Ninety-year-old Bessie Mae Davenport decided to head to Helen, Georgia on Christmas Eve. She wanted to get a Christmas present for her pastor.
She put a red sweater and Santa’s hat on Roscoe. He jumped into her 1970 Grand Marquis and yelp, yelp, yelped.
Miss Bessie shuffled to the car. “Hang on!” she scolded. “I’m not a spring puppy,” she said with a chuckle and tickled the beagle’s chin. He licked her hand.
She started the old Mercury and let out the clutch. It bucked like a Bronco and Roscoe pitched across the front seat. Miss Bessie grabbed him before he tumbled on the floor.
“Sorry, boy. This old car’s like me, creaking with arthritis. How about going to Helen? There’s a neat gift shop and I want to get Preacher Ashley a Christmas present.”
Roscoe barked and thumped his tail. His black eyes sparkled as he watched snow twirl and splash on the windshield.
“Looks like we’ll have a white Christmas,” said Miss Bessie, “but we’ll make it home before it lies.”
As Miss Bessie chugged up the mountain, people tooted their horns and passed her like a rocket.
“My goodness, Roscoe. I didn’t know so many folks knew us,” said Miss Bessie and waved at the passing motorists. She reached the top of the mountain just as the engine coughed and sputtered. Fortunately, she pulled off the pavement before the car stalled.
Miss Bessie crawled out and lifted the hood. Smoke boiled out. Roscoe howled and darted back into the car.
“Oh, my goodness! This is not a good Christmas present, Roscoe. We’ll just wait in the car until someone helps us. I’m sure it won’t be long.”
Roscoe climbed into Miss Bessie’s lap and she stroked his ears. A big Mac truck soon roared up the mountain. Miss Bessie rolled down her window, waved and shouted. The driver blew his horn and zipped by.
Traffic just flew past Miss Bessie. Sleet tapped her car and snow covered the road. Miss Bessie prayed someone would stop and help. It was getting dark. Her heart thumped when a motorcycle roared to a stop.
A young man jumped off the Honda. He was wearing red trousers and a red coat, wind whipped his black hair. He peered into her car and asked, “Do you need help, lady?”
“Yeah,” Miss Bessie said with a squeaky voice.
“Slide over and I’ll see if I can start your car.”
Miss Bessie trembled. What if he kidnapped her? She stared at the man with the long black beard. He smiled and his blue eyes twinkled. He looked like a nice young man. He tried to start the car, but it just growled. He looked under the hood, beat on some parts, jiggled some wires, but the old car was dead.
“Where are you going?”
“I want to go to the gift shop in Helen.”
“You better forget that. The snow’s too deep. I’ll take you home.”
The young man helped Miss Bessie on his Honda. She clung to him as they roared across the mountain to Hayesville, North Carolina. Roscoe whined and curled up in the man’s backpack.
They slipped and slid on the slippery pavement, but finally made it to Miss Bessie’s house. Her Christmas lights sparkled on the new fallen snow. She invited the man into her house for hot apple cider and gingerbread cookies. When the clock stuck midnight, he wished Miss Bessie and Roscoe a merry Christmas and rushed out the door.
“My goodness, Roscoe. I forgot to ask that nice man his name.”
She noticed a wallet on the floor. “That young man dropped his billfold. We’ve got to catch him.” Just as she opened the door, he roared away on his motorcycle.
“Well, maybe I can mail the wallet to him.” Miss Bessie took out his driver’s license and read, “Santa Claus, Junior. Address: The North Pole.”
Brenda Kay Ledford is listed with “A Directory of American Poets and Fiction Writers”. Her work has appeared in Country Extra, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Journal of KY Studies, Grit, and other journals. She received the Paul Green Award from NC Society of Historians for her three poetry chapbooks. Brenda is a member of NC Writers’ Network and NC Poetry Society. She’s former editor of Tri County Communicator, a publication of Tri-County Community College, and she’s a retired educator.