Here are the entries in the Adult category for the Eastern Graphic’s annual Christmas essay contest.
The ink of my pen drips nostalgic memories of a long-ago Christmas living in Charlottetown with my then young son, Joshua.
Joshua and I were living in an apartment in a residential neighbourhood. It was the ‘80s and I was a student, working part-time and surviving mostly on a student loan. Our Christmas budget didn’t include a purchase from one of the many pop-up Christmas tree lots around town. I didn’t own a car so driving to the country to cut a tree was not an option.
With Christmas a couple of weeks away, I pulled out the five-foot artificial tree we jokingly named Woody from a bedroom closet.
“Let’s put Woody together and decorate him,” I said.
With a gloomy frown, Joshua watched as I pulled the torn box out of its hiding place.
“Woody will look amazing when we are finished decorating it,” I announced.
But my young son was not buying any of the phony enthusiasm I was trying to sell.
I had acquired the second-hand artificial tree four years earlier when Joshua was younger and easier to satisfy.
“Mum, why can’t we have a real tree like everyone else?” The question was loaded with snarky sarcasm.
“Perhaps next year, we will be able to buy the best tree on the lot,” I replied, with a forced smile. “Woody is not ready to retire. He still has a good year or two left in him.”
Joshua shot back, “News flash, Mum. Woody is deader than a doornail. It’s not fair, my friends get a real tree and I get a broomstick.”
How do you explain tough economic times to a Grade 5 student? It bothered me greatly not to grant his Christmas wish for a real tree. But the reality of a single household income did not include the ridiculous spending on a tree that would be turfed out to the sidewalk before the new year.
“Woody will have to do – or no tree at all.” End of conversation.
Assembling Woody required time and patience. We poked the green centre pole into a stand and spread the plastic branches over the living room floor. Each branch was numbered and we had to match it with the numbers on the center pole. It was like putting together a jigsaw puzzle.
In past years, decorated with shiny tinsel, strings of red and green garland and home-crafted decorations with a large silver star on top, Woody was transformed into a beauty of a Christmas tree.
But this year, Woody was not cooperating. Time had caught up to him. Joshua had been correct saying Woody looked like a broomstick. Try as we might, the inserted plastic branches sticking out of the pole were as floppy as rabbit ears. It would take a Christmas miracle for Woody to shine like he did in previous years.
“It will not be Christmas without a tree,” pouted a discouraged Joshua.
My head began to throb as I tried to figure out what to do if Woody could not be revived to his former glory. I cringed at the thought of spending money on a Christmas tree that could be used to buy groceries.
I asked Joshua to run down to Shama’s to get me a bottle of Tylenol and counted out a handful of coins. The boy, glad to get away from putting Woody together, grabbed his coat and raced out the door.
“Don’t stop to play. Go straight to the store and come right back home,” I bellowed as the door slammed behind him.
Shama’s store was a five-minute walk to the end of the street we lived on. Twenty minutes passed and still no Joshua. Woody was still laid out on the floor like a plastic corpse. And my head was pounding like a beating drum.
I was about to grab a coat and walk down the street to the store when I heard Joshua shouting, “Mom, open the door, quick.”
A bully who lived on the next street picked on younger kids. I jumped to my feet, opened the door, expecting to see Joshua with a black eye.
Imagine my surprise to be greeted by him dragging an eight-foot fir tree.
“My gawd, you didn’t steal a tree, did you?” I asked in disbelief.
“Of course not, Mum. I found it on the curb. Someone threw it out.”
I slipped on my boots, grabbed Joshua by the arm and demanded to know where he found it.
“We’re taking the tree back. It must belong to someone and the person might be looking for it,” I lectured.
We hauled the tree down the street to where Joshua said he discovered it. I knocked on the door to be received by a middle-aged man wearing a shirt and tie. I didn’t know him but I recognized him. He passed our apartment building walking to work carrying a briefcase most mornings.
I explained my son noticed the tree on the curb in front of his house and thought it had been thrown out.
“The boy is right, I did throw it out. My wife plans to buy an artificial tree this year. She says a fir tree is too much of a mess to clean up. Last year, she complained about finding needles in the carpet for weeks after the tree came down.”
I stood speechless. The tree that probably cost $20 or more had been tossed out like garbage. Twenty dollars would have filled my fridge with milk for weeks.
“My boy should have knocked on your door and asked permission for the tree.” I flashed Joshua that look he recognized to speak-up and apologize.
