A Collector Series Story
Charles W. Bird
This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, events or locales is entirely accidental. This story is protected by copyright and may not be reproduced by any means without the express, written permission of the author.
Sam Whimple, age 64 years and widowed for the last ten years, was driving home from visiting his sister in Anderson, South Carolina, after spending the weekend visiting and enjoying his three Grandnephews. His vision was partially obscured by the heavy rain, but, suddenly he spotted something crawling across the pavement. He jammed on the brakes of his big F-350 Ford Diesel Truck and jumped out to better see what the object was. Sam was healthy and athletic, having run his business and farm by himself for many years. He ran to the front of the truck, looking in both directions, finally, he spotted movement through the heavy rain by a nearby oak tree. He walked over and discovered a small boy huddled up against the trunk of the tree. As he leaned down to touch the child, the boy screamed, "Don't hit me again, please stop!"
Sam knelt down in the mud and rainwater and put his arms around the huddled child, saying, "Son, I am not going to hurt you but you are wet and cold, let me take you to my home and get you warm and dry. Then we can call your folks."
At that, the boy began to sob, "They don't want me nomore. They kicked me out of the car and drove off!" The child was heaving great, shuddering sobs, his whole body shaking.
Sam picked the boy up and held him to his chest. He said, "We will worry about all that as soon as you are warm and dry, let's go home." He put the child on the seat of the truck, making sure he was securely belted in before going around to the driver side and climbing in. He flipped the heater on high and started for his home.
He was thinking, "How could anyone just dump a child out in this awful storm?" He drove up to the house and shut down the truck. Going around to the other side, he opened the door and gently picked the boy up off the seat.
The child was still sobbing and Sam held him tight so that he would know that he was not going to be dropped! He opened the door to the kitchen and hollered for Hanna, his cook/housekeeper.
Hanna was a large black woman who had worked for Sam since she was a young girl. She rushed into the kitchen and saw Sam holding the boy. Hanna was boss in her kitchen, she reached for the child and told Sam to go fill the bath with warm water.
Hanna knew how to comfort hurt boys, she and Thomas, her late husband, had raised six boys, one of whom was the only Doctor in Whimple's Crossing.
When Sam had the tub filled, she directed him to go call Joey, her Doctor son, and tell him to beat his britches getting here!
While Sam was phoning Joey, Hanna undressed the boy to his undershorts and then told him to shuck off his shorts and get in the warm water. The boy shyly did as he was told, holding the washcloth across his private parts.
Hanna smiled and said, "You can wash those parts, AFTER I get the rest of you clean. She shampooed his hair and then saw his back. She screamed and Sam came running, what he saw made his blood boil! The child had been whipped bloody and not only once from the look of the scars on his back!
Just then, Dr. Joey stepped into his Mamma's kitchen, calling her name. Hanna shouted, "Joey, you get yourself in here this minute!" At the tone of her voice, Joey knew he had better run in there, NOT walk!
When she showed her son what she had seen, he ground his teeth and said, "Mister Sam, you gotta call Sheriff Benson right away, he is an ass, but we gotta get the law involved in this!"
While Sam was calling the sheriff, Joey knelt beside the tub and examined the boy. By this time, the child had stopped crying and was looking hopefully at Dr. Joey and Mr. Sam.
Joey picked him up and dried him off, "Son, will you let me check you out, I am a doctor?" The boy shook his head yes and Joey took him into the guest bedroom off the kitchen. He turned on the lights and started to examine the boy closely, when he looked at the boys legs, he let out his own cry.
Hanna came running in and Joey told her to sit with the child for a few minutes. Joey then went to Sam, "Mr. Sam….." Sam interrupted him saying, "For goodness sakes, Joey, we have known each other for near forty years, can't you just call me Sam?"
Joey grinned and replied, 'Only if my Mamma says it's OK!" Continuing, he said, "That boy has been sexually molested, RAPED!" I am going to wait 'til Jeff Benson gets here, you don't need any problems with that bigot!"
The sheriff took his own time sweet getting there, the child was nearly asleep before he came strutting into the kitchen, without even knocking! Sam immediately blocked his way and the bloated sheriff started to draw back his fist when he heard a gun cocking behind him.
