Friday, August 10, 2012
It was three days before Christmas and four year old Timmy Hawthorne was eating his oatmeal at the kitchen table with his brothers and sisters. Papa had already left for the Hawthorne Garden Shop.
Lucas Hawthorne was a gardener. He loved plants and trees and anything that grew in the ground. The folks in Camden Corners often said he had a magic touch. Those who could afford his services were happy to have him take over their lawns and flower gardens in the summertime. He kept busy all year. He had a tree farm and grew poinsettias and holly bushes that he sold in his shop.
This was by far the busiest week in the year. Everyone wanted the perfect Christmas tree for their parlor. All of the shops along Main Street were decorated with holly and poinsettias from Lucas' shop. His wife, Laura was a big help to her husband with her skill at turning sprigs of holly into a beautiful wreath or garland.
Timmy was the youngest of the five Hawthorne children. Lucas, Jr. and Abraham were talented skiers and had been hired by the Camden Hill Ski Lodge as instructors during the winter months. April, who wanted to be a nurse when she grew up, was filling in as receptionist in Doctor Julie McMillan's office during her winter break. Penny loved everything Christmas and was helping Mr. & Mrs. Pringle in their shop for the day.
Timmy was slowly eating his oatmeal. He had a question he wanted to ask his mama and brothers and sisters. They were all talking at once and nobody was paying any attention to him when he reached for the sugar bowl knocking over his full glass of milk. The milk spilled all over the table and floor and in April's lap.
“Oh Timmy, look what you have done. Now I have to change my dress and I will be late for Doc McMillan's.”
Mama told April to hurry up and change and she would clean up the spilled milk. Lucas and Abe were on their way out the door when Timmy ran after them to ask them his question.
“Lucas wait up. Abe, I want to ask you something.”
“Can't talk to you now little buddy, we have to go”.
Penny was already on her way down the street.
She was singing Christmas carols and didn't hear her little brother calling her.
April came downstairs in a clean dress. Gave him a pat on the head and was out the door on her way to the Doc's.
“I'll ask Mama,” thought Timmy, “Mama isn't in a hurry.” But she was.
After she cleaned up the milk she started washing April's dress and then she had all the breakfast dishes to clean before she started making wreaths from the holly branches Papa brought home last night.
“Mama, I have a question to ask you.”
“What is it Timmy?”
“Well, I have a nickel and three pennies in my piggy bank and I want to buy a present for Jesus for His birthday but I don't know what He wants.”
“That's nice Timmy but Mama is very busy this morning. Let's get your snowsuit and mittens and boots on you so you can play outside for a little while.”
Timmy was all bundled up and went outside to play. He had his coins inside his mitten. He thought maybe he would walk to the Garden Shop to see Papa and ask him what he should buy for Jesus.
Papa was helping Mr. Greenly put a big tree in his truck.
“Hi Timmy what are you doing over here? Is Mama at Nichol's Market?”
Timmy said no but his Papa was busy with Mr. Greenly's tree and didn't hear him. Maybe he would come back later. He walked down the street to the bakery. Miss Diana was putting a plate of fresh baked cookies out on the porch.
“Hi Timmy, would you like a cookie? Is your Mama next door at the candy shop?”
“Thanks for the cookie Miss Diana. No, my Mama is not at Miss Maddie's. Can you tell me what to buy for Jesus for His birthday.”
Diana laughed and bent down to talk to Timmy when baby Joey started to cry. She went in the other room to pick up Joey and when she got back Timmy had disappeared.
Timmy kept walking to every shop on Main Street. Miss Maddie gave him a gumdrop but then a customer came in before she could answer Timmy's question.
Andy Parker at the post office stamped his hand with his post marker but then had to give Doc McMillan his mail.
Doc walked him out of the Post Office and just when Timmy was going to ask him his very important question, Miss Nettie Dawson slipped on a patch of ice and Doc ran over to help her up.
Timmy stopped at the fire station and petted the fire house dalmatian.
He saw Miss Emma decorating a Christmas tree outside of the antique shop. She handed him a piece of fudge but Lily needed her help with a wreath she was hanging and Emma had to go back into the shop before Timmy could ask his question.
