It's a foggy morning here and chilly. It looks like this will be the 16th day of clouds we've had this month. We've had 2 days of sunshine and a partial day of sun, but all the rest have been cloudy. And we don't live in an area where cloudy days are usual.
I don't know about your week, but mine has been rather crazy. Trying to get a Christmas project done which I couldn't start until this week because I was trying to finish other projects, and having the kids over Tuesday, and then going over to their house yesterday to help them make gingerbread houses and I should mentioned that this project has to be done before tomorrow morning as that's when we're doing Christmas with my brother and his family has made me feel like running away to a secluded cabin in the woods. :) And Sunday evening is the Christmas program at church and we go caroling on Monday evening. And I can't seem to get much writing in because of the craziness. Did I mention that things have been rather crazy? Where is that cabin? . . .
But I don't have time to keep rambling on. :) I hope you enjoy this next part of
First Christmas in America
The following day started off much the same as the day before, only Papa stayed at home. The cleaning downstairs was finished and Ana was ready to marshal her sisters and Nikolay upstairs when Polina called out, “A car is stopping on the road before our house!”
There was a race for the windows and five eager faces peered out into the snowy world.
“Who is it?” Kristina asked.
“I don’t know, but I wish he would hurry up and get here,” Polina replied.
Papa too looked from the window. “I think I have seen him in the town.” Turning to the door, Papa opened it.
The man waved and called out, “Hello! Are you Viktor Ivanski?”
“Yah, that is me.”
“I have a telegram for you. It just came in and Mr. Jones said to bring it on out here.” By this time he had reached the porch and handed a yellow envelope to Papa.
Crowding around the door with her siblings, Klara watched Papa nod and heard him say, “Thank you.” She could see his hands tremble just a little. Who would be sending a telegram? Suddenly her heart seemed to skip a beat. Had something happened to Mama, Yury, Viktor, Lidiya or Sofia? “Please let it be good news,” she prayed silently.
After the man said a cheery good-bye and hurried back to the road and his car, Papa turned. The message was unopened in his hand. “Come,” he said, “ve must all go back inside vere the fire is."
“But the telegram, Papa.” Polina’s eyes were on the paper.
“Hush, Polina,” Ana scolded. “Let Papa open it when he wants to.”
No one said a word after that but eagerly followed Papa across the room and behind their blanket wall where it was warmer. Carefully Papa opened the envelope and pulled the paper out. In silence he read the message.
“It must be good news,” Klara thought, “Papa’s eyes are bright now. It must be—“ she didn’t dare finish her sentence even to herself but fairly held her breath as Papa looked up.
“It is from Uncle Peter. Mama and the others are on their vay, but he doesn't know vhen they vill arrive because of the veather.”
The room rang with the excited cheers of the children as they clapped their hands and hugged one another. Mama and the others would be home soon! Maybe in time for Christmas! In the midst of her happiness, Klara whispered a prayer of thanksgiving.
“Mama is coming!!” squealed Kristina, grabbing Marina’s hands and dancing around the room until both girls were out of breath.
“And Viktor and Yury!” added Nikolay. He missed his two brothers and Klara was sure he felt lost without them.
After several minutes, Anastasiya interrupted, “If Mama and the others are coming soon, we must finish cleaning this house. It would never do to have Mama come home to a dirty house.”
To Klara, the day seemed to drag, even though Ana kept everyone hard at work. Her mind often wondered, “Will Mama and the others be home for Christmas?”
Papa spent many hours that day in the cold basement trying to get the furnace to work, but when supper time came, he sat down with a shake of his head. “I cannot manage it, Ana," he remarked. “I do not understand such things.”
“Never mind, Papa,” Ana smiled and passed him a bowl of hot soup. “Soon Viktor will be here and perhaps he can help.”
Klara watched Papa nod. She wondered if her older brother could help fix the furnace. Until it was fixed, the family had to wear coats in most of the house unless they were scrubbing it with hot water. The one area where they slept was kept warm by the fireplace, and the kitchen was warm because of the stove, but everywhere else the cold of the winter day could be felt.
Everyone was hungry and not much talking was done until the bowls were empty. “Now,” Ana said, “we will wash the dishes quickly and then, Papa, what shall we do?”
“Let us sing Christmas songs, Papa,” Klara suggested. She knew everyone liked to sing.
Little Marina, from her seat on her father’s lap, asked, after all had gathered near the open fire, “Can we sing American Christmas songs?”
“Do you know any, my little one?” Papa asked.
“Yes, we learned one at Uncle Peter’s.” Everyone waited for Marina to start her song, but she just sat there in silence. At last she shook her head. “I forgot it.”
Polina knew one and soon the room was filled with carols both from the Old Country and some they had learned from their cousins in the city. At last Papa picked up his Bible and after prayers, the children slipped into their beds whispering about Mama coming soon.
It was snowing lightly when Klara woke the next morning. Light flakes were drifting down to add another layer to the already white fields. Dressing hurriedly, Klara left her sleeping siblings and tiptoed into the kitchen. Papa was lighting a fire in the stove. “Good morning, Papa,” she whispered.
Papa looked up and smiled warmly, “Good morning, Klara. You are up vith the sun this morning.”
Klara nodded. “Papa, tomorrow is Christmas.”
“Yah, it is."
“Do trains run on Christmas?”
Papa sat down on the woodbox and pulled Klara over. “In this country, I do not know. But ve can hope and pray that Mama comes today.”
Klara nodded. After a minute she leaned against Papa’s shoulder and whispered, “Papa, if Mama and the others come today, we won’t need anything else to make Christmas special, that will be enough.”
“Always my loving Klara,” Papa murmured.
Who is your favorite character in the story?
Will you be back for the final part next Friday?