He mumbled, “I’m sorry, sir.”
Before the man could speak, I asked how much he wanted for the tree knowing I had less than $5 in my pocket.
The man looked at me and then took a long hard look at Joshua holding his breath waiting for an answer.
“Take it,” the man said. “I have no use for it.”
Joshua flashed an ear-to-ear smile and blurted out, “Thank you, Mister.”
We towed the tree down the street and back to our apartment.
“Mum, he threw the tree out. He didn’t want it. Why did you offer him money? What if he had asked for $50?”
Joshua could not understand why I had gambled on losing the tree if the man had accepted the offer of money I didn’t have.
“We have a real Christmas tree that didn’t cost us a cent and we still have our pride. Carry your pride in your back pocket, Joshua. It’s more valuable than money,” explaining a life lesson to him.
I put the tree in a pail of water to keep it from drying out, attached it with string to the wall to keep it from toppling over, and then we had the fun of decorating it.
It was the most dazzling Christmas tree on the block. That evening we sat on the floor next to the Christmas tree mesmerized by its beauty as the woodsy aroma filled the room. Christmas had come to our Charlottetown home.
We packed Woody back in his box until garbage day.
My pen is running dry of ink as Christmas memories pour out, page after page. Joshua is now a father to 16-year-old Damian. I married Reg, an organic farmer and moved to eastern PEI. Every year, Damian and Reg go tree hunting. As I close my journal, Damian and Reg are hauling a freshly cut tree across the barnyard. Their laughter and chatter flow through the air. Christmas has come to the farm.
Will you come a-caroling with me?
Rediscovering a Christmas community blessing
By Rev. Dr. Lonnie S. Atkinson
“Will you come a-wassailing with me?”
A what? A-wassailing! What in the world are you talking about? Sounds like you want me to go out in a boat for a sail!
No, no, my good friend, wassailing is a joyful tour of our community, singing songs, sharing a cup or two from a wassail bowl and getting gifts from those we sing to.
Well, that’s what it use to be in England a long time ago. Now it’s going caroling on a winter’s night.
What’s a wassail bowl? Oh, that’s another whole story. Have some cider or eggnog for now.
Will you come caroling with me? Together we could go door to door singing all the great songs of Christmas. Oh, you mean like “All I want for Christmas is You”. Would we get in trouble with Mariah for singing that one. Or maybe we could croon a bit with Elvis singing “I’ll have a Blue Christmas without you”. That tends to shake folks up and bring them down a bit. Then there’s “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,” which isn’t great for family unity.
Is that what you mean about going caroling? Not really.
Caroling was a community ritual which took many forms. In cities one would see folk gathered on street corners, under streetlights singing as people hustled by. The sounds of “Joy to the World” would be echoed back as passersby joined in the chorus. Sometimes the singers were joined by brass ensembles trumpeting the joyful noise, breaking the solitary silence of Christmas.
In neighbourhoods large and small bands of bundled up choristers sang as they strolled. Going door to door, stopping to sing a carol or two before offering a joyful “We wish you a Merry Christmas” blessing. Each home’s reception captured the rhythm of the community. Some would turn on all their lights, children’s noses would be pressed gleefully on window panes, doors would open with an offer of a Christmas cookie or treat. And then off would go the carol chorus into the night. These were “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” nights.
In the country caroling teams might drive from house to house, down long lanes, piling out of cars and trucks to bring Christmas cheer to one and all. Often an invitation to come inside and warm up a bit by the fire was thankfully welcomed. Sounds of Christmas might dance in their hearts as memories of Christmas past bubbled up. Maybe a little Kenny Rogers’ “Christmas in Kentucky” would be heard.
One highlight of caroling season was to explore the annual Christmas Carol Songbook published by local newspapers far and wide. Each edition would be highlighted with creative artwork, stories, recipes, countless songs old and new, and of course Merry Christmas greeting ads from local businesses too.
It was a must for caroling crews as they explored their song lists and expanded repertoires. While some songs were etched in people’s minds and written on their souls, others seemed elusive, never quite finding a spot in one’s memory bank. The songbooks were the great equalizers.
Through them, walls that divided could fall and community could take root even in a carol singing group. Suddenly equipped and prepped the carolers went out singing “Go Tell It On the Mountain, over the hills and everywhere.”
