A Christmas peek at the novel HAVENWOOD TALES Beginnings by D.J. Houston
Christmas morning revealed other reasons my father had been working through the wintry nights in his inventor’s shed.
The moment Timmy spied his new sled under the tree, he rushed to Daddy before he even touched it and grabbed him hard around the waist and hugged him for what seemed like forever, letting Daddy stroke his hair the whole time.
And the world felt a lot of missed Christmases get made up for, right there.
The sled was a beauty, alright — full adult size, waxed and shiny as the star of Bethlehem.
Daddy had even built in a steering bar for the carriage and added a distinguishing cowhide seat cover. The runners were painted glossy red. But seeing Timmy’s reaction, I doubt he’d have cared if that sled was purple with orange polka dots, he was so happy to have our daddy around . . .
My brother Timmy had already proven his own skill at gift-making with the tin star ornaments on our Christmas tree. But nevertheless, he stood himself up a proud bit taller, shook out his thick brown mop of hair, studiously removed his glasses and let out a loud, dramatic exhale to get us laughing before he unveiled the rest of his handiwork.
He’d carved a set of pinewood cooking spoons for Mama, which she proclaimed she needed “desperately,” and “how could he have possibly known?”
Then after enough hugs from her, he presented Daddy with a nicely lacquered shaving brush handle, for which Daddy assured Timmy he knew just the right horse’s tail to hit on for the bristles. The joke brought some welcome chuckles. After the war had turned him melancholy, Mama would have been plenty thrilled if all she got for Christmas that year was Daddy’s sense of humor back.
My own gifts to the family were the Christmas wreath from school and my volunteer Helper Elf duties. I had considered buying Mama a box of laundry soap, too, after I caught her whistling the Rinso White radio jingle; I just never figured out how to do it and keep it a secret. But I must admit, I was a stellar Helper Elf for a six-year-old.
Timmy, of course, opted out of the game of using me for his Helper Elf.
He said, and I quote, “I wouldn’t be caught dead calling you that stupid name!” (Miss Helper Elf.) Plus I knew he’d never go for the special rule I made for him, that he had to bow three times when he said it.
But it was, after all, Christmas morning. And I’d bought him his favorite candy bar and stuck a bow on it. He’d bought me mine and didn’t tease me too much before he handed it over. And I knew if I played my cards right, I could end up owning his old sled before the day was out.
Wooden spoons, a shaving brush, candy bars, a homemade sled – they may not seem like much to some. But those were the days of simple joys . . .
And when Timmy and I said thank you to each other, we meant it.
Continued in coming novel Havenwood Tales Beginnings
Copyright©2010, 2013 D.J. Houston. All Rights Reserved.
Inspiring Holiday Stories – Heartland America – Coming of Age – American Family Life
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