There stood Hanna with a 12 gauge shotgun in her hands. She said, "You behave or I swear we have an intruder who broke into the house!"
The good sheriff was a coward and a bully, but he knew when to back down, fast! He had tangled with Miss Hanna before and he wasn't anxious for a second time around!
Joey had been on the phone and just then, flashing blue and red lights drove into the yard and two South Carolina State Troopers stepped out of their car and came to the door. They greeted Sammy and the first one said, "Miss Hannah, are you having trouble the Bumble Sheriff again" Miss Hannah just smiled and pointed to the bedroom where the injured boy was laying down.
Hanna let them in and Sheriff Benson started to bluster, "You guys got no jurisdiction here!" The Trooper in charge replied, "We got a report of an abused child being here, THAT makes it our jurisdiction! That's a state crime!"
He continued, "Now you just trot your fat butt out of here while we investigate this crime!" He muttered not quite under his breath, "God, I can't stand that fat fool!"
Trooper Bill Jensen sat at the kitchen table with Sam and was asking him how he found the child, "Sam, what do you know of the boy?" Sam replied, "Billy, all I know is what he told me, that his parents had tossed him out of their car and had driven off, leaving him alongside the road in the rain."
He and Sam had been schoolmates and had even gone to college together. Just then, Hanna came into the room, holding a towel wrapped little boy in her arms. He was snuggled up to her and had his arms around her neck.
Bill Jensen stood and tickled the boy, he had Grandsons of his own and knew how to gain a boy's trust. The small boy began to giggle and Bill reached out to take him.
He went back to the table and held the child on his lap, "Son, we can't just keep calling you boy, will you tell me your name?" The boy nodded his head, "I am Billy Callum and we used to live down at Catherville, but my stepfather sold the house last week."
Bill grinned and said, "Well, Billy, you and I have the same name, I am Billy also!" Little Billy giggled and held on to the Trooper even tighter.
Bill then asked, "Can you tell us what happened to you?" Little Billy began to sob, "My stepfather did nasty things to me last night and then told my momma that they were moving and there was no room for me!"
Little Billy started crying even harder and tears were running down the old Trooper's face also. They learned that little Billy was ten years old and was an only child.
While the Trooper and Billy were talking, Sam was on the phone to his cousin, Jeremy Whimple, "Jerry, I have a boy here who was tossed out like dirty trash. I want you to fix it with Judge Parsons so that he STAYS here with me!"
The lawyer replied, "Sam, are you sure?" Sam nearly screamed at his cousin, "Jerry, you KNOW I have the room and the means to raise this boy, do whatever you lawyers do, but MAKE IT HAPPEN! OK?"
Jerry replied, "OK, Sam, calm down. I don't see any problems, except maybe with our bigot sheriff." Sam just said, "DO IT" and hung up.
Trooper Bill and his assistant, Trooper Jim Wallace, got all their paperwork completed and told Sam that a CPS officer would be around in a day or so. Sam didn't tell them about what he had told Jerry to do!
Doctor Joey applied some salves to Billy's back and rectum and told Sam to bring the boy into the office first thing in the morning.
Sam started to carry Little Billy into the guest room, but he clamped onto Sam's neck in fear. Sam then asked Hanna to make up the couch in his bedroom as a place the boy could sleep.
Billy was nearly asleep by the time Sam gently laid him between the sheets. Sam decided he might as well go to bed himself, it was going to be a busy day tomorrow!
Sam had barely gotten to sleep when he was awakened by a tugging on his arm and a little voice saying, "Please Mr. Sam, I'm scared. Can I sleep with you?" Sam held the covers as the small boy clambered into bed with him and snuggled up with a death grip on his arm.
Within seconds, the boy was back asleep with a huge smile on his face. It was the best night's sleep Sam could remember having since his wife had passed away!
Sam and Billy both were still smiling the next morning as Hanna put breakfast on the table. She thought to herself, "That is best smile Mr. Sam has had since Miz Marylou died!"
Shortly after breakfast, Jerry Whimple arrived with an armload of papers. He sat down with a cup of coffee and looked at Billy and Sam. He said, "Billy, do you like Mr. Sam?" Billy looked first at Sam and then said, "Oh, yes! He is cuddly!"
