II. A Visit With Dr. Chang
The next afternoon Sarah and Petey ran home from school. Sarah ran up the stairs to her bedroom and shut the door tightly. Then she opened her closet door and crawled inside. In the back corner, underneath a pile of doll clothes, was Sarah's secret shoe box. She pulled it out and opened it. Mixed in with her shiny pencils and sea shells she found three dollars and twenty-seven cents.
Petey didn't have a secret place. He shone a flashlight under his bed and found thirty-two cents. He found another nickel in yesterday's pants' pocket and fifty-three cents in the sofa cushions.
They met in the kitchen and spilled all their change on the table. "Four dollars and seventeen cents," Sarah said.
"Is that enough to buy glasses?" asked Petey.
"I don't think it is, but let's go find out for sure."
Grandpa Fred came into the kitchen as Petey was stuffing the money into his pockets. "What are you two up to?"
"Oh, we thought we might go Christmas shopping," Sarah said. "Is that okay?"
Grandpa Fred glanced at the clock. "Be back by 4:30. It gets dark early these winter days," he warned.
"Okay, Grandpa, we will," promised Sarah.
"Bye, Grandpa," called Petey, and they ran out the kitchen door.
A short walk took them to Main Street and Dr. Chang's Optical Shop, where Petey had gotten his glasses. A bell jangled when Sarah pushed the door open. A little Christmas tree stood in the waiting room. Red and gold ribbons tied eyeglasses to the branches. Sarah and Petey turned when they heard a voice.
"Well, hello, Peter! What are you doing here? Is there a problem with your glasses?" asked Dr. Chang. "Did you run over them with your bicycle again? Or break them playing baseball again? Or maybe they have fallen to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean again, and a fish is wearing them?"
Petey pulled off his glasses and held them out for Dr. Chang to see. "Look, my glasses are fine!"
"Good! You’re being more careful with your glasses. I’m proud of you!"
"We're here because of Grandpa Fred," Petey said. "He's having a problem with his eyes."
"Yes, we're awfully worried about him," Sarah added. "He can't see Christmas."
"He can't see Christmas?" repeated Dr. Chang.
"He can't see the tree and the lights or any of the Christmas specials on TV. He won't even come to church to see our Christmas program. He says he just can't see Christmas," Sarah explained.
"We want to buy him some new glasses," Petey added.
"I'm sorry." Dr. Chang shook her head. "I don't think I can help your grandfather. Ordinary glasses won't help him see Christmas if he doesn't want to see it. It sounds like he needs Christmas glasses."
"Well, what about these?" Petey ran over to the Christmas tree.
"No, Peter, those aren't Christmas glasses. They're just ordinary glasses hanging on a Christmas tree. Just to make my office look festive.
"Dr. Chang, do you know where we could find Christmas glasses?" asked Sarah hopefully.
"No, I'm sorry Sarah. I sure don't. I wish I did. This world would be a happier place if everyone could see Christmas."
Sarah and Petey stood on the sidewalk after leaving the optical shop.
"Now what?" Sarah asked.
"Well, we still have four dollars and seventeen cents," said Petey.
"That doesn't solve Grandpa's problem."
"No, but we could eat some doughnuts while we think about it." Petey pointed across the street at the bakery.
When they left the bakery, they had one dollar and fifty-three cents left. By a Salvation Army kettle, a Santa Claus rang a bell. Sarah and Petey each put a quarter into the kettle. The Santa Claus thanked them. Then they hurried home.
Coming tomorrow: Chapter 3, A Visit with Santa Claus