Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Unsung Hero (12/07/06)
TITLE: Mystery Still Unsolved
By Noreen Ophoff
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It was Christmas Eve. The little family arrived home at 8:30, completely exhausted. Amanda slipped Corrie into her bed, grateful the medications were allowing the toddler to sleep. She made instant hot chocolate and brought a mug to Chris, where he sat, in the plain livingroom. They couldn't afford a Christmas tree, and there weren't any presents either. Christmas dinner would be burgers. They were so sad, they almost cried.
Amanda had made paper chains and hung them around their rooms, but hopelessness still enveloped them. The work injury had happened ten days ago and the workmen's comp check hadn't come yet. Amanda was looking for a job, but hadn't found one. Instead of gifts, Chris' parents had paid their rent; Amanda's Mom and Dad had paid their utilities. Foodstamps kept them alive.
After the little family was asleep, a compassionate woman and her two young daughters parked their car two streets over from Amanda and Chris' house. The mother carried a large bag; her children silently followed her footsteps through the snowy sidewalks. Ever so quietly, on tiptoe, the woman left a large green garbage bag on Chris and Amanda's front porch. The bag had a big red bow and a tag that read "MERRY CHRISTMAS CHRIS, AMANDA AND CORRIE. FROM THE CHRISTMAS ANGEL".
On Christmas morning, Amanda opened the livingroom curtains and saw the bag on the porch. When she opened it, out toppled wrapped presents for each of them. There was a cuddly white teddy bear for Corrie, a ball and two puzzles. Someone had lovingly purchased a sweater for Amanda in her favorite color of green. There was also a book for her about raising kids and the funny things that can happen. For Chris there was a gray wool scarf, and magazines about hiking and camping. Oatmeal boxes were decorated with Christmas cards and filled with cookies, nuts and candy.
Such simple presents, really, restored hope into the hearts of this couple. Chris and Amanda never learned who left the treasured gifts at their door.
Thank you Christmas Angel, wherever, and whoever you are.
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