by Sarah Earlene Shere, Hosanna Heralds, ©2022

(Dec. 9, 2022) — [See Part 1 here.]

Preparation

The icy wind blew through Phineas’ thin coat as his stiff fingers fumbled with the second candle stub that he was about to place inside the lamp. Suddenly, it fell from his hand and down to the snow beneath his ladder. Helplessly, he watched as the bit of wax was instantly swept further away by the passing skirts, canes and shoes that hurried along the street, oblivious to his plight.

From his perch, Phineas saw one stout gentleman stop and bend down to pick up the candle. The lamplighter noted the man’s unusual dark-green wool jacket (that matched his funny little hat) with broad black fur trim on the sleeves and collar.  He walked over to the lamppost and lifted his face, which was nearly obscured by a mass of white hair and whiskers. “Hello! I believe this is yours?”

Phineas reached down and took the candle from the gentleman’s outstretched gloved hand. “Aye. Much obliged.”

The good Samaritan looked around at the rushing crowd as he addressed the lamplighter. “You mustn’t mind these folks. They mean no harm. In fact, they mean great good. But sometimes, in their zeal, they forget the common courtesies. They’re all busy with Christmas preparations,” looking up at Phineas, his rosy cheeks tightened with a smile and his blue eyes twinkled, “we’re all preparing for something, or someone.”

Phineas looked up at the window of the room where his little friend lay sick and contemplated what the old man meant. But, when he turned back to ask, the gentleman had disappeared in the crowd.

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