8/14/09

23: The Forgotten List

December 5

Dear Diary,

I think I'm on the forgotten list this year. My friends at school didn't even remember to get me a gift. Mom and Dad almost forgot me. New baby and all. Grandma didn't get me anything. There are a lot of gifts for the baby though. I feel sorry for my younger brother. Everyone forgot him too. Forgetfulness is in full force this year.

I wonder if there are other people who feel forgotten, especially around this time of year. Are there people like that here? I'll ask Mom. If she's awake, that is...

The little girl named Clarissa sighed as she closed her diary. Her parents were with the baby. The bedroom door opened. David, her brother, peeked in. She smiled as he entered.

“Mom and Dad are with the baby.” he said as he plopped down on her bed. “We're going out for dinner again. Mom's tired.”

“She's been tired a lot lately,” She replied, shifting onto her stomach. “makes you feel left out, huh?” He nodded.

“I want to go out and buy Christmas presents.” He moaned.

“I have an idea,” she whispered. “Why don't we go out and find people who don't have much and get them gifts so they have something nice at Christmas.”

“Really?”

“Let's go ask Mom and Dad if we can.”

After walking for a while, they found a big house, the driver way covered in snow. Peering through the windows, they decided nobody was home. Glancing at each other, they ran back home and came back with shovels. After catching their breath, they started shoveling.

Three hours later, they finished. “We'd better go home now,” David said, shivering. “It's getting dark.”

As they headed home, a old man's face appeared in one of the windows. A smile formed as he watched the kids walk away.

“Where have you been? Do you realize you've been gone for three hours? Where did you go?” Their father said. “We were worried sick.”

“I'm sorry. We were shoveling that old man's driveway. We didn't realize how long we were gone.”Clarissa explained. David was hiding behind her.

“Well, at least you got home safe.” Her mother turned away, paused, and turned back. “What old man's driveway?”

Dear Diary,

We have begun our forgotten list. We have seven people so far. Oh! And the retirement home needs a new tree. Somebody stole their fake tree. I think we could get a good one from that nice man, Gerard?, we got ours from. He said he'd save us a tree until we could pay for it. And he'll deliver it! I'm going to give a poor homeless man a pair of shoes and his daughter a nice warm scarf. I wonder who lives in that nice house with the unshoveled driveway? There is this widow with five kids near school. She works all the time. David and I are saving up every penny we can to pay for the tree and gifts. I don't think mom and dad suspect anything....

The clerk at the counter glanced up as Clarissa and David came in. Clarissa went over to a basket of yarn while David studied picture frames.

The clerk, whose name tag read Mandy, watched the pair wandering around the store selecting various items. The girl picked up skeins of yarn, the boy found a picture frame. They continued for some time then approached the clerk with their arms full.

“What are you going to do with all this?” she asked as she rang up the sale.

“We're giving it to people, of course.” the girl replied. “Do you know where I can get really good shoes?” Mandy nodded.

Dear diary,

It's finally Christmas Eve! All the gifts are ready. Mandy from the store is coming over to help us deliver them. Thanks to her and Dad, I got a really good pair of shoes for Charles! Mom helped with the scarf. We barely have enough for the tree. That's our last stop! The old man who lives in that house we shoveled asked us to come over. We'll go there just before the tree. The poor widow is getting socks and scarves for her kids. I'm giving Mandy five rolls of film. She loves photography. It's snowing too.

“This is for you,” Clarissa said, holding out the gift she was carrying. The woman at the door stared at the girl, then took the gift. Clarissa turned and rejoined Mandy and David on the side walk. Clarissa took hold of a wagon with a plastic bag full of gifts on it and David's hand in her free one.

“Merry Christmas!” They called. The woman waved as Mandy pulled out a camera and took a picture of her. She watched the group make their way down the street, Mandy snapping a picture of the two children while they were still ahead of her.

Clarissa approached the homeless man and his daughter. She held out a gift for each of them. Tearing off the wrapping paper, the little girl discovered a hand-made scarf. Charles held a nice pair of shoes. “My dad said these are the most lasting kind.” she explained.

“Thank you,” He managed.

“I made the scarf myself. Do you like it?” Clarissa asked his daughter. She nodded.

The old man heard the knock at his door. He stood up, guessing who it was. When he opened the door, he smiled at Clarissa and her brother.

“I never gave you a reward for shoveling my driveway for me. Come in, you must be freezing. And you,” he called to Mandy, who stood at the end of the porch. “you're helping them so come in.”

“We are trying to get this done soon,” Clarissa said. “We need to pick up a Christmas tree for the retirement home.” she held out a wrapped box to him. He took it and beckoned them into his living room. When they had all sat down he began to open the gift.

