Takin’ it to the Streets Hallmark Homeless Christmas (Part 6)

Christmas arrived. It was a cold and gray morning. Bethany slept in and then hit the machine. She passed out two motel vouchers and served several hot chocolates. The rest of the day she bicycled around Sellwood and noticed three new RVs marooned down by the wildlife refuge. She’d knock on their doors tomorrow.

Ethan told her they were barbecuing at 2 p.m. and to arrive earlier so they could play some holiday music around the fire.

Bethany walked to the encampment carrying a Costco casserole in a bag and the fiddle in a case like Robin Hood carried a quiver of arrows. She was surprised how giddy she felt. Giddy is good!

A dozen residents yukked it up around the fire, passing a pint bottle of Fireball. Ethan was adding wood to the grill. Bethany set the casserole down on a table and unslung the fiddle. Everyone said hello to one another.

Bethany went up to Ethan, reached into her coat pocket, and produced a small package wrapped in red tissue paper. She handed it to him.

“I got you a Christmas present,” she said.

“Thanks,” he said. “Should I open it now?”


Ethan unwrapped the present. It was a Magic 8-Ball.”

“I thought it might be good around the fire,” said Bethany.

“It’s perfect. I got you something, too.”

“You did?”

Ethan reached into his pants pocket and pulled out something wadded in his fist. He handed it to Bethany. It was a blueberry beret.

Bethany was speechless, on the verge of tears. She pulled off the raspberry beret and tried on the new one.

“One of the residents crocheted it,” said Ethan.

“It’s beautiful,” said Bethany.

She moved closer to him and whispered in his ear, “You want to come over to my house after the barbecue?”

Ethan hesitated.

“Or I could stay with you in the van?”

“Yes, you could. And please make sure your parents know you slept overnight in a van with a homeless man on Christmas.”

Bethany laughed. “Oh, they’ll love that.”

One of the men around the fire bellowed, “Hey, what about some music, you lovebirds?”

Ethan picked up his guitar. Bethany took the fiddle out of its case. They tuned up. They were ready.

He started strumming slowly, she picked up the key and fiddled along, and he sang

You better watch out

you better not cry

You better not pout

I’m telling you why


They stopped playing and laughed.

“How about this one?” said Ethan, and he started strumming and singing:

Rockin’ around the Christmas tree
At the Christmas party hop
Mistletoe hung where you can see
Every couple tries to stop


Ethan stopped playing.

The residents were booing Christmas music! Bethany couldn’t stop laughing. Ethan was smiling.

Ethan decided to take it a different direction. Go real English old school. Take it to the Dickens!

He began to sing without guitar accompaniment. After the first line, Bethany joined in with a soaring harmony:

God rest ye merry gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay
Remember Christ our Savior
Was born on Christmas Day
To save us all from Satan’s pow’r
When we were gone astray
Oh tidings of comfort and joy
Comfort and joy
Oh tidings of comfort and joy


The residents began chanting, “We want rock! We want rock! We want rock!”

“Okay, all right,” said Ethan. I’ve got a new one I’ve been working on.” He leaved over and whispered to Bethany. She nodded. She knew the song. She kissed him on the cheek. Then they kissed gently on the lips. It was their first kiss.

“This one is by the Doobie Brothers,” he said.

Cheers went up.

Ethan started strumming. Bethany jumped in with a soft lead line. Then he sang:

You don’t know me but I’m your brother
I was raised here in this living hell
You don’t know my kind in your world
Fairly soon, the time will tell


Ethan was rocking it now. A few residents began clapping to the beat. One dude broke out a cowbell and joined the rhythm section.

Telling me the things you’re gonna do for me
I ain’t blind and I don’t like what I think I see

Takin’ it to the streets
(Takin’ it to the streets)
No more need for running
(Takin’ it to the streets)

By the time they reached he course, everyone was signing along.

Bethany started gliding among the residents around the fire. She sang the second verse and performed a wicked solo.

They sang the chorus louder than before. The cowbell man delivered more cowbell. One man stood up and danced a Grateful Dead jig.

It started snowing big fat flakes.