The bands of carolers were highlighters and spirit lifters in hospital hallways and nursing home lounges. With every “Gloria in excelsis deo” and each “Silent Night” a holy calm would settle upon residents and caregivers, patients and loved ones. Of course, that was pre-COVID time. Now the caroling revelers not to be deterred will be seen singing outside windows and doorways offering the same joy and good cheer. You can hear “O Come All Ye Faithful” invitations flowing freely in the night air.
My memories of caroling are countless and vivid. I remember the year we decided to bring joy to the town. We walked the main streets, entering businesses, singing a song or two then with a Merry Christmas to you we took the traveling troop to the next shop or office. The look on business owners, store clerks, shoppers et al was priceless. It was the stuff of Hallmark movies coming alive in our sleepy town. “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” was surely sung those nights.
I recall singing outside the homes of shut-ins, the ancient elders who had shared many a long past caroling evening. Sometimes a light in an upper window would break the darkness and our hearts and voices would be lifted high. Often in those evening we would go to the residence of a beloved soul wrestling with a serious illness. These were the “O Little Town of Bethlehem” moments where sharing news of hope never grows old.
Have you ever gone caroling? Have you caroled this Christmas? What are your favourite caroling memories? Which songs still dance in your heart?
Now hum you favourite Christmas song, call a neighbour to join you and sing along. Then ask a friend or two to be part of the crew, bundle up and set out to do some caroling too.
Merry Christmas to all as you join the angel chorus. I can hear you in the Cove…
The best peanut butter cookies ever
When I was 17-years-old I dated a man named Rick, or Ricky, as everyone called him. He had a buddy named Don Rousom. Dan’s mother made the best ever peanut butter cookies.
As I enjoy baking myself, I asked her for her recipe. That was in 1972.
I am now 67-and-a-half-years-old and make Mrs Rousom’s recipe at Christmas and also during the year. The recipe is always a hit with family, friends and neighbours. Whenever I make the cookies I think of Mrs Rousom, the boys and Mrs Rousom’s kindness in sharing her recipe.
Cheers to everyone near and far. Hope you all enjoy a good oldfasthioned cookie over the holidays and thanks to Mrs Rousom.
Soldier longed to be home with family
The night was quiet except for gunfire far off in the distance. The snowflakes fell silently and settled on the young soldier’s uniform as he lay in the trench. It was Christmas Eve and he longed to be home with his family.
As he thought of home, his mind went back to his childhood and the times when he and his Dad would walk back into the woods to get the perfect tree, take it home and everyone would help decorate it. He always got to put the star on the top. He was so proud as he stood back and saw it all lit up, it was the perfect tree!
He also remembered the smells as Mama baked fruit cake, gingerbread cookies and his favourite plum pudding. Her cheeks would be rosy from rushing and greeting friends and neighbours as they dropped by.
Then there was all the fun of wrapping gifts and keeping secrets that the younger children were trying so hard to find out.
Then came Christmas morning when it was time to go downstairs to see if Santa had come – and he always did. In the stockings were apples and oranges that smelled so good, animal shaped candy, candy canes and a small wrapped gift. There were more gifts under the tree for everyone. He remembered Grandma always seemed to get so many aprons!
At dinner, the table was laden with a huge turkey, potatoes, gravy, vegetables and so much more. But the best part of it all was the love you could feel as Dad said the blessing and all the family was together. Wasn’t that what Christmas was all about – love and peace? Then what was he doing in this trench fighting a war? Where did it all go wrong?
As he listened to the distant gunfire he wondered how many young men would make it back home to be with their loved ones.
Next Christmas, he hoped he would, but if he didn’t he knew he had done all he could so they could have many more Christmas times like the ones he remembered on this night.
The winter winds of PEI can be challenging
I was born an Ontario girl so from before I could walk I had experience with snow. When I was about 4-months-old my mother stuffed my chubby body into a bunting bag, ready for the great outdoors. On top of a wooden sled sat an orange crate lined with a winter blanket. I was placed inside this blanket-like cocoon. My mother pulled the rope handle as I went gliding over the snow. It was my first foray into a winter wonderland!
As the years passed and I was joined by two sisters and two brothers, my wonderful snowy adventures broadened. We made snow angels and glided down huge hills on toboggans or thick pieces of cardboard.
A very cherished childhood memory is building an igloo with my father. It was so big we could crawl inside on our hands and knees.
When my son was in public school we both had a GT Racer and screamed with excitement (me, fear) as we raced down many a hill together.
In my last home in Ontario, my husband used to shovel snow off the roof of the house so it wouldn’t cave in. So I’ve seen lots of snow, I KNOW snow!