Jerry about choked on his coffee to keep from laughing, "Cuddly, huh? Then, I guess you don't want to stay here?"
Billy started to cry and Jerry, realizing his mistake, leaned over the boy and said, "I got a paper here that says you can stay here FOREVER!" He pulled a paper out of the stack that said on the top, "CERTIFICATE OF PERMANENT CUSTODY"!
Billy wasn't sure exactly what that meant and looked a little confused. Sam spoke up, "That means you can live here for as long as you want!" Billy screamed and ran to Sam, hugging him and kissing him on the cheek. He said, "Can I call you Daddy?"
It took Sam more than a few moments to gain control of himself, before he could reply. Jerry whispered in Sam's ear, "Johnny Parsons says that after one year you can apply for adoption!" Sam just nodded his head as he squeezed Billy to his chest!
Hanna was at the sink, hiding her own tears from the men. Billy and Sam were in deep conversation with each other, they did not even notice Jerry quietly leaving and Hanna finding something to do in another room!
Billy was sitting on Sam's lap and Sam said, "Billy, we need to go see Dr. Joey and also get you some clothes. Golly, what you have are in really bad shape."
Billy nodded, "Momma never had any money for clothes for me. Can I have some real Jeans and new sneakers?" Sam suddenly found his tongue thick and it was difficult to speak. He grabbed up Billy and they headed out to the truck.
They had just enough time for a quick run to Anderson and still make it to Dr. Joey's before noon!
Sam took Billy to Penny's and the boy went first to the cheap, no-name clothes rack. Sam shook his head at the boy and led him to the "Wrangler's" rack and proceeded to load up their cart with jeans, shirts, underwear, socks and a cowboy hat!
Billy's eyes got bigger and bigger and finally he started crying, "Daddy, I can't wear all these clothes!" Sam smiled and said, "Not in one day, but how about for all week?" Billy got a shocked look on his face, "You mean, I can change clothes EVERY DAY?"
Sam just smiled and asked the clerk where the shoe department was. Poor Billy went goggle-eyed when Sam put three pair of sneakers in the cart AND a pair of cowboy boots!
He was an excited little boy by the time they got to Dr. Joey's Clinic. He changed into his new clothes right there in the truck before he would go to see the doctor! He marched into Dr. Joey's office wearing his new Wrangler Jeans, a checkered cowboy shirt and his new boots. Sam had to make him leave the cowboy hat in the truck, much to Billy's unhappiness!
Dr. Joey gave Billy a complete physical and drew a blood sample. He did it so quick, Billy forgot to say, "Ouch!" While Sam was speaking with Dr. Joey, Billy wandered out to Sam's truck, looking for his new cowboy hat.
The two men suddenly heard Billy screaming and hollering, "Let me go, HELP, you are hurting me!" They ran out to the curb in time to see the Sheriff trying to stuff Billy into the backseat of his car.
Without thinking, Dr. Sam remembered his Marine Corps training and landed on the Sheriff's back with a strangle hold on the man's jugular! Sheriff Benson started shouting, "You gonna pay for that, boy!"
About that time, the town gossip, Jenny Gill showed up, "Why Sheriff Benson, are you into stealing little boys?" She turned to Sam saying, "I saw everything, Jeff Benson was trying to kidnap that sweet little boy! I saw it all!"
The Sheriff was struggling to get to his gun while Dr Joey was standing on his hand, doing as much damage to the man's fingers as he could! Just then, Bill Jensen, Supervising State Trooper drove up and jumped out of his car. He said, Jeff Benson, you are under arrest for attempted kidnapping and assault on a minor!
The Sheriff screamed, "I was making a legal arrest of a runaway!" The Troopers smiled, "Not this time Jeff, BOY, Jenny Gill has already told everyone in town how you are into small boys! I suggest you turn in your badge and run before anyone else "remembers" what you did to them! Like my Grandson, Carl? Want to discuss THAT?"
The Sheriff ran for his car, the next morning his badge was found on his desk and the County Sheriff car was missing. The car was recovered in Atlanta but nobody ever heard from Jeff Benson again.
Sam brought Billy back home and carried him into the house, the boy was worn out from all the excitement and fell asleep even before he could eat his lunch!
