At the end of the street where Cyril Rum lived he sat at his kitchen table and surveyed the scene outside. The day was warming up, soon he’d be shutting the blinds and pulling the curtains closed to keep out the midday heat.
Cyril was an angel though you’d never guess as he looked more like a middle aged accountant, short and balding and whilst on earth had put on a few kilos as he’d grown very fond of Christmas pudding. At the present time he was on an angelic sabbatical having spent his eternity at God’s beck and call. He had been one of the original heavenly hosts and he liked nothing more than a good singing of his favourite Christmas carol: “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.” Cyril had been a herald angel and he liked to remember his ‘harking’ days.
He was on nodding acquaintance with most of his neighbours and it was a great surprise to find in his letter box a Christmas card, hand drawn and written from the Carter kids three doors up.
Dear Mr Rum,
Merry Christmas and best wishes for the new year.
We like having you as a neighbour.
Esme and Brian Carter.
Cyril was moved as he didn’t try to create any lasting friendships as he knew that in time he would be moving on. But the Carter kids had attracted his attention.
Their house was run down, the yards untidy, the kids Esme and Brian often in dirty clothes and looking unkempt. Their house was the only one in the street that had no Christmas decoration. Even the grumpy Mr Weston at No 20 in an effort to get into the Christmas spirit had set up a laser light show in his front yard and the whole street was amazed not just by the lasers but by Mr Weston’s embracing of Christmas.
But Cyril was flattered that these kids who appeared to have nothing had taken the time to write him a card and leave it in his letter box.
He decided to take a walk down past their house and knock on their door and thank them for their kindness. He was greeted by Mr Carter and a more disagreeable man you’d hate to find. Cyril explained why he was there and that he wanted to thank the children for leaving him a Christmas card. Mr Carter in his gruff way told Cyril there was no Christmas to be celebrated and slammed the door in Cyril’s face.
As he walked out through the front gate he spied the kids looking out at him through the front windows. Cyril knew there were people too poor to accept any sort of charity as it meant they had to admit their poverty. Mr Carter was one of them.
Cyril decided to try something he had always wanted to try. He’d dress as Santa Claus and turn up in the Carter household and see if he could change things just a little.
Being the right shape was an advantage he thought.
So he entered the Carter household on Christmas Eve and found Mr Carter heading for bed. Mr Carter was his usual drunk, he always seemed to have money for his drink and at the sight of Santa Claus in his living room he thought he was seeing things.
His protests were silenced by Cyril who merely waved his arm as any angel can do and Mr Carter fell silent.
Then with the spread of each arm he transformed the room into a room that said MERRY CHRISTMAS…. decorations of every sort festooned the room and in the far corner appeared a tree with gifts neatly wrapped under its decorated boughs.
Mr Carter was left speechless and every attempt at protest was greeted with his tongue feeling it was glued to the roof of his mouth.
The last thing Cyril did was present Mr Carter with a gift. It too was wrapped neatly and Cyril intimated to him that he open it there and then.
Inside was the children’s card to Mr Rum. Cyril had framed it and had written a message to Mr Carter.
“This is what you children are capable of. Do not deny them their childhood. You may not have much money but you can always encourage them to celebrate Christmas and be the wonderful children they are. You are blessed with wonderful, generous and loving children.”
When Cyril left he stood outside to see what Mr Carter did. Cyril watched as he looked at the card his children had written to Mr Rum. He watched as Mr Carter hugged the card to his chest and cried tears.
In later years the Carter house still didn’t have any external Christmas decoration but inside the house it sang of Christmas.
Every year Cyril received two cards, one from Esme and Brian and one from Mr Carter.