Takin’ it to the Streets Hallmark Homeless Christmas (Part 3)

It was now late morning and punk rock, pewter skies threatened sleet. (You never see sleet in Hallmark Christmas movies, only fat flakes of snow.)

Bethany approached wearing a raspberry beret and (reader, imagine her hot non-Hallmark movie outfit here…cut-offs, crocheted top, Chuck Taylor hightops and sheepskin jacket?). She noticed a gathering of people sitting in lawn chairs holding plates around a huge Traeger grill that had been modified to burn wood and was belching smoke that very second. She smelled that and something else…pancakes!

What the hell? She came in closer and saw a young man alternating between playing a guitar strapped around his shoulder and flipping flapjacks on the grill!

Double what the hell?

He was wearing a red Tillamook cheese stocking cap and (describe his hot Hallmark movie outfit here).

Then she heard him singing!

She wore a
Raspberry beret
The kind you find in a second hand store
Raspberry beret
And if it was warm she wouldn’t wear much more
Raspberry beret
I think I love her

Triple what the hell? He was singing Prince’s “Raspberry Beret!” I’m wearing a raspberry beret!

A few seconds later she stood around the fire and Bethany beheld Ethan and Ethan beheld Bethany while the motley crew watched them watch each other as they ate their pancakes and chased their breakfast with coffee or malt liquor.

She couldn’t believe how handsome he was. He couldn’t believe how gorgeous she was. It was Hallmark love at first sight!

Ethan stopped singing.

“You want some pancakes?” he said.

“Sure, I need some breakfast. I’m Bethany.”

“I’m Ethan.”

They shook hands. The electricity jolted every living creature within a square block, including the beavers beavering in the creek. They slapped their tales in alarm.

After eating a couple of pancakes and drinking two cups of coffee, Bethany told the gathering about her new job in Sellwood. They listened and no one interrupted. All the while, Bethany knew Ethan was watching her as she tried to make eye contact with everyone but found her gaze always returning to Ethan.

“Does anyone need any help this morning?” said Bethany.


“We can started right now. I’m ready to move fast. Make it happen right now.”

“Charlie?” said Ethan, and a young man slumped in a chair wearing a filthy hoodie with the cowl pulled over his head, roused.

“Yeah?” he said.

“We talked about this.”

“I know.”

Bethany was about ready to interject when she held off. Don’t get impatient. You’ve already got an ally in Ethan.

“I want out,” said Charlie, “I really want out. I can’t do it anymore.”

“Get your stuff,” said Bethany, “and walk with me to the office. It’s not far.” She suspected if she asked him to wait for her to return in her car, he’d be long gone. The time for action was right now and she didn’t need to know the reasons an able bodied young man was living in an encampment. That inquiry might come later. Or never.

Three hours later, Bethany had Charlie checked into a motel for a two-week stay that could be extended. She got him a meal, new clothes, toiletries, and he showered up as she waited in her car. She drove him to a Safeway that she knew was hiring on the spot for the Christmas rush and sat with him as he interviewed. He scored the job and started that evening. He’d have to walk a half mile to work. She handed him some meal vouchers from a nearby fast food joint.

“I’m nervous,” said Charlie. “I don’t know if I can do it.”

“You can try,” said Bethany.

“Thank you,” he said.

“I’ll be in tonight to see you on your shift.”

One day. One person. One new chance.

Bethany knew some of it would never stick. If she batted .400 in a Major League baseball career she’d end up in the Hall of Fame. She’d take that average working with the homeless.

And since this is a treatment for a Hallmark Christmas movie, Charlie did show up for work, Bethany saw him hustling trees out to vehicles, she waved, he waved back, and she noticed he was wearing a Santa hat and holding a candy cane in his mouth like it was a cigarette.

Thus began Bethany’s career as a caseworker for Sellwood’s homeless population.