A Sudden Change of Plans
“My Mom will just have to understand,” Carla told Shanna, her roommate and best friend.
Shanna frowned and shrugged her shoulders. “If I had a family like yours, I’d give that some thought,” she said. “I’ve spent a lot of holidays apart from my folks because they’re always traveling, and they never seem to attach much importance to special days, even Christmas. I’ve always had a yearning for big gatherings of kinfolks, where people eat and laugh and just enjoy getting together once or twice a year.”
“You wouldn’t feel that way if you met some of my relatives!” answered Carla quickly. “ I hope to never again hear Uncle Ben’s jokes and Aunt Bet’s account of her last surgery. I usually have to give up my bedroom to someone who decides that the distance is ‘just too much for one day.’ The cooking and the clean-up literally take hours, and Jan and I always have to help Mom with everything. Of course, our brother Bill always manages to disappear when that is going on. And there are noisy kids everywhere! Christmas at my house is quite a mess, really, Shanna!”
“And anyway, this house party is going to be sensational! I’ve waited for months for Brad to ask me out for a special date, and this is it! These are close friends of his parents, and he says the decorations are unbelievably elegant, and food and drinks out of this world. I can hardly wait!”
Shanna wouldn’t give up. “It’s too bad the timing and distance won’t let you do both. That’s all I’m saying.”
“You know there’s no way that I can make it home after the house party and be back to work on Tuesday. Let it go, Shanna. I’ve made a decision, and it will be just fine. I’ll simply wait until Wednesday to call Mom, and she won’t have time to try and change my mind. I’ll go home next week-end and take the presents, and even be able to sleep in my own room.” Carla finished firmly.
Doing some last minute shopping after work on Wednesday, Carla walked along in the mall, feeling a bit unsettled, maybe a little sad. She would have to call her mother tonight, and, in spite of all her confident resolve, she dreaded hearing the disappointment in her voice.
Just at that moment, a group of children singing carols stopped right ahead of her, and began to sing a medley of familiar tunes. It didn’t help any that they were standing in front of a window display with gaily painted tins of caramel corn and chocolates. These were family favorites, and were always nestled in the midst of holiday decorations at home. Carla made it through the children’s “Jingle Bells,” began to feel a little weepy as they sang “Oh Come, All Ye Faithful,” but by the time they reached the middle of “Silent Night,” large tears were streaming down her face.
She thought Shanna would never answer the phone. When she did, she seemed surprised to hear Carla’s voice. “You’re what?” “I’m what?” Shanna sputtered. There was instant excitement in her voice.
“You heard me right. We’re going to my house for Christmas! Get your duds packed. We’ll need to leave right after work tomorrow. Call my Mom and tell her you’re coming with me, and that we’ll be bringing some extra caramel corn and lots of chocolates. We may have to sleep on the sofa, and who knows? You might even get there in time to hear all of Uncle Ben’s jokes!"
"But-but.." she stammered, "What about Brad, and the house party? It’s late to cancel that, isn’t it?”
“I’ll call him now to let him know. Brad will just have to understand,” Carla told Shanna, her roommate and best friend.
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