Write Out – While the Christmas Parade Passes By

While the Christmas Parade Passes By

Outside it was cold and clear – perfect weather for the WestChester Christmas Parade.  I hummed “sleigh bells ring, are you listening” as I walked up High Street watching Dads holding daughters hands rushing to get a good viewing spot.  I was reminded of how many times we held on to our daughter’s hands  as we watched the parade move through our town.

Inside, she pulled her pink and white gingham bedspread out of a big plastic bag.  She carefully made her cot so that the ruffle fell just right.  She got ready for bed, putting on a comfy robe and slippers.

 Outside the fire engines and antique cars were streaming up High Street to take their place in the parade.  Policemen were directing traffic and the whole town seemed to be arriving for the night’s celebrations.

Inside she sat at a table to write in her Journal, with a secret smile on her face.  She thoughtfully chewed on her pencil, then would write some more.  She was oblivious to everything going on around her.

 Outside the parade was winding down as Santa tossed candy from his sleigh.  It was time for the Christmas tree at the Courthouse to be lit and carols to be sung.

 Inside she crawled into her cot with the ruffled bedspread and pulled out a book to read.  I stood at the window and watched the fire trucks head back to their firehouses and the kids head home, clutching candy canes in their hands.  I looked back at the cots and saw that she had finally fallen to sleep.  She was the last homeless woman to do so.  I turned out the lights and all was quiet at the women’s homeless shelter on High Street in West Chester.

 I thought I heard Santa say Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.  But the women in the shelter were too exhausted or too ill or too sad to hear it.

Submitted by:

Celia Lang

Thornbury Township

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