In a small New York town, just a short commute from NYC, a lone Volkswagen Beetle sits abandoned in the train station parking lot. It hasn't moved in months, not since its owner, Bill Harper, took the 6:15 train into the city on the morning of September 11th. No one knows why he went to New York that day, and no one knows what became of him. It just makes it that much more difficult for his friends and neighbors to accept that Bill Harper will NOT be home for Christmas. This year Mr. Harper will not be around to plan the Christmas Pageant, or to give drum lessons to Benny Lewis. Benny however, refuses to give up hope, everyday checking to see if Mr. Harper's car has moved, or if anyone has gotten word from him. But the Benny's fear for Mr. Harper is nothing compared to the fear that has consumed his mother, Victoria, since that awful day. She, as mayor, refuses to have the Volkswagen towed despite the persistence of Charlie, the town sheriff. She is reluctant to let someone else work on the pageant, and she refuses to go into the city to have her chronic sore throat looked at. Her older son, Patrick urges her to abandon her fear, but she dismisses his concern. Her only desire is to move on with the holidays and pretend that nothing is wrong. In any effort to keep things moving along, she grudgingly let's Monica, who has opened a Chon Main St., begin planning a pageant. She hires Andrew to continue Benny's drum lessons, and she is overjoyed when Patrick begins working at Monica's store in place of the restaurant job he was laid off of. When they receive word that Mr. Harper's wallet had been found among the wreckage of the WTC, everything falls apart: Benny takes the news hard, Victoria refuses to let grief overtake her, and Patrick decides that something must be done to make his family feel safe again. In an act of selflessness, Patrick goes into the city, and enlists in the army. He is set to leave for boot camp the day after Christmas. Victoria has difficulty accepting this decision, and accuses her son of abandoning her and his brother. The next day, she accompanies Charlie to Mr. Harper's house, where she discovers that Benny has been leaving hopeful messages on his answering machine, ever since 9/11. She also uncovers some clues as to what Mr. Harper was doing at the World Trade Center, and what he was planning for the pageant. After a revelation from Monica, and allowing herself to finally mourn, Victoria takes the train into New York City, and solves the mystery surrounding Mr. Harper's last day. Picking up where he left off, she arranges for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir to sing at the pageant, where she wishes her son good luck, and God Speed.moreless
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