A light drizzle was falling as my sister Jill and I ran out of the Methodist Church, eager to get home and play with the presents that Santa had left for us and our baby sister, Sharon. Across the street from the church was a Pan American gas station where the Greyhound bus stopped. It was closed for Christmas, but I noticed a family standing outside the locked door, huddled under the narrow overhang in an attempt to keep dry. I wondered briefly why they were there but then forgot about them as I raced to keep up with Jill.
天上下着毛毛细雨，我和姐姐吉尔跑出卫理公会教堂， 满心只想着快点回到家玩圣诞老人给我们和小妹妹莎伦 准备的礼物玩具。教堂的对面是泛美油站，灰狗长途汽 车会在那里中途停站。因为是圣诞节，那天油站没开， 不过我发现在紧锁的站门外站着一家人，他们挤在狭小 的檐篷下，想尽量不被雨淋湿。我闪过一个疑问，他们为什么站在那里呢？但在我赶上吉尔 的时候也就把这个疑团抛诸脑后了。
Once we got home, there was barely time to enjoy our presents. We had to go off to our grandparents’ house for our annual Christmas dinner. As we drove down the highway through town, I noticed that the family was still there, standing outside the closed gas station.
My father was driving very slowly down the highway. The closer we got to the turnoff for my grandparents’ house, the slower the car went. Suddenly, my father U-turned in the middle of the road and said, “I can’t stand it!”
在那主干道上爸爸的车开得很慢。越接近去爷爷奶奶家的分岔路口，车子就越慢。突然，爸 爸在半路中途来了个 180 度转弯，把车子原路驶回，他说： “我实在不忍心！ ”
“What?” asked my mother.
“It’s those people back there at the Pan Am, standing in the rain. They’ve got children. It’s Christmas. I can’t stand it.”
When my father pulled into the service station, I saw that there were five of them: the parents and three children — two girls and a small boy.
爸爸把车开到油站旁停下，我看见那一家总共有 5 个人：父母俩和三个孩子——两个女孩跟 一个小男孩。
My father rolled down his window. “Merry Christmas,” he said.
爸爸摇下车窗对他们说： “圣诞快乐！ ”
“Howdy,” the man replied. He was very tall and had to stoop slightly to peer into the car.
“你好， ”那个男人回了一句。他长得很高，要 稍微弯下腰来往我们车里瞧。
Jill, Sharon, and I stared at the children, and they stared back at us.
“You waiting on the bus?” my father asked.
The man said that they were. They were going to Birmingham, where he had a brother and prospects of a job.
“Well, that bus isn’t going to come along for several hours, and you’ re getting wet standing here. Winborn’s just a couple miles up the road. They’ve got a shed with a cover there, and some benches,” my father said. “Why don’t y’all get in the car and I’ll run you up there.”
“汽车起码要好几个小时后才到这里，站在这儿等车你们都会淋湿的。往前几英里就是温邦 站，那儿有个棚屋，有地方避雨，还有些板凳。不如上车我送你们到那里吧。 ”
The man thought about it for a moment, and then he beckoned to his family. They climbed into the car. They had no luggage, only the clothes they were wearing.
Once they settled in, my father looked back over his shoulder and asked the children if Santa had found them yet. Three glum faces mutely gave him his answer.
“Well, I didn’t think so,” my father said, winking at my mother, “because when I saw Santa this morning, he told me that he was having trouble finding all, and he asked me if he could leave your toys at my house. We’ll just go get them before I take you to the bus stop.”
“我看不是吧， ”爸爸边说边向妈妈眨眼暗示， “早上我碰到圣诞老人了，他说找不到你们，想把给你们的礼物暂时放到我们家里来。 现在咱们就去拿礼物吧， 待会儿我再送你们去车站。 ”
All at once, the three children’s faces lit up, and they began to bounce around in the back seat, laughing and chattering.
When we got out of the car at our house, the three children ran through the front door and straight to the toys that were spread out under our Christmas tree. One of the girls spied Jill’s doll and immediately hugged it to her breast. I remember that the little boy grabbed Sharon’s ball. And the other girl picked up something of mine. All this happened a long time ago, but the memory of it remains clear. That was the Christmas when my sisters and I learned the joy of making others happy.
到了我家一下车，那三个孩子穿过大门就直奔 摆在圣诞树下的礼物。其中一个小女孩发现了 吉尔的洋娃娃礼物，马上把它抱入怀中。我记 得那小男孩抓走了莎伦的小球，而另外一个女 孩就挑走了一件我的东西。这些都是很久很久 以前的事了，然而回忆起来还是那么清晰，因 为在那个圣诞日我和我的姐妹领会到了让别人 快乐而获得的愉悦。
My mother noticed that the middle child was wearing a short-sleeved dress, so she gave the girl Jill’s only sweater to wear.
My father invited them to join us at our grandparents’ for Christmas dinner, but the parents refused. Even when we all tried to talk them into coming, they were firm in their decision.
Back in the car, on the way to Winborn, my father asked the man if he had money for bus fare.
His brother had sent tickets, the man said.
My father reached into his pocket and pulled out two dollars, which was all he had left until his next payday. He pressed the money into the man’s hand. The man tried to give it back, but my father insisted. “It’ll be late when you get to Birmingham, and these children will be hungry before then. Take it. I’ve been broke before, and I know what it’s like when you can’ t feed your family.”
爸爸从口袋里掏出仅有的两美元，本来是我们要熬到下次发工资的，他却把这钱塞到了男人 的手里。男人想把钱推回来，但爸爸硬要他收下。 “等你们到伯明翰就已经很晚了，路上孩子 们会饿的。收下吧，我以前也曾一贫如洗，让家人挨饿的滋味不好受，我知道的。 ”
We left them there at the bus stop in Winborn. As we drove away, I watched out the window as long as I could, looking back at the little girl hugging her new doll.