Living through the cold snaps and snow-filled nights, this time of a year is never easy. With each sunset, it is hard to fathom the fact that so many people could walk by in rout to their warm houses, and tables filled with more food than I could eat in a month, yet they never seem to notice me or my plight. I am not one to complain about the circumstances that have befallen me. How could I have predicted that my father would be killed in the war across the ocean or that my mother would become sick and die of some rare form of cancer all within the span of three years? Nor could I have predicted the foster parents the state appointed me would turn out to be abusive people filled with evil tendencies. These busy streets filled with shoppers and Christmas crowds do offer up opportunity for a streetwise child. This time of year people, seem to be more likely to offer up help for those less fortunate, like me. Just yesterday a woman bought me lunch at the local Wendy’s, for the small price of hearing a speech on how the lord will save my soiled soul and how if I only ask he will make my life richer and more fulfilling. I never told her that I pray faithfully to Jesus every day and ask for nothing more than food to fill my gaunt belly. Last night a man offered to give me shelter and food if I would give him something in return. What kind of person would prey upon a starving cold twelve-year-old orphan? Where are the good and kind people my mother and father told me existed in this world on this freezing cold night?
The streets are barren of people, I have no way of knowing it is Christmas night as I lay wrapped in three coats and layers of newspaper over a sewer vent. The stench is overwhelming but the warmth coming from under the city is worth the trouble.
The warmth from the cars interior is quickly replaced by biting cold as officer Rodriquez steps into the night. He is not happy with having to work on Christmas night and his new wife is even more vocal about this latest problem with the city’s choice of hours for her new husband, he smiles at her sitting in the passenger’s side of the cruiser. She insisted in riding with him on their first Christmas together and his Captain reluctantly agreed to allow her this small favor. Since the war, he has had a hard time with keeping a steady job and is certain through hard work determination this job, as a New York police officer will make a great career.
The vagrant huddled among garbage and old newspapers along the building has not answered him yet. At first he thought the small form was frozen in the below zero weather but when he pulled the small form from the debris his heart sank. A small red headed girl with piercing blue eyes stares back at him from a pale nearly frozen face. Hurrying her to the car he calls for an ambulance and paramedics, his wife comforts the little girl and holds her cold nearly lifeless body close in the cruiser. In the moment before the ambulance arrives the little girl looks into Officer Rodriquez’s eyes and says, “My daddy told me you would be coming to save me, he said you would take me home to live with you if I would only hold on for a while longer.” “Who is your daddy little girl?” Rodriquez asked. “His name is David Hanson.,” she answered in a weak voice. “ David Hanson!” he replied. With tear filled eyes he takes the little girls cold hand in his. “Is your name Catherine?” “Yes! How did you know that?” Your Father talked about you all the time, You and your mom, while we were fighting for freedom in Iraq. Your Dad Dave saved my life on several occasions and saved our entire platoon on the day he went to meet the lord. Through tears and prayer-filled moments, the trio became as one on that Christmas night inside a patrol car deep in the heart or New York.
Sometimes when things seem at their worst, our connections to the creator are at their best. To all who share this world and this great journey we call life, I wish for you a Merry Christmas, a pleasant and joyous time with your families and to PASS IT ON when confronted with those we encounter in need on this holiday season … HAWK a/ho