This past year I seldom opened my file drawer of unpublished stories. For lots of reasons, some just excuses, actually, some quite valid. But what child wanting your attention cares a whit for reasons. All he knows is he wants your attention, and he wants it now. So when I do open the drawer, I hear their voices. . .
Do you remember Wanda Gag's story about the old man who found a hill covered with "hundreds of cats, thousands of cats, millions and billions and trillions of cats"? I don't remember other details of the story as well as I remember that intoxicating refrain. But I do know that the old man wanted only only one cat, and that the cats all began clamoring to be picked. "Choose me!" "Choose me!" Can you imagine? All those voices, all of them demanding attention. All but one. One little cat with nothing special to offer. And in the end, of course. . .
It would be nice if all the little cats and stories with nothing special to offer would each find a home. But that doesn't always, or even often, happen. I wish the following little story could find a home. But it won't. It's a story set in a time that has passed. Families like Christopher's are few and far between, and the world that they inhabit has changed in many ways. The story is "too religious" for a mainstream publishing house, but not orthodox enough for a denominational publisher. It's dated, but not old enough to be considered historical.
"Christopher's Great Ideas" is a misfit story. But if there is an island of Misfit Toys, maybe nearby there's an island of Misfit Stories. And someone on an Advent reading voyage may discover it and enjoy celebrating Advent the way my family used to. I miss those days.
And then Chris has his last Great Idea of the week. "I think Abby had me," he says. "Because she kept reminding me not to forget this year."
By the time the basket of names comes again, and Chris draws Mom's name for next week, he feels completely well. Well enough to go down to the kitchen for cookies and peppermint stick ice-cream.