Monday, July 26, 2010

Well, here we are, another weekend come and gone - finally we had a nice one here in the "Peg".  The weather was hot, the sun was bright - no hint of rain anywhere - absolutely perfect summer days!  For the first time this summer, I spent almost all the weekend out of doors.   After all I need to have some recollection of summer a few months from now when we are house-bound and snowed in!!  

I have been thinking about winter, and Christmas quite a bit.  I love winter, in fact it is probably my favorite season.  I am a cold weather baby...bundle me up and I'll play outside all day!!!  Truthfully - I loved when my son was small, we would put our snowsuits on, go outside and build forts.  He and I (and often many other neighbourhood children) would spend hours out in the -30 temps creating the most elaborate winter shelters from blocks of frozen snow left behind by the snow-plows.  Often our forts were the last things to melt in the spring, that's how sturdy and well-built they were. 

Anyway, I can't do that anymore, folks might wonder why a woman my age is lugging big blocks of ice and snow into her yard - and my son would not want to be caught anywhere near my fort creations these days!  Maybe someday he'll give me grandchildren to build forts with.

Now where was I going with this?  Oh yeah... Christmas!  I have decided to do a Christmas Craft Sale this year... which means, I will need to focus on getting a lot of inventory of my Victorian Crochet items built up.  Hope to start that next week when I'm on Vacation... although if the weather is nice, I just might want to sit outside and enjoy the rays - and so we are right back where I started on this post....

I know - shut-up woman, and give me Winter Wheat.... okay here it is!


