day after Christmas and I guess you’re wondering why I’m writing you now seeing
as how I didn’t write you no letter before Christmas. I figured I was too old
for that stuff. My name is Joey and I’m eight. My little brothers Sam and
Bennie write you. I told them it wouldn’t do no good. That your map just had
rich kids’ houses on it.
my three brothers live with our mama in a house that the state gives us with
low rent. It’s better than where we used to live even if we have to stuff
papers in the crack around the front door in the wintertime and there’s a hole
in the kitchen floor. Mama says they’ll say we done it, but the hole was there
when we got here. Mama works when she can, but she says it’s hard to find a job
that pays enough for daycare for Bennie and then one of us is always getting
sick and she has to stay home and they fire her or something. She says maybe
she shouldn’t have had so many kids, but she doesn’t know which one of us she
could do without. Sometimes I think it might be me.
don’t reckon you care anything about all that. I was just telling you why I
quit writing you. Like I said, I used to write and ask for stuff, but about all
I ever got was some book and maybe a game some other kid had done played with
and lost some of the pieces. One year, I got lucky and got a basketball at the
party the county gives for kids like me. It didn’t hold air long, but it was
good for a little while.
whatever we get, but sometimes she gets that “you’d better shut up and hide”
look when somebody brings us something they’re just trying to get rid of. And
sometimes when she thinks we’re all asleep, she cries.
So that’s why I don’t
write you no more. It ain’t no fun hoping and then not getting nothing. That
don’t mean I don’t want nothing. This year I wanted something so bad it like to
ate a hole inside me. A dog. But Mama said dog food costs money and a dog has
have shots and we were lucky to get to go to the doctor ourselves much less
have to worry about paying for a dog doctor.
couldn’t forget about wanting a dog. I didn’t care what kind. Any dog would do
as long as it wagged its tail and liked me better than everybody else. You
know, since it was my dog. I told Mama I needed a dog. She said maybe we could
get a fish. My big brother, Billy, laughed and said yeah, maybe a dog fish.
Santa, you and me both know a fish ain’t no dog. I wanted a dog. One that pants
and chews on bones and licks my face. I told Mama I’d pick up cans or shovel
snow to buy his food and that I’d let my brothers pet him, but he’d be my dog. I
kept pestering her, so finally she said maybe there’d be a miracle and I’d get
my dog. But it would take a miracle.
when I went to wishing for a miracle. I still didn’t write you, Santa, cause
you’ve let me down plenty before. But when I saw you on the fire engine in the
Christmas parade, I did sort of throw a little wish your way just in case. I
mean I wasn’t about to go sit on your lap or nothing, but some folks say you’re
kind of magic so I thought it couldn’t hurt nothing. It was sort of like throwing
a penny in a fountain. Mama says you can do that and make a wish. She gave us
pennies last summer when we were at this park. I wished for my dog, but a penny
don’t get you much. So I figured I’d better wish every way I could. Like when I
blew out my birthday candles in September. And every time I saw a first star at
Christmas Eve, we had hot chocolate and popcorn like always and watched the
Christmas tree lights flash. I checked for a box under the tree that had air
holes or whined, but none did. Mama finally told me I might as well quit
wishing for a dog. That no miracles were about to happen at our house.
to quit wishing. I really did. I went out on the front step and sat there in
the cold and looked at Mr. Brown’s house all lit up across the street. Even his
chimney has lights. Mama says it’s tacky, but if you squint your eyes, the reds
and blues all smear together in a neat fuzzy glow. I figured you ought to be
able to find Mr. Brown’s house for sure, Santa, and maybe if you did, a little
something might spill out over here.
me I heard the Grinch carrying on in that silly show Sam and Bennie like. I don’t
know why. Ain’t nothing about it true. I went out in the yard to see how our
tree looked through the window and to see if I could make it glow like Mr.
Brown’s house. I was just squinting up my eyes when the whole house went dark.
Mr. Brown’s house was still glowing, but inside ours the Grinch quit talking
and Bennie started crying because he’s afraid of the dark. I felt like crying
too, not because I’m afraid of the dark. I ain’t afraid of nothing, but I
missed the Christmas tree lights, Santa.
asked Mama if she’d paid the bill, and she said even the meanest Scrooge wouldn’t
turn somebody’s lights off on Christmas Eve even if she hadn’t. So she gave
Bennie a flashlight to stop him crying and went over to Mr. Brown’s to call the
electric company. I tagged along just to keep from thinking about no dog and no
Christmas tree lights.
back to our house, Mama said it would be a miracle if anybody came out to fix
anything on Christmas Eve and we’d better just light some candles and make the
best of it. Mama says that a lot. Just make the best of it.
every candle she could find and read us some Christmas stories and sang songs
with us. I didn’t feel much like singing, but Mama’s eyes were all red and I
figured if she started crying that might make me want to cry, what with no dog
and no Christmas tree lights and all, and I’m way too big to cry. So I made the
best of it and sang along.
first miracle happened about ten o’clock. Mama had just put Sam and Bennie to
bed when this guy from the electric company knocked on the door. He said it was
a mistake turning the lights off on us and that he’d need to go out back and
climb up the pole to turn something back on.
neat how he walked up the pole. Is that how you climb up chimneys, Santa?
Anyway, he had the tree lights flashing again in nothing flat. When he climbed
back down the pole and stepped on the ground, something yelped. He looked over
at me and said that I’d better come get my puppy before it got lost.
my puppy. I knew he was mine the minute I picked him up and he licked my nose.
His tail beat against the side of my arm as he wriggled close against me. I
tried to hide him from Mama because I wasn’t sure she’d see he was mine right
off like I did. But I ain’t never been able to hide anything from Mama, so I
talked fast. I told her how she said it would be a miracle if the electric guy
came and he did and that maybe miracles came in bunches like she was always
saying trouble did.
started shaking her head, but the electric guy was still here and he said his
dog had just died sudden-like last month and he had all this leftover dog food,
probably enough for about a year and he’d been trying to think of something to
do with it and that his sister was a vet and she sometimes needed dogs to
practice on. So what did my mother think?
looked at him, then at me holding the puppy and said that it must be another
miracle for sure.
Santa, that’s how I got Jack, and I’m writing to say thanks just in case you
might have dropped him out of your sleigh as you went over our house. Mama says
we should be grateful and I am.
electric guy, but I told her the electric guy was way too skinny to really be
Thanks for reading. And don’t forget. You still have time to enter my Christmas Giveaway. Drawing is on the last day of the year. Details here.
Hope you’re having a great Christmas week! And please share my Christmas story with friends if you enjoyed it.