We arrived in Pennsylvania the night before. I wanted to get here Friday night so we could get to the farmers market the next morning. It’s usually the highlight of my trip and the part I look forward to. This year was no different except that Saturday was Valentine’s Day and I was hoping to get Katy her gift at the market this morning.
I was looking around and found the perfect gift. An Angel pin. It was too good to be true. I reach down to pick it up when another man in a red suit reached ahead of me and picked it up first.
Disappointed that I lost out on the gift, I turn to walk away. I felt someone’s hand on my shoulder.
“I think Katy would like this better then my wife would. Why don’t you take it.”
I turn around to see an old man with a long white beard had stopped me. A little stunned, I can only say “thanks”.
“My pleasure, Alan. Just keep taking good care of your wife and Kes.”
I take the pin from him. As I was about to speak. Someone bumps into me. I turn my attention back to the old man and he’s gone.
I was curious as to how he knew us. I put the pin in my pocket and left the market. As I started my walk back to John and Leona’s house, I thought I heard sleigh bells. But, couldn’t make out the sound clearly with oncoming traffic. I put it out of my mind and started concentrating on our dinner date tonight.
At the house, John was cooking breakfast and Leona was sitting at the table working a crossword puzzle. The TV was on in the background. I turned to walk into the living room. In the corner of my eye, I saw the farmer’s market on TV. I stop in my tracks to see what happened. Instinctively I turn up the volume to listen.
“Today at the Farmer’s Market in Hanover, There’s been several acts of generosity and good will by an unidentified elderly couple. All the witnesses claim the two look like Santa Claus and his wife. But, no one has been able to talk to the elusive couple for more the a few seconds. If anyone know the whereabouts of these two please contact this station so we can thank them for all they’ve done….”
I turn the sound back down. I notice that John and Leona are both at the table starting breakfast. Leona speaks up.
“Did you see them?”
“I say the guy and he gave me this.” I show them the pin. They admired it briefly. I heard footsteps behind me and quickly put it back in my pocket.
“Did you see the news?” Katy asked me.
“Did you see them?”
“I saw him across the room.” I lied to her to protect my surprise. “I never got up close to either of them.” I quickly changed the subject to avoid complications.
“Have you thought about where to have dinner tonight.”
“Dad and I thought about Bentley’s restaurant. It has live entertainment and a fireplace which has a romantic touch.”
“Sounds good. How do we get there?”
“Dad’s going to give us a map and directions after breakfast.”
I let Katy into the kitchen for her breakfast. I go to the living room to sit down on the sofa to watch more news. As I’m getting comfy. I notice Sarah and her family had come in to meet Katy and the family. Chris came into the living room carrying a sleeping Nathan in their portable car seat. He sat down on the opposite end of the sofa to watch TV while Sarah starts chatting with Katy, John, and Leona.
As the news ended, Katy came back to the living room.
“Alan. Sarah has volunteered to watch Kes. So, Mom and Dad can go out for supper with us tonight.”
“Great!” I thought to myself. “There goes my plans for privacy.”
Katy continued: “They’re going to the Wolf’s Den and we’ll go to Bentley’s. They’re both in the same building.”
“Nice.” I say out loud as I’m thinking to myself I dodged a bullet.
“We’ll be leaving tonight around 6pm.” Katy concluded.
The day a passed on uneventfully and agonizingly slow in my opinion. All I can think about was my plans for the evening. The TV was no distraction. Neither was Kes, Who was in their own world with Barbie and friends. Katy had occupied her time with Sarah, Chris, John, and Leona as they caught up on recent events and played with Nathan.
John came into living room. “We’ll be leaving in half an hour.”
Katy and I went upstairs and started getting ready for a big night at Bentley’s restaurant.
As we got on our Sunday best for the occasion, Katy asked:
“Do you think will see the old man from the news?”
“Honestly.” I replied “If they’re in the area for Valentine’s day, anything’s possible.
A few minutes later, we pull into the parking lot. As we get out of the pickup truck. Katy whispers to me. “ Did you hear bells?”
“It’s just your imagination.” I replied. I didn’t want to tell her I heard them too.
She shrugs it off and we catch up to John and Leona and head to the restaurant.
At the door, We split up. John and Leona go to the Wolf’s Den and we head to the main restaurant.
“The show’s going to start soon. Haven’t you decided on anything yet?” Katy asked me for the second or third time.
“I’m still deciding.” I say again. “There’s just so much I like, I just can’t decide.”
“I’ll come back shortly.” The waiter tells us again.
After a couple minutes of debating we’re still undecided.
The waiter comes over our way. At first, I thought he was coming to take our order. But, then I see he has guests following him. An elderly man and his wife. Both in formal dress. He looks odd wearing a tuxedo at his age with a long white beard and top hat. Her outfit was stunning. It had all the sparkle of a modern day evening gown. But, It was a Victorian look that went well with her. As they walked past, The Old man makes eye contact with me and winks.
