I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and didn't eat too much. :) We had our Thanksgiving feast on Wednesday so that my brother and his family could have Thanksgiving on Thursday with his wife's family. So we had leftovers for lunch yesterday, and turkey sandwiches for supper.
I don't know about your week, but mine felt rather crazy.
Last Friday––I got my illustrations for TCR-4, but didn't have time to do anything with them. Instead I cleaned the house and quilted and worked on other things.
Saturday––My mind seems to be drawing a blank for Saturday. Hmm. Oh, I did spend two hours quilting and took care of several other things I needed to do, like sending as much of the TCR-4 cover pieces to my best friend so she could put it all together in her spare time. I wrote 3,260 words of a new Christmas story. :)
Sunday––I was asked if I wanted to be a part of the church's string group for a Christmas song. I said yes, and then got the music. Wow! It is really fun, but I have to practice it. :) I also wrote some.
Monday––I finally got chapters titles for TCR-4 figured out. I don't know why it is so hard to come up with titles for the chapters. I also had to listen to four stories for my audio book to see if they were all right or if they needed any corrections made. I quilted too.
Tuesday––After much rewriting and help from my mom, I got the synopsis for TCR-4 written and sent to my friend. She got the back cover to me that evening. Another story needed listened to. I worked on the layout of TCR-4, and that evening I mixed up my roll dough.
Wednesday––It was our Thanksgiving Day. My grandparents came down and my brother and his family came over. Thanks to my mom's planning, we had most of the food ready ahead of time. We ate, played games, took fun pictures, and ate again.
Thursday––It was a quiet day yesterday. My grandparents spent the morning here and ate lunch with us before heading back home. The exciting thing yesterday was that I was able to finish the layout for TCR-4 and upload it!
Today––I'm going to order my proof copy this morning, if I ever get this post finished and posted. :P My mom, S and I are also planning on going to JoAnn later this morning to get a few things. Then I'll be heading over to my brother's house with Mom to help pull orders for his Black Friday sale. Crazy! And I want to get started on decorating the house!
During the month of December, I'm going to post on Friday like usual, but I am also planning on posting now and then during the weeks, so you might want to keep checking my blog for new posts. I may have another story that I post, or book reviews, or who knows what. So I hope you'll be back more often.
This Christmas story is based loosely on a real story. Names have been changed and I had to add much since the real story was only a paragraph long. I hope you enjoy it.
First Christmas in America
It was only a few days before Christmas and outside the small town snow lay everywhere. A pale sun was trying to shine, but its feeble efforts did nothing to diminish the bitter cold of the wind, and not a might of snow was melted because of its rays. The trees, standing dark against the white blanket of snow, waved their bare branches. Were they welcoming the newcomers or trying to make them turn back?
In the taxi, eight-year-old Klara Ivanski couldn’t decide as she pressed her face against the cold window and stared out at the strange surroundings. This was not like the old country and it certainly was not like the big cities they had traveled through on the train. What was this new life in America going to be like, she wondered?
“Move your head, Klara,” Kristina urged, pulling on her sister’s coat. Kristina was only eleven months younger than Klara and many people mistook them for twins. “I want to see out too.”
Reluctantly Klara settled back in her seat again. It was rather cramped sharing the back seat of the taxi with four of her sisters, but Klara didn’t mind. She only wished Mama and the other four Ivanski children were with them. It was when they were stopping for a few days with an uncle that Lidiya and Yury became sick. They were not dangerously sick, but the doctor had said they must not travel until they were better. Uncle had urged Papa to stay there, but he couldn’t.
“I vould love to stay here, Peter, but if I do not go now, the house it might be sold and I maybe lose my new job too. Already I have stayed maybe too long. No, Peter, I must go.”
“But the other children,” Uncle urged. “What about them?”
Papa had looked around the room. It seemed teeming with children, for Uncle Peter and Aunt Anna had almost as large a family as did their newly arrived relatives. “It vould not be right to leave all my children here. Marta, she can stay vith the sick vuns, and Sofia must remain.”
“But Viktor,” Aunt Anna protested. “Surely you will not leave Marta to travel all that way alone with two young ones and Lidiya in her condition! Could you not go, secure the house and then return? It is nearly Christmas. Families should be together for Christmas.”
Pressed between the taxi door and her nearly twin sister Kristina, Klara remembered Papa’s answer. It had been quiet, but decisive. “Yah, Anna, Christmas is a time to be together, but if I miss this job, how vill ve stay together at all? No, I must go. I vill leave Viktor to come later vith Marta, Lidiya and the younger ones. He is a man now. Anastasiya vill help me with the others.” Papa had put his arm around his eldest daughter’s shoulders. “The house, she vill be ready vhen the others come, yah?”
“Yes, Papa,” Ana had replied. Klara could still see how proud her sixteen-year-old sister was at Papa’s words.
And so it had happened. Papa had started for their new home in America with Anastasiya, Polina, Klara, Kristina, Nikolay and Marina. The trip had been full of delays, but at last they had reached the small town. Klara remembered how the lines on Papa’s face had disappeared when he learned the house was still waiting for them and his job would start after Christmas.
“All vill be vell,” he had remarked quietly.
Then all their bundles had been loaded into a taxi and the children somehow managed to squeeze in too and away they had driven. Soon, the driver had told them, they would reach their home. All the children were anxious to catch the first glimpse of the house, but so far they had seen only a few farm houses scattered far apart in the midst of the snowy landscape. How long would they continue to drive? Where in that snowy wilderness would their house be?
“Well, there she is, mister,” the driver said, pointing to a farmhouse set a short distance from the road. “Since no one knew you were comin’ today, I don’t reckon the house is all that clean.”
“It matters not,” Papa said. “Ve can clean it.”
Stopping the automobile on the road, the driver remarked, “Well, with five girls and one boy I reckon you can do the job, an’ keep the walk shoveled. It ain’t been done since the first snowfall.”
“No,” corrected Papa gently, “I have two more sons and three more daughters. They are coming later vith the Mama.”
At that bit of news, the driver turned half around in his seat, looked at all the girls crowded in the back and then remarked, “I reckon that house’ll be a might small.”
Klara hadn’t taken her eyes off the house. Small? To her it seemed like a mansion, for it had two stories! She could hardly believe they were going to be living in such a place.
Papa’s voice interrupted her thoughts. “Come children, ve must gather our things and go to our house.”
Quickly the children tumbled out. What was a little snow to them? They were used to snow in the Old Country. They didn’t have many belongings so it didn’t take long to collect them. Then Papa lifted Marina, who was only four, onto his shoulders, picked up the largest bundle and set forth into the unmarked snow towards the house. The taxi driver offered to help, but Papa assured him they would be just fine.
“Come now,” Papa called, “follow my steps and ve shall soon be there.”
First Anastasiya, who tried to make the steps a little bigger and closer together, then Nikolay and the other three girls. Klara came last, for she wanted to see in every direction at once. She wondered what kind of trees were growing near the house and what animals lived in the woods nearby. In what direction were their nearest neighbors and would they have a garden in the summer?
Do you like the start of this story?
Will you be back next week?