Christmas by Pent Ghelsburg
Disclaimer: The characters depicted in this work are purely fictional. Any resemblance to people alive or dead is purely a coincidence. They are the original and rightful intellectual property of their creators. Some of them are depicted as underage. I use them with permission and respect. You have been warned.
“The best sights of Christmas are the
smiles of Children.”
The season comes and it goes. The flurries of winter sometimes remind us that it is near. For some, it is the family get-together of Hanukah, while for others it is those of Christmas. No matter the holiday, each one of us must remember that it is never about oneself but instead about others, especially the children whose faces light up when they find presents that they may or may not have expected to get. It is in these moments that memories are made and lifetimes shaped for the better.
Nelson was a young boy who lived among the outskirts of Milwaukee. His family was one where he was the only child of two loving parents. The family of dogs was a happy one but also a hard-working one. Nelson was always diligent in school while his parents often went above and beyond when it came to working. Often times the older dogs spent a little too much time at the office and the youngest member of the family was left with the boy's uncle who was tasked as a babysitter.
At 9 years of age, the cub was getting older now. The dalmation pup was almost to the point where he didn't need a babysitter anymore but to play it safe his parents usually arranged it. In fact, his uncle was probably his favorite member of the family. It wasn't as if he didn't love his parents but rather he spent so much time with his uncle that it became more or less expected that he was around. Besides his uncle wasn't that far removed from his own age as he himself was barely an adult.
Ray like the rest of the family was thought to be a dog but had been adopted at a young age. Ray was a mysterious fellow whose past laid much in mystery. Each time Nelson brought up the issue, Ray had to ignore it by shrugging off the issue. What little his father had told him about the man's brother was interesting. Of course, the cub understood his uncle had been adopted but he wanted to know more.
What Nelson didn't know is that Ray was planning on enlisting in the military. In fact, the young man had already signed the paperwork for it in his last year. He had informed his family of the decision and shared it with his brother. Ray had always been a bit of a lost child and his brother was glad that the young man had taken it upon himself to take the dive. Carl was quite a bit older and thought that his younger brother could use the structure.
Ray was planning on enlisting at the end of the school year but they hadn't yet announced the issue with Nelson. Carl wasn't entirely sure what the young boy would think. The dalmation pup was rather fond of the young man and was known to have emotional outbursts when things didn't' go his way. Carl and his wife decided to pop the issue at Christmas in an effort to prepare the boy for his departure and ultimately lead up to more independence.
It was getting closer to Christmas, only a week away and Nelson approached his parents about gifts. He had been a diligent pup about doing chores and various tasks including going around the town to shovel snow for money. The goal of it was to purchase a gift for not only his parents but also his uncle. He had been seeing a lot about those DNA tests, regarding family history, on the television. Nelson had decided to ask his parents about it.
His mother was working in her office making some sweaters for her family where Nelson found her. The dalmation cub approached her as she looked over at him with a smile on her face.
“What's up, bucko?” She stopped what she was doing so she could look at him.
Nelson approached the woman and walked up next to her. “Hey, I had an idea for Ray's gift and wanted to know what you thought about it.”
“Oh? That's sweet of you. What were you thinking?” The mother folded her paws in her lap.
The puppy pulled out a small piece of paper which was a printed ad for the company. “You know those family history sites? I was thinking of ordering one for him.”
“Hmm. It sounds like a good idea I guess. Why not see what your father thinks? It is his brother after all.”
The smaller dog's tail wagged as he exited with the ad still in hand. He began to head towards the garage, thinking that's where his father would be. Carl was a bit of a gearhead and was usually tinkering with his motorcycle.
Nelson entered the garage and let himself in. When he did, he could hear the distinct sound of drilling. Some rock music was partially drowning out the somewhat annoying sound of the work. The cub looked around and didn't see his father directly, which most likely meant he was probably on the floor. Sure enough, after some searching around, he found the man laying down on his back underneath the bike.
Nelson poked his father who slid out from underneath on a small dolly.
“Hmm? It's not like you to come out here when I'm working. What's wrong?” The older dag sat up on the small platform underneath him.
The puppy held out the small paper. “Do you think Uncle Ray would like this?”
