Halloween had just passed and our next holiday was Thanksgiving. A new boy joined our class, his shirt was dinghy and stained, and his hair looked as though he combed it with his fingers.
Most of the class shied away from him, but Dad always told me, if you want friends, you need to be a friend. I approached him, "Hi, my name is Ben.""I'm Lance. I just moved to this area and I'm new."
"So, where did you move from?" I inquired.
Lance didn't respond right away, and he looked sad. I didn't know why until he finally spoke, "Bethany, our home burned down, and Mom and Dad were asleep. Firemen woke me up, and barely got me out. Mom and Dad weren't so lucky."
"So, you're in the group home down the street?" Lance just nodded his head, so I asked, "Would you like to go to my house after school? Will they allow that?"
"As long as I am in by eight, I can do what I want. If I am late, by even a minute, I will get in trouble."
"What kind of trouble?"
"There is an oak tree in the back yard that the other boys call the switch tree. I was told that one boy came in one minute late, and the headmaster, Mr. D'ville, made him go get a switch off the tree. Then he took him to the boy's room, made him drop his pants and proceeded to swat him with the switch on his bare butt."
"Ouch, the headmaster sounds evil."
"I've barely met him, but the other boys claim his real name is Devil. And he does like wearing red suits." Lance told me other things that he's heard about the headmaster, which made me believe he really was the devil.
Over the next few weeks, Lance had come to my house every day. We became very close, almost like brothers. The day before Thanksgiving, I jokingly told Dad that we should adopt him. Dad just smiled.
Thanksgiving morning, I asked Mom, "Can we go to the group home and see if Lance can have dinner with us?"
"That sounds like a good idea, but your father is out right now, and I am preparing the meal."
"Where'd Dad go?"
"He didn't say, but he should be back soon." Mom had one of those 'We're up to something smiles.'
Dad came home and called me down to his office. I started to question him, "Dad, do you think we could go to the group home and invite Lance over?"
"That sounds like a splendid idea, but let's go into my office to discuss something first."
I walked into the office and there stood Lance. Dad was chuckling behind me. "Lance!!!" I ran up to him and hugged him.
"I hope you don't mind, but your Mom and I adopted Lance. It was finalized yesterday, but we arranged for him to stay at the group home until today so we could surprise you."
"A brother for Thanksgiving," I grinned, "I love the idea, but I hope you know, he's sleeping in MY room…" I looked at Lance, "OUR room."
"I'll set him up in the room across the hall from you, but the two of you can sleep in the same bed if you both want."