….Christmas Eve arrived and the Teacher brought the pupils to see Santa as I had planned.
“Children line up and put your letters you got from Santa in your pockets” said the teacher.
One by one the children went up to Santa. As Alley (Jim’s daughter) got near, I whispered to the store elf next to me,
“Get Jim to take over I’m not feeling well”. My plan was coming together perfectly, Jim agreed to take over not knowing his daughter was in the line. When Alley walked in she did not recognise her dad and her teacher said “Tell Santa what you want for Christmas.” “I want my Daddy to come Home for Christmas so we can be a family again” Jim couldn’t speak as the tears welled into his eyes.
After the children left he turned round to me and said, “Nick that was my little girl, after all I’ve done she still loves me.” I then told him, “its Christmas go home Jim”, but again he just walked away.
What was I to do, how could a man be so hard as to not return to his family after such a request? I then bumbled jovially “Let me read another story as I ran after him” Jim replied “You’ve got to be joking,” but I just started reading hoping he would not keep on walking away. For some reason he just sat down and listened like a lost child.
“Jim, One morning I was reading one of the hundreds of letters I receive each day from the children of the world when I came across a letter from a little girl, named Karen, asking me for a kitten for Christmas. I saw no problem with it and because she had been a good girl all year, I decided she would get the present she deserved.
One year passed and on Christmas Eve I loaded up my sleigh and off we went delivering presents. We went from house to house, landing on the roof if the house had a chimney, or if not we would land in the garden of the house and I would use my magic key.
I landed in one garden I noticed the house was in darkness; there were no Christmas lights. The house looked deserted. I checked my computer and pulled up the wish list to see if I had made a mistake and come to the wrong house. There was a letter from a little girl living in this house wanting presents. I then suddenly remembered the little girl and the house; I had delivered a kitten there only last year.
We were then with a dilemma. What should we do with the presents? I asked Rudolph but he did not know either. Snowy my dog jumped off the sleigh and ran over to the hedge. “I can see the eyes of a cat” Snowy exclaimed. “Quick! Come and look” So I trudged through the snow over to the hedge and there was a little cat lying in the snow shivering. She was hungry and cold. I recognised her as being Alley, the kitten I had delivered here one year ago. Oh my Dear! She had been abandoned. I picked Alley up and wrapped my coat around her to keep her warm. “Bring some hot milk and something to eat!” I shouted. I then realised what a mistake I had made by giving Alley as a present. “A pet is for life not just for Christmas”
We delivered the rest of the presents and then off we went back to the North Pole with one extra guest and a set of toys that had not been delivered.
I assured Alley she would become part of Santa’s village and I introduced her to everyone there. She would become member of our Family.
I went back to my office and began checking my Christmas wish list to see where the toys should now be delivered. I checked every house in the world. Just then my computer came up with the answer, one house showed no deliveries. Christmas Eve was still not over, I jumped back in my sleigh and off we went off to investigate.
I found the house and went down the chimney. I could see it was a poor house and the family had fallen on hard times, which is why they had left their previous home and also their pet. I quietly went up the stairs and there was the little girl asleep with a picture of Alley by her bedside.
I realised then that although she still loved Alley, her family simply could just not afford to keep a cat. This made Santa so sad and so I left her presents and a letter telling her that Alley was now safe and well and had found a new home and one day she would come back and visit her.
I prayed that the fortunes of the family would change, but it taught me a lesson, that we should all remember, especially at Christmas time. A pet is not a present it is a family member. Alley is now a happy cat and loves visiting children, just like Santa.”
When I had finished reading I asked Jim what he thought.
“That’s a fantastic story, that cat has the same name as my daughter Alley.”
“That’s right Jim and do you know the little girl in the story was your wife. Over thirty years ago when she was a little girl she lost the thing she loved most her cat Alley. Don’t let it happen again. Don’t let her lose the man she loves. She deserves you, you are good man don’t throw your wonderful life away.”
“But Nick, how can I find the courage up to just walk back into their lives after what I have done as though nothing has happened.”
“Jim it’s only your pride I know you are a proud man but in your families eyes they couldn’t care if you are successful or not, they just want you home where you belong.
Take my book you know how much I love this book and show the story to your wife. Please do it for me.”
I now knew Jim was ready to go home. I gave him a hundred dollar bill and wished him a Merry Christmas and watched as he left the store. I preyed he would turn left and not right to the bar for a drink….
Will Jim make the right choice? …. Watch this space