Hanna came in from doing her grocery shopping, her laughter hardly contained. She looked at Sam, "What did you boys do to Sheriff Benson?"
Sam looked at here in question, so she said, "His Momma has a "For Sale" sign in front of her house and there is a Mayflower Moving Van loading up all her furniture!"
Sam only said, "Talk to Jenny Gill!" Hanna laughed, "I already did, you boys do mighty good work!"
Sam let Billy sleep until late afternoon, then he woke him up, saying, "Billy, lets you and me take a walk before supper, OK?" Sam wanted to know if the incident with the Sheriff had scared the little boy.
Billy answered, "No, Daddy, you and Dr. Joey were there so quick, I didn't have time to get scared!" They walked a little further through the City Park and a flash of something caught both their eyes.
Billy suddenly dropped Sam's hand and ran into the bushes, with Sam frantically chased behind him. Sam finally caught up to Billy in a small opening behind a tool shed. Billy was holding a little boy, who was struggling and crying.
Billy screamed, "Daddy, help me, this is Kelly and he is my friend!" Sam picked up the struggling boy, who started screaming, "Don't hurt me, I didn't take nothing!"
Sam sat down on a nearby park bench and soothed the frightened child. Billy came up to Sam, "Daddy, can we take Kelly home with us, he don't have no place to live no more. My old Momma used to feed him, but she gone now."
Sam got the boy quieted down and asked him, "Son, do you live around here?" The boy looked down at the ground and mumbled, "Me sleeps in that shed, sir" Sam thought to himself, "Dear God, do they come in pairs?"
He gently picked up the boy and headed to his home, Billy walking at his side. He stepped in the kitchen, calling for Hanna, "Better call Joey back here and that Trooper, Bill Jensen. We got us another boy!"
He carried the boy into the bathroom and started to clean him up, the smell of urine and semen so strong it was overpowering. He gently washed the child and got him clean. He told Billy to bring some of his new clothes so Kelly wouldn't have to put the dirty ones back on.
Sam really wanted to save them for the crime lab!
Billy was happy to share his clothes with Kelly and by the time Trooper Jensen got there, both boys were gobbling Hanna's special medicine for hurt boys, chicken soup and saltine crackers!
Bill Jensen looked at Sam, "Are you figuring on setting up a home for boys here?' Sam laughed, but it struck a chord with him.
Dr. Joey had come over to check Kelly out and Sam asked him to come into the den to talk with him. Sam said, "Joey, how many boys could live here in this big old house?"
Joey looked hard at Sam before answering, "Mr. Sam, have you been bit by the homeless boy bug?" Sam shook his head and replied, "Yeah Joey, I guess I have." He continued, "I Got Jerry Whimple working on custody for Kelly, too!"
Joey said, "You are a good man, Samuel Whimple, you got Mamma and my vote, Sign me up as House Doctor!" They didn't see Hanna standing in the doorway, she said, "Make mine House Mamma!"
She went out on the back porch to have her a good Mother type cry, so the little boys didn't see her tears.
That evening, while the boys were having their bath, Sam called his cousin, Jerry and told him to start the paperwork for a Boy's Home. Jerry started to argue, Sam yelled at him, "I don't give a damn how much it costs, I have more money than I could ever spend in a dozen lifetimes. Just do it, hang the cost! New building, FINE, send a contractor with your bill!" He hung up on his cousin!
Hanna overheard Sam's end of the conversation, she thought, "Mr. Sam, you gonna get a whole heap of help after I talk with Jenny Gill!"
Talk to the town gossip she did, the very next day. Hanna spotted Jenny Gill at the Piggly Wiggly Grocery Store and she just casually mentioned that Mr. Whimple was gonna open a home and school for homeless boys.
Before lunch, the news was all over town, the Ladies' Social Circle down at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church had it all discussed on how they were going to start a Clothing Closet for Mr. Sam's boys!
Not to be outdone, The Ladies Altar Society at St. Joseph's Catholic Church had started a toy drive for the Homeless Boys over at Mr. Sam's! The Cross and Robe Society at St. Alban's Episcopal Church started collecting shoes for Mr. Sam's kids!
