Holiday Magic

Deon Matzen

© Copyright 2021 by Deon Matzen

Boy and Dog Park, Langley, Washington.
Boy and Dog Park, Langley, Washington.  Photo courtesy of the author.

 On a cold clear day in December, an old gentleman sits by himself on a bench near a bronze sculpture of the Boy and His dog, located in a small park on First Street in Langley. His extended family decided to take a trip to Whidbey Island to see the Christmas decorations and do their Christmas shopping. Having arrived on a tour boat from Seattle, the time ashore is not long, five and a half hours, but is still tiring for him. Not being fleet of foot, he has chosen this resting place where he is comfortable sitting on the bench with the boy and his dog in bronze for company. He can look over Saratoga Passage to view Mount Baker and Camano Island. If it were the springtime of the year, he might also add a grey whale and her young calf to this vista but, alas it is winter. Because of the boat ride here, he bundled up when he dressed for this foray, his wife having insisted that he wear that heavy red sweater with the snowflakes all over it. “It is Christmassy,” she had reminded him. He is toasty warm and happy to doze on this bench until his family returns.

His wife, daughter and three granddaughters have agreed to meet him here before having lunch. Their chatter, running, jumping and hanging on grandpa has worn him down and he will have just a little rest here on the bench. There are many folks milling about both from the tour boat and those who have traveled here by car, taking the ferry from the mainland. Every year in Langley, the merchants dress the town for Christmas and this is the reason that his family has planned today’s event. Lots of shops to see, great places to eat and….a place for grandpa to sit and enjoy the winter sun. Many fine artists live here on the island and every year there is a competition to see who can do the grandest display decorating the merchants’ doorways. It is a stiff competition and the displays range from wacky and outrageous to absolutely gorgeous. Prizes are given to the winners. This is part of the draw to come to Langley for Christmas shopping.

While grandpa is dozing in the sun, a flock of little girls race into the Boy and the Dog Park where he is sitting. They chatter like birds and awaken the old man. He smiles at them, giving them reassurances that he is benign. Suddenly one little girl jumps up on the bench and stands next to him. She chatters away at him in her high little girl voice. He continues to smile and then nods his head. She races off and talks with her companions. “He nodded Yes!” she said excitedly. Soon there is a line of little girls, all dressed in their Christmas sweaters, red coats, red hats, fleece boots and smiles. They are lined up by the bench where the old man sits. One by one they get up on the bench and whisper in his ear. Mostly he cannot tell what they are saying because he has taken his hearing aids out and stuffed them in his jacket pocket. And besides, little girl whispers are really hard to understand, but he smiles and nods his head.

Soon they have all talked into his ear and they are all smiles and twirling pigtails and happiness. He is happy too. Their mothers are approaching from a nearby shop where one mother has stood vigilant outside the door to be sure the girls were safe. The girls gather around their mothers and are all trying to relate their experiences all at once with lots of shrieks and squeals about talking with the old man.

He sits contentedly on his bench enjoying their laughter and joy. Soon his own granddaughters will be there to take him to lunch. Hummmm….he IS getting hungry.

The little flock of girls flies off up the street while calling to the old man. . .”GOOD BYE SANTA!”

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