vanillalime: (b/k xmas)
[personal profile] vanillalime
Tim's Great Idea (the timeline is a little wonky on this, so just roll with it)

It was Tim McManus's idea for the staff at Oz to join together to decorate a little tree in the break room. Not only would it be a fun way to celebrate the holidays, but it would also help foster a sense of community among the employees.

(He had heard that the staff at other prisons had done something similar with great success.)

On the designated day, a small group gathered in the room just before the morning shift was scheduled to start. Everyone was supposed to bring a meaningful ornament from home to put on the tree.

"I'll go first," Sean Murphy announced jovially. "I brought an ornament that's shaped like a shamrock. My Grandfather Murphy gave it to me when I was little."

As Sean placed his shamrock on the tree, he spontaneously broke out into song:

The holly green, the ivy green,
The prettiest picture you've ever seen!
It’s Christmas in Killarney
With all of the folks at home!


A giddy Sister Pete went next. "I have an ornament shaped like the Taino symbol for the Coqui," she explained. "The Coqui are tiny frogs native to Puerto Rico and are a beloved symbol of the island."

Sister Pete put her frog on the tree, then laughed merrily before singing:

Feliz Navidad
Feliz Navidad
Feliz Navidad
Prospero Año y Felicidad!


With a slight frown on his face, Karl Metzger walked over to the tree. "Some of you may not know this," he began, "but the concept of the modern Christmas tree was developed in Germany, where it dates back to the 16th century. We Germans are very proud of this fact, just as we are proud of many of our other national traditions."

Karl held up an ornament shaped like a fir tree. As he hung it on a branch, he solemnly sang:

O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
Wie treu sind deine Blätter.


Then Father Ray stood up. Raising an eyebrow, he held up an ornament of the baby Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes asleep in a bed of hay. "Father Abgott gave this to me the first Christmas I served under him," the priest explained. "It will serve as a reminder to us all of the true meaning of Christmas."

With a small smile, he placed the baby Jesus at the top of the tree and softly sang:

Adeste Fideles
Laeti triumphantes
Venite, venite in Bethlehem.


Everyone nodded their heads in appreciation. Except for Tim.

He'd been watching the proceedings with increasing discomfort. People had taken their ornament selection and presentation much more seriously than he'd intended.

He looked down at the ornament in his own hands: a reindeer that he'd bought at a discount store a few years ago because he thought the expression on its face was funny. Its red nose also reminded him of Sean after he'd had a little too much to drink, but he wasn't about to tell anybody that.

Finally, Tim had an idea. He stood up and began singing:

Grandma got run over by a reindeer,
Walking home from our house Christmas Eve!
You can say there's no such thing as Santa,
But as for me and Grandpa, we believe!


He jogged over to the tree and placed the reindeer on a branch. He turned around and saw everyone staring at him slack-jawed, with varying degrees of surprise on their faces. He had a quick flashback to the funeral of CO Joseph Howard.

"I firmly believe in rehabilitation," Tim quickly explained. "If this reindeer had been convicted of manslaughter and sent to Oz, I would've made sure he was placed in Em City. There, he would've seen the error of his ways, been paroled, and gone on to live a productive life helping Santa in other ways."

Everyone nodded their heads and smiled in obvious relief as they realized that Tim was just being Tim, and wasn’t in the midst of another breakdown.

Tim returned their smiles before turning back around to admire their beautifully decorated tree. This had, indeed, been another great idea.
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