The Night Before the Night Before Christmas
Last night should have been Christmas Eve instead of the 23rd (it would have made this story better), but ...
About 8 pm a frightened and anxious young girl (T, age 14) turned up on my doorstep. Some 'friends' had brought her up to the mountains and dropped her off and then hadn't come back for her. She was very cold and very anxious for a ride home, and she was obviously frightened about a lot more than that - alone, out in a freezing night with snow on the ground, no money, lost. When she told me what she needed, I put my hand on her shoulder, and without thinking about it at all, heard myself saying, "It's all right. You're ok now. I promise you'll get home safely."
It was only 30 miles she needed to go and that wasn't much to promise, but my car is broken. Well, not broken forever, but the carburetor is plugged up and it has made it clear that it won't go up any more hills at all until that is fixed - and I don't know how to fix it and live up on a mountain side. So. I tried a couple of neighbors first, but my better neighbors all have the flu. So I tried my friend Judy, who lives far away, but who understands these things, and she said, without a moment's hesitation or question, "I'll be right there."
By the time Judy got here T was restored to what I suspect is her normal state of bouncy politeness, a bit of color back in her face, full of questions and frequent expressions of gratitude, warm again, but with a stomach still too queasy from anxiety to eat anything. She and Judy drove off with T still expressing overwhelming quantities of gratitude for my help, for Judy's help, for deliverance from what had been the worst fright of her young life.
Judy called me when she got home again, and we agreed that T was a nice child, obviously well brought up, in away over her head, and that the goddess was really looking after her to have landed her on my doorstep. But when we thought about it some more, I realized that the goddess also was looking after Judy and me. It's lovely that She trusted us with this and sent the child along to us. It was something we both really enjoyed having in our Christmas celebrations - the stranger at the door kind of thing. I feel blest. And as I write this now, I wonder who T really is...
P.S. Judy and I saw a fridge magnet thing the other day with a quote from Bette Davis on it. It said, "If you want something done well, get two old broads to do it." We laughed at the time, but it's true!
© Copyright 1997 by Jessica Macbeth. All rights reserved.
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