Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Delays

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas . . . Wait! This is no dream! We actually have a White Christmas! There is at least four or five inches on the ground and it is still snowing! Yippee! This is so fun! It was raining yesterday morning at home and most of the drive up here. Just after we had unloaded, the sleet started to be mixed later with snow. By 5:00 there were big, fat, feathery flakes floating down.:) Oh, I just love snow! It kept snowing all evening and this morning it started again. No snow until Christmas Eve and then a White Christmas! We will be heading out to Parkville tomorrow. I'm sure we will have a wonderful time. This will be the 26th year of going there for Christmas. And, all Mom's side of the family will be there. Even my aunt who broke her arm on Sunday and had to have surgery on Tuesday.

And yes, I will have something to post on the 1st. Well, I think I will. I just realized that all my stories are on the computer at home. I'm sure I can post something. Maybe I'll write a new short story while I'm gone which I could post. But that is later. Now it is time for my latest story. Enjoy it whenever you read it. Merry Christmas, and as Tiny Tim says, "God bless us every one!"

Christmas Delays

“Great! Here we are in a ditch! This is the third delay this morning!”
A merry peal of laughter was the only response his wife gave him for a minute.
Dave Quincey tried to frown but instead smiled wryly at his young, dark eyed wife. “At this rate we won’t make it to your folk’s house until New Year,” he grumbled good naturedly.
“Oh, Dave, I couldn’t help laughing. This is the fourth, not the third delay. First the alarm didn’t go off, then you got stuck talking on the phone, or listening rather, to a patient, then we had a flat tire and now we’re in a ditch.” Here she broke off to laugh again.

It was Christmas Eve; the sun shone brightly on the snow covered trees and fields. This was Dave and Linda’s first Christmas together. Not only that, but Dave had received a notice to report to the Medical Corps for service by the 10th of January. The young couple knew well that it would only be a matter of time before Dave was sent overseas or to the Pacific to join in the war against the power hungry Nazis and Japanese. They were determined, however, to make this a joyful Christmas, and had promised to spend it with her parents and siblings who lived hours away. They had planned to leave first thing in the morning, but first one thing and then another had delayed them. Now it was early afternoon, and they still had several hours left to travel.

Dave sighed. “Did you tell them when we would be there?”
Linda shook her brown head. “I didn’t know if you would have calls to make today or not. I said we’d be there before Christmas. If nothing else, we could get out and walk.” Her eyes twinkled.
Dave grinned. It was impossible to stay upset with a wife as merry as his.
Just then a truck slowed down and stopped in front of them. The driver got out and came back to their little car. “Do you need a hand?”
“A pull would be more helpful I’m thinking,” Dave replied.
The truck driver laughed. “I’ve got a chain. I’ll have you out in no time. Just wait there.”
True to his word, within five minutes the truck had pulled them out of the ditch. With a hearty thanks and an exchange of Merry Christmas! they went on their way.

“I can’t believe we are actually going to spend Christmas with my folks,” Linda’s voice showed her excitement.
“Now Honey,” Dave spoke gravely though the corners of his mouth twitched, and when he glanced at his wife, his eyes twinkled. “Don’t get too excited, we have three more tires that may need changed.”
“And miles of ditches to get stuck in,” she retorted gaily. “Oh, I didn’t tell you that the boys are planing a snowball fight if the snow doesn’t all melt. I have a feeling you’ll be initiated into the Stephens Sibling Secret Society sometime during our stay.”
“And what might that be?”
Linda shook her head with a laugh. “Oh, I can’t say. I just thought I’d give you a little heads up warning so to speak.”

The car continued down the snowy road filled with merry talk, bright laughter and many an affectionate word. After a time, the sun which had been shining so brightly in its effort to melt the snow, disappeared behind a large bank of clouds that were piling up in the west, and the temperature began to drop.

