Summary: This story was written for the 2016 Advent Calendar. Escaping the hubbub of the annual Christmas party, Adam recounts a special tale to Hoss.
Rating: G (1,210 words)
A Christmas Journey Remembered by BluewindFarm
“Didn’t expect ta find ya hidin’ out here,” Hoss stated as he stepped from the ladder into the hay loft.
Adam sat near the top of the stair-stepped bales of hay; his hands, with fingers interlaced, held onto a pulled-up knee, his other leg straight out in front of him.
Responding to Adam’s apparent indifference, “Why ain’t ya inside with everyone else?”
“Pa send you out to get me?”
Climbing up and taking a seat next to his brother, “Not really. Hop Sings said ya were out here when I asked him where ya were.”
Sitting up and pushing his legs forward, “I’m not really in the mood for company right now, Hoss.”
Nestling himself in, Hoss stated, “I thought ya might be out here beddin’ down the animals, and thought I’d come out here an help, but ya already done that, so whys ya. . . ”
“I’m not hiding.”
“Then whatcha doin’?”
“It just got to be too much.”
“Too mucha what?” Hoss innocently asked.
“You wouldn’t understand.” Adam stood as if to leave.
“Even if I don’t understand, that don’t mean I don’t care…”
Turning, Adam slowly shook his head, but his heart won out. Sitting back down, “Inger had joined our family that fall. It was our first Christmas as a family.”
Ben decided to halt their journey for the winter, and had rented a small cottage on the edge of town.
The days passed swiftly after the celebration of St. Lucia Day. Memories of her childhood in Sweden made the time before Christmas all the more precious.
She had finally convinced her husband to go out to find a small pine tree two days before the blessed day. While Ben and Adam were away, she had popped corn and washed the dried cranberries. From her sewing box, she pulled out string and needles. It saddened her when she had to explain to her son the reason behind the tree and how it was decorated.
Their Christmas eve dinner consisted of a ham, pickled pig’s feet, and many different kinds of sweets. She even made an attempt to create her own Risgryngrot, including the hidden almond. Inger smiled at the memory from the Christmas before, she had found the almond, and as tradition predicted she had married; but not to the man her brother had chosen on her behalf.
She woke to find an unexpected snowfall; she envisioned Ben and Adam engaging in a small snowball fight after gifts had been exchanged. Pulling her robe close, she exited their room in anticipation of an excited Adam running down the steps, eager to see what Saint Nicholas had left under the Christmas tree.
Entering the front room of their home, she found Ben overseeing a seriously concentrating Adam placing the kindling and the logs in the fireplace.
“Good morning!” she gaily greeted.
“Merry Christmas, Mrs. Cartwright.”
“And Merry Christmas to you too, Mr. Cartwright. And Merry Christmas Adam.”
“Merry Christmas, Ma,” Adam replied before stepping aside to allow his father to set match to the kindling.
With fully bellies from a breakfast of biscuits and jam and ham and eggs, they returned to sit in front of the fire. Retrieving his bible from the side table, Ben began to read.
“…And there were shepherds in the same country abiding in the field, and keeping watch by night over their flock. And an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all the people,” pausing, Ben looked to his son, “Adam, do you remember the next verse?”
Thinking of all the time he spent reading the bible the day before, “ for there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour,” Adam looked to Ben who nodded while smoking his pipe, “who is Christ the Lord. And this is the sign unto you: Ye shall find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, and lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men in whom he is well pleased.”
Inger smiled, clasping her folded hands above her heart. “That was beautiful, Adam.”
Slipping from where she had curled her legs underneath her on the settee, Inger stepped to the tree and lifted a box wrapped in brown paper from under the tree, she handed the package to Adam.
“Go ahead, open it,” Inger encouraged.
“What is it?” Adam questioned. “It’s not my birthday.”
“It’s a Christmas present. It’s tradition to exchange gifts on this morning.”
“But,” Adam looked to his father. “Pa and I, we never…”
“It’s alright son. Go ahead, it’s about time we began some new traditions.”
“We only had Ma for one more Christmas.”
“So, what’d my Ma get you for Christmas?”
“She’d knitted me a stocking hat with matching mittens and a scarf.”
“Sounds right practical”
“And they were, I cherished them for a long time. They were the first Christmas presents I ever received.”
“You have to remember Pa and I really only had each other when we were traveling. Everything Pa ever earned he saved so we could continue traveling come spring. We’d observe the day by me listening to Pa read from the bible. ”
“That why you don’t like the party inside?”
“I guess it’s alright. Pa needs to have friends around him. And Little Joe, he thrives on the attention people give him.”
“Especially the girls.”
“Yeah, especially the girls. But, I kind of wished things were simpler, that it wasn’t so much about the gifts and parties, but more about the reason, the Christ Child in the manger. The way it is when Pa reads to us from the Bible.”
“Pa’ll read to us later.”
“Maybe I’m just getting cynical in my old age.”
“Old at twenty-eight? Na, ya just need to come back inside and have some of that spiked eggnog.”
Together, the two made their way down the ladder; stopping to blow out the lantern before leaving the barn. “Adam?”
“Thanks for sharing your memory of my ma with me. Ya know, I missed these times when you went back east ta college.”
“I know you did little brother.”
Wrapping his arm around Adam’s neck, “Little? I remember when ya come back, I was bigger than you, I still am.”
Trying his best to wrestle out of his brother’s hold, “I know, I know.” He couldn’t help but laugh at their own antics.
With arms around the others shoulders, the brothers returned to the Christmas party inside the massive log home.
And high in the night-time sky, three stars shone brighter than ever before, sparkling as knowing eyes watched over their loved ones.
Wishing Peace on Earth, Good Will Towards Man ~~ Merry Christmas everyone!
Link to the 2016 Advent Calendar – Day 19 – Glory Be… (by sklamb)
Other Stories by this Author
- The Christmas Visitor (by BluewindFarm)
- Christmas Tradition (by BluewindFarm)
- Christmas Wishes (by BluewindFarm)
- Twas the Night Before Christmas (by BluewindFarm)
- Aunt Dinah aka The Christmas Visitors (by BluewindFarm)