Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Home for Christmas (11/20/08)
By Tina Bolar
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The young child’s face looked up towards her parents. Her parent’s eyes were focused on the parade that glided by the crowded stores as other eager faces stretched their necks to see the floats. I sighed as I watched the child stare eagerly to her parent’s faces. They were oblivious. I was not. I noticed that they like the others were mesermerized by the red, white and green colors that permeated each oversize trucks carrying metal flatbeds loaded with paper, chicken wire and garland. ‘Tis the season, I guess. Not thoroughly convinced this was the way this season should be celebrated. The waves of American flags for a moment made me feel it was the fourth of July. The cold weather made me know otherwise. It was winter. This was the season when thirty degree weather was a requirement not a complaint. I made my way through the crowd as the store front décor glistened in the sun. It was a momentous tribute to tacky taste and goodwill.
The 1120 bus pulled up to the stop at the corner of the last store not part of the parade route. I paid my fare and set cattycornered to elderly man who obvious disliked parades. I took my seat with my head staring at the floor as the driver turned the corner onto Maple Street. My heart fluttered at the green and white sign with the signature maple leaf pointing east. The young girls face flashed once again as the bus stopped on the corner of Maple and Addison. I paused for a moment as though the strength in my legs seemed to have disappeared. The story of Ruth came into my remembrance. I stepped onto the curb and gazed upon the house and the end of the street in a cul-de-sac.
I saw two small children playing in the front yard. Their legs stretched upward swinging back and forth with the sun bright against them. I smiled at the memory. The children hastily jumped off the swings and ran inside the house. The screen door continued to move to and fro long after they had disappeared. I continued to walk slowly. Each beat of my heart getting louder with each stepped. I was home. I wasn’t sure of the welcome I would receive. I was sure it was going to be hard. Even… I took in a deep breath. I placed my hand on the rusty gate partially off of the hinge. The grass hadn’t been cut in months. The swing was gone. Winter wind blew into an open window on the second floor.
All the memories flooded at once. Momma was standing by the stove with a large bowl filled with sweet potatoes fresh out of the oven. Papa was reclined by the fireplace watching the Lakers vs. the Bucks. The Bucks won. Donnie was hanging out up the streets with some of his friends. I was outside with Miles swinging. Knowing the only reason I was willing to freeze was because he was cute and the only eight year old in our church’s children’s choir who looked twelve.
“Momma”, I cried as Miles and I entered the kitchen. Momma turned and smiled quickly telling us to not to track up her floor with dirt. Miles and I turned to take off our boots at the door. When we returned two cups of hot chocolate was sitting on the table with miniature marshmallows. After drinking our hot chocolates, Miles and I set the table. Donnie walked through the door always just in time. Dinner was amazing. I couldn’t remember the taste, but I remembered the laughter. I remembered Papa telling Donnie about the game. I remembered Momma reciting the recipes to me. I never saw Miles so happy except at Christmas. Miles would stay late, afraid to return home alone, Papa and Donnie would walk him back.
It all came back with a rush. I sucked in the air for a moment. A few stray ward tears fell down my face as I realized my visit had ended. I gave a silent prayer before turning to leave. Thanking God for the gift of coming home this Christmas.
“Next year, Momma I’ll make the sweet potatoes.” I closed the rusty gate behind me.
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