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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Christmas Carols/Carolling (10/02/08)

TITLE: The Last Silent Night
By W. Yvonne Birnell
10/06/08


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“Girls, come on we’re gonna, be late, get a move on.” I could hear mom yell for the third time. “Boys get your coats. We’ve got to go. Your dad is already in the car.” There was a short pause, then the famous last words. “YOU’VE GOT ONE MINUTE.”

Finally, roll call begins, as mom calls each name of all eight of us. “Ok dear, all present and accounted for. Please drop us off at the corner of 13th and Washington. We will start from there.” Mom says to dad as he started the car.

“Tell your Mother we said hi and wish her a Merry Christmas.”

“Oh yes, Tom and Louis are meeting us at the corner. We will start our caroling from there and then when you are done with your visit; you can meet us at B’s diner. OK?

“Honey, I’m sorry it has to be this way; you know mom’s not well, but she is still my mother.” Dad says again for the millionth time.

“We don’t mind, do we kids? We get to go caroling and we know what that means.” Mom said as she turned around.

We all chimed in, “Hot chocolate and cookies from Grandma Baker.”

“Don’t you fret, dear, we’ll be just fine.” Mom said as she turned and patted dad’s hand.

All of us kids cheered from the back, you see we loved Grandma Baker, and she made the biggest and bestest chocolate chip cookies in the world. Her hot chocolate was never too hot, but was always just right.

I was only 6years old, that year and cookies was the part of caroling I was looking forward to the most. I soon found out how fast plans can change.

As we got close to the corner, the mood in the car very quickly changed. Grandpa was standing on the porch, motioning for dad to come quickly.

Dad drove right past the corner and up to Grandma’s house; jumped out of the car and said quickly as he ran toward the house. “Stay put I’ll be right back.”

Dad and Grandpa disappeared into the house. We just sit there. Time just ticked by, then finally Tom and Louis spotted our car. Tom walked up as mom rolled down the window.

“What up, Dot?” Tom says while looking into the car and waving at us kids.

We all smile back, as mom said, “Don’t know Tom. Bill hasn’t come back out yet.”

“You want us to wait with you, Dot?”

“Better not, Tom, you know how Bill can be, when it comes to his mother. I would leave, but maybe, just maybe…..”

“Yal right, Dot, you know it’s all in her….”

Mom held up her hand at Tom. “Not in front of the kids, Tom, it’s their grandmother.”

“Ok, Dot, but if you get done here in time; you’ll know where we will be.” Tom said as he headed back towards his car. We watched as him and Louis waved as they drove off.

Three hours later:

Finally, dad shows himself, out the front door; to see all of us still waiting in the car. Mom was not in the best of moods, to say the least, when dad finally got in the car he said, “I’m sorry honey, you know how she can be.”

“Bill this is the last time. No more will I subject these kids to this woman’s madness. You could have at least opened the curtain and let me know that everything was alright and that she was just in one of her moods. You know we were looking forward to tonight.”

“Why was dad outside waving? You know, that’s what had concerned me. Never mind, it just shows me, she has come up with new ways to ruin our Christmas. We will talk about this later.” Then mom turned and said, “Sorry kids, we’ll go caroling tomorrow for sure.”

You could have heard a pin drop in that car all the way home.

Mom was good to her word. She made sure we went caroling the next night and every Christmas after that. No more did she let grandma interfere with our Christmas caroling. Yes, Mom learned how to drive and dad went to Grandma’s by himself.

I didn’t see my Grandma again for nearly, 20 years. It took me many years and God’s grace to find out grandma wasn’t bad, just lost. I Never heard grandma sing.


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This article has been read 370 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 10/09/08
Your last line is beautifully poignant...well done!

There are several places in this story when you switch from past tense to present and back again. In a simple narrative like this one, it's best to stick with past tense.

This wasn't predictable in any part, and I really appreciate that.
Phyllis Inniss 10/14/08
I enjoyed this story. It held my interest, shifting tenses and all.
Lisa Keck10/15/08
I thought Grandma was going to die. What a surprise that the silence was about sittting in the car waiting. I must agree that I like the unpredictable.