staircase he rang the bell and stayed hidden behind a huge fir. Seeing Mrs. McCloud all the more crying but now with a smile on her face he felt an unexpected flicker of joy in his heart. This hasn’t changed, too. Whenever he left a little parcel his heat skipped a beat. Yes – this was what he wanted to do. Just to give something, whatever it was. The smiles on children’s faces were enchanting.
The next stop was across the street. He visited the Winter family for about 3 years now. Life was hard to them the past year. Mr. Winter lost his job because of a psychical disease, two of the children had an accident last summer when the crashed with their self made wooden cars against a tree. He wanted to do them something good. The boys – James and Jordan – got a bicycle each (he had painted them blue and silver just to let them look at least a little bit cool), the little girls Vickie and Veronica teddy bears in pink with new sewed on ears WITH ear rings (he insisted on them). The kids needed new jackets and shoes so he put a big golden parcel beside the door as well. Yes – this family deserves some smiles and laughter.
So he went on for nearly 8 hours until the last parcel was handed out.
When he came home at 6.30 a.m. he felt dog-tired, cold, hungry but a little glad as well. Loneliness was bearable now. There was no reward for his generosity but shouldn’t a good deed be its own reward?
Yes. As he said. It was a good year. He wished there would be someone he could share this thoughts and experiences. He fell asleep with a smile on his lips and Casey in his thoughts.
Few blocks away a young man sat at the breakfast table, tangling his legs, head propped on an elbow, thinking about Christmas. How much he liked it as there were mom’s home made apple-pie, chocolate chip cookies, the scent of candle wax, cinnamon, singing a long with his father – loud and queer giving his mother toothache and laughter – yes, he was a lucky man. It has always been like this as far as he could remember.
Music was playing in the background when the announcer spoke:
“Magic happened again in the poor quarter. As hard as people tried to get him caught, to reveal his idendity – another year he stayed invisible. His gifts – toys , clothes and his generosity turned the poor quarter into a place of peace and joy.
It’s not only the gifts for the the children, it’s the love and care he shows to the poorest of the poor. He’s nearly a legend – people say he must be an angel. A little girl sent us a letter for him, maybe he will listen to it now.
I can’t thank you enough for my little doll. She’s so beautiful with her curly golden hair and her dark blue dress with silver stars. I wept when I found her in my stocking hanging on the chimney. You even lit a fire to warm our house. Not only was it warm in our rooms when I came down to the living room – it is the warmth in our hearts that makes this Christmas so special. You care for us, for me and for my people, for many people of us. You make us children happy AND our parents, too. We don’t know who you are – to me you’re the Scout of Santa Claus.
Thank you for this special gift, Christmas’ Scout.
God bless you, wherever you are…
Casey was touched, rooted to the spot. He had to tell someone about it. Zeke. He’d tell Zeke about it. So he packed his knapsack, put in the CD with the Christmas letter from the radio, some cookies, two big slices of mother’s apple tart, coffee, milk and sugar. Zeke wouldn’t deny a breakfast.
Zeke was surprised to see him that early. It seemed to Casey he didn’t sleep much and yet there was an inner peace radiating. He passed Zeke with a smile, put in the CD, turned on the player and they both listened to the announcer reading this special letter of a special little girl.
When it was over Casey looked at Zeke and found him pale, trying to keep self-control.
“Zeke…” Zeke stood up, walked across the room, fighting for some words. Clearing his throat he managed to say “Lovely. Very lovely. All children need happy Christmas memories…” The last words went straight to Casey’s heart but before he could say anything Zeke vanished to the kitchen leaving him alone.
Casey was confused. Zeke seemed to have something on the tip of his tongue. What was this? A little piece of paper on the floor caught his attention. He picked it and read “Merry Christmas, The Scout.” The Scout was here? At Zeke? Why doesn’t he mention him? Maybe he hadn’t found his present? But he was no child? He wasn’t poor?
Where does this come from? He sat down on the couch when he discovered a piece of golden ribbon peeping out of a drawer at the wardrobe. When he tried to open it, Zeke’s jacket slid from the coat rack, a little box with golden stars and red shiny reindeers dropped out of his pocket together with a sheet of paper. He enfolded it and found names…addresses, behind each name the gift for the child. It hit him like an arrow.
The Scout wasn’t at Zeke’s, the Scout WAS Zeke! Why didn’t he know? Now he understood why he wasn’t at home the last weeks, why it seemed he didn’t have time to spend with him. Obviously he didn’t want him to know, he didn’t anyone to know that he was the Scout.
Creeping back to the living room it was hard for him to hold back the tears.
Not a second to early and Zeke came back with two pots in his hands, and some kind of light in his eyes. Eyes reddened and …sparkling.
“Zeke…” No, he had to keep quiet.
It was the moment he fell in love again with this guy.
He couldn’t hold back any longer and hugged him “Merry Christmas, Zeke.”
Surprisingly Zeke hugged him back and hold him tight “Merry Christmas, Casey.”
As lonely as the Scout was all the years – as happy he was now.
It was this special gift Amy mentioned in her letter.
That was the greatest gift of all.
And now The Scout believed in it, too.
Again it’s Christmas time. Two young man are walking hand in hand, the stars are shining, Father Frost did his best to make them shiver. They share smiles now and then when Zeke begins to talk “I was surprised when you knocked at my door on Christmas morning 5 years ago. I’ll never forget this day. You thought me being the Scout, didn’t you? We listened to the Christmas letter and you wept when I looked into your eyes. You were so disappointed when I told you I wasn’t the one you thought me to be. “
Casey remembered it as well. He couldn’t believe he’d been wrong. They spent a wonderful day at Zeke’s home but the secret stayed safe.
He is happy with Casey by his side. Zeke never admitted that he is the Scout. This little secret he’d keep for himself as long as he should live.
He’d stay Santa’s Scout.
But Casey was his Scout.
He came to his rescue 5 years ago – The Scout got a great and invaluable gift. He got a friend, a true friend, now they are lovers. And the lonely Scout isn’t lonely anymore.
This night he’ll visit the poor quarter again. Secretly. They still didn’t get him caught – he knows how careful he has to be. He was more than glad that Casey couldn’t stay awake after a long night walk, black tea with rum and their love making.
Past midnight he slipped into his garage, shouldered the presents for the little ones, hummed and smiled when he put the first little parcels in two blue stockings hanging on his own chimney with a little note “Merry Christmas, Zeke and Casey – The Scout”
He loves to do this … the Magic of Christmas shows it’s charm to Zeke more and more.
He likes to know his personal Scout sound asleep watched by the moon, guarded by the stars and loved by him. "Merry Christmas, Scout" - he chuckled and while the stars awake in splashes of their own eternal light exploding into diamonds the Scout opens the door, steps out into the indigo of the night – it’s the magic of him shattering darkness into light.
And he doesn’t … realize that it was Santa Claus choosing him ... to do what has to be done, to do what Zeke likes nearly the most.