~*~*~ Advent Calendar ~*~*~
* Day 18 *
Summary: Mrs. Jones is at a loss for a gift for her daughter, Abigail. However, a memory from Adam sparks her imagination.
Rating: G 1,215 words
Note: This story was written for the Bonanza Brand 2020 Advent Calendar, originated in the Forums.
Adam hurried down the boardwalk as the frigid wind whipped around him and tried to penetrate his thick coat. He stopped briefly outside the mercantile to let a man balancing several large boxes pass him. Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted an older lady inside the store, clearly caught in an internal battle with herself.
Deciding to step inside the store, Adam recognized the lady as Abigail Jones’ mother. Even from his far-off distance, he could tell that she was looking for something. Each item she picked up was inspected before being quickly put back down. It appeared that whatever she was looking for, she couldn’t find it and he could see the frustration starting to build on her face.
Not willing to let her suffer in frustration, Adam took a few steps over to her to see if there was anything he could do to help.
“Good afternoon, Mrs. Jones.”
Mrs. Jones took a step back and looked up at the sound of his voice. “Oh, good afternoon, Mr. Cartwright.”
“Mr. Cartwright is my father. Please, call me Adam.” At her nod, Adam continued. “I don’t mean to pry, but I have been watching you for the last few moments. It appears you seem to be looking for something.”
“Wise intuition there, Adam. I am indeed. As you may have heard, my daughter Abigail received a request to teach at one of those fancy colleges out east and will be moving there in the springtime. She’s been teaching in Virginia City for a long time and I want to find the perfect gift to give her. One that will always make her remember the town, her students, and her closest friends. Nothing here seems to satisfy those requirements though.”
Adam knew how difficult it was to move away from the comfort of home. Not only was it hard on the person moving away, but it was equally hard on the people and loved ones that were left behind. Adam got lost in his thoughts as his mind drifted back nearly 15 years.
It was the Spring before he was to leave for college. After a long discussion with his father, they both decided that now was a good time for him to go to college.
As much as Adam wanted this, he also knew how difficult it would be for his family. Ben had depended on him to help out around the ranch for many years. Sure, Ben would still have Hoss, but he couldn’t do nearly as much as Adam could around the ranch.
And then there were his own feelings he had to contend with. It would be his first time out on his own. It would be good to gain some independence, but the thought of leaving everything and everyone he knew was a big hurdle he had to overcome.
It was about a week before he left for college. True to tradition, his father threw a big going away celebration for him. It was a happy occasion and one he would remember for years.
However, the best part came after the celebration when just his family gathered inside the house in the great room. Ben took advantage of the quiet chatter to retreat into the little kitchen area. When he returned, he held in his hands a badly wrapped square package in gold paper. His father handed it to him and told him to open it.
Adam took great care in opening the package, almost as if the paper was actually made of gold. Two minutes later, he stared down at a folded fabric item.
“I don’t understand, Pa.”
“It’s something special for you to remember us when you’re away at college.”
As he unfolded the item, he could now tell it was a quilt. But this wasn’t any ordinary quilt. Each square had a different color and some even had some unique textures to them. Adam returned his gaze to his father waiting for an explanation.
“Each square represents something from here on the Ponderosa or the surrounding area. That cobalt blue one here is for Lake Tahoe. You have a multi-green one for the vast forest of the Ponderosa. We even got some of the ranch hands to donate some old, checkered shirts so you can remember them as well. We figured a quilt will help keep you warm on those bitter winter nights in Boston.”
He remained silent as he contemplated the quilt. Only his family would think to do something so special and memorable for him.
“Don’t ya like it?”
Adam looked up and gave a small smile to his youngest brother, tears clinging to his eyes. “I do, very much. I just don’t know what to say, except thank you. I’ll be sure to cherish it forever.”
He used the quilt all through college, but it was mostly used at Christmastime when he was unable to return home to celebrate with his family. When he curled up under it, it made him feel just that much closer to all his loved ones he left back in Nevada.
“I think I have an idea for the perfect gift.”
Adam then explained about that quilt he received from his family all those years ago.
“That’s a wonderful idea, Adam! Thanks for sharing that with me. I think I might do something similar for my daughter. It’ll be a great way for her to remember everyone here and the place she has called home for so long.”
Over the next several months, Mrs. Jones worked with Abigail’s students and talked to some of her closest friends around town. Instead of a quilt, she had decided on making her daughter a scarf. Each person that was close to Abigail, chose a different color yarn which was then crocheted a few rows on the scarf. In the end, it was one of the most colorful scarves ever made.
On Christmas morning, Abigail was handed the oddly shaped present.
“What is this?”
“A present for you, of course. Why don’t you open it and find out?”
Tearing open the wrapping paper, the vibrant scarf fell into her lap. Abigail looked up at her mother, confusion etched across her face.
“That there is a very special scarf. Each color represents a particular person, whether that’s one of your friends or one of your students. Each end is capped off with my favorite color and your late father’s favorite color. I have the list of who chose which color so you, and only you will know which color belongs to which person. It’ll help you remember us when you’re so far away.”
With tears in her eyes, Abigail immediately stood and rushed over to where her mother was sitting in her chair and embraced her in a gigantic hug. “Mother! It’s wonderful!”
An hour later, both Abigail and her mother headed out the front door for church services. As Abigail put on her best coat, she made sure to also wrap her new scarf around her neck. There was no better time than now to start wearing what she was sure to treasure for years to come.
Character: Abigail Jones’ mother
gift: A scarf
Inspired by: The Wooing of Abigail Jones
Director: Christian Nyby
Written by: Norman Lessing
Link to the Bonanza Brand 2020 Advent Calendar – Day 19 – The Mitten Angels by AC1830
Other Stories by this Author
- The Mysterious Crystal Cup (by wx4rmk)
- Recipe For Disaster (by wx4rmk)
- Hop Sing’s Fortune Cookies (by wx4rmk)
- Cunning Beavers (by wx4rmk)
- Mother Nature’s Blessing (by wx4rmk)