“I wonder if we’ll get more snow,” Linda mused, her eyes on the clouds.
“We already have snow. What would we do with more?”
“You never can have too much snow for Christmas.”
Dave grunted, his eyes on the road before them. “I’ll remind you of that when we get caught out here in a blizzard.”
“A blizzard!” Linda’s ready laugh sounded again. “Then we’ll head to that little house over there and seek shelter for the night. It is such a small house. See, Dave?”
Dave glanced over and then nodded. “Yep, I saw. It looks rather abandoned to me.”
“Perhaps there will be a light on the other side where it is closer to the road.”
Dave didn’t reply as he eased the car around the curve in the road, eyes searching for hidden patches of ice, for with the cold deepening, ice was beginning to form once more.
“There! I told you there’d be a light! A candle in the window. I love candles in the windows. They make a house so inviting.”
Now that the road was straight again, Dave ventured a glance. At that moment the wheels of the car hit a hidden patch of ice and began to slide. With strong hands on the wheel, Dave fought to gain control, but in vain. The car turned around and plowed straight into a large snow drift.

“Great! Now what!” Dave sighed.
Linda couldn’t help a little laugh. “We could try to dig it out, or we could just stop and have a snowball fight.”
“Honey, aren’t you even a little upset about being delayed for the fifth time today?”
Linda looked surprised. “Why should I be? It wasn’t your fault. Besides, I haven’t had this much fun since I went camping with my Girl Scout Troop and a huge rain storm came up.” She chuckled at the remembrance. “And I couldn’t think of anyone I’d rather be stuck with than you.”
“Darling, you always see the silver lining. I don’t know how you do it, honestly. If it weren’t for you, I don’t know what I’d do.”
“And,” Linda retorted brightly, “if it weren’t for you, I’d still be at home helping to get supper on the table.”
Dave leaned over and kissed her.
“The question is, what are we going to do now?”
“Why walk over to that little house and ask for a shovel to get our car out.”
“Or we could just ask if they have a horse and sleigh we could use,” Dave added dryly.

Soon Dave and Linda were tramping through the snow towards the little house.
“It doesn’t look as though anyone has been out since the snow fell two days ago.”
“That’s a pity,” Linda said. “No one to make a snow man or snow angels.”
“Perhaps no one is home.”
“Oh, someone is there, I see a whiff of smoke from the chimney.”
Dave assisted his wife up the slippery porch steps of the tiny weather beaten house and knocked.
In a moment the door was opened, and a pale, tired looking woman looked out.

“We’re sorry to bother you,” Dave began, “but our car is stuck in a snow drift, and we were wondering if you had a shovel we could borrow to try and free it.”
“Come in,” the woman offered opening the door wider. “I’ll see if I can find one.”
As she shut the door behind her two visitors, the woman suddenly leaned against it and pressed a hand to her side and her eyes closed momentarily. Linda noticed that the woman appeared very pregnant, and she glanced at her husband. Dave had also noticed.
“Ma’am, are you all right?” he questioned. “Here, let me help you to a chair, you shouldn’t be standing.”
“I’ll be all right,” the woman gasped as she sank into a chair. Both hands pressed on her stomach, and her breathing was rapid. “The baby has been trying to come all day, but I can’t get out . . . to the hospital.”
“Linda, I’m going to get my medical bag.” Dave glanced around the dim room, noticing its bareness, three small children huddled close to the stove, and a bed in the far corner near a cold fireplace. “Help her to bed. I’ll be right back.” With that he was gone.

Linda introduced herself and found out the woman’s name was Alice. Her husband was somewhere in France. The three children spoke not a word but stared wide eyed. After Linda had helped Alice to the bed, she asked about wood for the fireplace.
“We don’t have much left,” Alice whispered. “I haven’t been able to go get more, and Teddy isn’t old enough to send.” She moved restlessly. “What we have is through that door.” She motioned toward a door near the stove.
In a very few minutes more, Linda was building a fire, and Dave came in. He pulled his coat off and rolled up his sleeves. Noticing a curtain hanging on a wire stretched across the room, he pulled it shut to try to warm up the makeshift bedroom. Motioning to his wife, he stepped to one side.
“Honey, I brought the basket of food in. Can you heat up some water and give the children some food?” The youngest child had begun to cry when she could no longer see her mother.
Linda nodded with a smile. Her experience of being the oldest in a large family stood her well now. Before long she had found out that Teddy was four years old, and he took care of his brother and sister. Bobby was three and Lori was only one. Lori cried for her mother until Linda opened the basket of food and put a cookie in her hand. While the kettle heated, Linda settled the three children around the table and began to make them some supper. Teddy informed her that Mama hadn’t gotten them any and added with childlike frankness,
“Mama didn’t eat today either ‘cause she wasn’t feeling good. But did you know tomorrow is Christmas?”
“I did know that, Teddy.” Linda smiled.
Bobby had to tell his bit of news. “Daddy is gone away so we not have a trismas tree.”
“That’s okay,” Linda assured him. “You can have Christmas without a tree.
Lori began to cry. Her cookie was gone. She was still hungry. Linda set a plate of food before each child and then stepped to the curtain to tell Dave the kettle was hot.
Dave turned at sound of her voice. He spoke softly. “Make her,” he nodded toward the bed, “a cup of tea, and then can you handle things here a few minutes? We need more wood than we have. And don’t worry,” he added with a smile at her concerned look. “The baby isn’t coming yet.”
His wife nodded.

