Kenny sat at the end of the long pier watching the tides sweep across the ocean, rushing onto the sandy beach. What was his father thinking? Christmas in Hawaii!! Kenny knew his father had planned the trip for his Mom to have a rest.
She had been looking after a sick old aunt…but Hawaii?? No snow. No tobogganing or skating. No hockey. Just waves, sand, sky and trees. Crumb!!
Depressing. He was already depressed before he even got here.
Suddenly Kenny heard a “Hello”. He looked around but there was no one there. Then he saw a big splash and a dolphin that was swimming a short distance from the pier.
“Hi”, came the friendly voice again.
Kenny looked around again.
“It’s me.” the voice seemed to be coming from where the dolphin was swimming.
“A talking dolphin? No way”, Kenny said out loud.
“Yes”, the voice replied. “My name is Merly.”
“Whew, Kenny said. “Dolphins don’t talk.”
“Love”, the dolphin said. “Love.”
“What’s love got to do with it?”
“At this time of year we celebrate Love who came in the form of a wee Babe in a manger many years ago in a far away land. It is Love.”
“Ok,’, said Kenny. “What do I know anyway?”
Merly asked, “Why are you so grumpy?”
“Because I am here… not home where all my friends are having a blast…skating, playing hockey. tobogganing …out at Christmas parties ….all our fun stuff.
Besides all that, my parents are down my neck because my grades aren’t that good – who likes history and all that boring stuff.”
“You are making history.”
“Yes, someday you will be telling your children or others about your Christmas holiday in Hawaii when you were a teen. What else is bothering you? “
Kenny took a deep breath and said, “My girlfriend decided that she didn’t want to ‘go steady’ any longer with me. Who’d want her anyway when she’d do that?? Hurt a lot. I might as well jump off the pier and disappear for good. No fun. I’m stuck here.”
“My father wanted my mother to have a rest. She had cared for a sick old aunt before she died. He said Mom was very tired.”
Merly interjected, That’s Love. What are their names?”
Kenny said: “Brian and Sandra. My sister’s name is Hannah. She is about 12. Hannah’s ok because our neighbours back home, Alex and Nancy, came also with their daughter Gabriella. She is the same age as Hannah. They are best friends. They are in the next cabin to us. They are all so excited to be in Hawaii – No snow. Well, no fun either.”
“No fun in Hawaii?”
“We’ve been here a week. We have been out in the boat, been swimming and surfing. Stuff like that. Its ok, I guess. We are leaving the day after Christmas and it can’t come soon enough”, Kenny blurted out.
“Family enjoying it?”
” Well, they think it is great. We’ve gone to some restaurants and concerts but I would rather be home”.
“What do you like to do besides play hockey and go tobogganing?”
“Play basketball mostly.”
“Any good at it?”
“I’m good at scoring even from a long distance. Play a lot in our school gym.”
“On a team?”
“Naw..probably not good enough.”
“Well, if you can score, any team would want you; scoring wins the game.”
“For sure. What else do you like to do?”
“I like to paint and draw.”
“An artist!!”, Merly said splashing around in the water.
“Well, I dabble a bit. People say I am pretty good at it.”
“Do any painting here yet with all this beautiful scenery?”
“What about Christmas presents? You could paint some landscapes for your parents and friends and even paint some Christmas cards. Great souvenirs of this trip to Hawaii.”
“Well, I suppose- never thought of it. Haven’t any presents for them yet. Not a bad idea. Better get Dad to take me shopping and get some watercolour paints and stuff.”
“Good show!! I have to go, Merly said. “I’ll be back in a few days and bring Meg with me. She’s my mate – a gorgeous dolphin.”
“Ok”, Kenny said. “See you then… And thanks, Merly.”
As Kenny watched Merly swim away, he was still a bit mesmerized with what had taken place. A talking dolphin and a smart one too. Can’t tell anyone about this or they will lock me up.
Kenny went to a shopping center with his Dad and on a pretence of buying him a present, separated from his Dad for a few minutes. He went into an art store alone and got his paints, supplies and two frames. He also got some perfume in a drug store for the two young girls.
Good thing I saved up some money from working at the doughnut shop some weekends, he said to himself.
