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John Ammeter
I'd like to wish a Merry Christmas to everyone here...
Sun Dec 19, 2010 21:49
66.235.49.90

Before I retired I worked for a company where I "interacted" with many customers/people. I was told to wish "Happy Holidays" instead of Merry Christmas for fear of offending someone...

Now that I'm retired and can whatever I want whenever I want... no bosses now other than SWMBO....

I want everyone here to have a wonderful and Merry Christmas.

Here is a wonderful Christmas Story for all to enjoy... it, for me, shows that Christmas is not a time for presents and commercialism. It's a time to show love and compassion for your fellow man.....

The best Christmas Story I have ever read.
The Gas Station


The old man sat in
his gas station on a cold Christmas Eve. He hadn't been anywhere in years
since his wife had passed away. He had no decorations, no tree, no
lights. It was just another day to him. He didn't hate Christmas,
just couldn't find a reason to celebrate. There were no children in his
life. His wife had gone. He was sitting there looking at the snow
that had been falling for the last hour and wondering what it was all
about when the door opened and a homeless man stepped through.
Instead of throwing the man out, George, "Old George" as he was
known by his customers, told the man to come and sit by the space heater
and warm up. "Thank you, but I don't mean to intrude," said
the stranger. "I see you're busy. I'll just go" "Not without
something hot in your belly," George turned and opened a wide mouth
thermos and handed it to the stranger. "It ain't much, but it's hot
and tasty. Stew. Made it myself. When you're done there's
coffee and it's fresh."


Just at that moment he heard the "ding" of the
driveway bell. "Excuse me be right back," George said. There, in the
driveway, was an old 53 Chevy. Steam was rolling out of the front. The
driver was panicked. "Mister can you help me!" said the driver, with a
deep Spanish accent. "My wife is with child and my car is broken." George
opened the hood. It was bad. The block looked cracked from the cold; the
car was dead. "You ain't going in this thing," George said, as he turned
away. "But, mister please help." The door of the office closed
behind George as he went in. George went to the office wall and got
the keys to his old truck, and went back outside. He walked around the
building and opened the garage, started the truck and drove it around to
where the couple was waiting. "Here! , take my truck," he said. "She ain't
the best thing you ever looked at, but she runs real good." George
helped put the woman in the truck and watched as it sped off into the
night. George turned and walked back inside the office. "Glad I gave
'em the truck. Their tires were shot, too. That 'ol truck has brand
new ..." George thought he was talking to the stranger. But, the man had
gone. The thermos was on the desk, empty with a used coffee cup beside it.


"Well, at least he got something in his belly," George
thought. George went back outside to see if the old Chevy would start. It
cranked slowly, but it started. He pulled it into the garage where the
truck had been. He thought he would tinker with it for something to do.
Christmas Eve meant no customers. He discovered the block hadn't cracked
it was just the bottom hose on the radiator. "Well, shoot, I can fix
this," he said to himself. So, he put a new one on. "Those
tires ain't! gonna get 'em through the winter either." He took the snow
treads off of his wife's old Lincoln. They were like new and he
wasn't going to drive the car.

As he was working, he heard shots
being fired. He ran outside and, beside a police car, an officer lay
on the cold ground. Bleeding from the left shoulder, the officer moaned,
"Help me." George helped the officer inside as he remembered the
training he had received in the Army as a medic. He knew the wound needed
attention. "Pressure to stop the bleeding," he thought. The uniform
company had been there that morning and had left clean shop towels. He
used those and duct
tape to bind the wound. "Hey, they say
duct tape can fix anything," he said, trying to make the policeman feel at
ease. "Something for pain," George thought. All he had was the pills he
used for his back. "These ought to work." He put some water in a cup and
gave the policeman the pills.

"You hang in there. I'm going to get
you an ambulance." The phone was dead. "Maybe I can get one of your
buddies on that there talk box out in your car." He went out only to find
that a bullet had gone into the dashboard destroying the two way radio.
He went back in to find the policeman sitting up. "Thanks,"
said the officer. "You could have left me there.
The guy that shot me
is still in the area." George sat down beside him. "I would never leave an
injured man in the Army and I ain't gonna leave you." George pulled
back the bandage to check for bleeding. "Looks worse than what it is.
Bullet passed right through 'ya. Good thing it missed the important stuff
though. I think, with time, you're gonna be right as rain."
George got up and poured a cup of coffee. "How do you take it?" he
asked. "None for me," said the officer. "Oh, yer gonna drink this.
Best in the city. Too bad I ain't got no donuts." The
officer laughed and winced at the same time.