With a cup of tea in her hand, Linda glanced at the children who were busy eating and then slipped through the curtain over to the bed. Alice opened her eyes.
“The little ones?” The question was low.
A smile flashed across Linda’s face. “Are just fine. They are eating supper now and quite content. Don’t worry about them. I’m used to children. There was a whole parcel when I was growing up.” Gently she brushed the hair away from Alice’s pale face and raised her head holding the steaming cup of tea to her lips. “When was the last time you ate?”
The answer came slowly. “Last night.”

All was still then. The only sounds were the fire crackling in the fireplace, the noise of spoons at the table and now and then a thud of wood being set down. After a few minutes in which Alice seemed to doze off, Linda slipped back to the other side of the curtain. Dave was just coming inside. He carried a small evergreen in one hand and a bag from the car in the other. Linda’s smile when she saw him was very bright, and the children stared in astonishment.
“She seems to be sleeping,” Linda whispered in answer to Dave’s nod of the head. “And Dave, she hasn’t eaten since last night.”
Dave frowned. “I’m afraid this is going to be a difficult birth, Honey.” He set the tree in an empty bucket and handed his wife the bag. Then with a smile for the children, he stepped back to their mother.

The children greatly enjoyed the decorating of that tree. From the bag, Linda brought forth some gilded pine cones, gay buttons and bright red yarn. The yarn was intended for a sweater Linda was knitting, but she decided the tree needed it more than the sweater. Dave opened the curtain a little that Alice might watch for a few minutes.
Teddy paused suddenly and asked, “Where’s my stocking?”
“And mine,” Bobby whispered.
Lori just stuck her fingers in her mouth.
Their mother heard and in a voice filled with emotion, whispered to Dave where they were. He brought them out, and Linda helped the little ones hang them up.

It was growing late. The sun had long since gone, and the stars shone brightly in at the windows. Dave made another trip out to the car to bring in a few more of their things, for they wouldn’t be leaving that night. Linda sat in the rocking chair with Lori cuddled in a blanket in her arms while the two little boys sat at her feet. In a soft voice she told them the very first Christmas story of all. After that she began to sing. One Christmas carol after another filled the little house with its sweet sound of peace, joy and good will.

As the boys began to nod, Dave, who had been standing by the partially opened curtain where he could keep an eye on his patient and his wife, came and tucked them into a makeshift bed on the floor beside the stove. Lori whimpered when Linda made a move as if to put her in bed as well, so with a smile, she settled back and continued rocking, her thoughts drifting back to the days of her childhood.

“Linda!” Dave’s low but intense voice roused her some time later. Instantly she was wide awake. Quickly she placed Lori between her brothers, tucked the blanket around them and then hurried to the bedside.

It was a long, difficult time. Linda could tell by the firm set of her husband’s jaw that things were serious. All she could do was follow orders quickly and to pray. Never once did she stop praying. Dave too was praying as he worked. This was by far the hardest delivery he had done outside of a hospital.

At long last, just as the distant city bells were ringing out the Christmas morning, the baby arrived. A girl. Dave didn’t hear the bells, but Linda did.
When a pale Alice reached to take the flannel bundle from Linda, she asked softly, “Did I hear the Christmas bells ringing?”
Linda nodded. “Your little girl has come on Christmas morning.”
Alice gave a tired smile as she snuggled the tiny bundle in her arms and gazed into the sweet little face. “Christmas bells. You are Mama’s little Christmas Belle.”

