This is a Christmas story taken out of my book,
"Suddenly It's Forever".
The book is about my mother and grandmother.
I hope you enjoy it...



The principal characters are:


James - my father

Ellen - my mother

Ronald Lee - my oldest brother

Morris - my older brother

Dorothy - *Shy grin* that's me

Patsy - my younger sister

Peggy - my youngest sister

Junior - my youngest brother
 


- AT THE BARN HOUSE -
~ A Christmas Remembered ~


Morris' big, round eyes were full of apprehension. He was sure he had heard the faint sound of Santa's tinkling bells.


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"I'm going to buy these bells," James had laughed when he told Ellen of his plan to fool their kids into thinking Santa was coming, "and when I jingle them, the kids will think it's Santa. Then I bet they'll lay still and go to sleep real quick."
********************************


Once more, James gently shook the tiny sleigh bells he had purchased earlier.

"Mother! Santa's coming!" Morris sat up in the pallet-bed he was sharing with his two brothers. "I hear his sleigh bells!"

"You kids had better get to sleep," James' voice boomed out from his and Ellen's partitioned off bedroom. "Or, Santa may not stop!"

"Mother!" Dorothy called out from the girls pallet-bed. "Hurry! Get the dishes done and the lights out. We want Santa to think we're asleep!"

Ellen laughed and said she would hurry. "This is the best time of the year," Ellen thought as she turned out the lights.

James and Ellen had bought their children one Christmas gift each, and made plans to get up in the wee hours of morning to sneak their special presents into the house.

Earlier that year, when James had found a job close to Nora and Henry's (Ellen's mother and step-dad), they had converted one of Henry's barns into a house and moved in. The barn was only about a mile from Nora and Henry's farm. On the backside of the barn-house was a sliding door, large enough for an elephant to walk through. During the summer, Ellen often left the door open to let cool breezes in. Now, as she walked passed it in the dark, she felt the frigid, winter air oozing through. What had been a sweet pleasure in summer had become a source of trouble during winter. James had tried to winter-proof the door, but when the wind was blowing as it was tonight, freezing air easily seeped through.

"Do you have the alarm set?" James whispered, as Ellen pulled the covers back and slipped into bed.

"Yes, and I put a towel over it to muffle the sound," she answered as she snuggled down into the warm bed.

Their bedroom stayed chilly throughout the winter months. It was partitioned off from their only source of heat; an old, regal-looking, pot-bellied, wood-burning stove that held sovereign attention in the winter.

"It sure is snowing hard," Ellen mumbled as sleep gently clothed her mind.

"Probably a blizzard," She barely heard James' answer.

The clock's deadened, insistent clanging broke into Ellen's slumber. She was enticingly warm and hated to wake up. But, when she remembered the Christmas presents, she quickly sat up.

"James, let's get the toys out," she whispered as she nudged him awake.

"Oh, hum," he stretched and yawned. "Boy, was I sleeping good."

"Yeah, me too," Ellen answered softly as she crawled out of bed and walked to the window.

She forgot about trying to be quiet as she looked outside at all the whiteness.

"Good heavens! James! Come here and look out this window!"

"Sh-h-h!" James hushed her. "You're going to wake up the kids."

"It's pretty deep snow," James whispered in her ear as they stood looking out the window.

"I'll say," Ellen lowered her voice. "Well, let's get the gifts out."

"What do you mean, let's?" He quietly joked with her. "You're not the one who has to tromp outside to the car."

"Well, that's what you get for being Santa," Ellen muffled her laugh.

James tiptoed to the front door and tried to open it without making a noise. Ellen crept between the pallet beds to check the fire in the old stove. James had banked it with wood just before going to bed.

As Ellen lifted the stove lid, the grating noise disturbed Ronald Lee. He stirred a moment, as if to awaken, then settled back down into sleep.

"Ellen, come here," James called in such a low voice Ellen barely heard him.

Satisfied the stove didn't need more wood, she slid the lid back onto it and tiptoed to James.

"What is it?" She asked.

"I just wanted you to see how much snow is piled up against the door before I knock it away," he answered as he opened the door even wider.

"My word! I've never seen anything like it. Not in this part of the country anyway," Ellen exclaimed in open-mouth wonder.

"Sh-h-h," James grinned at her.

James kicked the snow away from the door and trudged out into a pure white stillness. Ellen stood in the doorway and looked out. The beauty of the night took her breath away. Earlier that afternoon a winter storm had brought freezing rain, but by nightfall it had turned to snow. When the storm was over it had left behind a snow capped, crystal world. The trees were solidly iced, with great clusters of icicles hanging off their branches. The sky was sparkling clear, with a bright, silver moon casting a soft glow over the glimmering, snow-clad earth. Heavenly lights were twinkling so brightly, it seemed as if they were laughing in silent glee at the exquisite beauty they were gazing upon.

