Bulger's Friend (Henry)

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Bulger's Friend
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: An eccentric old man joined the Salvation Army and played the bass drum, struggling with giving up his only friend, money. He eventually donated his hidden fortune to help the needy and provide a Christmas tree.

In a small town, an eccentric old man named Bulger joined the Salvation Army. He lived in a makeshift hut and was known for being gruff and unwelcoming to visitors. Despite his odd behavior, the Salvation Army welcomed him and assigned him the role of bass drummer.

Bulger — eccentric old man; bass drummer in Salvation Army; miserly, but ultimately generous.

Bulger was not a skilled drummer, but he was enthusiastic about his new role. One day, the sergeant in charge of the Salvation Army post asked Bulger about his spiritual well-being. Bulger admitted that he was struggling with a friend who had led him to ruin, but he couldn't bring himself to give up this friend. The sergeant encouraged Bulger to pray and continue trying to find peace.

Do you believe the Lord would take a man in if he come to Him late like—kind of a last resort, you know?

The Sergeant — leader of the Salvation Army squad; compassionate, understanding, and dedicated.

During a particularly harsh winter, the Salvation Army struggled to provide for the many people in need. With Christmas approaching, the sergeant reluctantly announced that there would be no Christmas tree for the children this year. Bulger, who had been quietly wrestling with his own problems, decided to take action.

He brought a bag of money to the Salvation Army, totaling $623.80, and told the sergeant that he had finally given up his friend - the money itself.

I've thought it out at last, sergeant, and I've give up that friend I told you about.

He instructed the sergeant to use the money to help those in need, including providing a Christmas tree for the children and a new bass drum for himself.

Take it, sergeant, and spend it the best way for them that needs it, not forgettin' a tree for the young 'uns, and—a new bass drum.

The sergeant gratefully accepted the money and used it to provide for the community during the difficult winter. Bulger's generosity and change of heart brought joy and relief to those in need, and he continued to serve as a bass drummer in the Salvation Army.