Some time later, when Alice had fallen asleep with her new little daughter nestled in the crook of her arm, Dave and Linda slipped out to the porch. The stars were still bright in the heavens and the moon cast a silvery light over the snow. Dave looked down at his wife and smiled. He received an answering smile as he folded her in his arms; their lips met in a long kiss.
“Dave, aren’t you glad now that we had so many delays?” Linda whispered.
A puzzled look crossed Dave’s tired face. “What do you mean?”
“If we hadn’t been delayed so long, that patch of ice might have melted, and we wouldn’t have stopped . . .. What would have happened?”
Dave cringed, “I don’t even want to think of that, not on Christmas Eve.”
Linda gave a soft little laugh. “Honey, it’s Christmas Day. The baby came right as the bells were rung. Merry Christmas, Dave! Merry Christmas. We may not have made it to my folks’ home, but we helped make this home a happy Christmas because of God’s Christmas delays.

I hope you enjoyed it. What did you think of it?

A Christmas Story Part 3

It can't be Friday already! It just can't be! Our Open House is tonight?! Somehow I lost a day this week so I keep thinking it is Thursday. Tomorrow must be Friday. And whatever the day, Christmas CANNOT be next week! That is just impossible! Does anyone one else feel that way? I am certain that it was Christmas only a few months ago. If it is almost Christmas, that means that the year 2009 is almost over! Good grief, what a thought.

As you may have noticed, I don't have my book ready for all my test readers. Mom has been busy helping J with Light of Faith things and hasn't had much time to work on it. Hopefully she can get it done in January. At least I got my part done. At least what I could do now.:)

I should add that next Friday is Christmas, but I will still be posting. That is because we will be having our Christmas on Christmas Eve morning after which we will drive to KC to my Grandparents' house. So, on Christmas Day, while Grandma & Grandpa are at my aunts' we will have a nice quiet morning. That means I can post. And since it will be Christmas, what better thing to post that day then my new Christmas Story. I just finished the last corrections last night. Mom said it must have been good because she cried. And that is all I will tell you about it.

This is the last part of "A Christmas Story" so enjoy it. And by the way, don't forget to check out Andrah's blog and leave a comment on her giveaway.

A Christmas Story Part 3

Jack looked at Jon. And after a pause, Jon spoke, “We aren’t having a Christmas this year.”
“Not having Christmas!” I echoed in unbelief. “Why not?”
“Well, because Dad got hurt last month and can’t work, and Mom can’t work because she is going to have a baby, and Dad says we won’t take charity from the government! We just won’t have Christmas, just like we don’t have heat in the house, and we won’t have a big meal tomorrow either.”
I stared in astonishment. Never in my life had I known someone in that situation. “You don’t have heat?”
“Well,” Jon corrected himself. “We do have some small heaters, so it isn’t freezing, but the furnace can’t be turned on because something is wrong with it, and it might blow up or something if it gets turned on before it gets fixed. But that is okay. We don’t freeze. And,” Jon added hastily as though to change the subject, “Mom said to tell you thank you for getting us that tree. She almost cried when we brought it in. So we will have some Christmas. We just will skip the gifts. I don’t mind.” And Jon straightened his shoulders manfully.
“I don’t mind either,” Jack said, standing tall beside his brother.
I didn’t have time to say anything even if I had known what to say, for Dad’s whistle was heard then breaking the stillness.
“Merry Christmas,” I called back over my shoulder as Sir Prince and I headed up the hill towards home and supper.

