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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Christmas Carols/Carolling (10/02/08)

TITLE: Christmas Static
By LauraLee Shaw


Static—it was the only thing coming out of Lorna Miller’s television set. After adjusting the antenna lodged on top of the unit three different times, she was exhausted. “Cotton pickin’ rabbit ears,” she moaned. She’d hoped to catch some holiday spirit from the TV, but there would be no such luck for her tonight.

Her old, feeble legs were tired from standing too long, so they surrendered to the only chair in the room. The recliner, looking as old as she felt, creaked as she squirmed to find a spot that didn’t poke her with springs.

Defeated, Lorna threw her neck back into the cushion, whining a song of pain. “Oooooooh, my back.” Since she didn’t care to look through the filthy lenses of her glasses, she shut her stinging eyes instead. Relieved to escape the view of trash all around her, she wished her hearing could take a break too. Then I wouldn’t hafta listen to this static. “Cotton pickin’ rabbit ears.”

Lorna reached for the afghan jammed in the side of the cushion and wrapped it over her shivering lap. As she closed her eyes, she exchanged her grumpy thoughts for happy memories of many yesterdays ago. They were all she had to keep her company. Or so she thought.

The doorbell chimed, and a chorus of voices followed.

“Joy to the world, the Lord is come...”

It was her favorite carol, and they were singing it just right—nice and slow, acapella and rich with harmony.

“Let every heart, prepare Him room…”

She began to mumble along, “And heaven and nature sing...” A peaceful smile came over her pruned face, and she thought she musta died and gone to Heaven.

Three loud knocks echoed through the room. Her eyes shot open, and she listened. Nothing but static. Lorna, you’re jus hearin’ things again, she thought. No, she knew she heard people talkin’ outside. “That’s it…I’m gonna figure out what in the dickens is goin’ on!”

With new determination, Lorna pressed on the arms of both sides of the recliner to help her up. As she hobbled forward, the afghan, earlier wrapped around her legs, now dropped to the floor, causing her to trip and fall.

A banging on the door interrupted her sobbing. “Ma’am, we’re from Christ Community Church.”

She lifted her chin up, looking to see if there was something, anything around her to help her up.

“Your neighbor told us that you’re a shut-in. We brought you some food and wanted to sing some carols.”

“Just a minute,” Lorna croaked, though she doubted they heard her. She crawled with all her might to the yellow tennis balls that stood just inches in front of her, knowing they were attached to the walker she was supposed to use to help her get around.

“Hark the herald angels sing, glory to the newborn king…”

Lorna grabbed the side of the walker with one arm and a footstool with the other.

“Peace on earth and mercy mild…”

She scooted her knees forward and leaned with all her strength.

“Joyful all ye nations rise, join the triumph…”

Triumphantly, she pressed her bottom side onto the footstool, and with renewed energy, she rose to grab her walker. This’ll have to do.

As the voices continued in the background, she scooted to the entryway, unlocked the deadbolt, turned the key to the lock, and opened the door to a multitude of voices.

“Hark the herald angels sing, glory to the newborn King!”

A couple greeted her and asked if they could bring a basket of goodies inside. Behind them followed others with buckets of cleaning supplies. Adults and kids alike began scrubbing and sorting through the piles of clutter.

Awe-struck, Lorna said, “Well, I’ll be. I ain’t ever seen cleaning carolers before—are ya elves?"

The leader chuckled, “No, ma’am, we’re just regular folks who love Jesus. We saw a light through the window and thought you’d enjoy some company.”

“Well,” Lorna replied, “I’sa tryin’ to watch TV…but it’s nothin’ other than cotton pickin’ static, see?” She looked over to notice a young man adjusting the antenna. “Well, I’ll be! That picture’s clear as midnight!”

Before the cleaning carolers left that night, they carefully placed a small Christmas tree plant next to the perfectly-adjusted rabbit ears on Mrs. Miller’s television. Then they sang one more tune…

“I heard the bells on Christmas Day

Their old, familiar carols play,

And wild and sweet

The words repeat

Of peace on earth,

good-will to men!”

*Joy to the World lyrics by Isaac Watts
* Hark, the Herald Angels Sing lyrics by Charles Wesley
* I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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This article has been read 950 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 10/10/08
Singing and service—now that's the spirit of Christmas. Lovely story.
Laury Hubrich 10/10/08
You made Lorna so very real. Very good story!
Patty Wysong10/11/08
I loved the voice! What a hoot! The details of her getting to her walker were great, too. I loved the whole thing!
Tim Pickl10/13/08
What a masterful way of using static to represent the fogginess of Lorna's mind and situation, which was all cleared up by Jesus (the body of Christ) showing up at her door to encourage her with singing and help her with service. It reads like a movie.
Verna Cole Mitchell 10/14/08
Your idea of static was used very effectively in your story. I loved the voice of your mc.
Jan Ross10/16/08
Wow! Congratulations on your EC win. What a unique approach to the topic, Laura. I loved the voice and everything about this. AWESOME!
Kristen Hester10/16/08
Congratulations, girlfriend! I love this story. It is so touching and realistic. Great job! Your writing always blesses me.
Yvonne Blake 10/16/08
Are you sure you're not an old lady with a tennis-ball bottomed walker? Good descriptions!
Laury Hubrich 10/16/08
Congratulations, Laura! I loved this story. Didn't know it was yours:) Woohoo!
Joanne Sher 10/16/08
Congratulations, Laura! Great stuff--wonderful characterization.
Beth LaBuff 10/16/08
Beautiful writing on this wonderful story, Laura! Congrats with your EC placing! ... um, do you think those carolers could come by my house? :)
Peter Stone10/16/08
Well done, Laura. And such wonderful descriptive details there, which really help to paint a vivid image of the scene.
Tim Pickl10/25/08
Congratulations LauraLee on getting Highly Commended in the highly competitive Masters Level!