I hope you've been enjoying this story as I've posted it more than just on Friday. Did I confuse anyone else about what day it was besides Blessing Counter? :)
This hasn't been a really good writing week. Monday night my brother and his family came over and surprised my dad for his birthday. They ate supper with us and hung out for a little while. Tuesday we thought we were going to babysit the kids while my brother, sis-in-law and Dad were at a political meeting so I didn't get ready to write. Then we got a call just before supper saying the kids weren't coming over and my brother had forgotten to let us know. I ended up doing some other things. Like reading. :) Wednesday I did get some writing done. I worked on the "Tour of Garlandsburg." I wrote a little more last night. You won't want to miss this tour. I'm hoping I can write tonight and maybe tomorrow night. We'll see.
We finally got the last of the decorating done. It's taken us a lot longer this year as we weren't sure what we were going to do in the kitchen and I wanted some advice from my sis-in-law about something. Would you all like to see some pictures of our decorations?
Now, if any of you are still shopping for Christmas gifts, here's another code for a book on Amazon. With this one you get 25% off, so don't forget those book lovers on your list. Use the code by the 14th though. Just put in 25OFFBOOK when you place your order.
Oh, and don't forget the giveaway on Read Another Page! Share it with your family and friends! More than one family member can enter if you use different e-mail addresses.
Okay, I'll let you get on with this story. Enjoy!
Because of a Christmas Tree
Left in the shack with the sleeping man, Soper paced the floor muttering to himself. He should never have mentioned Christmas to the boy. But he had asked, and who could refuse his questions? Well then, he should have told him Christmas wasn’t for another week. But somehow one just couldn’t lie while looking into those trusting eyes. Pausing near the window, the young man pulled out his pocket watch for the seventh time. He stared at the face of it and then held it to his ear and heard the steady ticking of the second hand. With a grunt he shoved it back in his pocket. He didn’t know if he wanted the time to go by faster or slower. Oh, if only he could have joined in the search. Had they found Sonny yet? He resumed his pacing.
So absorbed had Soper been in his thoughts, that he started when Old Marley’s voice sounded from the bed.
“Doc? What’s got into you? I ain’t never seen ya so restless. Where’s Sonny?”
“Out. I reckon I’d best get the soup heatin’ up. Sonny’ll be hungry.” Hurrying over to the stove so Old Marley wouldn’t see his face, Soper jostled into the bed.
Old Marley, having lain in bed and watched the young man pace the floor of the small shack for a good ten minutes before he spoke, knew something was wrong. “Doc, what’s wrong? Why ain’t Sonny here? I know he ain’t just visitin’, else ya wouldn’t be wearin’ the floorboards out with all yer trampin’ to and fro. Now spit it out.”
There was nothing for it. The young man knew he had to tell. He could only hope that Old Marley would have enough sense to remain where he was, in bed. Drawing a deep breath he turned and said. “Sonny’s disappeared. I reckon he’s gone out to find that Christmas tree you and he were wanting. But don’t worry,” he hastened to add, seeing a strange look cross the sick man’s face. “All the men’ve gone lookin’ for him an’ they’ll find him. He can’t have gone too far.”
For several minutes, Old Marley didn’t speak. When he did, it wasn’t to Soper. “Ya know what that boy means to me, God. I’ve tried my best ta care for him an’ now he’s lost. If’n I hadn’t got sick we could a found that tree he was wantin’, but I did. It ain’t yer fault. But please be close to Sonny now. And God, it’s been a heap a years since I talked to You. I’m most ‘shamed a the way I’ve been leavin’ You out a my life. I want to come back to You, just like that son did in the story Sonny read the other night. Please take me back. An’ I reckon, God, I’d still be ignorin’ You if’n You hadn’t let me find Sonny that day back in the spring. He’s such a good little fellow, please . . .”
Soper had stood with head bowed at the foot of the bed. Now, as Old Marley’s voice choked up, he dropped to his knees and took up the prayer. “Oh, Father in Heaven, I too have slipped away. It wasn’t intentional, but I reckon I haven’t done much thinking of you. Least ways not till Sonny came. But now, Father, Sonny needs help. Please let the men find him before it’s too late. Please, Father! You sent Your Son to be born so mankind might not be lost in sin, but Sonny is lost right now out in the snow, and he needs found. Help him, please.”
The prayers weren’t eloquent, but they came straight from the heart of the two men. And after they were over, a strange feeling of peace seemed to settle over the little shack. Soper built up the fire in the stove, made a stew and heated the kettle of water for some tea. Neither one spoke, but waited and listened.
At last the sound of many feet outside the shack was heard above the howling of the wind. The door was opened and the men from the other shacks came in bringing with them the missing boy and his Christmas tree. There wasn’t much room in the small shack for everyone, but somehow they all managed to fit in, even with the tree, which was soon sitting in a pail on the table in the corner of the room.
Sonny’s wet boots and socks were quickly taken off and he was established, as bright as ever, though a little chilled, on the bed beside Old Marley. “Uncle Marley! I’m so glad you are feeling better. See, I found the right Christmas tree. Only it was hard to cut down and it started to snow before I finished. But the men came and carried it back. Now we can have a Christmas party!” He hugged the old man and beamed on the men crowded around.
“It’ll be a wonder if’n that boy don’t catch phumonia,” muttered one older man to Soper who was fixing a pot of coffee.
Soper looked anxiously at the bright face of the lad and sighed. He hoped Sonny wasn’t going to get sick.
A few of the men had hurried to their shacks to fetch mugs and bowls, for all had accepted Sonny and Old Marley’s invitation to stay and have something hot. The smell of the pine tree, mingling with the sent of coffee and stew, filled the small room and no one thought they had seen a prettier tree.
Slipping from the bed, Sonny pulled his Bible from the chest and holding it out said softly, “Mr. Soper, would you read the Christmas story to us, please?”
Every voice became hushed as “Doc” Soper sat down on a stool near the lamp and opened the book.
“. . . And the angel said unto them, fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people . . . Glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace, good will, toward men . . .”
Old Marley lay on his rough bed, Sonny beside him, and watched the faces of the other men and looked at the tree in the corner. Sonny had taken a risk going out alone to find it for him. “And on earth, peace.” Those words seemed to repeat themselves in Old Marley’s mind and he remembered that feeling of peace which had come over him when he prayed.
Slowly the men rose and slipped quietly from the lighted shack to tramp away through the snow, leaving the fragrant Christmas tree behind. Soper wasn’t to be coaxed into leaving Old Marley or Sonny that night and, wrapped in a blanket, he settled himself before the stove after seeing the boy fall asleep with a contented look on his young face.
As for Old Marley, he lay awake for a little while longer, enjoying the smell of the pine, the sound of Sonny’s steady breathing and even “Doc’s” snore.
“God sent His Son as a baby that first Christmas ta bring us peace. An’ this Christmas,” he thought, “He used another child ta bring me back to true peace. I’ll ain’t never gona smell another Christmas tree without rememberin’ this one.”
Do certain smells bring memories back to you?
If you could only have 1 thing at Christmas time, what would you choose?
Do you have a favorite Christmas tradition?