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He sat inconspicuously across the highway,
In his unadorned official automobile.
I briefly wondered why he chose to park there,
As I waited patiently behind the wheel.

The intersection was covered with frozen mud,
From long weeks of road construction, rough.
I edged into the familiar lane to enter,
As a space in traffic opened up enough.

I cautiously drove out onto the highway,
Looking carefully both to left and to the right,
When in my rearview mirror I saw with horror,
Coming behind, a frightful, flashing light.

I pulled over to the shoulder, no other choice,
Though my mind raced wildly, “Whatever can this be?”
The officer sternly stepped up to my window,
My driver’s license he then asked to see.

I said, “What can it possibly be that’s wrong?”
He pointedly asked, “Did you read that sign?”
I asked, unbelieving, “What sign could it be?
You see, I drive here all the time.”

My small son and small daughter rode beside me,
Both in the attentive, early reader phase,
When all that was new was an adventurous challenge;
This was one of their achievement days.

Their faces glowed with unfolding mastery,
And their eyes sparkled with an eager shine
As they vied to be the first to say,
“Right back there, the ‘do not enter” sign.”

I felt the misery pulling at my face,
Asking, “Isn’t there some other way,
Just to overlook this one mistake,
If the sign’s only been there just one day?”

“Well, you see, Ma’am, now the law is the law.”
He spoke the words with firm authority..
As he stood up taller, my hopes of a reprieve
Were absolutely nil, that I could see.

As he went to his car to write the ticket,
I wretchedly remarked in grim dismay,
“This is certainly all we need with Christmas
Such a very short, short time away.”

A fine like this was sure to cost a lot.
I wracked my brain, what corners could we trim
And still have a reasonably cheery holiday?
It was sure to make the season slim.

I paid the fine; his arbitrary pound of flesh
Was sadly and grudgingly dispersed.
Had it not been for kind and loving words,
The incident would have seemed even worse.

Well, who do you suppose it was who offered hugs
And spoke to me with words of comfort sweet?
Those very same lips that said the unexpected words
I recently had found so indiscreet.

“Don’t worry, Mommy, it will be all right;
We’ve saved our pennies and our nickels and our dimes.
And you can have them all, so we can still have
A very nice and happy Christmas time.”

They didn’t ever have to spend their savings,
And I don’t know just what it was we missed,
But we were warmed to see how things can work out,
Partly helped by Grandmas’ and Grandpas‘ Christmas lists.

So, just pack it away with all the Christmas trimmings,
And take the story out again next year.
What once was grimly humorous exasperation,
time and love have made immensely dear.

©2010 Carol Morfitt
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