It was Christmas Eve and Mrs. Wilson, an elderly woman, was sitting in her rocking chair, listening to Christmas carols on her radio. This was a family tradition that went on for many, many years. Christmas just wasn't Christmas in the Wilson household without listening to carols on the radio.
"Oh my!" she sighed. "I'm so lonely. I wish my son, Paul were here to share Christmas with me!"
Mrs. Wilson lived alone in a small apartment. This particular Christmas was very rough on her. Normally, Christmas was spent with Paul, his wife Nelly, and their son Johnny. However, this could not happen this Christmas. Paul had lost his wife and son in a car accident earlier that fall. It was a very difficult time for Mrs. Wilson, but especially for Paul. Oh, how he had loved his wife and child!
A few days ago, Mrs. Wilson had called her son to ask him to join her for Christmas.
"Ma, I can't," Paul had told her. "I miss them so terribly. I keep expecting them to show up at the doorstep. Christmas will never be the same."
"Oh Paul," cried Mrs. Wilson. "I know this is difficult for you, but do you honestly think that you should be alone at a time like this. Come on, we can have our own Christmas, just me and you."
"I don't know," said Paul. "Right now, yeah, I do think that being alone is the answer."
"Well dear," she replied sadly. "If you change your mind, I'll be here."
"Thanks Ma," said Paul. "And, Ma, Merry Christmas."
"Merry Christmas to you too, son," said Mrs. Wilson.
The radio program was just finishing up for the night. Mrs. Wilson, yawning, got up and turned it off.
"The radio program just wasn't the same this year," she sighed as she went into her bedroom. "It's just not the same without Paul, Nelly and Johnny. I sure wish Paul would change his mind."
Later that night, she was awakened by a strange sound coming from her living room. Quickly, she grabbed her house coat and went to see what was going on. There, standing by the Christmas tree, with his arms full of presents, was Paul.
"Oh Paul!" cried Mrs. Wilson. "I'm so glad to see you."
She embraced her son as tightly as she could.
"I just got to thinking that maybe being alone wasn't the right thing," said Paul. "After all, aren't we supposed to spend Christmas with family?"
"Yes, dear, we are," said Mrs. Wilson, happily. "I'm so glad you came."
"You know," said Paul. "I'm glad I did too."
"Can I get you something to eat, Paul?" asked Mrs. Wilson. "I have some apple pie and ice-cream."
"Now that sounds good," said Paul. "Come to think of it, I'm starved."
Mrs. Wilson dished Paul out a heaping dish full of homemade apple pie and a huge serving of vanilla ice-cream.
"You know," said Paul taking a fork-full of pie. "Johnny used to love your apple pie and ice-cream. Remember the first time he had some."
"Yes, I do," said Mrs. Wilson. "It was his first Christmas. Remember the mess he made. He had the pie and ice-cream everywhere!"
"Nelly sure had one mess to clean up after that one," said Paul sadly. "Boy I sure do miss them."
A tear formed on the corner of his eye. He wiped it away with the back of his hand.
"It sure is hard on you, isn't it son?" asked Mrs. Wilson, sadly.
"It sure is," said Paul. "But, do you know something? It feels good to talk to someone about them. I've been keeping this all bottled up inside of me and it just isn't doing me any good."
"I'm here for you, son," said Mrs. Wilson. "Anytime you feel like talking, I'm here."
"Thanks, Mom," said Paul.
Paul slept on the couch in the living room that night. When he woke up, he could smell his favourite Christmas breakfast cooking, peameal bacon and eggs.
"That smells delicious," said Paul, sitting down at the table a few minutes later. "Is that a turkey I smell, too?"
"It sure is," smiled Mrs. Wilson. "You can't have Christmas without a turkey."
Paul reached over and turned the radio on.
"We can't have Christmas without Christmas carols, either," said Paul.
"Oh Paul," cried Mrs. Wilson. "Merry Christmas!"
"Merry Christmas to you too, Ma," said Paul.