As we sat eating a little while later, I didn’t hear the conversations going on around me. All I could think of was Jon and Jack and their sisters and no Christmas gifts, none at all. What would that be like. No money for heat. No money for gifts, not even the smallest. No money for a big dinner. Did they have money for much food at all? Perhaps it was because of not having heat that I was never asked in. That must have been why Jon and Jack were so anxious to earn money by shoveling the snow.
“Rich,” Dad’s voice broke into my thoughts, but only enough to turn them into a new direction. Rich! I was rich, I had plenty of food, more than enough actually. A warm house with no worry about the furnace blowing up. Christmas presents. I knew there would be many of them. I even had extra spending money.
I jumped. Everyone was looking at me. “Sir?” I asked looking at Dad.
“You have hardly touched your food, and you haven’t answered a single question asked you tonight. Are you feeling all right?”
“Oh, I’m sorry. Yes sir, I mean no sir, I mean I’m fine, but Dad, isn’t there something we can do?”
“What are you talking about, Rich?”
I told them all I had just heard from Jon and Jack about them not having a Christmas. Everyone listened in silence. And even after I had finished no one spoke. It wasn’t until Mom and Maggie and Tillie were cleaning up the kitchen, and Dad sat in the living room with the twins on his lap, that I came in with my idea.
“Dad,” I spoke a little hesitatingly at first, “can I give my presents to Jon and Jack?”
Dad looked at me. “All of them?”
I nodded.
“You don’t even know what they are, do you?”
I shook my head.
Dad was quiet. “Son,” he said at last, “Why do you want to do this?”
I sat down before the fireplace and looked into the flames. It was rather hard for me to put it all into words. But I knew I had to try. I had to make Dad understand. “I was thinking about the song “What Can I Give Him,” and I already gave Him my heart, and when I heard about Jon and Jack, the verse we memorized earlier this year came to my mind. The one about doing things for others is doing things for Christ. And, well, I already have so much, food, heat, toys, a dog.” Sir Prince had come over and lain down beside me with his head resting on his front paws. “I really don’t need anything else,” my voice trailed off, and I turned to look at Dad.
“Do you want them to know you gave up your gifts for them?”
Nothing else was said. Mom and the girls came in then, and with only the light from the Christmas tree and the fire, Dad opened the Bible and began to read the very first Christmas story, beginning, “Now it came to pass in the days of Herod the king that all the world went to be taxed.”
I sat and listened. Somehow it seemed more real to me that Christmas than it ever had before. When Dad finished reading, he told the others what I wanted to do and asked if anyone else wanted to do the same thing. Maggie did, and so did Tillie, probably because Tillie always wanted to do what Maggie did. The twins of course didn’t know. Mom said she would give some things too, and then Dad asked if we were all willing to give up our big turkey dinner with all the fixings. I looked at the girls, and they looked at me. As one, we said, “Yes.” It was decided that if we had made something for someone else, that would be kept, but anything else would go.
We all hurried around. Dad got a few boxes and paper bags. Mom got the food ready. Dad helped us all pack the gifts. There were no labels on the gifts yet, so as Dad told us what was in each gift, we wrote who it was for. We didn’t put who it was from. At last everything was ready. Mom and Kelly and Kaylee stayed home, but the rest of us, each loaded with a box or bag, and well bundled up, started out into the cold snowy Christmas Eve night. Tillie kept giggling, and I was afraid someone would hear us. Quietly we approached the Lee house. We could see the lighted Christmas tree shining in the window. With great caution we set the things down before the door. Dad had said I could ring the bell after he and the girls were out of sight.
Giving the doorbell a quick push, I jumped off the porch and raced for the bushes where I could hide and watch. The door opened and Mrs. Lee looked out. She seemed about to close the door when she noticed the bags and boxes. With a cry she turned to someone inside. I didn’t wait to see more, but quietly slipped away home.

That night as I lay in my warm bed I didn’t feel sad about giving up those gifts and not having many to open in the morning. Instead I had a warm feeling of doing what was needed. I looked out the window and saw a bright star shining through a break in the clouds. I hadn’t done this for me, or even for Jon and Jack, I had done it for Christ who had given His all for me.
I’m sure there wasn’t a happier boy that Christmas Eve night than I was, for I had found out the true meaning of Christmas.

The End

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Hi everyone!
I know it is not Friday, but I had to tell you about this giveaway Andrah is doing. She has made this cute headband and is going to give it away! But, not only did she just make one headband, she has made a whole bunch of headbands, and they are all creative and unique. This could be the perfect gift for some sister or niece, friend or cousin. You should also check out her bags! I had her make me a bag, and I just LOVE it! I really don't know how she does it, but she has a special gift of creativity. So, be sure you check out her blog and leave a comment!

You can also use the button on the top right of my blog to get there.
Have a great day!

Friday, December 11, 2009

A Christmas Story Part 2

Good grief! How can it be Friday again? I mean I just posted the other day, didn't I? Life has just been so busy that the time is flying faster than normal.:) We have the house decorated, I've been sewing some, writing some and have had two Story Times. We haven't done any holiday baking yet as S is very busy sewing. (Yes, I know, she is always sewing.)