By the time Sam and the two boys got home from Dr. Joey's, Hanna was laughing so hard, she had to sit down. Sam looked at her and threw up his hands, the back porch was covered with boxes of clothing, shoes, toys, even packages of school paper and pencils were piled in the corner!
Sam asked, "Jenny Gill?" All Hanna could do was nod her head , "Yes" she couldn't catch her breath for her laughter! She finally was able to say, "Mr. Sam, you better get that Boy's Home built quick before Miss Jenny starts delivering boys!
That evening, Jerry brought over Stan Howard, a local building contractor and the three of them sat down to talk about a Boy's Home. Sam insisted that it be big enough to house a hundred boys, Jerry couldn't see the sense of that, so finally Sam said, "My money, my program. Live with it!
Stan Howard told them he had a contract architect that he would get started on concept drawing they could take to the state for approval. Sam looked him square in the eye and said, "DO IT YESTERDAY!"
He looked at Sam in question, who said, "Look, in a day and a half, I got me two boys, will I have four boys by tomorrow?"
It was a beautiful late summer evening, Billy had come running into the kitchen breathlessly, shouting, "Daddy, Daddy, come quick!!!"
Sam had been in his office going over cost estimates for the construction materials when he heard Billy shout. He came running out into the kitchen and Billy grabbed his hand, dragging him out the back door.
Hanna, sensing trouble, followed as Billy pulled Sam along the sidewalk to a nearby drainage ditch, half full of stagnant rain water. Sam could hear crying coming from the culvert, so he jumped into the water and waded, hip deep in nasty, muddy water, into the culvert that ran under the road.
As his eyes adjusted to the gloom in the pipe, he saw two little boys being held protectively by a young teen boy. The older boy was waving a baseball bat, he screamed at Sam, "Go away, you ain't takin' my brothers away from me!"
Sam said to the boy, "Son, just let me help you take care of your brothers. NOBODY will take them from you!" The boy screamed back, "That old hag from CPS already tried!"
Sam, desperate to get the boys out of that water before a water moccasin came by, held out his empty hands and said, "Son I promise you she won't get you or your brothers, now, please come with me to my house."
Just then, Hanna waded through the muddy water and stood where the older boy could see her, "Boys, I got supper on the stove, let's get y'all cleaned up and a hot meal in you. THEN we can talk all this out."
She held her hands out to the little boys and one said, "Ellie, I's cold and hungry maybe she give us somthin' to eat." The boy looked at Sam, "YOU swear t'God you ain't from CPS!" Sam said, "Yes, I swear, now let's get you out of this creepy place!"
He led the three boys out into the daylight, they were nothing but skin and bones, their dirty faces haggard and sores around their mouths and eyes.
Sam turned to Billy, telling him to run get Dr. Joey as fast as he can.
Hanna picked up one little boy and Sam picked up the other and they started for the house. The older boy hard on their heels! They got to the washroom and Sam told the boys to toss out their clothes and Miss Hanna would wash them.
He then slipped into the washroom and was horrified, the older boy had whip and belt marks on his back, his genitals were bruised and bleeding and there was a deep infected cut on his thigh.
Sam went to the teen and hugged him, the boy began crying in great desperate sobs, "Sir, take my brothers, I will leave right now, you don't want a sinner in your house."
Sam held him even tighter, "Son, you can't be a sinner, you have your brothers to look after. Stay and help me look after them." The boy looked at Sam, "Bu, bu, But I think I am queer, sir"
Sam exclaimed, "You are hungry and dirty, THAT'S what you are! Now, help me bathe your brothers, Dr. Joey is on his way over to help you!"
Just then Joe burst into the room and the teen screamed, "Don't hit me, I am leaving!" Sam grabbed the boy's arms and held him, cuddling him in his embrace, "Son, forget all this, you are safe here, let's get everyone cleaned up."
He hollered out to Billy and Kelly to bring an assortment of clothes for the boys until we can buy them new clothing.
They finally determined that the teen was Elliot James aged 16 years and his brothers Paul, 8 and Artie, 5. Elliot had rescued his two little brothers from an abusive foster home and he had run away from a group home, where bigger boys had attacked him and hurt him sexually.
Dr. Joey's temper was just barely under control and his Momma, Hanna, was throwing things in the kitchen!
