This is my story for the Christmas Challenge. I make no money and I would like to thank the people who made Lancer such a memory that we enjoy even today. I have no beta for this story so all mistakes are mine. Merry Christmas everyone.
Word count: 1,185
Sitting by the window on a train out of St. Louis, Missouri.
Johnny made a silly statement, “Hey Scott, you sure had a lot of very classy and pretty women in Boston. Your friend really knew who to invite girls to his wedding, even with those girls you knew. It’s nice to have everyone come from Boston, to meet in the middle of the country.” He then looked at Murdoch and said, with a silly smile on his face, “How about you and me buy a ranch just outside of Boston, then every weekend we can go into Boston and have our fun.”
Scott then followed Johnny’s eyes toward Murdoch too, as he got the hint, “Good idea Johnny. I’ll send inquiries out when we get back home.”
Murdoch watched both of them closely, “We’ll sell the ranch and I’ll move into town and find my own ladies. You boys can work and when you get into town on the weekends, I’ll put the young ladies wise to your logic. While I have all the fun living in the city, you boys will do a lot of explaining on how you are having fun with them. “
“Oh! Murdoch, I never thought you were that smart to figure our little plan out.” Johnny said.
“Oh! How so son, do you think I’m not that smart?” Murdoch smiled, then said, “Remember when we get home, it will be Christmas eve and I just might have two tickets to Boston with a blessing and your half of the deed.”
“Murdoch, I was just kidding. I don’t want to move to a dirty old stuck-up city. Do you Scott?”
“Remember Johnny, where I grew up. Is that what you think of me as STUCK-UP?” Scott smiled at Murdoch. “Murdoch, I think you are right to keep the ranch. I’ll just keep my deed as I no longer see the beauty of Boston.”
“Me too Murdoch, I like the ranch too much to give it up. You are smarter than I thought as you figured us out so quick.” Johnny leaned back with a smile. “I guess I’ll nap now.”
“Good, Johnny as Scott and I will go and eat as the food smells real good. I’m sure we’ll save you just a little bit as I know how tired you are.” Murdoch said.
Johnny hopped up and walked straight to the cafeteria with Murdoch and Scott right behind him.
Back at Lancer Christmas Eve
“Hey Pa, when do we open the presents in the morning?” Johnny asked.
“Well son, since you never call me pa, I would say what about after when Scott and I get back from church?” Murdoch knew he got one up on Johnny.
“Why can’t you and Scott go to midnight mass with me? Then we can open our presents earlier.” Johnny sighed.
“I guess I could go with you Johnny. What about you Scott.” Pa said.
“That’s alright with me Pa. You think Teresa will go too?” Scott answered.
“Yes, Scott. You already asked me. I was getting ready for midnight mass.” Teresa came in.
“Oh, real funny you two. Thank you sis for telling me your plans.” Johnny faked being mad.
As they rode up to the church.
Murdoch didn’t know why Johnny wanted to take the wagon and what he had inside it covered up. He wouldn’t let anyone look under the cover. “You all go into the church, I’ll be there before it starts.” Johnny drove the wagon behind the church over by where the children sleep.
He met Father Emanuel Kilpatrick.
“Father Here are the presents I promised. We must hurry and put them under the tree, I don’t want to miss the service. I can’t wait to see their faces.”
“Yes Johnny, I can’t wait to see their faces also.” Father Emanuel said.
Later Johnny sat next to Murdoch in Church as mass began.
At the end of the service Father James Alberts asked everyone to the rectory for Christmas snacks.
Going in the children all screamed as a heavy-set man in a long red outfit with a long white beard and hair, stood by the tree. “St. Nicholas, St. Nicolas!” they cried.
“Children I’m not St. Nicolas, I’m just and old man who likes handing children their Christmas presents.”
As Nicolas handed out all the presents the rest of the people entertained themselves at the tables.
After he passed out the last child’s present he yelled out for the people to be quiet. I have one last present here and it’s for a Johnny Lancer.
Johnny Lancer would you come here please?”
“I don’t get it, why me?” Johnny spoke softly, then he walked up to Nicolas.
Nicolas said, “I don’t know how this present got here and I don’t know who you are but it’s heavy and says fragile on it. I ask you to open it here, so if the person who put it there will know you have received it.”
Johnny sat down and opened it up. He pulled a big stable out first, then he looked in the box with amazement at the statues inside the box. It was an entire handmade nativity scene. He took each piece out as he looked them over in humbleness. The tallest stood 2’6”, and they looked so real with such true to life color. The last one he took out was the bed and baby Jesus, “I don’t understand it. This is the most beautiful nativity set I have ever seen. I have always said when I have my own home I will buy one. Thank you who ever gave this to me. I will always treasure it.” He then took the card and read it out loud, “This is for you Johnny Lancer from a secret admirer who treasures the things you do for the children of this church. Thank you.” He then put it in his coat pocket.
In the back-ground Murdoch and Scott were smiling as they thought that someone must have thought enough about the work and love that Johnny put towards all the children who live there to give him such a treasured gift.
Later at home Johnny set the nativity scene up by the side of the fireplace, “I hope you don’t mind Murdoch If I share this with everyone. It’s just too beautiful to pack away or to put under the tree.”
“Son, this is your home to, I am pleased you put it there.” Murdoch said standing beside Johnny. “I have never seen anything as beautiful myself. This must have cost a fortune. Your work for the orphanage must have touched someone deeply. Well I’m going to bed we stayed longer than usual. Good night everyone and Merry Christmas.”
“Good Night Pa,” all his children said, “Merry Christmas.”
Murdoch smiled thinking to himself, ‘If only they called me pa all the time.
They all called it a good night and went to bed, without opening their presents. Even Johnny.
Back in town the Widow Hargis laid down in her bed and smiled, “God bless you Johnny Lancer.”
~ end ~
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