A Christmas peek at the novel
Christmas morning revealed the other reasons my father had worked long through the wintry nights in his inventor’s shed.
The moment my brother Timmy spied his new sled under the tree, before he even touched it he rushed to Daddy, grabbed him hard around the waist and hugged him for forever. And he let Daddy stroke his hair the whole time.
The world must have felt a lot of missed Christmases got made up for, right there.
That sled was a beauty, too–full adult size and waxed and shiny as the star of Bethlehem.
Daddy had even built in a steering bar for the carriage. He’d painted the runners glossy red, but seeing Timmy’s reaction, I doubt he’d have cared if the whole sled was painted purple with polka dots, he was so glad to have his dad around . . .
As for Timmy, he’d already proven his own knack for gift-making with the tin star ornaments for our Christmas tree. But always prone to making a show of things, he stood himself up a proud bit taller, shook out his thick brown mop of hair, then whipped off his glasses like some self-important professor, real snooty-like. When that got the chuckles he was after, he unveiled the rest of his handiwork.
He had carved a set of pinewood cooking spoons for Mama, which she proclaimed were the “perfect gift” she needed “desperately,” and “how could he have possibly known?”
And after sufficient hugs from her, he presented Daddy with a lacquered shaving brush handle, for which Daddy assured us all that he knew just the right “horse’s tail” to hit on for the bristles.
Mama laughed so hard at his joke, I realized that after the war had turned him melancholy, she would have been plenty thrilled if all she got for Christmas was Daddy’s sense of humor back.
Nothing could have topped that, but I had thought about surprising her with at least a big box of laundry soap, when I heard her whistling the Rinso White radio jingle; I just couldn’t figure out how to sneak the soap home without her seeing it. So my earlier gifts of the Christmas wreath I made at school and my volunteer Helper Elf duties had to suffice. Mama really appreciated those.
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 in hell 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 down 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 reluctantly handed it over with a tease and a smile. 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, some 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 that Christmas morning, we meant it.
Continued in coming novel Havenwood Tales Beginnings
Copyright©2010, 2014 D.J. Houston. All Rights Reserved.
Inspiring Holiday Stories – Heartland America – Coming of Age – American Family Life
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