Sam had to change the bath water three times before the two little boys were clean. He told Elliot to wash himself, but all the frightened teen could do was sit in the warm water and cry.
Sam knelt down and gently washed the boy and thinking it would have been easier to cut all his hair off than get it clean. When Elliot was finally clean, Sam led him out to the kitchen, still wrapped in a clean, dry bath towel.
The boy had a shock of fiery red hair on his head that went in all directions, he was covered with freckles on his face and shoulders and, like his two brothers, his eyes were bright green!
Hanna stuck her head in the refrigerator so the boys would not see her crying, "Who could hurt these beautiful little boys?"
Elliot said to Hanna, "Please, Ma'm, kin you give something for my brothers to eat, they haven't ate nothing since yesterday.
Hanna grabbed the teen and hugged him fiercely, "Ellie, I am gonna stuff you and your brothers like Christmas Turkeys, now you sit yourself down for breakfast!" he replied, "But Ma'm, it ain't breakfast time."
Hanna cut him off, "Ellie, what I'm gonna feed you and your brothers will be like breakfast lunch and supper all in one! And you forget that Ma'm stuff and just call me Miss Hanna! You hear be me?"
Elliot grinned and said, "Yes m…. eeeer Miss Hanna!" as he began to shovel pecan pancakes with butter and real maple syrup into his mouth, His brothers, Artie and Paul were not far behind him!
A NEW HOME
By the time every petty state clerk had gotten his or her initials on the plans, Sam was ready to scream. The day after the approvals were signed, the hole for the basement was started.
Sam wanted to make up for lost time, so he authorized a second crew to work on the project, within a week, they were pouring concrete! With two crews working, the Whimple's Crossing Boy's Home rapidly took shape.
Sam was having a second cup of coffee and was talking to himself, "How am I going to find someone to run this place?" Hanna was beside him, picking up dirty breakfast dishes. She looked at Sam, "Mr. Sam, my younger son, Phillip is just getting out of the Marine Corps, he is a Supply Sergeant."
Sam replied, "Tell him to come see me, I remember Phil as a hardworking boy, years ago!" Hanna walked to the kitchen telephone and called her home to tell Phillip to get over here and talk to Mr. Sam RIGHT NOW!
Phil was still in uniform, but he knew better than to not obey his Momma! He knocked on the door and Sam opened it, not expecting to see Phillip Bascome that soon, nor did he expect the boy he remembered him to be, standing there six foot and eight inches tall!
After talking with Phil, Sam hired him that very day!
As fall began to arrive with its brightly colored leaves, Sam enjoyed sitting on the porch, watching the building crew erect the Boy's Home. All his boys were in school and it was peaceful and quiet in the house.
Suddenly, one of the carpenters screamed, "STOP" at the crane operator who was swinging a load of lumber up to the second floor. He watched as the man jumped into the basement, curious, Sam got up and followed the carpenter.
As he entered the darkened basement, he heard voices and a child crying, "Please mister, let me go, I didn't take nothing! I was just resting here where it were dry."
Sam found the carpenter holding a frightened boy in his arms, the boy was struggling to get away. Sam ran to the pair and said, "Son, this is a dangerous place for you to play."
The boy said through his tears, "I were just resting here, I will go as soon as this man lets me down." By now, the carpenter was in tears himself, he said to Sam, "Look, this boy has been sleeping here, can you add him to your brood?"
Continuing, he said, "I thought I saw him yesterday, but I wasn't sure, so I kept watch today." Sam looked at the name on the man's shirt and said, "Mr. Thomas, how about you bring this boy up to the house and we get him cleaned up?"
Sam thought to himself, "This man needs to be part of the Boy's Home!" Sam led the way to Hanna's kitchen, she had seen the men bringing a boy, so she knew that something was up.
When they got there, Sam asked the boy, "Who are you and where do you come from?" The boy replied, "My name was Tony Ellis, but my stepfather told me he didn't want, me anymore and to get out of the house. I am 12 years old and come from Dalton.
Sam stiffened in anger, "Tony, you are still Tony Ellis, let's get you a bath and some lunch in you." He took the boy into the bathroom and filled the tub for him, telling him to wash and he would be right back.
He rushed back into the kitchen before the carpenter could leave, "Mr. Thomas, would you like a job helping me take care of homeless boys?"