The Bell children were delighted with each new item of clothing and stood to hold up each new garment every time one was opened.  The toys they received were passed from one child to the other and admired dutifully, before carefully being placed to the side for playing with later in the day.
Gradually the space under the tree emptied, except for the gifts reserved for the remaining Bell children who would be joining them later in the day for Christmas dinner along with Fredrick and Annie.
Karl selected one of the few remaining gifts and looked across the room to Emilie and smiled warmly.  “This one says,  To Emilie, from the children,”  he winked across the room at her and passed the gift along until it reached her.  He turned back to the tree, prepared to find his gift to Emilie, and his hand stopped.  “Oh look!”  He said surprise softening his voice; “ Here’s one that has my name on it!”
Emilie took the gift that had been passed to her, and looked at the perfectly wrapped package.  There was a card tucked under the string that was wrapped around the gift; she tugged it out from under the string, and opened the card.  The only words she recognized were her printed name.  George, realizing her dilemma, rose to his knees and read the card for her.  “To Emilie, from Raymond, Anne-Marie, Charles Jr., Susan, Richard and George …” he recited in his deepening voice.
“Oh . . . thank you children,” her misty eyes touched on each beloved face before she lowered her head and proceeded to unwrap the heavy gift.
Inside the wrapped box, she found a sturdy pair of leather boots.  “Oh look – new boots!”  She exclaimed with excitement,  “These are wonderful new boots, thank you very much, children!”  Her eyes met Karl’s across the heads of the children, and she smiled her thanks to him as well.
“Here’s one more,” he said softly as he handed her a small package.  “This one is from me . . .”
“Oh  . . .” her hands received the gift and she turned her attention to the small package.  It was wrapped in the same manner as the other gift, but held almost no weight at all.  Her hands shook as she carefully peeled the wrapping away and opened the blue velvet box.
The children sensing the importance of the gift drew near to stand around her and gaze over her shoulder.
“What is it, Emilie?” Susan asked quietly.
“It’s a locket,” Emilie could hardly breathe, as she stared at the delicate gold locket that lay against the velvet.
“It’s lovely, Karl . . .” she whispered to him, as he sat across the room, watching her reaction to his gift.  He wasn’t disappointed.  Her pleasure in his gift lit her eyes brighter than the candles on his tree, and her soft warm smile did things to his innards that thrilled and at the same time as scared him silly. 
“Put it on, Emilie!”  Sue urged excitedly, her young female heart beat with romantic anticipation,  “Oh Emilie, it is so beautiful!”
Karl rose from the floor where he had been sitting with the children and came to sit beside Emilie on the sofa.  He held his big hand out for Emilie to place the locket in it, and carefully released the clasp.  Emilie lifted her hair away from her neck and waited as Karl slowly raised the locket over her head and lowered it to her neck.  As he did so his arms enclosed her shoulders and his breath fanned the back of her neck, sending small shivers up and down her spine.  He fumbled with the clasp, and when it was closed placed his hand on the fine chain where it rested at the back of her neck.  His hand warmed the spot where the chain lay, and he lingered there a moment before removing his hand.
She gently fingered the locket that now lay nestled above her breasts, and her eyes sought those of the gift giver.  Karl’s smiled touched her to her toes as he leaned forward and right there before all the children placed a gentle kiss on her cheek.  “Merry Christmas, Emilie” he breathed in her ear, before raising himself off the sofa and returning to his unopened gifts.
The children, not sure what to make of the kiss they had just witnessed, stayed silent.  Emilie knew that they would be discussing it amongst themselves later in the day, when she and Karl were not listening.  For now they smiled and admired her gift, and wondered at the change of atmosphere they could feel in the crowded room.
Karl opened his gifts, and found a new woolen toque, mittens and muffler from Emilie, and socks from the children.  He thanked them all in turn then once again levered himself off the floor.  “There is one more thing that was left here . . . sometime this morning I think!  I found it at the front door when I went out early this morning to do the chores . . .”
The children all rose to their feet, the excitement that had disappeared, now fully rejuvenated.  They followed Karl to the door, and stepped out of his way as he removed his coat from around a large article sitting on the floor.
“I think Santa Claus must have left this here,” he told the children, as he lifted the large cardboard box high into his arms.  He strode towards the kitchen table and placed the large box down with a heavy “thunk”.
“Whatever is it, Karl?”  Emilie’s interest was piqued along with the children’s.
“Why I don’t know,” he replied as he opened the flaps of the cardboard box.
Every head in the room now bent forward to get a closer view of the contents of the box.  A couple of the children banged foreheads together in their attempt to see.
“Holly cow!”  George’s throaty voice yelled loudly.  “It’s a radio!”
Pandemonium broke loose in the tiny kitchen.  Everyone pushed forward again, and Karl had to hold his arms out to stop the charge of the excited family.  Karl’s’ large capable hands slipped into the box, and withdrew the large wooden radio.  A collective sigh went through the room, as he carefully placed the radio on the table, and turned to his family.
“Does it work?” Raymond asked his voice portraying his breathless wonder at the new radio sitting on the table before him.
“I don’t know, maybe we’d better turn it on and see,” Karl answered his son seriously, not for a moment giving in to the merriment he felt.  Karl turned one of the large round knobs, and the radio gave a high-pitched screech followed by some strange whistles in the same tone.  
Not a breath was expelled, as the entire family stood rooted on the spot, watching and waiting as Karl slowly turned the second knob until a human voice was heard.  Through the static they heard a man say “Merry Christmas listeners”, and then everyone started talking at one.
Karl’s laughter peeled through the room as he watched the excitement die down to calm as the occupants of the small room settled down to listen to the words of another human being so far away. 
  In utter silence now, they all listened; captivated beyond anything they had ever known before.  There was music - a Christmas Carol was sung by a choir, and then a male voice read the story of Christmas, followed by yet another carol.  They sat as a group, enraptured as never before, until at last, the program came to an end.
“How does it work, Karl?  There is no wire, and anyway you don’t have electricity here.”
“It runs on a battery that is inside the radio,”  Karl explained.  “We will have to change the battery often, but at least we have a radio.”
“Boy, I never thought Santa would bring something like this,” Raymond said as he inspected the wooden box.
Karl rubbed his son’s head affectionately and said,  “You just never know what Santa will bring I guess.  That’s why you must be a good boy all year long.”
“Yeah, I guess . . .” Raymond replied.

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