Soon I see an ambulance arrive and they take the hobo away. He never returns and as the days turn into months I realize I miss him. I hum HIS tune often as I watch the people go by.
As another Christmas day arrives I remember my hobo friend. I am sad. There is a noise about me and I turn my attention to two children playing and jumping on my benches. They will get hurt if they do not stop. They sit on my bench and giggle. They are so alive and happy I cannot help but watch them.
The little boy gives the little girl a present. She unwraps it and gives him a kiss on the cheek. She holds the present high in the air. It is a snow globe. She shakes the snow and the flakes swirl around a little scene of a bench on some snow with a little bird sitting on it. The flakes glisten in the Christmas sun. The boy tells her that this will be THEIR spot from now on and the little girl smiles in approval and gives him his present. It is a new scarf to keep him warm. She tells him she made it herself. He does not notice the crooked stitches or lopsided edges. He wraps it around his neck and the two share a moment of silence before they run off to play.
I see them often for their special occasions through the years. They sit on the same bench every birthday, every anniversary, and every Christmas. I grow up with them through childhood years and on into their teen years. They never fail to show up and I find myself looking forward to their visits. They visit in the summer for their birthdays wearing their uniforms. His is of a football player and hers is of a cheerleader. I can see they have a fondness for each other that goes past friendship. Ahhh young love... I sigh. I will never know love or feel its embrace. I share their first kiss. I can see her blush as they walk away.
They share many kisses now when they visit my bench. They're young adults and now he has a box in his hand. I can see he is nervous. He opens the box and asks her to marry him. She cries tears of joy. She says yes and jumps and gives him a long passionate kiss. He puts the ring on her finger and she holds it up bright in the summer sun. It shines so bright I can hardly see. They walk off together arm in arm.
It has been many months since the young couple has come to visit. Finally they are here and they have brought friends. I'm given a new coat of paint. My windows are washed, my metal is polished and my benches are all cleaned. I smile to myself.
A month later they return dressed all in white. A photographer takes their picture as they sit on my bench and pose. They have brought more people with them. I shine bright as my picture is taken with them may times. I am happy for them. They have a happy life together.
That is the last of them I see until a year later when a familiar face coming towards me in the distance. The young woman moves slowly. She carries something in her arms. The young man greets her from the other side. The two sit on my bench... or is that three? A small baby is in their arms. That must be why they have not visited in a while. They comment how run down I look and vow to bring their family and friends to come fix me up again. The young man takes a picture of his wife and child. They are a lovely family.
The young man keeps his word and I am cleaned, painted, and polished yearly. Many of their children visit my bench now too. Sometimes the children even come without their parents. As they grow up they bring children of their own. I have many people visiting me now. I am not lonely any more. I am part of a large family and even a few of their pets visit too.
There is a huge crowd gathering today and I see an old woman and man being helped to my bench. It is the young couple... they have grown old. They don't visit as often anymore but their family keeps me from being lonely. I am photographed again with the young couple on my bench and their family around them. They smile at their loved ones and know the tradition they have started with my shelter will continue long after they are gone. Their family will take care of me and I will be around for a long time.
Christmas is upon me again. I wonder if the young couple will visit. It is cold and snowy. It has been many months since that last gathering. Have they forgotten me? Their family visits often and they even gave me a roof before winter started. An old man with his cane comes to my bench. I do not recognize him. His hair is gray and he is humming a tune. There is something familiar about him. THE SCARF! He wears the scarf of the young man. Could it be him? He hums louder, and then his voice cries out. He sings of a baby in a manger and I am brought back to the hobo. Where is the young woman? He finishes his song and reaches into his pocket. He pulls out her snow globe. He is crying. I fear she will not visit anymore and soon he will not visit either. I cry with him.
As I said in the beginning... I have been witness to many things. As long as I stand I will guard and give shelter to those who sit on my bench. I know someday I will be torn down, but until then I will shine bright in the warm sun and wish everyone who visits a long happy life.