“Huh. This is one of those DNA services right? I don't see why not. Do you have enough for it? 50 clams is quite a bit for you.” The man wiped the sweat from his forehead.
The smaller dog nodded. “Yup, I got it in my piggy. Do you think you and Mom can help me buy it later?”
“Sure. We can do that in a bit. Let me finish what I'm doing and take a shower. Then we can do it.” The man returned to what he was doing.
The puppy exited the garage soon after speaking with his father. His tail was wagging as he had gotten approval for his gift idea. He decided to go play games until it was time to order the product. Spending about roughly an hour on his switch before there was a knock at the door.
The family ordered the product together, choosing the basic model for the service. The parents even gave the kid a discount, which was surprising to him when he tried to hand over the cash. They had decided before that it seemed like a good idea and that it was cute their son cared so much about the man. His brother of course was also curious about his sibling's past since he knew very little about it himself. The ordeal was done and it was now only a matter of time before it arrived.
Time continued to pass and the holiday season grew closer and closer to being at hand. With each passing day, Nelson got more and more excited about the potential arrival of the gift. However, the mail never seemed to come. His parents tried to reassure him that mail this time of year was slow but the puppy couldn't help but feel nervous about the issue. Soon his father informed him that his brother had confirmed his trip over for the usual family Christmas event. This only served to make Nelson even more anxious.
One day there was a knock at the door. There was no one else at home besides Nelson so the young cub got up from playing games to answer the door. Once he opened it, he realized it was one of the package providers for the area. His face lit up, sure it was what he was waiting for. Luckily the thing didn't require a signature and the delivery person handed it over. The dalmatian puppy took it in his paws and back into the house. He wasted no time in tearing the thing open in order to see what it was.
Inside of the brown box was nothing special, just another white box inside with the name of the DNA service on top of it. Nelson's excitement was piqued. This is what he'd been waiting for over the past week or two. He wondered how the thing worked but knew it was better to not open the gift any further as that would ruin the purpose of the gift being a surprise. When his parents arrived back home, they helped him wrap the gift. Everything was set and ready and Nelson was more excited than ever.
Christmas came before long. Nelson was up bright and early as he was one of those kids who still believed in the concept of Santa. Of course, when he arrived downstairs, underneath the tree was littered with gifts. The most obvious of which was an unwrapped bike that had a single bow on it. The puppy could tell it was for him since it was pretty small, not to mention it was his favorite color. He ran his paw over the top bar of the bicycle frame.
Nelson decided to go make himself a breakfast pastry while he was waiting for the rest of the family. As he got closer, his keen nose could up the smell of sausage. He assumed it must have meant his parents were already cooking in the kitchen. As he approached the tiled floor, he peeked inside to see if he could see what was being prepared. When he did he saw the sight of a familiar face that he wasn't expecting.
The puppy rubbed his eyes for a second. Ray wasn't supposed to be there till later that day. However his distinguished brown and black fur was obvious enough to set him apart from the normal white and black pattern of the rest of the family. The young man was the most muscular of the bunch, though even with his imposing features he was quite the softy. Nelson burst into the room without delay and bounded right over to where the older male was standing.
The cub latched onto him and hugged around his upper waist. “Rayyyyy!”
“Oh, hiya little guy. How's my favorite pup?” Ray reached down and ruffled the boy's hair.
Nelson looked up with a huge smile. “I'm good. I can't believe your here already. Wanna play?”
“Haha, alright. Just give me a few seconds. After all, a growing boy needs his breakfast.
The puppy blushed a bit. “Yeah, yeah. Whatever....okay. Just promise to play with me after?”
“You got it. Sit down and be a good boy.” The dog patted the table right behind him.
Nelson did as he was told to and sat down. Ray proceeded to serve him some breakfast. The meal included sausage, fresh orange, and a side of apple juice. The older dog had even gone as far as to heat the juice in order to make it taste more like cider. He knew it was the kid's favorite and figured it was a quick solution to something he couldn't make on such sort notice. The boy returned a smile to him and thanked him for the meal with a hearty burp before covering his maw.
Before long the boy's parents arrived. Ray's brother had arranged his arrival the previous night in order to surprise his son. The man was glad his kid was in such a chipper mood. Nelson helped with cleaning the table before tugging at Ray's shirt as a hint he wanted to play now. The young man finally gave in and allowed the cub to take him to wherever the younger one had in mind. The dalmatian puppy led him into a spare room near the back of the house.