The front door of the office flew open. In
burst a young man with a gun. "Give me all your cash! Do it, now!"
the young man yelled. His hand was shaking and George could
tell that he had never done anything like this before.
"That's the guy
that shot me!" exclaimed the officer.

"Son, why are you
doing this?" asked George. "You need to put the gun away.
Somebody else might get hurt."
The young man was confused. "Shut
up old man, or I'll shoot you, too. Now, give me the cash!" The cop
was reaching for his gun. "Put that thing away," George said to the cop.
"We got one too many in here now." He turned his attention to the

young man. "Son, it's Christmas Eve. If you need the money
well then here. It ain't much but it's all I got. Now, put
that pee shooter away." George pulled $150 out of his pocket and
handed it to the young man, reaching for the barrel of the gun at the same
time. The young man released his grip on the gun, fell to his knees and
began to cry. "I'm not very good at this am I? All I wanted was to
buy something for my wife and son," he went on. "I've lost my job.
My rent is due. My car got repossessed last week."

George
handed the gun to the cop. "Son, we all get in a bit of squeeze now and
then. The road gets hard sometimes. But, we make it through the best
we can." He got the young man to his feet, and sat him down on a
chair, across from the cop. "Sometimes, we do stupid things." George
handed the young man a cup of coffee. "Being stupid is one of the things
that makes us human. Comin' in here with a gun ain't the answer.
Now, sit there and get warm and we'll sort this thing out." The young man
had stopped crying. He looked over to the cop. "Sorry I shot you. It
just went off. I'm sorry officer." "Shut up and drink your
coffee," the cop said.

George could hear the sounds of sirens
outside. A police car and an ambulance skidded to a halt. Two
cops came through the door, guns drawn. "Chuck! You ok?" one of the cops
asked the wounded officer. "Not bad for a guy who took a bullet. How
did you find me?" "GPS locator in the car. Best thing since
sliced bread. Who did this?" the other cop asked as he approached
the young man. Chuck answered him, "I don't know. The guy ran off into the
dark. Just dropped his gun and ran." George and the young man both looked
puzzled at each other. "That guy work here?," the wounded cop continued.
"Yep," George said. "Just hired him this morning. Boy lost his job. The
paramedics came in and loaded Chuck onto the stretcher. The young
man leaned over the wounded cop and whispered, "Why?" Chuck just said,
"Merry Christmas boy .. and you, too, George, and thanks for everything."


"Well, looks like you got one doozy of a break there. That ought
to solve some of your problems." George went into the back room and
came out with a box. He pulled out a ring box. "Here you go.
Something for the little woman. I don't think Martha would mind.
She said it would come in handy some day." The young man looked
inside to see the biggest diamond ring he ever saw. "I can't take
this," said the young man. "It means something to you." "And now it
means something to you," replied George. "I got my memories. That's
all I need." George reached into the box again. An airplane, a car,
and a truck appeared next. They were toys that the oil company had
left for him to sell. "Here's something for that little man of
yours." The young man began to cry again as he handed back the $150 that
the old man had handed him earlier. "And what are you supposed to buy
Christmas dinner with? You keep that, too," George said. "Now, git
home to your family." The young man turned, with tears streaming down his
face. "I'll be here in the morning for work, if that job offer is still
good." "Nope. I'm closed Christmas day," George said. "See ya the day
after."

George turned around to find that the stranger had
returned. "Where'd you come from? I thought you left?" "I have
been here. I have always been here," said the stranger. "You say you don't
celebrate Christmas. Why?" "Well, after my wife passed away I just
couldn't see what all the bother was. Puttin' up a tree, and all ,
seemed a waste of a good pine tree. Bakin' cookies like I used to with
Martha just wasn't the same by myself and besides I was getting a little
chubby." The stranger put his hand on George's shoulder, "But, you do
celebrate the holiday, George. You gave me food and drink and warmed
me when I was cold and hungry. The woman with child will bear a son
and he will become a great doctor. The policeman you helped will go
on to save 19 people from being killed by terrorists. The young man
who tried to rob you will make you a rich man and not take any for
himself. That is the spirit of the season and you keep it as good as
any man." George was taken aback by all this stranger had said. "And how
do you know all this?" asked the old man.

"Trust me, George.
I have the inside track on this sort of thing. And, when your
days are done, you will be with Martha again." The stranger moved toward
the door. "If you will excuse me, George, I have to go, now. I
have to go home, where there is a big celebration planned." George watched
as the old leather jacket and the torn pants that the stranger was wearing
turned into a white robe. A golden light began to fill the room.
"You see, George ... it's my birthday... Merry Christmas."
George fell to his knees and replied, "Happy Birthday, Lord."

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