The Season’s Touch
By Angie Brown, Guest Author
The unshaven elderly man, dressed in a double layer of overcoats, a woolen knit hat pulled snugly over his ears, and black unbuckled overshoes, stood on the corner of a busy main street. He was standing with his back close to the massive building where the throng of people were coming and going near the double door entrance. The woolen mittens covering his hands held a songbook. It was the Christmas season and he stood erect, singing lustily, in a deep haunting voice. What was so unusual was that he was not asking for a deed of mercy. He was singing with delight, as could be seen from the joy on his face. Occasionally, he picked up his small violin and brought forth a sweet musical arrangement while he sang. His excellent baritone voice was noticed, and the moving crowd slowed its pace as they approached.
Alex Kallenbach, the vice president of Maier, Jones and Kallenbach law firm, was hurrying from the parking ramp to his office on the fourth floor of the building. He had observed the elderly gentleman before, but this morning, as he looked at the singer, he stopped and listened. He engaged him in conversation. The singer pulled his mittens off and flipped through a few pages of his book, and said, “Here’s a favorite. Would you like to hear it”? “Sure,” was the reply. As the strong, low-pitched voice started “We Three Kings”, Alex joined in and finished the song with the stranger. They laughed, shook hands and Alex thanked him, going through the doors of the building. “Good morning,” Alex sang the greeting, happily seating himself at his desk. His partners took a moment to look in his direction. “A.K. must be in a rather good frame of mind today,” they thought. The day passed swiftly and surprisingly well.
The next morning, there he was again at the corner, the violin was sending out its message, and again the glow on the singer’s face was evident. Alex stopped beside the stranger and joined in with “Joy to the World.” He was having so much fun that he continued singing the next Christmas song as well. Finishing that, he picked up his briefcase and walked the four flights of stairs to his office instead of taking the elevator. He wanted a few more minutes to bask in the atmosphere of the lightness he felt.
All week long, Alex was filled with energy and enthusiasm. Every morning, he sang with the stranger. His zeal was contagious. Others observed the new attitude as they worked. The clerks next door in the advertising offices walking by heard the jovial tone coming from the law office and wondered what was going on. At the end of the lengthy hall in the medical office, the secretary mentioned, “There’s a whole new air on this fourth floor.” By the end of the week, she too found herself happily encouraging the patients who came in.
Every door on the fourth floor was dressed in fresh evergreens with bright, red ribbons. This year, all the offices in the building were having a party together in the restaurant on the ground floor. The morning of the party, Alex, as usual, accompanied the singing gentleman with a few carols and then he said, “Sir, you are a trained baritone. Surely you’ve been singing before, haven’t you?” “Oh, yes,” was the answer. “I’d like to invite you to our Christmas party this afternoon at five p.m. Bring your violin,” said Alex. The man smiled a grateful “Thank you,” as the lawyer entered the building.
Alex mentioned the stranger to the others, and it was decided that the collection they usually take to benefit some needy person should be given to the singer. At five o’clock, the party was in full swing when they heard the sweet strains of “O Holy Night” coming from the hallway. Opening the door, the crowd found no one there, but the old violin was there, with a note tucked into the strings which read: “Wise Men Still Seek Him.”
(For more short stories by Angie Brown, click HERE)