Now living in beautiful PEI these past nine years, I’m learning about something else Mother Nature throws our way, the Island winds. I thought I knew what wind could do but I really didn’t! I didn’t know ‘Island winds’.
I love the soft summer breezes that dry my clothes on the line outside. I appreciate those stronger breezes that blow away the pesky black flies while I’m gardening. But those 90 to 100 km winds that can close down the Confederation Bridge or cancel the ferry to Nova Scotia or those raging winds weren’t on my radar in the beginning. A wind that often uprooted trees in our acres of woods. A wind (to me, at least) delegates how I can decorate outside at Christmas.
I’m finding it’s a live-and-learn experience. My first Christmas here decorating outside was a disaster … hanging plastic icicles on tiny plastic coated wires on my snowbush. I never did find all those icicles!
Then I found out decorating on the front deck in dirt filled containers didn’t work until the dirt froze solid.
Live Christmas trees tied securely down on the deck with various ornaments, found many ornaments gone forever.
So now the battleground is set and I tied down birch logs, spruce boughs and lights to a post on the side deck with twine and knots. That worked finally, actually the rope and knots outlasted the lights.
Country living for a small town girl is new to me. PEI winter winds and I are still getting acquainted but I might finally have the upper hand. The safest way to enjoy all the sparkle I love at Christmas as the Island winds rage and tear around our country home is to keep that twinkly beauty, safely tucked inside.
Thanks Sis for the best Christmas morning ever
(1957 or so) My sister started working at a general store in Naufrage (I stole some gum sister!) so as we watched through the pipe hole above the wood stove, for heat to come upstairs for Santa. He wasn’t showing up we went to sleep.
The next morning is etched in my memory forever. I am guessing my younger sister and I were 9 and 7-years-old.
Two dolls, about 2 feet tall, a crib, a toy telephone (light green) and PJs on the dolls, who were named after our first cousins, Patsy and Brenda.
The years and years of joy those gifts gave us, there is no way to describe the love we had for Santa for all the most wonderful gift we ever received.
My (oldest) sister likely spent at least a months pay giving us this joy and I am forever grateful.
They were passed down to my ‘oldest’ sister’s children (I remember returning from Toronto as a 20-something and being annoyed at first with my mother for allowing our Patsy and Brenda to be taken from us).
I am sure niece Cindy and Martina enjoyed them as much as we did and thank you ever so much, older sister, for the best Christmas morning ever. Love that you were always so thoughtful.
That morning is etched in my mind forever and I don’t think we ever said thank you “older sis” for the joy you gave us. (We didn’t peek, honest)
Mr Tom went skidding across the floor
By Sharron Cunningham Burke
Back in the ‘60s, one of my favourite Christmas traditions was to spend a weekend with Uncle Roy, Aunt Lil and their family. One or two weeks before Christmas Mom, Aunt Flo, my sister-in-law Millie and I would bake up a storm preparing cookies, cakes, squares, candy etc to take with us. Uncle Roy and Aunt Lil lived in Trenton, Ontario and we lived in Toronto. We car pooled as there was quite a load with 12 of us, along with luggage, baked goods and gifts. It was 110 miles to Trenton, but we didn’t mind as all of us adults were drivers – so we took turns.
On one of these occasions my cousin Carol and her husband Bob would host Christmas dinner. We ‘girls’ looked forward to preparing the feast for the family (30, including our children). We had a great time peeling vegetables, tossing salads, arranging homemade sweets on fancy plates etc. Bob and the other ‘boys’ set the tables, made the punch and took turns basting the turkey. The turkey was HUGE and just barely nestled into the roast pan. Everything was going well and preparations were nearly completed. The remainder of our family would be arriving soon.
When it was time to remove the turkey from the oven, we were faced with a challenge on how we would be able to remove Mr Tom (my name for the turkey) from the roast pan in one piece. Bob gave it a try to no avail. Each of us gave it a try, but it was in vain. Mr Tom just didn’t want to leave his comfortable nest. Then one of the boys, Ed, had a great idea. He asked carol if she had a pair of kitchen rubber gloves. She pulled a new pair out of a drawer. After donning the gloves Ed gently poked and prodded around the edge of the roast pan. With a series of grunts and groans he lifted Mr Tom from his nesting place. “See,” he said, “This is how it’s done. Nothing to it.”