“It’s the old man from the farmers market.” I quickly and quietly whispered to Katy after they walk past.
I look up to see them get seated on the opposite side of the room from us.
“Good seats.” I thought to myself. Close to the performers. But, out of the way of the general public. I told Katy my thoughts and she agreed they were good seats. But, probably reserved and pricey.
The waiter comes over from sitting down the elderly couple.
“Pardon sir. The couple over there has offered to pay for your meal if you’d switch tables with them.”
I know I didn’t think twice about it. Katy and I gathered our stuff and made our way over to the elderly couple.
They stood up as we approached. He pulled out his chair. “Kathleen, I’d be honored if you take my seat.”
Katy was stunned that the old man knew her name. She sat down and asked. “ How do you know me?”
“We’ve met before when you were younger. Besides, I know lots of people in my line of work.”
“What line of work? If you don’t mind me asking.” I say as I take the seat offered by the man’s wife.”
“Gift distribution specialist.” He says with a familiar laugh.
Just before he walks off to our original seats, he looks back to me. “Everything’s been taking care of. Just relax and enjoy the evening.”
He paused briefly. “Congratulations on your winnings.” He quickly walks away before I could ask him how he knew.
Katy and I look up to the waiter. “We’re ready to order, now.”
The waiter replies “It’s been taken care of. I’ll be coming it out shortly.” He motions to another waiter to bring out the drinks.
The second waiter brings out my diet Pepsi with no ice and Katy’s root beer.
The third waiter quickly brings out a tray full of food and starts placing dishes in front of us. Katy got fried jumbo shrimp and I get a good sized helping of Roast Turkey with all the fixings.
Katy amazed at the display. “They’re all our favorites. How did he know?”
I look back to the table where the elderly couple were sitting. Then, turned to Katy. “This may sound crazy. But, I think that may be Santa and his wife.”
Katy looked at me like she agreed I was crazy. I could tell her by her next reaction she knew I was right. “What’s he doing here in Pennsylvania?”
“Probably looking to romance the wife and give her a Valentine.”
“It’s what I would do on Valentine’s Day.” Taking my own cue. I pull out the box with Katy’s present and hand it to her. “Happy Valentine’s Day, Love.”
She looks at the pin and smiles. “It’s wonderful. But, where’s my roses.”
My opportunity for a perfect evening just hit rock bottom. I forgot her dozen red roses that I give her every year.
“Pardon. Mr. Flye.”
We both looked up to see a delivery man carrying a huge bouquet of red roses.
“I’m sorry I ran so late. It’s been a busy night. He hands the bouquet to Katy.
Katy starts getting teary eyed at the arrangement. “Thank you, so much. They’re beautiful.”
“Nothing but the best for you.” I didn’t want to tell her that I had nothing to do with the delivery. “We probably should eat now. Before the turkey and Shrimp get cold.
I quickly offered a delivery man a tip. He waves it off like it is already been taken care of. I return my attention to the food and dive in.
Twenty minutes past quietly as we ate and listen to the singer on stage. I had wondered if the old man had arranged for the singer to sing their favorite songs. But thought better of it as a coincidence. I usually hear the songs every Valentine’s day.
As we finished our meal, we declined dessert. Our waiter brought us a tray with a bill on it.
“I thought the old man was paying for this?” I asked curiously, thinking our good fortune had just ended.
“He did. this is a Valentine’s gift for you two.” He put the tray down between us and left.
On the tray was a prepaid debit card, a hotel key card, and a note. The note was on Christmas stationery and simply stated.
Believing in each other
is even more important
than believing in me.
Happy Valentine’s day
“It was him.” Katy said as she read the note.
I looked at her in agreement. “Let’s head out to this hotel.”
Katy and I got our coats on and headed out the door. Outside, we were going to call a taxi when John and Leona joined us.
“Leona looked like she enjoyed herself. “You’ll never guess what happened.”
I had a hunch. “Does It have something to do with an elderly couple.”
Leona and John were shocked that we guessed. At that moment, we heard bells coming from overhead. We all looked up toward the sky. All we could see amongst the clouds was a faint red light headed north. None of us spoke for a couple of minutes. But, we all knew who it was.”
Finally John broke the silence. “I’ll get the truck.”
As John walked off toward the park, I spotted a taxi driving in.
The driver sticks his head out the window. “Some old guy just paid me 50 bucks to give you a ride.”
Katy and I didn’t question it. We told Leona we were going to a hotel. Jumped into the waiting cab and drove off.
As we hit the road toward our hotel. Katy and I looked into each other’s eyes. It was clear we were thinking the same thing. Neither of us would ever forget Santa’s Valentine.