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Rated: E · Fiction · Emotional · #2240242
One never knows when a miracle will happen.
“Daddy, another kiss please!” Cindy was always the last to watch him leave.
“Don’t forget to leave out hot cocoa and a cookie for Santa. I’ll be back before you know it, babe. Remind Mommy to take lots of pictures, ok? I love you all. Call me in the morning, first thing!”

“Do you think you will see Santa, daddy?” Her tiny arms had to be pried from his neck.

“Maybe, I’ll keep an eye out…..gotta go. I might be needed tonight for another little one.”

John arrived at Fire Station #9. A volunteer firefighter In an area that desperately needed them, he swapped out with another full time firefighter with four little children. None of them wanted to be away from their families but he loved this job. The guys had a great time together and when it was time to work, they pulled together like a finely tuned unit to save homes, lives and a cat or two.

The four guys had a small tree, swapped funny gifts and then cooked a meal together. No traditional Christmas food, they made spaghetti with homemade Italian meatballs their Captain had left in the freezer. Joking around and talking about their families made everything a little easier.

They raised a glass of sparkling grape juice and toasted to a quiet night. Each retired to their cots for a few hours of hopely undisturbed sleep

John found himself wide awake, thinking of his wife, Lorraine, and his two beautiful girls. Cindy, at 3, with her sky blue eyes and blonde curls looked just like her Mom. Charity was a freckled face redhead, like him, he grinned. She was so bright at 10 and quite the artist, winning 1st prize for a sculpture at their local Fall fair. It was unusual looking and his daughter had to explain what it represented to him. Hell, she'll probably have her own gallery someday.

He looked out the window at the winter wonderland below. It was a fresh snowfall, the kind he loved to play in with his family, having a snowball fight, making angels. They always made a snowman.Of course, Charity was the talented designer. Lorraine made hot buttered rum and cocoa.

He was one lucky guy and he knew it. He and Lorraine both worked in the medical field, she was a hospice RN that did home visits. She adored her patients, helping them and their families approach the end of a life. He worked full time as a ER RN. Usually he would be at the hospital but this was a deal he had made with his Supervisor so he could help with the Fire Station. It was a different world. Living where they did, in farm land, emergencies didn’t happen often so work was mostly lacerations, fractures, and the typical injuries from farm work. Not too many fires either, but there were many old homes. People lived with furnaces that weren’t checked and also occasional barn fires. Their one engine worked pretty well but they had lost some animals. Their record was a good one.

Suddenly, John saw something in the snow. It was a deer, not unusual around here. But it had something in its mouth. He watched as it carefully placed a bundle near their garage door. Then it ran, with the fresh snow flying like powdered sugar.

John hurried to the door, where a newborn baby lay, swaddled in an old flannel shirt. He took it into the warm kitchen area and rubbed the cold blue-tinged infant. Probably weighed about four pounds, listless at first so he hooked up the oxygen to give the baby a whiff through an infant mask. The child pinked right up and cried lustfully for a preemie.

The guys had heard the commotion and now stood around the child. Someone called the hospital while John listened to the little boys lungs and checked him over. Neurologically everything seemed fine also. This was one fortunate baby. Even the skin hadn’t been punctured and there was some twine around the umbilical cord.

As they waited for the ambulance, one of the guys noticed a scribbled note in the shirt pocket, “Please take care of my baby cause I can’t. His name is Riley for the reindeer that carried him to your station. God bless you all.”

By Kathie Stehr
700 words
December 22, 2020
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