Well, I guess I'll just post the next part of the Christmas story as I really can't think of anything else to say. Hmmm, I wonder where I left you in the last part. . . Not that it really matters as I don't think anyone has read it anyway. By far the most popular posts are "Meleah's Western." I wonder why?:)

A Christmas Story Part 2

It had started snowing when we got outside again. They weren’t big flakes, but it was snow. Sir Prince barked at the flakes. I think he was excited too. We ran down the hill to the end where the street turns and winds back up to the main street. Back behind Mr. and Mrs. Myth’s house is a bunch of woods. They own it, but have always told me I could go there whenever I wanted. I like walking in the woods when it is snowing. The three of us walked towards the woods. The wind wasn’t blowing much anymore, and we could talk.
“Do you have a Christmas tree yet?” I asked.
“No,” Jon replied. “It costs too much money to get one this year, Dad said.”

I tried not to look surprised. How could you have a house that smelled and looked like Christmas without a tree? Surely there was some way to help. I thought of the little money I had saved. Would that be enough? But I knew it wouldn’t. Even a small tree costs more than I had saved. Suddenly I stopped short. Of course! “Why can’t we find a tree for you here in the woods? Do you have things to decorate it with? I’ll go ask Mr. Myth, if you think your mom would like it.”
Jack’s face lit up, and Jon said, “Like it? She would love it! I heard her tell Dad she had never had a Christmas without a tree before. Do you really think Mr. Myth would let us?”
“Sure he would. I’ll be right back,” I called over my shoulder as I raced away to the house with Sir Prince barking at my side.

Mr. Myth said he would be glad to have a Christmas tree cut from his woods. In fact, he came with us and brought a saw. We found a perfect one. It was a little heavy for us to carry home, but we managed. I didn’t have time to see what Mrs. Lee said about the tree, for I saw that I would have to hurry to get ready for caroling on time.

Every night starting on the 15th, my family goes caroling, as I think I mentioned before. Dad and Mom have great voices and have had us singing for as long as I can remember. Dad sings bass and can hit those really low notes that almost seem to be a growl. My voice hadn’t changed at that time yet, so I sang the tenor an octave higher. Mom usually sang the alto while Maggie and Tillie sang soprano. Sometimes Maggie and Mom would switch parts, but Tillie always sang the melody. She couldn’t sing anything else. Of course the twins couldn’t sing at all, but they tried and no one minded their off key efforts. The first night of caroling we always go to a nursing home first and end at Grandma and Grandpa’s for a late supper. I didn’t have time to tell anyone about finding the Christmas tree for the Lees when I got home, for it was a rush of getting ready and the frantic search for Tillie’s new shoes. It was still snowing when we left, and we sang “Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow” and “Jingle Bells” all the way to the nursing home. The singing went well that night, at least as well as it usually does on the first night.

When we woke on the 16th, the snow had stopped, but there was about three inches on the ground. Enough to try my hand at shoveling. I took my sled along for the Michaels have a great hill behind their house for sledding which they let anyone use as long as we don’t tramp on the flower gardens near the house. Jon and Jack came and helped shovel snow, being quite as eager as myself about this way of earning a little extra money. We split all the earnings. With three of us working it didn’t take long to clear all the driveways down to the Michael’s. There we took a break and went sledding. I went so far on my sled that last time that I ended up in the creek. It was cold! That put an end to the sledding for the time at least as I had to go home for dry clothes. Mom made me stay home that afternoon so that my voice would be okay for singing that night.

The days came and went rapidly, more rapidly it seemed than before, for I had some boys to play and work with. It didn’t snow anymore until the 21st, and then not more than another inch, but the previous snow has stayed on the ground. We had caroled every night, saving our own neighborhood for the 23rd which was the last night we sing. On Christmas Eve we all stay at home and read the Christmas story.

