by lauren finchum
Not For Sale
Author requests article critique
Not For Sale
Author requests article critique
The snow has slowed to flurries when I look up from my Christmas card signing. The day was bright and cold, a winter playground of snow for my two cats, who are out side on my porch, batting at falling snowflakes. As I contemplate bringing them in, my phone rang.
I answer it, but before I hardly say “hello” a deep voice says, “I’ve buried it in the snowman across the street. Don’t let me down.”
With that, the caller hung up.
“Hello, hello?” I say, but my phone only starts a frantic beeping.
I push down the receiver on my corded phone, then dial the “star” number to see who it was that called me. I get the number and dial it.
“Hello,” says a raspy voice that wasn’t deep like the first.
“Who is this?” I ask.
“Well, listen, Hank, do you know who used your phone just now? I’d like to talk to him. I don’t know anything about a snowman.”
The voice sounds a little timid. The kind of timid that says, “This lady’s crackers.”
“Pardon me? What’s this about a snowman.”
“You tell me. Hiding something in a snowman? I mean, really. It’s a little early for April Fools’.” I sigh, “Know just help me, you big goofuss.”
Alright, I didn’t say that last part, but I sure am thinking it.
“Lady, I have know idea what you’re talk about. But I know one thing—I’m never answering a pay phone when it rings ever again.” With this, my Hank hangs up.
I’m deep in thought when a pawing at the door makes me jump. I traverse the cool wood floor to the front door and hear the scratch again. I realize it’s my cats. They want in from the cold. I don’t blame them much.
When I open the door, one black and one gray feline scurry in, and commence grooming on my throw rug. I laugh, and turn to close the door.
That when I saw it.
Across the street is a snowman. A large, round mass of snow that makes me wonder what that mystery message was about.
Frosty stands there on the curb of the bus depot, mocking me.
Are you brave enough to come see, Renée?
I don’t know how Frosty knows my name, but I take his challenge.
I go to my closet and get on a coat, scarf, hat, and gloves, then slide my feet in the black suede boots by my door.
Frosty, here I come.
The street has been cleared and salted, as the sidewalk, so I didn’t have to worry about steping in deep snow ‘til I reach the curb where Frosty is erected.
I stand there a second and look at the snow statue. His carrot nose, his mouth (drawn with a finger), and two eyes made of asphalt gravel—no doubt scraped up by the plow.
Am I really going to stick my hands inside a snowman to see what it is the mysterious caller has left there?
My luck it will be a bag of crack, and just as I pull it out a modern version of Barney Fife will jump out form behind Mrs. Slater’s holly tree and arrest me before I can explain.
I decide to ignore my vivid imagination, and just stick my hand in Frosty.
As I go elbow deep in Frosty entrails, and don’t feel anything . . .anything but cold, that is.
Maybe the call was just a prank. Still I dig a little deeper.
Now I’m shoulder deep in the large ball of snow that made up snow dude’s body.
When I look up from my antics, there is an old man walk by, looking at me very odd. I smile a wide grin, and wave with my free hand.
I’ve always been one for off-the-wall humor . . .now is as good a time as any for my silly wryness.
Old dude doesn’t look like my waving doesn’t do much for what he’s already thinking of me, so he just stops staring and sits on the bus bench.
I continue to dig, which seems to continue to scare Old Dude. With a wary look, he leaves this depot to find one where a twenty-something isn’t gutting a snowman with one arm.
I smile big and wave goodbye—still digging in Frosty’s abdomen, mind you.
Old Dude walks a little faster.
I finally find something. A red and green tin graced with a poinsettia lid, and tied with white ribbon. I brush off the snow. On a laminated card is written in loopy, but still male looking script, “To a special girl”.
Either I have a secret admirer, or a very elaborate prankster.
I haven’t opened the tin. I’m still debating if I should. I mean, are they really for me? And if so, from who?
And what the heck is this all about?
I set the tin on my desk, until I figure out what to do. I’ll think about it while I send off my cards. USPS, here I come.
As I lock up and hear a scarping sound. I turn and see a young girl, about seven, looking in the place where the snowman remains are.
I recognize her as one of the neighbor’s kids. She lives in the house next door to me. The house that is the only house with not one lick of holiday spirit on it or the lawn—or anywhere for that matter.
With a fling of snow, the red haired snow fairy of a child looks defeated as she sulks away.
As she make her way across the street I decide to chance it, “Hey, little girl, were you looking for something in that snowman?”
The girl looks at me, but doesn’t seem to think my statement sounds crazy, “Um . . .” she hesitates, “Yeah, how did you know?”
“I found it. Come on over.”
“I’m not supposed to follow strangers.” She calls to me.
“Ok, then. Stay there, I’ll be right back.”
I go get the tin from my desk.
I walk to the girl, “Here.” I say, and hand it to her.
Her face lights. She opens the tin to reveled peanut butter cookies.
“Um, I don’t want to seem nosy,” I say, “but why were there cookies in a snowman.”
The girl grins, “My step-dad left them.”
Ok, that doesn’t really explain it.
“You see, my dad doesn’t like Christmas, so when I’m with him, he doesn’t let me have anything Christmassy at all. That’s why I’m glad Mom and Kyle have me on Christmas Eve and day.”
I’m shock that a man wouldn’t let his kid have Christmas.
“Is you dad’s last name Scrooge, kid?”
I don’t say that, “Why didn’t your step-dad just give you the cookies?” is what I really ask.
“My dad will just toss them as soon I get inside. Kyle calls me and tells where he hides them. This time he said ‘don’t let me down’. That means the cookies are peanut butter—my favorite.”
This kid’s “dad” must be bucking for Creep of the Year or something.
The girl smiles a sweet grin that shows she’s, age appropriately, missing one front tooth, “Thanks for finding the cookies. Kyle said he realized he accidentally called the wrong number the first time. I was afraid that someone else had my cookies and ate them.” The girl grins, “By the way, I’m Lanea.” she says, and offers to shake my hand.
I shake her small mittened hand, “Well, I’m glad you got your cookies.”
“Me too.” she says, “Here” she says holding out a cookie, “Kyle says Christmas is about giving. Jesus was born to give, so we should give, too. So here’s a cookie. And thanks for not eating them all.”
The poppy-headed dear hurries to some bushes to eat her cookies.
Looks like Kyle is teaching her better then her dad.
As I watch her chomp her treats with joy, I see that her step-dad’s game will probably be a fun memory, and that will stay with her.
As I walk to my car, eating the really tasty gift cookie, I begin to think.
It’s funny. We always act like blood is thicker than water; but true love is thicker than both.
Just ask Jesus. He didn’t care how much blood He spilt to get us into His family. Yes, His blood saved us, but if He had of see blood worth more than love, He’d have kept it in His veins. But He didn’t. He saw love worth more than His blood.
And I’m glad He did.
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