The blog won’t be very busy for the next two weeks. I’ll be taking time off from working to enjoy those crafty things l like to do, but I may pop in now and then. You never know. In the meantime, there’s a jigsaw puzzle already waiting for me on the card table in the living room, and I’ll spread out the coloring books and supplies all over the dining room table. I only need room for one placemat for meals. 🙂
Slim Randles is my guest today with a story that may make you smile. As we celebrate so many winter holidays at this time of the year, stories like this touch our hearts in a special way, no matter which holiday we claim as our own.
Don’t you just love this charming snowman?
For years now, Herb Collins has been helping Santa by donning the red and the beard and the tassels and waving to passing cars on Christmas Eve out at the Old Fort Road crossing. He takes a bag of candy along, in case anyone cares to stop, and he also takes his daughter Cindy along, because she’s always been his head elf. Cindy’s grown now and has helpers of her own, but this has been a daddy/daughter event for a long time and neither sees any reason to quit.
He had done it a few years and was wondering why he was doing it when one special Christmas Eve, as it snowed, he found his reason.
While he and Cindy stood in full-blown elf gear alongside the road, a pickup pulling a moving trailer pulled up and stopped. Cindy brought the candy over to the truck and Herb reached his hands through the window to shake hands with the young boy and girl who were in there with their dad. Both kids were crying and grinning and grabbing his hands.
“Santa,” the father said, “we’re moving across the country tonight, and the kids were sure you wouldn’t be able to find them since they were between homes.”
Herb swallowed. “Now kids,” he said, “you know Santa will find you no matter where you are tonight.”
“Really?” the girl said.
“Why, sure. So you just be good and help your dad, and I’ll find you, don’t you worry.”
“Oh thank you, Santa!” they said.
Their father mouthed a silent “thank you,” and everyone waved as the truck went on down the road toward Christmas.
It must have been the raw wind that made Herb wipe the tears away.
“That made the whole thing worth it,” Herb says when he tells of that special night. “That’s why I keep going back out there.”
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Now, here’s an excerpt from my short story, The Gift. The story is free for KU at Amazon, otherwise only 99 cents. It’s another glimpse of Christmas magic. Enjoy…
Stacy paused, glittery gold garland in one hand and tape in the other, and glanced at her husband. He was in his favorite chair, engrossed in his favorite pastime – watching television. By his expression, she couldn’t tell if he was enjoying the program or not. She never could tell. He often just sat there with no movement crossing his face to send any messages. She sighed. “Ralph, come shopping with me. We can go to the mall and see the Christmas decorations.”
“Just for fun.” She taped the garland on the posts of the half-wall. “And we can buy a present for Lucy.”
“You already bought her presents. She doesn’t need another.”
“You can never have enough presents.”
Ralph didn’t respond. He just sat in the old brown recliner that had seen too many years, one eye on the TV that was showing a rerun of Miami Vice. Stacey stepped over and dropped a hand on his shoulder. “I wish you’d come. It would do you good.”
He shrugged off the contact. “You go. I want to watch my program.”
God how she hated seeing him this way. His sour mood was almost an every-day thing now, and most days she alternated between great sadness and even greater anger. Sometimes she just wanted to shout, “Get over it already.”
Ralph had been in a deep dark hole for over a year now. Terribly depressed and refusing to get any kind of help. Sometimes she could jolly him out of the darkness by being incredibly cheerful herself, but that always took so much work. She felt like her cheeks were going to split with the effort to keep a smile and her heart was going to break from the sadness.
Knowing that her emotions were going to swiftly overcome any ability to rein in her anger, Stacey quickly got her purse and jacket and walked out into the cold December day.
The minute the chill wind hit her, she realized she should have grabbed a scarf, too. She thought about going back for one, but decided not to. Hurrying to the car, she looked at the sky. Crystal clear and blindingly blue. No clouds in sight, so the prospects of a white Christmas were slim.
Since returning to Omaha, the city of her childhood and the early years of the marriage that had been so good, she’d looked forward to the four seasons they hadn’t had in Alabama, especially the snow. She loved everything about snow. The way it sculpted trees and bushes and lawns into beautiful, soft pieces of art. How bright the world looked when the sun splintered off the stark whiteness. She’d hoped the brightness would penetrate that dark place where Ralph had been living. It didn’t seem to be working. He’d been just as depressed last year when it snowed.
I hope you enjoyed these offerings. Stay safe. Be happy.