A Friartown Christmas Story

by The Cowl Editor on December 8, 2017


providence college friar logo with a santa hat
Graphic Design courtesy of David Martineau ’18

by Jay Willett ’20

You don’t have to attend Providence College to know the spirit and energy that comes with every winter season. Frigid winds tear apart my lips, and make me cough and sputter on my own breath. No matter how much thick clothing I have my mom send me in the mail, I always end up shaking in the cold. That changes when I stroll between the dorms, as Christmas carols and pop songs echo across Aquinas Lawn. The freezing winds still have me, but I only feel warmth as I sing along to “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” and a tingling wave of goosebumps and excitement runs up my limbs.

Then I hear some kids in McDermott playing Cardi B and I laugh because they clearly didn’t get the memo. Banners and tinsel line the windows, and people decorate for the holidays like it’s their job. At this point on my trip to Slavin I’m goofily skipping to the jingle of “All I Want for Christmas is You.”

Then I recall last year’s holiday concert when Mariah Carey had that awful performance due to technical difficulties and her inflated ego, so I stuff my hands in my pockets out of embarrassment and memorial. The wind slows for a brief moment and I look up to see the massive metal structure in front of me, glowing a dull green.

I shift my gaze to the corner of the Slavin Lawn to see the dimly lit Christmas tree in the distance. Small as it is, I always stop and take a quick moment to be reminded of home and smile at the thought of how close I am to being with my family again.

But seriously though, I think, why isn’t the tree bigger? Or located at the center of the lawn? Questions for another day I decide, as I struggle to open the heavy Slavin doors. Inside I take a moment to hope and pray that the Dunkin line isnt as bad as it was yesterday. Campus record was next to Santander, and it was pretty close.

Much to my dismay, the line ends at the bookstore, and I silently cry to myself as I slump to the back of the line. I don’t know what comes over me, but I cut the line unintentionally, as I look to see that the line had exceeded past the Friars Club office. Oh no, I think to myself, my hands pressed against my cheeks like in Home Alone.

“Oh yes,” someone says behind me.

I jump and turn around to see an old man with a broomstick in his hand. At first, I think for sure he’s going to murder me, but considering the two essays and one project I have due the next day, I decide it wouldn’t be the worst thing to have happen.

“Can I help you?” I ask the man.

“You must learn of your actions Jay, and realize the true spirit of PC Christmas!” The fact that he knows my name could only mean one thing.

“I knew it! Santa is real!” I immediately take my phone out to take a selfie with him like everyone did with Phill Lewis from Suite Life when he was on campus not long ago.

“No! I’m not Santa! I’m the janitor, but you cut the line so now I have to show you your Christmas past to make you feel bad and stuff!” He chants with his hands waving in the air.

“Or I could just get to the end of line?” I ask with a shrug.

“Oh, yeah, I guess you could do that,” he pouts with a sigh like we had just skipped a whole plotline. Suddenly the man is enveloped in a blinding light and disappears faster than my Friar Bucks.

“Wow!” I stammer, my eyes gleaming with Christmas joy.

“Hey, what do you want, I don’t have all day,” Kevin calls from behind the Dunkin counter. I look around me to see that the line has completely vanished, my one and only Christmas wish made true.

“I’ll have a medium caramel swirl iced regular please,” I wink and toss him a grin. He makes a disgusted face and slowly types in my order. Truly it is a Christmas miracle.