As he prepared to transfer Mr Tom to the platter, we all belted out load screams, groans and oh nos as we witnessed Mr Tom sliding out of Ed’s hands landing with a thud on the kitchen floor. More screams and groans as Mr Tom gracefully slid across the floor, coming to a halt against the door jamb. The room went silent as we stared in disbelief at this amazing spectacle. Now Carol and Bob’s home was always immaculately clean – so clean that ‘one could eat off the kitchen floor’. They indeed lived up to that popular phrase. So we had no real concerns of Mr Tom being tainted by dust bunnies or spilled foods etc. Ed gently lifted and placed Mr Tom on the platter someone had placed beside this cunning monstrosity. As we rallied from our shocked state we asked carol if we should tell the rest of the family about this near disaster. Carol said, “We’ll tell them nothing. They’ll never know the difference.” We agreed.
After the rest of our family arrived we heard comments such as “Oh- that turkey smells so good.” “I hope there’s lots of stuffing and gravy.” “I want the dark meat.” “I want the light meat.” “I hope there is enough turkey to go around,” etc. I am sure there were lots of comments on the lovely Christmas tree, the tables set with the best china and cutlery, the lovely candle and holly centrepieces on each table etc, but all we could detect was comments on the turkey. Guilty conscience? Perhaps.
When the feast was served up, Mom said the blessing, and Dad helped Uncle Roy carve the turkey. As everyone was enjoying this delicious meal, someone from the back table asked, “How did you ever get this huge bird out of the pan in one piece?” I thought those of us who knew the SECRET would choke on our food. Carol stood up, cleared her throat and said, “Folks I have something to tell you.” She then relayed our harrowing experience in the kitchen, describing in great detail the skiing exhibition put on by Mr Tom. She then sat down with a thud and prepared for some tongue lashings. I have to admit the stunned silence in the room was unnerving, but then someone started giggling. One by one each of the family members started laughing. Tensions were eased and we ‘kitchen staff’ started laughing also. Someone shouted out,” God bless us everyone.” All I could think of was, “Thank you Tiny Tim, uh, I mean Mr Tom.”
Bob and Carol are deceased, but this is truly one of my favourite Christmas family tradition memories.
Christmas blessings to all.
We already have the greatest gift of all
I know God gives us a way of making even a worrisome time or event into a learning experience and He is always right with us whether we acknowledge Him or not.
With this Christmas approaching so fast, I’m afraid many of us are quite unprepared, even if we are hoping for just a simple Christmas celebration. And simple it will be.
Maybe that is all we need, a simple old-fashioned Christmas. One with gifts from the heart, and prepared by the hands of the family, a Christmas dinner, or supper shared with loved ones. Happy children enjoying time spent outdoors with cousins, sisters, brothers, and friends.
Indoor activities from our days gone by, can still have a place in our homes. I can still look back on my own childhood, when I loved Christmas. My mom was an expert seamstress, and still is, and she taught me how to sew, by hand and eventually on the sewing machine. I preferred sewing by hand, making little treasures for all my sister’s and little brother, and cousins.
Being the oldest of us five children, one brother and three sisters, I thought of myself as their second mom, so to speak, and did my best to help my mom out with the kids. Handmade colouring books, birch bark canoes, doll clothes, stuffed animals that sometimes were not that cute, maybe even scary, became my gifts to them.
Mom always made the best of everything for us in our eyes, and she did. Her homemade bread and desserts always left our home filled with such an amazing aroma. Somehow, she always prepared a Christmas meal that was the best. We had hard times I’m sure, but our mom always made us feel we were rich.
May God bless our moms, and may we continue to fill each Christmas with happy hearts, filled with not only good food, but with the knowledge and joy that our Lord Jesus, surrounds us with love each Christmas, and every day of the year.
I try to give my great grandchildren little gifts that inspire their creativity. Paint sets and art kits seem to be a thrill for my little great granddaughters and all the kids, for that matter. A special teddy bear can become a comforting friend, as I have heard from little Thea.
She said proudly, “Nanny said I can take whatever I want from my room.” She has her own room at Nanny’s house. She is taking her special teddy bear to her room in her mommy’s new home.
I pulled into my daughter’s place today, and as usual the little hands were waving in the door window, gesturing that her and Nanny would be right out to see me.
I asked little Thea, “What would you like for Christmas?”
Swaying back and forth with her very blond hair flowing in the wind, she looks at Nanny, asking her what that thing was called.
“It is an easel Thea.”
“Yeah, I want an easel for my paints Great Nanny.”
“I will see what I can do dear,” I said as she danced around, smiling and grinning.
