The Bell Ringer

“Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas!” I exclaim with a ring, ring, ring of the simple, yellow bell in my red gloved hand.

“God bless you, God be with you, Merry Christmas,” I go on as people shuffle by.

Then the little girl, with the handful of pennies, apologizes for not having more to give. Her blue eyes shine so brightly in the early winter sunshine.  Her mother watches as every penny dings the walls of my red, metal bucket.

Pride.

“Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas!” I continue with a ring, ring, ring of my unmistakable, yellow bell.

People grumble past me into the store.  Most do not even make eye contact.  I watch as children are scolded, as men sigh knowing they will be tortured upon entry, as babies cry in their carriers, as old men snort—all the while I continue to ring my precious, yellow bell.

“God bless you, God be with you, Merry Christmas,” I carry on.

Then the old lady, with crumpled dollar bills in her frail hand, approaches.   Her eyes shine just as brightly as the little girl before, but with a depth that was a result of a lifetime of memories captured. As she puts the dollars in she smiles warmly at me.

“My daughter always made sure that we put something in the bucket.  She was a special child, that one.  Even when she had nothing, she would search the car, my purse, her coat for something, anything,” she conveyed with an apparent heavy heart.

“I’m sorry, ma’am, I’m so sorry for your loss,” I offer as if I know the story.

A thank you escapes her wrinkled lips as she carries her old, tired body into the store.  Before she is swept into the sea of chaotic shoppers, though, she turns and smiles; her eyes bright and cheerful.

Gratitude.

“Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas one and all, young and old, happy and sad, Merry Christmas to you! Merry Christmas,” I say as I let my voice become a sing-song out into the crowd that bustles by.

I see them all.  Some cannot be bothered.  Some don’t want to hear me.  Some apologize. Some wish me a Happy Hanukkah, which I am more than alright with. Some say nothing while they stare down at the ground. Yet I continue to bless them with the ring, ring, ring of my humble, little bell.

Love.

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This piece was written as part of this week’s prompt from the awesome group of bloggers who have come together to practice the craft of writing well.  {W}rite of Passage is the brainchild of Leslie “Mrs Flinger“.

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13 Responses to “The Bell Ringer”
  1. 12.08.2009

    You’ve done an amazing job showing me that lady I passed yesterday at the grocery store.

  2. 12.08.2009

    that’s the lady in front of sams club!!!
    awesome!!

  3. 12.08.2009

    I am absolutely loving these all!

  4. 12.08.2009

    Oh, MIshi. I loved it. LOVED. Truly.

  5. 12.08.2009

    Absolutely beautifully written!

  6. 12.08.2009

    Wow, Mishi. You’re as good with words as your are with a lens.

  7. I feel very compelled to search my purse and my cupboards just to go donate to the bell ringers.

  8. 12.08.2009

    REally ADORE you photography and blog. Met you on Clickinmom’s.

  9. 12.09.2009

    This is so interesting…I will definitely try this one day. It’s a little intimidating though…I’ll have to visit through.

  10. 12.09.2009

    I will never, EVER, pass her by, without returning good wishes and leaving a little something in her bucket, again! Thanks for the reminder!

  11. 12.09.2009

    What a beautiful post and very fitting for the Holiday season. You have given me another way to look at it and now have new found appreciation for the bell ringers. Thank you!

  12. 12.09.2009

    This brought tears to my eyes. Very nice!

  13. I love the perspective this story comes from. I’m always on the other side of it. Great characters. I loved it. Nicely done.


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