Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Garlandsburg Christmas Eve - Boathouse

Barnacle Bill, as everyone called him, was busy at his boat house. He whistled a merry Christmas tune as he worked on a boat out in front. Tomorrow he would take the entire day off to enjoy the holiday, but today, ah, today he would work. The shouts of fresh young voices caused him to look up. His twin sons, Brandon and Brian were having a snowball fight. It seemed as though Brian was losing for he dodged around the corner with his brother right at his heels. Barnacle Bill paused. The boat could wait a little longer. Quietly he packed a dozen snow balls and then waited for his sons. Soon they were back. Brian had the upper hand now and was pursuing Brandon. With sure aim, the boat maker let fly his ammunition. The sudden onslaught caused the boys great astonishment. They thought their father was too busy to play. But with wide grins, they returned the fire.
Before long, the snowballs were flying thick and fast as father and sons pelted the others with winters’ cold ammunition. Around the house the three combatants raced, hurling the snow as fast as they could scoop it up and pack it into balls. Across the yard Barnacle Bill raced before leaping the stone wall where fresh, un-trampled snow waited for him. The snow drift was so deep, however, that he sank in clear past his knees and was at the mercy of his boys.
The merry shouts and laughter caused Mrs. Bill to pause in her pie making and hurry to look out the window.
“I declare, Betty, it does my heart good to see your father having a little fun.”
Betty hurried over to her mother’s side to see what the fun was. “Do you think, Mama, that Father will go back to work after this?”
Mrs. Bill pursed her lips. “He won’t if we put his tools away.”
“He shouldn’t be working on Christmas Eve anyway,” Betty agreed, hastily pulling on her coat.
Rapidly, yet quietly, Mrs. Bill and Betty gathered the few tools and slipped back inside.

“Whew!” Barnacle Bill sighed as he collapsed in the snow to catch his breath after having with great effort, been helped out of the snow drift. “I haven’t had that much fun in years.”
Brian looked at Brandon meaningfully before speaking. “Do you think you could go down to the pond with us and Betty after a while?”
“Well,” their father began to reply but got no farther, for Mrs. Bill called from the house, “Come and have some hot chocolate and warm cookies to thaw you out.”
With a cheer, the three snow covered figures headed inside where the fire blazed brightly.
When Barnacle Bill went back to his boat, he couldn’t find his tools. Then, since no one would tell him where they were, he consented with good natured grumbling to go skating instead.
“Just be home in time for Christmas Eve supper!” Mrs. Bill called after them.