He started to work on his art as soon as he got back to the cabin and for the next two days, worked on them every minute he had. He kept it all in his closet in his room so no one would see what he was doing. He painted two landscapes for his parents and one for Nancy and Alex. He also painted two beautiful small landscapes on each of the cards for Hannah and Gabriella..
The day before Christmas, his art work were all done. He looked at them and was very happy with all of it. That morning he went out on the pier. No one was around.
Soon he heard the familiar splashing . Merly appeared with his mate, Meg. She was beautiful. Also with him were two sea turtles. It seemed they were smiling at him. Could that be??
“Kenny”, Merly said. This is Meg and my friends Susie and Sam.”
Kenny said, ” HI. Welcome.”
He heard a “Hi” in return.
“How are you doing? Merly asked.
“Merly, all the art work is finished and ready as presents. Thank you for inspiring me”, Kenny said.
“Glad it is making you happy. I will be back tomorrow and you can tell me how it went. We are off now to the ocean for awhile. See you soon.”
As the wonderful two dolphins and sea turtles swam away, Kenny stood at the end of the pier in awe. Amazing!! .
That evening, He went with his family and friends to a wonderful restaurant with entertainment and delicious food. Then they attended a church service at an old Cathedral. After the service was over, Kenny went up to the front to see the Nativity Scene with statues of Mary and Joseph, some donkeys, sheep, camels, cows , The Three wise Men, shepherds, and angels all surrounding the little Babe laying in the crib. Kenny looked at the beautiful little doll which had a sweet smile.
The Baby Jesus would have a sweet smile like that, he said to himself.
Love, he thought. Love.
Later they all gathered to open their presents. Everyone was surprised and delighted to get his paintings and cards. They told him what wonderful souvenirs the paintings make of their Christmas in Hawaii. Kenny went to bed that night very happy and relaxed.
Christmas morning, he went out on the pier and waited for Merly. But he didn’t come. After some time, he heard frantic splashing. It was the sea turtle Sam.
“Help. Help. Merly and Meg are caught in a net. The can’t get free. They are crying. Help!!”
Kenny said, ” I’ll get help.” He ran to the cabin where his Dad and Alex were and told them of the problem. “
Alex said, “There are heavy shears in the tool shed behind the cabin, Brian. They will even cut wire. I’ll get them and the life jackets. Get the boat.”
Soon they were speeding through the channel to the other side of the tiny island. As they did, they could hear the dolphins crying.
“How did you know?”, asked his Dad.
“I heard their cries and splashing coming from around the bend in the channel.”
Soon they could see the dolphins, caught in the netting. They turned the motor off and paddled toward the struggling mammals. Not too far away a sea turtle swam around, watching. It was Sam.
Kenny and Brian jumped into the water and got hold of an end of the net. Alex began cutting away at the fishing net, careful to not injure the dolphins.
Before long the dolphins were free.
They swam around a bit and turned and looked at their rescuers. It seemed as if they were smiling.
Alex said, “They are smiling. Do dolphins smile?”
“I read somewhere that dolphins are not really smiling but it is more of a muscle contraction or something”, Brian said.” But it sure looks like a smile to me. Even that sea turtle way over there looks like he is smiling too.”
Alex said, “Christmas magic or something.”
“It’s Love”, Kenny said. “It is Love.”
And then the dolphins turned and swam away. Free!! The sea turtle swam away also not far behind them.
Kenny heard Merly say, “Thank you. We’re free. Thank you.”
The next day, Brian and Alex and the families were packing the cars, ready to leave for the airport.
Kenny went out on the pier. No Merly. Then he heard a voice, Merly’s soft soothing voice from a distance, saying, “Thank you for saving us. Go in Peace and Love until we meet again.”
Tears rolled down Kenny’s cheeks. It was some moments before he could speak.
Then he said, “Thank you for saving MY life. I will never forget you, Merly. Aloha.”
Then came Merly’s voice again, “Aloha, my friend.”
He thought he heard some splashing but he wasn’t sure. He looked for the last time at the beautiful water, the tides. and the sandy beach. He took a deep breath and finally turned away.
When he got to the car, Brian said, “Hard to leave all this beauty.”
“It is beautiful but I will come back one day.”
“Well, son, it was a wonderful Christmas.”
Kenny replied. “Yes, Dad. It was a wonderful Christmas…..after all.”
Merry Christmas Everyone.