Jake Thomas heaved a great sob, 'Sir, I have a degree in Social Service, but this was the only job who would hire me."
Sam replied, "Why is that?" The man looked down at his feet before answering, "Sir, I am gay and nobody wants a queer around!" Sam began to get angry, "Jake, do you abuse children?" Jake shouted, "NO WAY, I am happy with my boyfriend. He is a Children's Counselor at the University!"
Sam smiled, "Well, then, when can you start and maybe I ought to talk to your boyfriend, also?" Jake hugged Sam, "God Bless you, Mr. Sam, I can start right now!"
Jake went into the bathroom and helped Tony scrub many day's worth grime and mud out of his hair. He brought a shiny, clean blond haired Tony, all wrapped in a clean bath towel, out for Miss Hanna to stuff with food.
Sam thought to himself, we better get that Boy's Home built before I run out of bedrooms! He then whispered to Jake, I had better not ever hear that word, queer, again. You hear?" Jake smiled and said, "YES SIR!"
As the framework went up, it seemed like construction was going faster, as soon the outside walls and the roof were in place, the workmen began adding inside walls and plumbing.
Winter started to close in, all the outside construction was completed and the builders could work inside, out of the winter weather. Sam and Hanna now were caring for six boys, Sam was never happier than when all six were seated at the table making food disappear!
He had his cousin, Jerry, hard at work making sure the CPS didn't try to take HIS BOYS away from him! Bill Jensen, the State Trooper who had assisted them, recently retired and was a regular visitor. One day, Sam asked him how he liked retirement.
Bill's immediate reply was, "I HATE it!" Sam said, "Do you think you could work here with the boys?" Bill grinned, "Heck, I thought you would never ask, when do I start?"
Sam chuckled, "How about yesterday?" Now Sam had three employees for the Boy's Home and it wasn't even completed yet!
Christmas was nearing and Sam was determined to make it a special time for his boys, he felt sure none of them had ever had a really great Christmas!
Soon, mysterious packages began to find their way to a basement storeroom beneath the house. The boys were curious, but Sam just smiled and told them it was for later.
As the season got closer, the smells from Hanna's kitchen got more and more interesting, she was baking her special chocolate fruitcake as six pairs of eyes followed her every move!
She waved her spoon at them as she chased them out of her kitchen and each boy had a handful of fresh baked cookies to munch on!
Finally, Christmas Eve arrived and each boy was dressed in their best clothes, ready to attend Christmas Eve Service at St. Alban's Episcopal Church. Sam ushered the boys in, followed by Hanna and her sons Joe and Phil. Bill Jensen and his wife brought up the rear.
When they were all seated, the pastor, Father Gil, smiled and said, "We welcome you boys from Whimple's Crossing Boy's Home, I hope you come back often.
He then started the service and, as the first hymn was sung, the entire congregation stared in wonder as a clear, young alto voice sang out, "Hark The Herald……" It was Tony Ellis, he had his eyes closed as he sang the hymn from memory.
Father Gil was astounded that such a beautiful voice could come from such a small boy! He was going to make sure that small boy was included in the Children's Choir!
After the service, everyone was crowded around the boys, wanting to meet this boy who had such a wondrous voice! Tony shyly hid behind Sam's leg until Father Gil came up behind him and picked Tony up, hugging him gently.
Tony was very shy, but when the good pastor praised his singing and asked him to sing in the choir, Tony beamed and said that he would.
By the time everyone got back to the house, several of the boys had fallen asleep. Sam and Bill got them all to bed while Hanna made them some hot chocolate. The boys still awake, went to sleep with a chocolate mustache and happy dreams.
Phil helped Bill and Sam bring up the gifts from the storeroom and stacked them all around the Christmas Tree in the front Parlor, except for a large brown envelope that he put on a branch, high up, next to the angel.
Sam sat in a chair thinking that it was going to be fun watching the boy's faces in the morning. It was well after midnight and both Phil and Bill had already left, promising to be back first thing in the morning.
Sam headed to his own bed, finding it already occupied by Billy and Kelly. He snuggled down in between the two boys, they just wrapped their arms around Sam's and continued sleeping.
