Adults vs Kids
By Audrey W.
“So what’re you doing? Storing food for the winter now?”
John Gage turned his head to face the questioning Chet Kelly, a scowl on his face. His brows knitted in puzzlement, he asked, “Huh?”
Chet pointed to his own cheeks with an index finger at each side.
John realized he’d stuffed the food he’d been chewing to the insides of both cheeks out of habit while in a discussion with his partner Roy DeSoto. The older paramedic was seated at the table in the dayroom beside him, both facing with their backs toward the sink. They were casually watching the news on the TV at the other end of the room while they had a discussion.
Gage chewed some of the substance and swallowed before answering, “I was just talkin’ to Roy about his son Chris.” He glanced at the other paramedic before returning his attention to Chet. “Chris doesn’t wanna believe in Santa Claus anymore.”
The disappointment in Gage’s voice was more than evident.
“Don’t tell me you’re upset because you still do,” Chet teased.
John rolled his eyes and took another bite of his hamburger. The paramedics had gotten take out food since they were out on a run when the engine crew ate.
With the food once again stuffed in a cheek, Gage shook his head.
“This is serious, man. This is gonna ruin the magic of Christmas for Roy an’ Joanne, not to mention Chris’s little sister Jennifer.”
“Oh, I don’t know,” DeSoto spoke out. “It would save us having to buy extra presents.”
Johnny eyed him in disbelief.
“Is that all you can think about? The money?”
Roy looked at Chet. “This from a guy who suggested a three dollar limit for the station gift exchange.”
Chet nodded, knowingly. Though he wouldn’t have minded that himself.
“Look, Johnny, we all know every kid quits believing in Santa Claus sometime. It’s just Chris’s time,” Roy assured with a shrug.
“Maybe so,” he admitted, taking another bite of food. His left cheek once more full, John added, “But I still wish we could do somethin’ to add a couple more years to his Santa days.”
“Don’t worry, Chip,” Chet said with a pat on the dark-haired paramedic’s shoulder. “I’m sure your partner ‘Dale’ has it all under control.”
Gage mocked a snicker at the chipmunk reference.
“Besides,” the curly haired fireman added, “Everyone has to grow up sometime. Chris may as well start n--”
He cut himself off when he was distracted by something that had come on the television screen since the news had just ended.
“Rudolph? Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer is on now? All right!”
The paramedics watched in amusement as he pulled a chair away from the table in excitement, then sat eagerly facing the show once he’d turned the volume up before taking a seat.
“So when are you gonna grow up, Chet?” John teased.
Actually, he had to wonder when he was as well, because he too enjoyed the annual Christmas program with the animated characters. It wasn’t a typical cartoon, but rather a stop motion one, which made it unique. John figured he apparently had to ask the same about his partner, because Roy’s attention was on the television screen, a smile on his face as he watched Rudolph.
A short while into the Christmas special, engine crew members Mike Stoker and Marco Lopez came into the room, having heard the familiar sounds from the TV.
“Why didn’t ya tell us Rudolph was on?” Mike asked as he too pulled a chair away from the table. “This is my favorite.”
“Mine, too,” Marco added. He took a seat on the leather couch under a window on the side of the room.
It wasn’t long before Captain Stanley joined the others as well.
“Hey Rudolph! You know, it was just the other evening Charlie Brown Christmas was on, too. That's my favorite next to this.”
Once the captain was settled in, Gage glanced around at the men with their attention intently on the screen, all with smiles on their faces.
Now that he thought about it, it was ironic how Christmas could bring out the child in adults who wanted to hang onto tradition and the enchantment; yet the adult in many kids who wished they had all the answers to the magic of the holiday season.
Roy must’ve been having similar thoughts because just as John finished his, his partner leaned toward him and commented, “I think I’ll take you up on your offer. Let’s figure out a way to keep the wonder of Santa Claus and Christmas alive for Chris awhile longer.”
The dark-haired paramedic stuffed his last bite of burger in his left cheek and flashed a crooked grin.
He didn’t know who’d be happiest about it. Him, Roy or Chris. He was just glad Roy finally agreed. In fact, he’d even be happy to pitch a few bucks in on the Santa gifts.
This was inspired by a picture and later my husband and I, and some of my friends elsewhere, all enjoying Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer as always.
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