By James K. Shaffer, December 1991
Prologue (for grownups)
Christmas is a season of hopes and wishes. The frustrations and futility that can bully us during the course of the year, although not forgotten, are tempered with feelings of rebirth and renewal. The most shattered hearts can dream of loving again, the most lost soul can hear voices calling them home and the most broken of wings can imagine flight. Romance finds its way into the most commonplace of moments. The rain of sorrow and loss that can pour down on any life can become the snow on which peace and tranquility can find a way. Is this hope born of the desperation and yearning that haunts our hearts or is there indeed a Christmas spirit? Is there this spirit that descends from some finer place that inspires us to forgive and love our fellow man and even ourselves? Does the human soul indeed open itself to the possibility that it exists for a reason and can in this lifetime, for moments all too fleeting, achieve a state of grace that lifts us to be better people? The answer to these questions can be found in the purity and complexity of a snowflake and the power of a tear in a child eye…
Once upon a time, in a city that was not always so kind, lived a young girl named Rainy. Rainy was born on Christmas seven years earlier and got her name because on that day it had rained like never before. It began the moment Rainy cried her first tear and continued until she slept that evening. The city had never seen such rain.
From that day forward, every time Rainy cried, the rains would come. No matter how sunny the day, nor how clear the night, the clouds would gather and the rain would fall. As she got older, Rainy learned to controls her tears. Instead of crying, Rainy would go to the roof of her building and sing sad songs to the stars. People all over the city could hear her sing and no one ever complained because her voice was so beautiful.
Luckily for Rainy, an all the other people of the city, she was mostly a happy smiling child who was not sad very often. And just as her tears brought the rains, her joy made the sun shine brighter, the moon smiled, flowers bloomed and the city was a happier place to be. And as sad as her sad songs sounded, her happy songs were a joyful sound that made people feel warm inside.
Rainy’s family was not very wealthy in possessions, but billionaires if banks could hold love. They were kind to one another and tried always to be cheerful. Rainy’s father, Big Nicky had bright red hair and a long red beard. He drove a train that was the pride of the rails called “The Christmas Cannonball” .
Her mother, Gloria, had long black hair like Rainy’s and a voice to match. Gloria taught singing and music at Rainy’s school and was proud of her daughter’s clear powerful voice.
Rainy’s baby brother, Little Nicky, had just lost his baby teeth and talked all the time although no one could understand him. No one, that is, except for old Uncle Elmer who, when he took out his false teeth and talked, sounded exactly the same. Elmer lived downstairs with Aunt Marie, who loved chocolate and dancing, and cousin Mark who was a few months older than Rainy. Cousin Mark tried to be good, but always seemed to get himself into some kind of mischief.
Grandma and Grampa lived in the building directly across the street and although they were old, they were so full of energy that no one thought of them as old. They loved to ice skate in the winter, plant flowers in the spring, swim at the beach in the summer and through big parties in the fall.
Rainy had a dog named Circles because he had big black circles around each eye and loved to chase his tail in circles. They were a big happy bunch.
Because Big Nicky sometimes drove his train to far away places, he was sometimes away from his family for days at a time. This is what made Rainy the saddest. But no matter how far away he was, Big Nicky always called to wish them goodnight. This usually cheered Rainy up. But she missed her father and it made her sad. When she was younger this always made her cry. As she grew up she learned to to control her tears and hold back the rains.
Now that she was a big girl she had it under control except on Christmas