by Daniel Escurel Occeño
Once upon a time in the city of Automoville on the day before Christmas, the city of Automoville was experiencing a very mild winter known as “Indian Summer”.
“Indian Summer” was a summer weather condition when it was supposed to be cold during the winter season.
The weather was so mild that you could still see animals, normally hibernating for the winter, running around and paying in the branch of trees and the yards of houses as well as of churches.
Hibernate was “hide and sleep”.
Squirrels, for example, gathered as much food to last all the winter months.
Squirrels hid and slept in a secret warm place all winter.
When the winter weather changed to spring, people saw squirrels in the yards with many trees; the squirrels, back running around and playing, were a sign that the cold winter was over.
The “Indian Summer” was very unusual in the city of Automoville during the month of December. The weather was ordinarily too cold for squirrels to be out playing in trees even if the weather forecasters were not expecting a snow filled morning and afternoon and night for Christmas Day.
Shinee the White Squirrel was taking advantage of the mild weather during that Christmas Season.
Shinee the White Squirrel was running around outside instead of hibernating inside, for the winter.
On that Christmas Eve, Shinee the White Squirrel was joyfully tree hoping the trees around the Hail Holy Spirit Church.
Shinee the White Squirrel was having so much fun that Shinee the White Squirrel had not realized how late it was.
Midnight religious services that started at 11 P.M. had just ended. Many of the churchgoers were driving home to celebrate Christmas.
Shinee the White Squirrel saw a little boy sitting on the steps of the Hail Holy Spirit Church; the little boy looked really sad and seemed really angry.
The little boy was waiting for the mother of the little boy. The mother of the little boy offered to help clean up after the midnight religious church service along with other mothers. The little boy decided to wait outside on the steps instead of waiting inside the warm surroundings of the Hail Holy Spirit Church.
Shinee the White Squirrel approached the little boy sitting on the steps.
Shinee the White Squirrel said. “My name is Shinee. What is your name?”
“Little Johnny,” said Little Johnny.
“What is wrong? You look sad. You should be happy. It is almost Christmas.
“Later tonight my mommy and my daddy are having a big Christmas dinner at midnight. We will celebrate Christmas after dinner by opening all the gifts.
“We can stay up as late as we like.
“You are shivering. Are you cold?” Shinee the White Squirrel asked.
Little Johnny straightened up, trying to look tough.
Little Johnny said. “My mommy said that my daddy is never home since my daddy became vice-president of a corporation. This will be the fifth Christmas that my daddy will miss.
“My mommy said that my daddy could find another job here in Automoville, but my daddy would rather travel all over the world looking for oil instead, because my daddy is a petroleum engineer.
“My mommy said that my daddy did not want me going with my daddy because I would not get a good education traveling all over the world and I have to move to a different school all the time.
“My daddy had never gone to any of my ball games.
“My daddy had never watched me in a school play.
“My daddy had never even been to the church picnics with the family.
“I wish that I could go with my daddy traveling all over the world instead of getting a good education. It is not fair. Other kids can see their daddy on Christmas,” said Little Johnny.
“Yeah, I agree. It is not fair.
“Little Johnny, you have to understand that even though your daddy cannot be home all the time it does not mean your daddy does not love you or your daddy does not care about you.
“Your daddy wanted you to become smart like your daddy. It is proof that your daddy really does care about you; your daddy does love you.
“You must understand; every one of us has to live our own life.
“Your daddy loves you.
“Your daddy has to live the life your daddy believes that is best for your daddy and your mommy and Little Johnny; but you must live your own life. Do you understand?” Shinee the White Squirrel asked.
“I guess so; my daddy travels all over the world because my daddy believes that it is best for my daddy and my mommy and me.
“My daddy still loves my mommy and me even if my daddy is gone all the time. I have to live my own life,” said Little Johnny.
All of a sudden, as he stood up, Little Johnny started to scream. “Holy cow, it is my daddy coming out of the taxicab, bye Shinee.”
Little Johnny dashed towards the taxi.
Little Johnny stopped running when Little Johnny was in front of the father of Little Johnny.
Little Johnny held out the right hand of Little Johnny.
Little Johnny and the father of Little Johnny shook hands.
Little Johnny had a big smile on the face of Little Johnny.
Shinee the White Squirrel noticed that it was getting cold.
Shinee the White Squirrel noticed that it was snowing.
Shinee the White Squirrel noticed that the midnight religious ceremony had ended.
“Holy cow, I am going to miss the family Christmas dinner at midnight,” said Shinee the White Squirrel.
Shinee the White Squirrel scampered to the home in the woods of Shinee the White Squirrel.
“There is more to love, than time spent.” – Daniel Escurel Occeño
About the Guest Writer: Daniel Escurel Occeño is a writer for children in the Philippines. He is also the author of JOHN PATE – Tears of Sadness and LEE CHON – The Advocate of the Point Guard. You can view the rest of his work at his blog.