The Linnet's Wings Summer 2014 - Page 128

Hazel stormed back to the kitchen. She shouted over her shoulder, "If that's a marriage proposal that's one hell of a way to do it. ### The kid returned from the Christmas party with a candy cane in one hand and a toy soldier in the other. Tears ran down his face. What's his mom doing? And his dad? Even Big Cab gets happy at Christmas time. Grandma, what about her? She's alone now because Andy, Lonnie, Paulie, and Carl are all dead. What's she gonna do now? "Hey! Quit crying. You got visitors.'' Nurse Hardy was smiling as she pushed the wheelchair close for the kid to climb into. The police have come to get him and they're going to take him to jail; the great sadness has sunk to complete gloom: he's been caught. They entered the day room. A man and woman, sitting at a table surrounded with Christmas-wrapped presents, leaped to their feet and rushed toward the kid. The man was a funny-looking little guy but they were both smiling. Nurse Hardy said, "This is Mr. and Mrs. Van Ness. They come to see you.'' She turned to the couple. "This is our little man. He doesn't talk but he listens real good.'' The woman placed her hand on the kid's shoulder. "Merry Christmas! Look at the presents we brought you.'' She gave a grand sweep of her hand towards the table. The kid fought hard to keep his lower lip from quivering as they pushed him next to their chairs and placed a present in his lap. The woman kept talking non-stop. "We want you to come home with us. We got a room all fixed up just for you. Would you like that?'' The tiny man hovered next to his wife, smiling and nodding his head up and down. Nurse Hardy smiled in the background. The kid ignored the present. His body began to shake as tears swelled up in his eyes. Whitey's wife leaned closer. "They say you don't have a name. We got one for you. It's Nigel. It's a good English name. It comes from the Hebrew name Nathaniel. It means, ` Gift of God.' That's what you are: a gift of god because you changed me and Whitey's life forever. Your name is going to be Nigel Van Ness.'' The great stone resolve was torn asunder. The floodwaters were torrential. Hazel Van Ness wrapped her arms around the kid and pulled him into her lap. He buried his face into her bosom and sobbed great heaving sobs. ### Tree-lined Highway 120, Yosemite Avenue, travels east and west through the heart of the small valley town. On the highway and just west of downtown, sits a large old white brick building. This is Yosemite Grammar School; a wrought-iron fence faces the avenue and decorates the entrance to the school. A wide concrete stairway goes up and into the second floor hall that leads to the classrooms that line e