It was snowing again on Christmas Eve morning. This time large heavy flakes fell and covered all the ground that had dared to show itself again. It also covered the driveways and sidewalks. I knew it would be useless to try shoveling snow while it was still snowing, but I felt I just had to get out of the house. The girls were busy in their room with last minute secrets, the twins were reading stories with Dad, and Mom was in the kitchen. Calling Sir Prince I headed out into the world of white. For a while I just wandered about the neighborhood. I figured Jon and Jack would be busy with their own Christmas preparations, so I didn’t go over. I must have been out for over an hour before I heard Dad calling. The hot lunch Mom had prepared was delicious! It really warmed me up. After I had helped with the dishes I went back out. I just couldn’t stay in, and for some strange reason, my steps wended towards the Lee home. As I rounded the corner, I saw Jack sitting on the porch steps looking rather forlorn. Sir Prince whined, and his tail began to wag.
“Merry Christmas, Jack,” I said.
Jack looked up.
“Where is Jon?”
Jack nodded back towards the house.
Jack was usually quiet, but I hadn’t noticed just how quiet until now, for Jon had always been there to do his talking for him. “Oh, is he getting the last things ready for Christmas?”
Jack shook his head, but didn’t speak.
Funny, I thought. Out loud I said, “Well, come on, let’s build a snowman.”
Slowly Jack came over and began to help me, but I could tell his heart wasn’t in it. We had gotten only the base of the snowman constructed when Jon joined us. He too seemed quiet. The snow continued to fall as we erected that snowman. When we finally finished, we all stood around and looked at it. True it wasn’t one of those perfect snowmen you see now in movies or in books, but it was a snowman.
“When do you all open your gifts?” I asked. “Tonight or in the morning?”
Jack looked at Jon. And after a pause, Jon spoke, “We aren’t having a Christmas this year.”

Last part to be posted next week.

Friday, December 4, 2009

A Christmas Story Part 1

Well, today is the day, Friday, December 4, 2009. Mom and I leave to in about an hour to pick up the Cass girls. Today we might get a little decorating done, but this afternoon we pick out our Christmas tree, cut it, and bring it home. And tomorrow is the official decorating day here at the Morris home. The Casses have come down to help us decorate every year since J & M got married. It is always so much fun and it looks beautiful afterwards. :)

The story is part one of a Christmas story I wrote last year. I would like to write another Christmas story this year, but we'll see if I have time. Anyway, I should go ahead a post it so that I can get a few other things done before I have to leave. Enjoy the story!

A Christmas Story

It was the Christmas I was eight. I remember it as clearly as though it were last week. We lived in a quiet neighborhood with mostly older people and a few young married couples. We weren’t rich as some people might think, but we weren’t poor either. My four sisters and I were the only children around. That is until that Christmas. I was the one who found them.

I had been out for a tramp with Sir Prince, our big collie dog. Mom and Dad let me wander the neighborhood if Sir Prince was with me. I didn’t get into mischief, and I suppose it was a way for Mom to get me out from under foot. Being the only boy was a little hard at times.

That fall I was able to earn some spending money by raking leaves for people and sweeping their sidewalks. But I had spent most of the money already on Christmas gifts for the family and neighbors. I was hoping it would snow that day that I saw them. I thought if it would snow I could shovel it like Dad does sometimes. I had helped him last year and knew how to do it.

Anyway, I was on the other side of the street about five houses down from ours. The road winds around, and so you can’t see this house from ours, otherwise I might have noticed earlier that they were there.

It was an old house. No one had lived in it for as long as I could remember. The neighbors took turns mowing the yard and trimming the bushes to keep it looking nice, but that was it. I used to wonder what it looked like inside and if anyone would ever live in it. Well, that day as Sir Prince and I were running down the sidewalk, we came to a sudden halt, for there were two boys out in the yard of the empty house. They looked about my age. I couldn’t tell if they were twins or not; they were different sizes and one had darker hair than the other. They weren’t really doing anything just kind of walking around and looking. With Sir Prince beside me I came closer. The boys stopped, and we looked at one another.
“Hi,” I said. I didn’t know what else to say.
“Hi,” was the reply. Then we were silent again.
I tried again. “Where do you live?”
“Here? Did you just move in?”
Two heads nodded.
“But I didn’t see you yesterday, and I walked by then.”
“We just moved today,” was the answer.
“Oh.” Another pause then I remembered that I ought to introduce myself. “I’m Richard Harlen Philipson, but most people call me Dick or Rich.”
“I’m Jonathan Stuart Lee,” replied the taller of the boys. “You can call me Jon. And this is Jackson Forest Lee, but we call him Jack.”
Jack nodded, and we all fell silent again. I think we would have stood there in silence until Mom called me if it hadn’t been for Sir Prince. He had been sniffing around a little bit while we were talking. Now he came over and offered to shake hands with Jon and Jack. Sir Prince usually doesn’t do that on his own. That broke the ice, so to speak, and we began to talk.

