Don’t be alarmed my friends,
I not moving from stately Blackwood Manor for the plains of Oklahoma.
This story is about a young friend of mine.
More importantly, it’s a story about how Christmas wishes, can come true.
If you have a minute, let me tell you about Joshua.
Believe it or not, my limited fame as The Bicycle Elf and noted Southern Author has allowed me, from time to time, to grant special wishes to children.
Sometimes those wishes come in the form of “things” such as a bicycle or tricycle of their dreams.
But sometimes I get a request from a child, to just talk with me.
EDITORS NOTE: I know it’s weird for me to accept too.
One such request came this week from a Miss Ellie who lives outside of Norman Oklahoma.
She is a single mother, who works two jobs to support her ten-year-old special needs son, Joshua.
She contacted me through an organization that grants children’s wishes, because Joshua wanted to talk with me, The Bicycle Elf, over the phone.
I called Ellie and I learned that Joshua had Down Syndrome and a myriad of health problems associated with his disability. She told me that Joshua, although he couldn’t read, loved my stories that she would read to him from my book, especially the stories about Christmas.
She said he was the sweetest soul you could ever possibly hope to be around, and she added, “Joshua just loves everybody, that’s who he is.”
I readily agreed to the phone conversation with Joshua and we made plans to call him the following afternoon when Ellie got home from work.
I was a little nervous all day before the call to Joshua.
I always am in these circumstances.
Will I say the right things, while I pray, I don’t say the wrong things?
What if he has a wish I can’t fulfill?
What will I say to him then? “Tough Luck Kid, No can do, sorry?”
EDITORS NOTE: The above isn’t in my vocabulary when it comes to kids, but still?
Suffice to say I was nervous.
I didn’t want to screw up, if you know what I mean.
You only got one shot at this with a child, one shot.
But I will tell you something else, you may not know about me.
I like broken things
Especially broken people, I see the beauty in them that some other people might not see.
Because I too, am broken and completely imperfect.
But I digress here.
The time arrived the following day to call Joshua and immediately Joshua answered the phone.
The excitement in his little voice made my nervousness disappear as he stammered;
“Is, is, is this THE Bi-Bi-Bicycle Elf!”
Yes sir, it most certainly is I said, and I added, Joshua is one of my favorite people in the Bible.
He practically squealed, “My-my-my Mommy named me after J-J-Joshua from the Bible!”
I told him how awesome I thought that was…
Then Joshua quickly said, “I Kn-kn-know the whole st-st-story about him too!”
My young friend took a deep breath, didn’t give me a chance to respond and stuttered out;
“Joshua led the captives from the wilderness of Texas, and he parted the Red River, and that’s how we all got to Oklahoma.”
I couldn’t help but laugh and I do mean laugh like I meant it.
Joshua added one other brief sentence for emphasis, “Boomer Sooner!”
I gave Joshua a “Boomer Sooner” in response and told him I appreciated him telling me that story.
I didn’t correct him or try to “set the record” straight on that particular subject.
In case you were wondering why I didn’t, I will tell you.
Because people like Joshua have a ticket to heaven in the bank.
While knuckleheads like me don’t.
And being “right” isn’t always the right thing to do.
Joshua and I talked for a few minutes about his day to day activities.
He told me that sometimes he has a hard time breathing.
He told me that he has a bad heart.
He told me all about his dog Lenny and how they are “Best Friends” and Joshua wanted to know all about “Doc” The World-Famous Black Lab and myself.
He told me how much he loved his Mommy reading my Christmas stories to him.
He told me how much he loved the Oklahoma Sooners.
Then Joshua threw me another “alternative” story or song in this case when he said;
“You-You-You kn-Kn-Know they wrote th-th-that song about Oklahoma ri-ri-right?”
When he said that, I cleared my throat in anticipation of belting out my Broadway baritone rendition of “Oklahoma!”