His next stop was to visit Mr. & Mrs. Pringle at the Christmas shop. Mrs. Pringle was helping Annie Parker who was buying a nativity set. She also bought a small fire engine ornament. Timmy was watching as Mrs. Pringle carefully wrapped the baby Jesus and the fire truck. Mr. Pringle called out to Timmy and handed him a peppermint stick. Timmy knew just what to buy the baby Jesus for His birthday and ran to the toy store, his eight cents still in his mitten.
Timmy searched and searched the store and finally found a bright shiny fire engine. He reached into his mitten and brought out his eight cents.
“Is that enough for the fire truck Mr. Luke?” Timmy asked.
With a twinkle in his eye, Luke told him it was just the right amount for the 25 cent truck. Timmy beamed as Luke handed him his purchase.
“Merry Christmas,” Luke called out as Timmy walked out the door.
Timmy was getting a little tired but he was almost to his destination. He saw Carrie and Allison Parker outside of the Snowflake Christmas Shop waiting for their mother, Annie.
“Hi Timmy, where are you going?” asked Carrie.
“I'm on my way to see Jesus.”
When Annie came out of the shop, Allison who was barely 2 told her,
“Timmy wiff Jesus”.
Annie had a funny feeling when she heard that but she was so busy that morning, she dismissed it.
Timmy was almost to St. Peter's Church. He had walked by the water because he liked the sound of the waves splashing on shore. He took off his mitten so he could eat his peppermint stick. He dropped the mitten on the shore but he didn't notice because he was happily eating the peppermint stick and admiring the fire truck.
He was almost to the church where Mary and Joseph were looking over baby Jesus in the manger. The three wise men were standing around them. They had gifts for Jesus but not as special as the gift Timmy was giving Him.
The peppermint stick was very good but his hands were getting awfully sticky. He climb up on the rocks and into the manger and put the fire truck in baby Jesus' hand. He thought he saw Jesus smile but he could barely keep his eyes open any longer and fell sound to sleep next to Jesus in the manger.
Laura was so busy with the wreath, she didn't realize how long Timmy had been outside. She went to the front door and called his name.
“Where could he be?”
She ran back in the house and called for him but still no answer. She put on her coat and started out the front door she went to the garden shop first. Lucas said he came there earlier but he was so busy he didn't know where he went. They both walked down Main Street.
Diana said, “Yes, Timmy was here but she was busy with Joey and he left.”
Maddie said , “He was here but I was busy with a customer.”
All of the shop owners said they had seen him but they were all so busy they didn't pay that much attention to where he was going.
Penny and April both heard that Timmy couldn't be found, they joined in the search. Word had spread up the hill to the ski lodge and Lucas and Abe came into town as fast as they could.
Timmy's brothers and sisters remembered that they didn't have time for him that morning and now he was gone.
Eric Flanagan from the fish market found Timmy's mitten by the water. Everyone was on the verge of panic when Annie remembered the words Allison had muttered earlier something about Timmy being with Jesus.
“Carrie, did you see Timmy earlier?” Annie asked her daughter.
“Yes Mommy, he was going to see Jesus.”
Luke joined the concerned group and told them Timmy had been to his shop earlier and bought a fire truck.
The vicar remembered Timmy being very interested in the nativity scene that was being constructed at the church last week. Vicar was watching it being assembled when Timmy walked up with his sister Penny and looked on as the workers lay the baby Jesus in the manager. Vicar Will hopped on his bike and pedaled as fast as he could to the church.
Sure enough, there was Timmy sound to sleep in the manager. The vicar ran into the church and up the stairs to the tower and rang the bell until all the villagers came running. Everyone whooped and hollered that Timmy was alright.
He opened his eyes and looked around and saw that everyone was clapping and laughing. Mama had her arms around him and was crying.
“Why are you crying Mama? Jesus likes His birthday present. See He's holding it in His hand.”
It was true. The truck had gotten sticky from the peppermint and was stuck on baby Jesus' hand.
Everyone in town had been too busy to listen to a little boy that morning. They all knew, from that moment on they would never be too busy for the really important things again. Decorations and customers and chores could wait but little boys shouldn't have to.