To Travis, Christmas meant candy and presents. But this year he wanted something really special.
His father asked, "Is your Christmas list finished yet?"
And Travis answered, "No."
"You should make it up right now," his father said gently. "Do you need help?"
"Not yet." Then Travis smiled. "Dad, I have a good idea. Let's go to the mall. Please. Please."
It was hard to say no to his only child. So his father said, "Yes."
They soon piled into their car and drove to the mall to look around for ideas. Saturday evening lines of cars and trucks seemed to be going to the same place.
"I hope there's enough room for everyone to park," his father said.
"Look dad!" he yelled. So many homes had beautiful displays on their lawns. Snowman and reindeer figures smiled back at them.
Christmas lights in all colors winked happily.
When they finally drove into the Mall parking lot it was busy as a racetrack. Parking spots were quickly filled when any car left.
Travis' father was very disappointed. "Let's go home," he said. "We'll come back when it's not so busy."
"No! No!" shouted Travis. "Let's just drive around until we find a spot. Please. Please."
And his father gave in. Again. After all, Travis was special, since he was his only son. As they drove slowly around the parking lot Travis noticed shoppers of all shapes and sizes walking back and forth.
Bulging bags of goodies were carried eagerly from the stores. Travis imagined good things hiding inside.
There had to be models of airplanes, boats and plastic dinosaurs. It was easy to notice hockey sticks and new bicycles being dragged or pushed along.
He played a guessing game about what was in other bags and boxes. Perhaps an Ipod and Batman toys, even trains, games, and chocolate chip cookies.
Travis pretended everyone was bringing these presents to his house. Then he would place them on his wagon to share with everyone.
He was enjoying himself with his dreams. He was old enough to know he had so much, and others didn't.
Finally, his father spotted a parking spot. "Aha," he said with satisfaction.
But Travis interrupted his success and said, "No. No. Let's drive around some more. I can make up my Christmas list by watching what other people bought.
And his father did just what Travis wanted. Again. After all, he was his father's only son. So, they drove around, around, and around. Travis knew many more bags were filled with toys and games.
He knew they also had baseball gloves, puzzles, GI Joe's, and building blocks, too. Candy canes,chocolate and train sets too.
His thoughts soared like reindeer in the night.
His father also seemed to be enjoying this merry-go-round shopping trip with his son.
Then Travis saw a wheel chair coming towards them. A lady was pushing a boy about his age. Must be the boy's mother, he thought.
"What do you think he wants for Christmas, dad?" Travis asked.
"I'm not sure," his father answered quietly.
More shoppers moved around their stopped car, carrying more possible gifts. But they didn't seem so interesting to Phillip at this moment.
"I really wonder what that boy would like for Christmas?" Travis asked once again.
"Why not ask him?" his father said.
Before Travis could say, "NoWait," they parked close by. The boy's mother was just putting his folding wheel chair into the car's trunk, when they approached.
"I wonder if my son could speak with your boy?" he heard his father ask.
"Troy, here's someone who wants to meet you," the lady said.
Travis was usually not shy, but he was now. He looked at the boy sitting in the front seat. He had blond hair just like Travis.
"Come on," his dad coaxed. "Ask him."
And Travis did. He spoke up bravely. "What do you want for Christmas?" he asked.
"That's easy," Troy answered. "A friend."
"A friend?" Travis repeated.
"It's hard for me to make friends, since I can't walk."
Troy's mother also explained how her son had to simply watch everyone have fun.
"Hey dad?" was a question Travis had. It came with a quick answer.
"Yes, son. He could visit us if it's okay with his mother." A short chat followed and everything seemed fine to the adults.
Then both boys made plans. To Travis it seemed the right thing to do. Besides, if he got to know this boy better, he might get a ride in his wheelchair.
The next day it was neat, they did meet.
Travis learned all about wheel chairs. And chess and balsa wood models, and other interesting things besides TV and Nintendo.
"You have so many hobbies," Travis said. He also found out how much fun Troy could be. He was really smart too. He made his own kites and birdhouses.
Special plans were made to have Troy and his mother over for Christmas dinner. And it turned out to be a great time for everyone.
The boys exchanged nicely wrapped gifts. But, the best present Travis received was having a new friend like Troy.
* * *
(c) Richard & Esther Provencher 2008
NOTE: Esther and Richard would like to see this story in a picture book format one day, preferably with an E-book publisher.
My wife, Esther and I really enjoy writing. It is an excellent salve, in addition to prayers, a great wife and family during my continuing recovery from a stroke/aneurysm. You can contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org re comments on our work. We live in Truro, Nova Scotia, Canada. Pray for others.