Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring.

“Dad, why are we here?”

Ring. Ring. Ring.

“To draw attention to the donation kettle. People are more likely to give to a person than they are to just a bucket.”

Ring. Ring. Ring.

“Yeah, but why are we here?”

Ring. Ring. Ring.

“Because everyone needs to do their part. A lot of people doing little things can make a big difference, son.”

Ring. Ring. Ring.

“But mom says you already give money, isn’t that enough? Can’t we let someone else do this part? It’s cold and boring, and most people just pass by without giving anything. What if some of my friends see me? Besides, the bell is driving me crazy.”

Ring. Ring. Ring.

Ring. Ring. Ring.

Ring. Ring. Ring.

“That’s because you’re not listening for the song.”

Ring. Ring. Ring.

“The song? It’s just a bell.”

Ring. Ring. Ring.

“No, it’s more than a bell. Listen to it for a minute and tell me what you hear.”

Ring. Ring. Ring.

“I’ve been listening to it for the last half hour, dad. All I hear is ‘ding, ding, ding’.”

“Then you’re not trying. Really listen.”

Ring. Ring. Ring.

Ring. Ring. Ring.

“Do you really hear a song, dad?”

Ring. Ring. Ring.

“Sure I do. Right now it’s Jingle Bells.”

Ring. Ring. Ring.

Ring. Ring. Ring.

“I think I hear it now! O what fun it is to ride…”

“Now you’ve got it!”

Ring. Ring. Ring.

Ring. Ring. Ring.

“Can you do other songs?”

“Sure. Listen for a bit and see if you hear something else.”

Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring.

Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring.

“You getting anything?”

“Uh-huh. Can we pretend that airplanes in the night sky are like shooting stars…”

“Is that a song?”

Ring. Ring. Ring.

“Yeah, but it’s not a Christmas song.”

Ring. Ring. Ring.

“That’s ok. The important thing is that you’re hearing the song. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Christmas song or not.”

Ring. Ring. Ring.

Ring. Ring. Ring.

Ring. Ring. Ring.

“This is pretty cool, dad.”

“You want to know the really cool part?”

Ring. Ring. Ring.

“What’s that?”

Ring.

“We’re part of the song.”

Ring. Ring.

“What do you mean?”

Ring. Ring. Ring.

“We are here today, and able to hear the song, because someone else did their part years ago.”

Ring. Ring. Ring.

Ring. Ring. Ring.

“I think I see what you’re saying. We’re keeping it going.”

Ring. Ring.

“Now you’re getting it. And for us it’s even more personal. Maw-maw used to tell me that we wouldn’t be here without the Salvation Army. ”

Ring. Ring. Ring.

“Really?”

Ring. Ring.

“She was your grandpa’s mom. My grandmother. She told me about the tornado when they lived in Mississippi.”

“We lived in Mississippi?”

Ring. Ring. Ring.

“This was long before you were born. In fact, it was before I was born. Paw-paw was killed in the storm.”

“How come grandpa never mentioned that?”

Ring. Ring. Ring.

“He doesn’t talk much about it. He was a young teenager, probably about your age.”

Ring. Ring. Ring.

Ring. Ring. Ring.

Ring. Ring. Ring.

“Maw-maw said the Salvation Army gave them a place to stay and helped them clean up after the storm. It was several years later when they would move here to Georgia. That’s when your grandpa started his store. He might not have ever gotten that chance without the help they received years before.”

Ring. Ring.

Ring. Ring.

“I had no idea. I guess we really are part of the song.”

Ring. Ring. Ring.

Ring. Ring. Ring.

“Doctor Butler? What a surprise to see you out here.”

Ring. Ring. Ring.

“Hi, Mrs. Davis! Just trying to do my part for a good cause.”

“Well, here, let me see if I’ve got some change.”

Clink. Clink.

“Thank you, Mrs. Davis. Have a Merry Christmas!”

Ring. Ring. Ring.

Ring. Ring. Ring.

“You still hear the song, son?”

Ring. Ring. Ring.

“Yeah. I do.”

Ring. Ring.

“Good. That’s why we’re here.”