A Christmas Gift
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Waking up on Monday morning, I sat up in bed rubbing my eyes.
A chill was in the air, and I quickly made my way to the bathroom.
I dressed for school, and scooted down the hallway to the kitchen.
The smell that was radiating my way let me know that Mom was baking biscuits for breakfast.
"That smells good," I told her, "I am hungry."
"Great," she answered, "sit down and have some biscuits and gravy to start your day off right."
She served up a big plateful and I ate as much as I could.
I then grabbed my coat from a hook by the front door and stepped outside, it was snowing big heavy flakes.
It reminded me that Christmas was only a couple of weeks away.
The first part of my senior year had gone fast, but I knew it would.
As I stepped down on the sidewalk my friend Luke drove up; it was his turn to drive.
We arrived at school and headed for the gym.
Both of us had a free first period and we took advantage of it by practicing playing basketball; we were both on the team.
"I'm glad we have this time free," I said, "well, not exactly free, but time to shoot hoops and practice."
"Yes," Luke hollered as he ran down the court.
The bell rang and we headed onto our next class.
As we walked down the hall we almost ran into a new kid we had seen a few times in the past couple of weeks.
He said hello and went on his way.
He kind of took me by surprise when I got a good look at him.
He wasn't dressed like someone would if they were going to school, his clothes were shabby and his shoes had holes in them.
"Hay, Luke." I said. "Who is the new kid? I have seen him in a couple of my classes, but I haven't paid too much attention to him."
"Well, I don't know much." said Luke. "He told some of the other boys that he has come here to go to school because his parents divorced and he had no place to go.
Now he lives with his Grandma and Grandpa who are older and can hardly take care of themselves."
"He looks like he is about my size," I piped in, "I can look through some of my clothes and shoes to see what I can find."
"That would just embarrass him." whispered Luke, "How would you give stuff like that to him, the only place you see him is here at school."
"I don't know, I will think of something." I said.
When I got home Mom handed me a box that had come in the mail for me.
I knew that it was a pair of basketball shoes that I had ordered to start the new season with. Mom said they were for Christmas, but I could have them early.
I went to my room, closed the door, and tried the new shoes on and jumped a few times, pretending to shoot hoops.
They were nice.
I took them off and sat them just inside my closet along with a couple other pairs of shoes and closed the door.
The next day, after school, when Luke and I were on our way back to my house we saw the new kid walking on the sidewalk.
It was really cold outside with the winter winds blowing the snow around.
"Hay," I told Luke, "pull over and we can see if he needs a ride home."
As we pulled over I rolled down my window and asked if we could give him a ride.
"No, thank you," he said, "I don't live very far from here."
"My name is Ryan," I told him. "I've seen you in school a few times; my friend here is Luke."
"I'm Jake." he said, "Do you guys play basketball?"
"Yes we do," I said, "are you interested in playing on the school team?"
"Well, I guess, but I would need a uniform and special shoes." he said. "My grandparents can't afford to help me get those."
I told Jake that if he was ever able to, we could always use another player.
We said good-by and drove on.
It was snowing again, and it was coming down fast, the roads were getting a little slick.
Getting ready for bed, I opened my closet to look for something on the top shelf.
When I looked down I saw the new shoes.
I started thinking about Jake and felt funny that I could afford them and a uniform to play basketball, but he couldn't get either one of them.
I went to my chest and opened the top drawer.
In the corner was a wrinkled up piece of paper that had information about the basketball uniforms. I called Luke.
"Luke," I said, "is it too late to order uniforms?"
"I don't think so," he answered, "some of the other guys haven't ordered their new ones yet."
"Luke could play basketball if he had a uniform and some shoes." I told him, "Let's ask him a few questions about what sizes he wears without making it too obvious, I have an idea."
The next day we had some of the other guys help us find out what we needed to know.
I had told Luke of my plan of giving him my new shoes, and using some of the money we were saving together to use when summer came around for a little trip we were going to take, to get him a uniform.
I told Mom my plan when I got home; she was surprised, but thought it was a great idea.
With the information we had gathered we ordered a uniform.
The packaged arrived a couple of days later.
We boxed up the shoes and uniform. We found some nice Christmas wrapping paper and slipped a note inside.
We would have to go to school early and find out where Jake's locker was, so we could leave it inside or at least in front of it, with his name on it.
That is what we did, and standing down the hall just out of sight, we watched as he found the package.
With a stunned look on his face, Jake picked it up and began to unwrap it.
The look on his face let us know that he truly was surprised.
He sat down on the floor, took out the note and read it 'A Christmas Gift'.
Then he looked around to see who might be standing nearby, he wiped the tears off his face and began to put on his new shoes.
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