His smile widened as the wrapping fell away. He held a well made pair of gloves. “I hope they fit,” Clarissa murmured. “I used my dad's hands for sizing.” He pulled them on, then held up his hands to make sure they fit.

“Wait here. Now I have something for you.” He stood and went to a chair with a blanket on it. Pulling the blanket off he revealed two gifts, one purple, one green. Picking these up, he gave the purple wrapped one to Clarissa and the green one to her brother. They opened them and gasped.

Clarissa gently lifted a beautiful porcelain doll wearing a ice blue dress. The boy held a hand carved horse and rider. She looked back in her box and carefully set the doll aside. Rising she pulled out a beautiful dress the same color as the doll's. Mandy stood and took the dress from the girl. She then held it up to the girl to see if it was the right size.

David also set aside his toy and out of his box came a black jacket. Clarissa set the dress down and walked over to the man. Smiling she hugged him, saying, “Thank you. I love the dress.” David joined them, still holding the jacket. Mandy secretly took out her camera and snapped a picture of the group. And then just as sneakily slid it back into her bag.

“Hey! Over here!” Gerard turned toward their shout and smiled. “Is our tree ready?”

“Finally,” He walked over. “I hope I saved the right tree. Come and make sure for me, will you?” They followed him to the tree, then grinned at the man.

“Yep, this is the one. How long do you think it'll take to get it there?” They asked, anxious.

“Not too long, I promise. Hey, clerk lady, leave the other trees alone, will ya? They have to withstand people tormenting them all through December. Give 'em a break for Christmas.”

Mandy walked over to the designated tree and began to examine it. “Hey, kids! Look over here!” Turning back towards Gerard, all three of them saw he had a camera right as the flash went off. Mandy gasped and dug through her bag, then glared at Gerard, looking angry.

“Why you-! Give it back! That cost me a month of savings! You'd better not damage it or I'll-!”

Gerard ran off holding up the camera. She followed, snatching up snow for a snowball.

Clarissa and her brother glanced at each other. “I didn't even know she had a camera.” David said with a bewildered shrug.

“You're helping them with their little errands, so you get to be in the pictures too! You can't always hide behind the camera!”

“I'm going to burn that picture when it's developed! I always look horrible in pictures!”

“But it's such a lovely picture! You should have copies made!”

“Give it back!”

The sound of two children's laughter and the shouts of two adults playing could be heard through all the lot.

“This is such a lovely tree! All the residents will be thrilled! We'll decorate it tonight!” The retirement home worker said. “I couldn't believe that someone stole our fake tree.”

“I'll have to get it settled in place first. Just a little longer kids.” Gerard was adjusting the base of the tree while the children held it still. He gave a final twist to the screw. “There! You can decorate it now.”

“We've just finished getting all the decorations together. Hey, everyone! The tree is ready for decorating!” A group of elderly people and retirement workers gathered round the tree trailing decorations. In a short time, the tree was fully decorated.

“Alright, who should get to put the star on?” The receptionist asked. “The girl!” A elderly man called out. “Yeah, and have the tree seller help her!” Another one cried. The receptionist nodded, then opened a box in her arms. She fished through the tissue paper inside and pulled out a white angel holding a golden star as tall as the angel. She carefully gave the angel to Clarissa, then Gerard gently picked her up and put her by the tree where she could reach the top. As carefully as she could, she placed the angel securely on the tree.

One of the male caregivers had stolen Mandy's camera. “Not again,” she moaned. “You four get in front of the tree,” He instructed. The others pushed them into place. When they were ready, he took the picture.

“Hey, I have an idea. Why don't all you young people go outside and build a snowman while all us elderly people watch.” The woman who had received David's gift mused.

“Yes, “ The others agreed. “You go have some fun.” They pushed the young people out the door. The residents lined up to watch from the porch.

The snowman slowly took shape as the young people worked. Right as they finished, David yelled “snowball fight!” and hit one of the retirement workers with a snowball. Everyone dove for cover before throwing their own snowballs. One young man ended up in front of the snowman trying to protect it. He snatched up snow as fast as he could and threw it at anyone he could see.

Everyone else ran around trying not to get hit and throwing snowballs at each other. The tenants were laughing and cheering various individuals in the fight.

“That's enough! Come inside before we all freeze.” A tenant yelled. Four of the adults seized the two children and carried them, laughing, back inside. The rest followed panting and grinning.

Two hours later, Gerard, the man from the tree lot, dropped Clarissa and David off at their home. He drove a dark red pick up truck. Mandy grinned from the passenger seat. “Merry Christmas!” They yelled from the side walk. The pair in the truck waved back.

1 comment:

Gussie said...

Using diary entries was a great idea. Your story has a positive message. Unfortunately, many people are forgotten at Christmas. I hope after people read your story they will want to include the forgotten ones in their celebrations.