Let us fill our hearts with love this Christmas, let the worries and woes take a back seat, and rest easy knowing we are blessed, we have the greatest gift of all. We have been given a home in Heaven with the Father for ever more. Merry Christmas one and all.
A hidden gift meant the world to a young boy
I remember when my daughter Vanessa was about 6 years of age and she remembered her Dad telling her a story of one of his best Christmases ever.
He told her of toys not being on display in stores so early in the season and they weren’t as plentiful as they are today. He told her about looking at a tiny toy guitar in the window of the Matthew & McLean Store in Souris and how he would love to play a guitar some day.
It was Christmas Eve and a chill was in the air but he still gazed at that guitar in wonder never realizing that some day he would play a real one.
Hurrying home to tell his Mom and Dad, he hoped that mentioning what he saw in the store window that day might in some small way play a big part in him finding a real guitar under the tree on Christmas morning.
He said his Dad like playing little jokes on him and shouldn’t have been too surprised at what took place that Christmas morning.
Her Dad said opening presents didn’t take as long as today. Back then everyone had to go easy on the Scotch tape. He remembered opening his presents, putting each gift in his pile so his sister wouldn’t touch them and after seeing no guitar his disappointment was mixed with his happiness that morning. He was thankful for what he got but it just didn’t take the place of the guitar.
His father must have noticed the disappointment in Dad’s eyes and said, “Come with me. I never could see how Santa could get all those toys into such a tiny sled. He must hide one present in every barn on PEI.”
That day her Dad found a real guitar in the barn sitting on a bale of hay. He said the happiness he felt as a child that day couldn’t be replaced.
Vanessa said every Christmas Eve her Dad brings up this story to tell. The joy she sees in his eyes convinces her that it was her Dad’s best Christmas ever.
(One of Nanny’s many granddaughters)
For many folks, they wonder if I am joking. “Do you actually eat rabbit?” My answer, “Yes I do.” It’s been a family tradition on Christmas Eve for as long as I can remember.
As a child, I remember the heat of my grandmother’s kitchen, the many cousins dressed up in their special holiday outfits, and the taste of freshly baked rabbit pie. After the Christmas Eve service, we would all pile into my grandmother’s tiny house in Georgetown for a holiday reunion, and of course, a slice of rabbit pie. The discussions would begin on how many rabbits there were that year, and who managed to “get a few” in order to make the Christmas delicacy- Nanny’s rabbit pie.
Some say, it needs a little pepper, others will say you can’t eat rabbit pie without some “katsup” but one thing’s for sure, we can’t seem to have Christmas Eve without it.
After Nanny passed away, we were left with the responsibility of carrying the torch of tradition, and mastering the art of making her special meat pie. The family gathering was large to begin with, considering we are the offspring of my grandparent’s 14 children; however, now it has grown to include many friends and neighbours too. They all ask questions and those that brave the taste test are pleasantly surprised that the pie is, in fact, delicious. It may have something to do with the memories that are baked into the savoury dish, and the buzz of excitement as they are pulled out of the oven, but not many will pass up the opportunity to grab a fork and taste.
This year, the hunt has already started. I have heard the pre Christmas chatter … “No snow on the ground, not many rabbits, the foxes are plentiful.” They won’t give up. Christmas Eve is coming.
A mouse’s best Christmas ever
I can remember this one Christmas when I was little and my Mom told me a story that was so funny.
It was the year we didn’t know what to do with our Christmas tree.
It was nearly Christmas and Mom and I decided to put strings of cranberries all over the tree. It took a few days to get all those cranberries strung … one by one … but it was completed and … we had done it.
We hand-picked all of those cranberries down along the cape where a nice person would let us pick every October.
It was still awhile before Christmas yet, but we enjoyed looking at the tree and when the lights were turned on it made the cranberries shine.
Every evening just before dark we would hear a little sound coming from behind the tree but didn’t give it much notice although it happened almost every evening.
Around Christmas Eve I thought I would check behind the tree and every cranberry was missing from the string, but none were missing from the front. We left it at that because we couldn’t possibly restring all of those cranberries again.
After all the bows and wrapping paper were cleared away for another Christmas a big red cranberry rolled out from under the tree with a little gray mouse we will call Fiona running close behind.
I’m sure if you looked really close the tiny mouse had a twinkle in its eye and happy grin on its face. It was probably the best Christmas a mouse could ever have.
Merry Christmas everyone and all the best in the New Year.