EDITORS NOTE: In all fairness I only know the first line of the song, but enthusiasm will overcome nearly any bad performance, at least that’s what I learned from watching “American Idol” that one time.
But before I could say or sing anything, Joshua said;
“You-You Kn-Kn-Know, th-the song; Sweet Home Oklahoma! By-By Leonard Skylar!”
And with that, Joshua broke into his “rendition” of “Sweet Home Alabama”, substituting Alabama with Oklahoma and with me singing right along with him.
“Big wheels keep on rolling ……”
“Where the sky is so blue….”
“Sweet Home Oklahoma!”
Let me tell you, Joshua sung that song with some gusto too.
Once the song was over and his giggling subsided over my apparent inability to carry a tune.
I asked him, “What would you like for Christmas?”
Joshua, with all his day-to-day issues simply said;
“I-I-I have everything any-any-anybody could Ev-Ev-Ever ask-ask- for, I don’t want-want anything, I just wanted to talk with you, The Bicycle Elf, because you-you- your famous.”
I really didn’t know what to say to that.
But we Marines, I mean Bicycle Elf’s are not detoured from our missions easily.
Then the idea “Hit” me.
Maybe it was the song we just sang together, maybe it was something else, I don’t know.
I just knew without a doubt I had the answer.
So, I asked Joshua, “Who is your favorite Oklahoma Sooner player, of all time?”
Joshua could have said any names in that programs great history and there are too many to recount here. But he said…
Without any hesitation he stuttered, “JA-JA-JALEN HURTS!”
I told him that he was one of my favorite players of all time too.
EDITORS NOTE: Being the Bicycle Elf comes with some perks as I have stated in past articles, as does being a former Alabama Football player. Not that the two are necessarily mutually exclusive.
“Joshua, how would you like a signed Oklahoma jersey by Jalen Hurts?”
He shouted so loud into the phone that “Doc” The World-Famous Black Lab barked his approval in the background.
After Joshua caught his breath, he asked me,
“Rea-Rea-Really, can you-you- rea-rea-really?”
Yes sir, really, I told him.
Joshua screamed into the phone again, or maybe it was towards his mother, I don’t know, but he couldn’t contain his excitement,
“TH-TH-THAT is TH-THE GREATEST G-G-GIFT EVER, I WI-WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO SAY TH-THANK YOU EN-ENOUGH!”
While I was enjoying the glow of Joshua’s excitement, he asked me breathlessly;
“How-How, Can the Bicycle Elf do th-th-that?”
This time of year, I am quicker on my feet than usual, and I attribute that to having pointed ears.
So, I responded with, “Because I work for Santa Claus.”
Joshua and I then broke into a long conversation about the North Pole and Santa’s workshop and the Bicycle Elf.
He was really happy that he was taller than most Elf’s, present company excluded.
Joshua had a request before we got off the phone, two requests actually.
First, he thanked me for my time, and told me how much he enjoyed talking with me.
EDITORS NOTE: Can you imagine that? He thanked me for my time.
Then Joshua asked me “IF” I could call him on Christmas Eve and read some Christmas stories to him.
Two; “IF” I would thank Santa Claus and Jalen Hurts for being so “kind” to him.
“Done and Done”, I said although I was about to cry.
Before he could respond, I said, “I have to correct you on something you said earlier Joshua.”
Joshua asked, “WH-WH-What is TH-TH-That?”
I told him that he had said earlier that he had a “Bad” heart. I said, “You don’t have a bad heart at all, in fact I think you have the best heart I have ever seen.”
Joshua just said, “TH-TH-Thankyou, Bi-BICYCLE Elf.”
We got off the phone after we exchanged “Boomer Sooners” and I made a couple of calls of my own to ensure Joshua gets his signed jersey.
You want to know something else?
Joshua’s favorite Oklahoma Sooner of all time is going to call him during Christmas too.
You might be thinking that Joshua’s Christmas Wish came true and you would be right.
But I will tell you something else, so did mine.