I shared this short story last year and thought it was time to share again. If you are just tuning in please go to Chapter One and Chapter Two I hope you enjoy this story and it gets you in the true spirit of Christmas!
The True Meaning of Christmas
“Clarinda, please sit down and try to calm yourself down so the little ones won’t be upset too. Okay dear? I will go check on your mother and be right back. Why don’t you give the children something to eat while I am gone?
“We….we don’t have any more food, Dr. Harvey. I gave the children the rest of the food for lunch. That is why I have to go to the Antonelli’s to get paid for washing and ironing their clothes.” Clarinda started crying again and this time couldn’t stop. Her siblings started whining and fussing once they saw their sister upset again.
“Oh, my goodness, Clarinda, I am so sorry I didn’t know. I will take you over to the Antonelli’s child and then we will all go out to get something to eat. Okay? Now just sit tight and calm the children down.”
Dr. Harvey sadly shook his head and felt a deep guilt for not knowing how bad the situation was for this poor family. He vowed to get them some help as soon as he assessed the medical health of their mother.
Dr. Harvey opened the door to Miranda’s room and flicked on the light. What he saw wasn’t good. Miranda was laying on her side with her left arm hanging over the side of the bed. Her eyes were closed and he couldn’t detect any movement in her chest to indicate she was breathing. He pulled out his stethoscope and bent over her body to listen to her lungs and pulses. Her chest was congested and he detected a light heart rhythm. He lifted up her eyelids to check her pupils to check if they were reacting to light. She would need to be hospitalized with what appeared to be a severe case of pneumonia. Dr. Harvey lifted up the phone and called the hospital to get an ambulance for Miranda ASAP.
His next concern was to take care of the children. He made another call to the Antonelli’s on the next block to see what they could do to help. He knew who they were because they were somewhat famous.
“Hello, yes, this is Mrs. Antonelli. Who is this?”
“This is Dr. Harvey. I am with Miranda Davis and her children. I need your help, Mrs. Antonelli. I learned from Clarinda, her ten-year-old daughter, that she was to bring over your wash and be paid for this service. Is that correct?”
“Oh, yes, Mrs. Davis always brought over the wash not her daughter. What can I do for you, Dr. Harvey? I don’t understand.”
“Well, Mrs. Davis is very ill and is going into the hospital and will be unable to take care of her three children. Do you think you could help her by taking her children in until she is out of the hospital and well enough to take care of them again? I really don’t know where to turn at this time. They are really in desperate need and it is almost Christmas. Do you think you can help?” Dr. Harvey waited what seemed like minutes but were actually only thirty seconds before Mrs. Antonelli uttered a word.
“I see. I didn’t realize that Mrs. Davis was sick or I wouldn’t have asked her to continue to work for me. I am sorry to hear that. I also didn’t realize she had three children. I only know of Clarinda. How old are the other two children?” Mrs. Antonelli’s voice sounded a little surprised by the fact that there were three children to care for.
Dr. Harvey continued to persuade Mrs. Antonelli as he said, “Besides Clarinda who is ten, there are her brother Andrew, four, and sister, Brenda, two. Life has not been easy for them and Clarinda has been taking care of them all by herself since her mother has been sick. Anything you can do to help would be greatly appreciated. I need to take Miranda to the hospital now so if you could come over here and watch the children or pick them up and take them to your house it would be helpful. Oh, and Mrs. Antonelli, please feed them. They haven’t had much to eat today.” Dr. Harvey was getting a little anxious for Mrs. Antonelli’s answer as he watched the ambulance pull up outside the house.
Mrs. Antonelli finally answered positively, much to the relief of Dr. Harvey, “I will be right over to pick up the children, Doctor.”
“Thank you, Mrs. Antonelli. I appreciate your help. It will mean a lot to Mrs. Davis too. She is in a bad way right now and can’t thank you herself but I will let her know what you are doing as soon as she is lucid. Merry Christmas, Mrs. Antonelli.”
Mrs. Antonelli answered back, “Merry Christmas, Dr. Harvey.” But the phone in her hand was sounding a dial tone.
Thank you for stopping by. Chapter Four coming tomorrow.
REMEMBER: Reading Gives You Wings to Fly!
Blessings of the season to you and yours!