This particular room was designated as the toy room. It was a room set aside for the boy when he was younger and he'd never really grown out of it. Some of the toys were ones that he didn't even bother with anymore but his parents had never taken the time to get rid of them or donate them.
“Alright, kiddo. What'cha wanna do?” The young man knelt down to be closer to eye level with the cub.
Nelson hummed a bit before answering. “Ninjago!”
“Haha, alright. You can get it set up and I'll play a few rounds with you.” The older male sat down on the floor and waited for the boy to get it setup.
Nelson spent the next few minutes setting up on the game on his Nintendo Switch. He then scooted over to the bigger male and handed him a controller.
Time flew by as they were having fun together. An hour came and passed before they were called into the living room of the home. Nelson grunted as they were in the middle of around. Ray reassured him they could continue later and that it might be time for presents. The suggestion of gifts made the boys tail wag. Like most kids, he was excited about the prospect of something new but for the first time in his young life, he was more excited to give than receive.
The two went back towards the living room. When they arrived, they could see that the boys parents had turned on the lights to the Christmas tree. The bicycle had been moved to the side and the mother was collecting gifts and dishing them out to spots that she had designated for each person. Of course, Nelson already had the largest pile, which was expected for a kid his age. She stopped before long and handed a box to the puppy.
The boy looked at it, thinking at first it was his. After examining the tag on the outside of it, he saw that it was the gift that had been prepared from him for Ray. Nelson smiled and took the red and white package in his paw before handing it over to the older male.
“This is from me, Ray.” The puppy held his paws open waiting for the other to take the gift.
The older male's eyes grew wider in surprise. “You...got me a gift?” Wow...thanks, Nelson!”
“I hope you like it!” Nelson dumped the little box into the other's paws.
The boy's tail wagged a bit. Ray was still a little shocked. It wasn't usual that he'd get a gift from the boy. Normally it was just his brother that gifted him stuff. He normally just came to be with what family he had. He never really expected much of anything.
The mother finished delivering the gifts that she could fit into the small space. She joined her husband at his side and gestured for Nelson and Ray to join them on the floor. The father got up and wheeled over the bike to him. The boy wasn't really surprised since he had already seen it later. Still, he appreciated the gift and got up to hug and then kiss both of his parents.
“We'll let you ride it after gifts are done. Let's finish up first.” The man parked the bike back towards the rear once again.
One by one the family rifled through their gifts. Before long Nelson got antsy enough to have Ray open the gift he'd gotten his favorite uncle.
The puppy got off the floor and inched over to where the older male was sitting. “Why not open what I gave you?”
The young man nodded and began peeling off the paper that was neatly wrapped around a small box. It didn't take him long to get through it. When he did he could see the unmistakable logo of the DNA service company on the front.
“Oh, wow. Is this what I think it is?” The older male crumbled up the paper into a ball and threw it to the floor.
Nelson nodded. “Uh-huh. Now you can know about your parents and stuff.”
“That's really nice of you. I can't wait to do it and share the results with you guys.” The young man's tail wagged quite obviously behind him.
Ray leaned in and grabbed the boy before twirling him around. Nelson let out a “whee” sound as he was lifted with very little effort. The cub's parents couldn't help but smile at the affectionate moment.
Eventually, Nelson was guided back to the floor. Ray couldn't help but stare at the box as he had always been curious about his past. Part of him wondered if it really mattered but now he'd know for sure. Before long they were done with the gift exchange. The boy's parents had the cub get dressed took Nelson outside to try out the bike. Luckily the snow had been groomed off the road and he was able to try out the bike. Ray lagged behind a bit as he stared and daydreamed a bit.
“Come on, Ray!” Nelson screamed from outside beckoning his uncle to join him.
Ray smiled and got his coat on before heading outside. It was a nice day and his heart was still soaring from the sweet gift from the boy. Of course, he cared about his past but he also appreciated the one he had. He couldn't wait to share the results with the family who cared so much about him but for now all that mattered to him was making the cub happy as he pushed him along on the bike outside with his brother and wife looking on and smiling.