"Something like this sure makes you wonder if there is a God," Ellen thought as she drew her robe tighter and closed the door upon the splendor of the iced marvel. "Sometimes I want to believe in God so much it hurts. I guess everyone needs a crutch to dispel the ugliness of such a cruel world", she silently reasoned.

Ellen began thinking about how James had settled down and was thankful that, lately, there hadn't been a lot of fussing. James had stopped gambling, and peace, it seemed, had descended upon their world. How long peace would last Ellen wasn't sure, but she was grateful for the lull.

"Here you are," James whispered as he opened the door and handed her part of the packages he was carrying.

"I never knew the sound of paper rustling could be so loud," she giggled in the sweet joy of being secretive.

Ever so gently, Ellen laid each doll beside its owner. Patsy, unaware of the treasure she reached for, hugged her doll. The boy's presents were laid at the foot of their pallet bed without a stir from them.

"There, now, let's get back to bed before one of them wakes up," James whispered.

"First, you need to eat those cookies and drink the milk put out for Santa," Ellen reminded him. She smiled at the memory of Patsy and Dorothy preparing Santa's treat.

"Mother, Santa's going to be proud of us, huh?" Dorothy had asked with a cookie filled mouth.

"Yeth, he is," Patsy had spoke up while filling her mouth with cookie dough, "cauth he gonna be hungry. He gonna like our cookeeth, huh? Mudder."

"Yes, he'll be proud of you and he will love your cookies," Ellen had reassured them.

James picked up a cookie and handed it to Ellen; bringing her out of her reflections. "I'll tell you what, you eat one and I'll eat one," he grinned at her. "But, you're going to have to drink the milk yourself."

"Okay," she agreed as she turned up the milk and drank it down.

"Let's hit the hay," James suggested in a low voice. They were still trying to silently move about.

"Boy, this bed sure feels good," Ellen stated, as once again she snuggled down into the deep softness of covers. She smiled, thinking of the pleasures of Christmas morning, as she allowed sleep to overtake her mind.

"Look! Look! Santa's been here! Santa's been here!"

The joyful cries, that only a happy Christmas morning could bring, broke into Ellen's deep slumber.

"Daddy, Look!" Squealing with delight, Dorothy ran into Ellen and James' small sleeping area. "Mother! Look! See my new doll that Santa brought."

"Well, well, would you look at that," James exclaimed and winked at Ellen.

"I'll get coffee, if you'll put wood in the stove," Ellen bargained with James as they bestirred themselves amid cries of joy and pattering of little feet.

"Sounds like a good deal to me," James agreed.

"Later on, if you'll fix ice cream, the kids and I will fill our old wash tub with snow."

"You're on," Ellen agreed as she fixed coffee.

She knew she had to scrub the galvanized tub, before anyone put snow in it, because it served as the Saturday night bathtub. She was stirring pancake mix when Morris interrupted her thoughts.

"Mother? It's cold outside and I need to go potty."

"Well, you're a big boy. You can bundle up and go to the out-house," Ellen encouraged him and wondered how long it would be before James and Henry added an inside bathroom.

"But, it's cold outside. Can't I just use the potty bucket you have under your bed?"

"Morris, that pots for old women and little babies," James admonished him. "Now, which one are you?"

"Who cares if I get pneumonia and die?" Morris mumbled under his breath as he put on his coat. He closed the door with a bang. James and Ellen laughed, but when it came Ellen's time to go she began to wish James had added mothers to his list of who could use the chamber pot.



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James and Ellen moved from that barn-house, taking their memories with them. They would be migrating as gypsies for the rest of their lives. It seemed as if James saw a pot of gold at the end of every rainbow. Ellen, craving a stable home, often became weary of it all. But James always talked her out of her wistful longing for a place to call her own. And, before she knew it, she would be looking forward to another place, ...and another adventure.







 

 
To read my book,

"Suddenly It's Forever"

CLICK HERE
 

 

 



 

~ Christmas Memories ~

by Alabama


There's a blanket of snow coverin' up the old road to the house where I was raised
Through the window I see the lights on the tree and a glow from the old fireplace
Though it all looks the same so much as changed from the way it used to be

Christmas memories of happy years gone by
They come back to me and keep me warm inside
Still those Christmas memories make me cry

Now the stockings are filled; the house is still and the kids are dreamin' away
There's that old easy chair, me and Daddy sat there waitin' for Santa's sleigh
Now Daddy's gone but we carry on 'cause the little ones will need...

Christmas memories of happy years gone by
They come back to me and keep me warm inside
Oh they mean so much to me
Those Christmas memories make me cry

Yes they do...

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Song you are listening to is:

"Christmas Memories"

Artist/Band: Alabama
Lyrics for Song: Christmas Memories
Lyrics for Album: Alabama Christmas



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