Saturday, November 28, 2015


The holidays were coming. Streets and parking lots were filling with cars as people rushed about, laden with bags and packages.

From opening until closing time each day, Marty stood ringing his old bell in front of the big department store. He wore the same old thin coat, mismatched gloves with holes in the fingertips, and huge unmistakable smile. It was hard to gauge how old he was; he somehow seemed timeless.

Marty had done this for so many holiday seasons that people remembered him. He remembered them, too. Marty liked people. People would come by and wave or call to him. He never failed to greet each person, calling them “Friend” and wishing them a happy holiday. Even when some people ignored him, pretending they didn’t see him, Marty would smile. He knew they were busy; they had things on their mind.

Sometimes people would ask him how he could do it day after day, no matter the weather. He always responded the same. He liked being useful, collecting donations for needy people. He could take the cold for the few weeks of the season because he knew he was helping others. He knew some people had less than he did. He had clothes and food to eat at the shelter. He had enough. He also had time that he could share. It was his gift to others, he said.

As the weeks went by, Marty continued to ring his bell as he paced back and forth on the icy pavement. However, he looked more tired and cold each day. His age was catching up with him; it was becoming obvious. His regular donators, his “friends” as he called them, noticed and showed concern.

One evening, just before Christmas, a van pulled up to where Marty stood. Grinning and waving, he realized it was a group of his “friends”. The people got out of the van, carrying things as they approached him. One person put a hat on him, as another helped him into a warm coat. Someone wrapped a scarf around his neck, as someone else handed him warm gloves.

As Marty stood stunned, they brought a folding chair out of the van. Setting it up near Marty’s donation bucket, they told him to sit, as they eased him into the chair. Finally, someone handed him a cup of hot coffee. As tears rolled down Marty’s face, they told him for all that he gave to others, it was their turn to give to him.

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*In the spirit of the season, I will be sharing some of my stories and poems from holidays past. I hope that you will enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them. Peace.
                                                                                                                             ~McGuffy Ann Morris


  1. A lovely story, very much in the true Christmas spirit.

  2. Well written and touching. Even if we have little else, we can give some time.

  3. That was terrific and so is Marty!

  4. Annie, beautifully done. I will not pass any red kettles this year without noticing if the bell ringer could use a little something to make this/her life easier. Bless you for reminding us what Christmas is about. Love and hugs, Janet

  5. A very touching story Annie. Thanks for reminding us that we should be kind.

  6. Great story. There are people like Marty and his friends, but their good news stories take a back seat to the bad news stories. Thanks for reminding us to look for the good.

  7. This is the perfect Christmas story...I love it.

  8. LOVE. Compassion is a verb!! Look forward to more that you will share.

  9. Almost - I almost had tears rolling down my cheeks myself. You are such a good soul and such a good writer. Like Leslie I am looking forward to reading more of your stories. Thank you for sharing it @ sARTurday