A few minutes after 7 am, Sam heard a little voice, "Mr. Sam, Mr. Sam, come quick, Santa Claus has been here!" Little Artie and Paul James were hopping up and down like two little bunny rabbits.
They grabbed Sam's hands and tried to pull him out of bed. By this time, Billy and Kelly were awake and, at the mention of Santa Claus, they were jumping out of bed.
Sam started to laugh, "Hey, Billy, are you missing something?" Billy's face turned bright red, he had gotten up earlier and had forgotten to put his pajama bottoms back on after using the toilet!
He raced for the bathroom to retrieve his bottoms before following the rest of the boys out to the kitchen. Elliot opened the door to the front Parlor and his eyes went wide open, he gasped and said, "THERE ARE PILES AND PILES OF PRESENTS!"
All the boys peeked into the room, none were sure they were supposed to be there! Sam said, "Let's go see what Santa has brought us." The boys piled into the room and Sam sat in the big easy chair, watching with a huge smile on his face. He said, "Artie, you are the youngest, how about you distributing the packages, Ellie will help you read the names."
Artie picked up the first present and he recognized his own name on the card, Sam had him put it on the couch and get another present. The next one had his name also, as did the next!
Finally, he came to one that had Kelly's name, he took it over to Kelly and handed it to him. Kelly just stared at the box, not opening it. Sam said, "Kel, are you going to open your present?"
Kelly replied, "I never got no present before, what do I do?" Sam gulped his tears back and showed him how to open the box.
The little boy's eyes got huge, inside was a remote controlled race car! He hugged it to him and just sat there holding that car against his chest.
The next present was for Billy, it was a set of Hardy Boy's Mystery stories. Billy sat down and started reading the first one. Finally, Artie came to a box that had his brother's name on it and he dragged it over to Elliot. It was too big for him to lift, as Elliot began opening the box, his face became more and more excited, it was a laptop computer!
Elliot jumped up and ran to Sam, flinging himself into Sam's waiting arms. Sam rubbed the boy's back and held him for many minutes before Elliot could even speak. He whispered into Sam's ear, "Thank you, …….DADDY!"
Finally all the gifts had been distributed and Sam said, "Artie are you going to open your gifts?"
The boy looked up, "You mean those are for me, JUST ME?" Sam replied, "Just for you!" The first box he opened had nothing in it, Artie looked bewildered, so Sam said, "Look again." Artie finally found a piece of paper in the bottom of the box, he brought it to Sam, who read it, "Look on the front porch."
Artie ran out the front door and started to scream, "A bike, a bike!" There was a small, bright red bicycle, complete with training wheels sitting on the porch!
Paul was sitting, looking dejected, all he got was socks and a shirt. Sam said, "Paul, try on your shirt." Paul nodded his head and looked sad as he pulled on the new shirt.
Just then, a piece of paper fell out of the shirt and Paul looked at it. It said, "Look on the back porch." Paul ran helter skelter out the back door where a bright blue junior bicycle was propped up next to the railing!
Paul screamed his delight and Elliot smiled at Sam and said, "Thanks, Dad!"
Sam said, "There is one more package to be opened." The boys looked at him, so he continued, "Billy, I see a big envelope up by the angel, how about you bringing it to me?"
Billy had Elliot lift him up and he carefully pulled the envelope off the tree and brought it to Sam.
Sam pretended to read the front of the envelope, "It says for Billy and Kelly!" He handed the envelope to Billy and Kelly looked on as he opened it.
Billy began to scream, the paper he pulled out said, "CERTIFICATE OF ADOPTION" and it had both his and Kelly's name on it!
Everyone in the house heard Billy's scream, "DADDY!" Kelly didn't understand what all the commotion was about, so Elliot whispered in his ear, "Kelly, now Mr. Sam is your REAL DADDY!"
Kelly collapsed on the floor in tears, Sam picked him up and cuddled him, "It's forever and ever now, Kel!" Billy and Kelly hugged each other, soaking their pajamas in tears.
By now, Hanna had Christmas Morning Breakfast ready and there were six hungry boys, not to say anything about several hungry adults ready to eat! The only sounds for a while were those associated with the consumption of vast amounts of Miss Hanna's cooking!
There is more to tell of Mr. Sam and his boys in part 2 of this tale.