The Christmas Tree
Ennis parked his truck in front of the tree farm; a sea of trees covered the field as far as the eye could see.
"I think I found our tree," Jack exclaimed, his eyes all wide with wonder. He was just like a little kid. "Come on let's go." Jack had grabbed him by the arm and was pulling him towards the grove of trees.
"Hold yer horses, Jack. Let me close the truck door first." Ennis followed his partner down the aisles, there was a light coating of snow covering the trees and ground. It made everything pretty.
"Hey, how about this one, Ennis?" Jack stopped in front of a large tree; it was about seven feet and was very full.
Ennis slid on an icy patch and fell into Jack's arms. "Whoa now, I think we should wait until we get back home for that kind of stuff." Jack smiled at him; he enjoyed the close encounter with his man.
"Hush up!" Ennis jokingly admonished him. He righted himself and looked over at the tree Jack wanted. "Looks like a good tree, but what about that one over there." Ennis pointed to a taller tree that wasn't as filled in at the bottom.
The sound of crying made both men stop their tree hunting. A little girl was crying, the child was standing a few rows over holding onto her mother's waist. She looked to be about seven years old. "But mommy I really want a tree."
"I'm sorry baby, but we just don't have the money."
"What about daddy's star? We won't have a place to put his star." The tears kept flowing.
"Baby, we can still take daddy's star out and put it on the mantel. He'll see it. I told you he watched over us every day."
The child was inconsolable; she walked aimlessly around the aisles of trees.
"Excuse me ma'am," Ennis had approached the woman. "We couldn't help overhearing."
"I just lost my husband in January and this is the first Christmas without him. Jimmy had made a star for Molly and we put it on top of the tree every year. It became a tradition. Money has been pretty tight and I thought the least I could do was get a tree, try to carry on as best I could. But I didn't think the trees would be this much money. I just…" The woman had tears in her eyes. She leaned up against Ennis and he held her up.
"Hey now," Ennis looked up over the woman to gaze at Jack. Both men nodded at each other. Jack walked over to the little girl.
"Hey little lady, why so sad?"
The blonde haired child looked up into Jack's blue eyes and told him the sad story. The child was missing her father so much. "He'll be mad that we don't have a place to put his star." She wiped her wet face with the back of her mitten.
"Shhhh, he won't be mad. I bet your daddy is looking down on you and is smiling down on his angel."
"You think so?" She dried her tears.
"I'm sure of it." Jack knelt down beside her. "My name is Jack."
Hi Molly," Jack leaned forward and whispered in her ear "I have a secret. Do you see that man standing next to your mommy?"
"He and I are Santa's helpers. We grant wishes to children. We heard you wanted a tree, so why don't you go pick one out?"
"Really?!" A big grin broke out on the child's face.
"Yes, come on let's go." Jack and the child walked over to the trees.
Ennis watched Jack and the little girl tree shopping.
"Ma'am me and my partner would like to help. If you don't mind we'll help you with the tree.
"I can't ask you to do that."
"You don't need to ask, we want to help. Besides it's Christmas. Just doesn't seem right not to have a tree."
"Mommy, look at the tree we found." The little girl grabbed her mother's hand and led her to the tree.
"I want this one, mommy. I think Daddy would like it too, don't you think?" She looked up at her mother with big brown eyes.
"Yes, honey, I think he'd love it." She looked over at Ennis and Jack and smiled at them both. They got one of the workers to help cut the tree and wrap it for her and put it on top of her car. Ennis paid the man.
"I can't thank you enough." The woman hugged both men.
"It's our pleasure." Jack told her.
"I hope you both have a Merry Christmas!" She got into her car and drove off.
Jack put his arm around Ennis' shoulder. "That is what Christmas is all about, giving and making people happy."
They picked out their own tree and carried it home. They decorated it and both men couldn't help thinking of that little girl and her daddy when they put the star on their own tree. They could almost feel the man smiling down on both of them in gratitude.
"Merry Christmas, Jack," Ennis wrapped his arms around Jack and kissed him.
"Merry Christmas, Ennis." Jack combed his fingers through Ennis' blond hair and held him tight.
The guys and I want to wish you a Happy Holiday and a Happy and Healthy New Year!