Sara’s Christmas Promise

          

Tucked away in the bucolic valley of Parsons Creek, Rhode Island is the small town of Amber. Amber’s population is not more than two hundred.


The founder of the Amber Day Care Center, long term resident Cheryl McCann, is dedicated to the community, and the children. She finds herself battling a businessman who is trying to remove the Amber Day Care Center from its newly acquired location. Businessman Andrew Harman wants to build a grocery store next to the day care center and turn that property into a parking lot.


n November, Amber is preparing for the upcoming holiday seasons especially Christmas. The children attending the center are getting ready to prepare for its Christmas transformation, a holiday play, and a visit from Santa.

This year is especially important because one of the children, Sara Clark, who suffered from a heart ailment, will be returning from a long stay at the hospital.

Over the years, because of economic changes, parents were forced to find work out of town. With both parents working, many children needed care.

We open in the home of Sara Clark, a young girl who is ill with a heart ailment and on the path to recovery.

Sara is surrounded by her mother and father. Two of Sara’s friends can be seen sitting on the couch next to her. One is holding a doll, the other a book. Aunt Bea and an older neighbor, Miss Taylor, are preparing some refreshments in the dining room. They are discussing the upcoming winter and question if the almanac will be accurate this year. Sara’s mother and father, June and Kevin Clark, stand close to Sara talking about their hopes for her future and the upcoming Christmas holiday.

Cheryl McCann comes to visit Sara and encourages the parents with the hope that Sara will be strong enough to return to the center before Christmas. Her promise to Sara is a part in the Christmas play. Everyone is pleased with the visit and Ms. McCann leaves.

The story continues with a variety of casual interactions between members of the community. Many of the residents are employed by Jackson Manufacturing a new company 40 miles outside Amber.

As the holiday approaches Cheryl McCann and her assistant, Laurie Pratt, are planning the festivities for the upcoming holiday.

A local official comes to the center and informs Ms. McCann that a letter has arrived from the State indicating that the center may no longer fall under the State’s guidelines for a certified day care facility.  They may have to re-apply. This greatly concerns Cheryl and she decides to investigate and find a solution.

Jason Blake, an attorney tired of the rat race in the big city, opens a practice in Amber. He is new to the town. We see him hanging up his shingle talking to his next door neighbor, a shop keeper. The shop keeper needs some legal advice. They discuss his problem and Jason solves it for him immediately. The neighbor is very impressed and spreads word about the new lawyer.

 At the annual Thanksgiving bonfire Jason and Cheryl meet for the first time. She notices he is wearing dress shoes to the grassy and muddy field. She asks him, “Did you just come from work?” He responds, “Yes, how did you know?”  She humors him about his shoes, “Those are not exactly the kind of shoes you would wear to a bonfire in the country. That’s something you might not be accustomed to.” Cheryl laughs and Jason muses over her statement. At the end they leave separately after having had a pleasant time. In the future Jason will be instrumental in helping Cheryl save the daycare center. Jason returns to his home thinking about Cheryl.

As Cheryl and Jason’s relationship develops Jason spends more time at the daycare center helping her in simple maintenance and in seasonal decorating. He often makes mistakes and gains Cheryl’s attention bringing them closer together.

Andrew Harmon, a grocery store owner, decides to build a modern grocery store in town. Amber is adjacent to Lawrence, a larger town with a greater population.

Mr. Harmon encourages the town officials, at a town meeting, by assuring them the new store will employ many people and bring customers into Amber.

Mr. Harmon informs the Mayor of Amber, Eric Dooley that he would like to acquire the property, where the Amber Day Care Center now stands next to the grocery store site for the store’s parking lot. The mayor is conflicted over the proposal because of his support for the center. He explains to Mr. Harmon, “I understand your need for parking and the grocery store’s importance for Amber, but our children are also important. I have to think about this.” Harmon answers, “You do that.”

Harmon finds out about the state’s requirement to have the day care center reapply for certification. Harmon hopes to use the issue to compromise the center thus acquiring the property to build the necessary parking lot.      

The story evolves as Cheryl and Jason become closer and romantically involved with a continued series of humorous events while decorating the day care center and helping the children prepare for the Christmas play.

Jason assists Cheryl to resolve the issues concerning the day care center and keeping it at its present location.

The story culminates with Amber’s residents supporting the center, and with the help of the mayor, fight and keep the Amber Daycare Center up and running. The grocery store owner puts up a fight, but eventually concedes to the town.

 
The day care center is beautifully decorated on Christmas Eve. The children, along with Sara Clark, are onstage performing in the Christmas play. Parents and day care personnel look on. Cheryl and Jason, holding hands, alongside Laurie Pratt and the mayor, stand at the rear of the room admiring the presentation. A Christmas spirit fills the room. All is at peace in Amber and Cheryl and Jason have found a new romance.

 

Copyright © 2017 Michael Koontz and Mireille Bany