I found out that they had an older sister and two younger sisters. They were almost the same age as mine. Jon and Jack weren’t twins, but they were both eight. Jon was ten months older than Jack, so for two months they are the same age. December is one of those months. I thought that was funny. By the time Mom did finally call me, we had become friends. Well, sort of. They were pretty quiet about their family life. But I guess you just don’t go telling any stranger that comes around all about you the first time you see him.

I was eager to tell my family about Jon and Jack that night at supper. Dad was glad to hear someone had finally moved into that old house. Mom said she would have to make some bread to take over, sort of as a welcome to the neighborhood gift. I couldn’t tell if Maggie and Tillie were interested or not. They didn’t say much. As for the twins, at only two, they didn’t even understand. I couldn’t wait for the next day.

I had to wait until Mom had the bread done the next day before going over. We weren’t invited in, but Mrs. Lee seemed pleased with the bread. The boys were busy, so I had to play alone again. It was the 5th of December when I found them, and they couldn’t play again until the 8th. One of those days was Sunday, and Dad doesn’t like me to run around on that day.

On the 8th, Mom and the girls were busy decorating the house. I kept getting in the way, so Mom said I could go outside. I went down to the Lee’s and saw Jack outside. Jon soon came out, and we walked around the neighborhood. I told them who lived in which houses and things like that. As we went by Grandma May’s house (She really isn’t my grandmother, but she likes to be called that.), she opened the door and asked us if we would be so kind as to try some cookies she had just baked. She said she was trying to decide just which cookies she should take to her church Christmas bake sale. She had five different cookies, and we tried them all. We finally decided on a chocolate almond crunch cookie as the best. It was getting late when we left, and Jon and Jack had to go home.

That night we decorated our tree. We had gotten it a few days before, but hadn’t had time to decorate it as Dad had to work, and we always decorate it together. That is the only part of the decorating that I like. I just don’t seem to get how to put the lights and garlands and ribbons and berries on the windows, and stair rails and things like that. I either end up watching the twins, or if they are napping, I go outside. The girls were very busy with secrets and such. So was Mom. I didn’t have to worry about Christmas gifts as I had already gotten them. In fact, they were already wrapped and hiding in a drawer under my socks. I figured that no one would think of looking there if they were trying to snoop, not that anyone does that in my family as we like to be surprised.

The days of December flew by. I spent as much time as I could with Jon and Jack. The funny thing though was that I was never invited in. I supposed they were still trying to get unpacked and settled and didn’t want another boy underfoot. At least that was what Mom said. Almost before I knew it, there were only ten days left until Christmas.

December 15th is always a memorable day because that is when we start caroling. But this year was a little different. It was cold and cloudy and looked like snow. It smelled like snow too. At least that is what Dad said. I was hoping for snow, so were my sisters. I met Jon and Jack outside their house, and together we went for a walk. It was almost too cold to talk, for there was a biting wind. We were going down the street when Mrs. Jones called to me.
“Dick! Can you boys come and help me, please?”
Mrs. Jones is young and pretty. I don’t usually notice the color of hair, but even now I can picture it. It was a reddish blonde and curly. I had become good friends with Mr. and Mrs. Jones in the 8 months or so they had lived there. Mrs. Jones seemed so eager for assistance. I was willing to help, and the others were too.

We crossed the street and hurried up the steps. I told Sir Prince to wait for us on the porch. Mom lets Sir Prince inside our house, but most people don’t like dogs in their houses, especially big dogs like Sir Prince. Mrs. Jones hurried us through the small entryway and into the living room.
“You see,” she said, pointing towards the corner. “I have a problem. The Christmas tree is leaning and shaky, and I’m afraid it will fall over. I wanted to decorate it before Dan gets home, but I don’t want it to fall. Can you help?” She looked anxious.

I didn’t think of it until later, but then it struck me as rather a funny thing to ask of three eight year olds. Most people would as soon trust a five year old. But I didn’t think of it then. I just saw the problem and set to work. I remembered that our trees sometimes did that, and Dad had to tie them up. In a few minutes I saw how to fix it, and in no time at all it was fixed.
Mrs. Jones was so excited that she gave a little squeal. I guess I should excuse her as this was her first Christmas since she was married. She gave us some cookies and hot chocolate before we left. . . .

To be continued next week.