Biographical Fiction posted December 10, 2017


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Where there is despair sow hope

Timmy's Endowment

by Brett Matthew West


Timothy Stratton went swimming while on vacation with his parents and brothers in Belize. He had looked forward to this trip with zealous anticipation ever since his father first told him they were going to spend two weeks in the warm Central American country.

"Really? No way! Are you serious, Dad?" was his excited response upon hearing the wonderful news.

Timmy's family had never ventured so far away from their Chattanooga, Tennessee hometown. Timmy would not return.

An inflammation of the brain, Primary Amoebic Meningoencephalitis claimed Timmy's young life, not four days after the leisurely fun afternoon of swimming in the blue waters of the Caribbean.

If Timmy's family had been aware of the dangers posed by the Naegleria fowleri amoeba that entered Timmy's nose while holding his breath under the water, his fatality might not have occurred.

Now, it was the day before Christmas. A slight dusting of snow fell. Timmy's family celebrated the season by giving away free bicycles to those in need in their small community from a pop-up shop at the East Town Corners Mall.

The headlines of the Chattanooga Times newspaper would later proclaim the event in black and white, reading, "Bicycle Giveaway Honors Memory of Local Boy!"

When the doors opened at ten o'clock that morning, there were thirty-nine enthusiastic children waiting for them to be unlocked. Stratton family members, their friends, and an array of volunteers had collected two-wheelers for the last four months.

An announcement was made, "Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention please? We welcome you to this special celebration of Timmy's life and ask that all recipients of the bikes we are giving away take a ticket, write Timmy a Thank You note, then pick out the bicycle you want."

Each one of them eagerly did. The event concluded when the last donated bike was given to its new owner.

"This small gesture is our tribute to Timmy's memory," his Mother confessed to one customer. She watched the woman's little boy walk out the door with a new burnt orange Schwinn 10 Speed.

A poster from the Timothy Stratton Foundation for Amoeba Awareness and Prevention publicized, "The endowment was the brainchild of Timmy's paternal grandmother, Opal Stratton, who spearheaded the operation."

Engulfed in conversation, Margaret Stratton informed another customer, "More than ninety-five percent of all people who contract this amoeba will die from the brain infection caused by it."

She handed the woman a folded piece of paper and said, "Here, take this flyer. It provides much more information about this condition most people aren't aware of."

Lined with dozens of new and used bicycles, the front room of the pop-up was also where Timmy's family raffled off eight new bikes.

Approached by another customer, Margaret Stratton told her, "Through our charity, The Timothy Stratton Foundation, the benefactor of the money raised from the raffle of these bikes will be the homeless shelter."

"What a noble endeavor," the refined woman commented. She collected her thoughts and stated, "I certainly don't mind helping out the less fortunate, especially at this time of year. I understand a mother's grief. I too lost a son once. Can I write you a generous check for ten thousand dollars?"

She withdrew a leather-bound checkbook from her black Gucci purse and filled it out with an ink pen she picked up off the table. Signing the instrument, she handed it to Margaret Stratton. Before Margaret Stratton could thank the woman for the donation, the socialite sauntered quietly away.

Through teary eyes, Margaret Stratton replied, "We do this so Timmy can live on and always be remembered. It is so touching and overwhelming when we see the community support other children and their families have for Timmy."

Linda Sullivan, a local maid at the Rockport Heights Motel, knew the endowment was the only means she had of providing the one Christmas present her twin sons had begged her for all year.

As her rambunctious boys selected the bikes they wanted, she unabashedly remarked, "I don't have the money to buy them bikes. We sometimes struggle just to make ends meet. Getting their bikes for free is a big deal for us. Thank you so much, and I am so sorry for the loss of your son! I can't imagine Christmas without my little boys."

The maid tightly embraced Margaret Stratton. Soft music played in the background. The current selection was the carol "Silent Night". The Strattons intended for the occasion to be festive.

"Every day without Timmy is as difficult as you can imagine," Marshall Stratton stated to four fathers waiting for their sons to retrieve their new bikes.

Recalling his progeny he said, "We don't want anyone else to go through what our family has."

Several pictures lined the walls of the pop-up. These depicted the blond youngster shooting a basketball, playing pool, and attired in soccer gear. An assortment of other colored photographs highlighted Timmy's life.

"It was always fun playing with Timmy because he was all boy and so energetic," Marshall Stratton continued, "he constantly wore a smile on his face and we want his memory to last forever. But, most of all, we want everyone to have a Merry Christmas! Isn't that what Christmas is all about? It's the way Timmy would want Christmas to be."



Christmas Story contest entry

Recognized


Although highly embellished, this fictional piece is loosely based on a true story.






Wanna Go?, by bd shutterspeed, selected to complement my Christmas 2017 story.

So, thanks bd shutterspeed, for the use of your picture. It goes so nicely with my Christmas 2017 story.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

Artwork by bd shutterspeed at FanArtReview.com

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© Copyright 2018. Brett Matthew West All rights reserved.
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