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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Christmas Gifts (11/13/08)

TITLE: Forever and Ever, Amen.
By Patty Wysong


Sometimes this husband of mine is enough to drive me batty! Even though I love him dearly, and wouldn't trade him for another make or model, there are days when I wish I could send him right back to where he came from--my father.

Yes, this husband of mine was a Christmas gift from my father. What's that? You mean you've never received a husband as a gift before? Well, all I can say is, be thankful! Once you receive him as a gift, there's no getting rid of him. He's in your life forever and ever, amen. And I know what I'm talking about!

All I wanted for Christmas that year was a word processor. Yes, that was a long time ago, when those things were not your common household appliance. Still, a girl's allowed to dream, isn't she? So when dear ol' dad sent me to the office that Christmas morning to get my gift, I was sure I'd finally struck it lucky and hit the mother lode of Christmas gifts.

The hallway was short and I made fast work of it, my fingers itching to caress my new toy, my mind whirling with the hours of potential delight with such a machine at my fingertips. Never mind about the time it would save me as I slaved over all those college projects and papers I was wading through—those would almost be a delight with that new word processor. Almost.

The office door was closed, and I paused there for a brief moment to take a breath and try to appear cool and composed, but inside I was screaming. Open the door already!

My hand wrapped around the cold doorknob, my fingers almost white with the will power to slow down. I turned the knob and pushed the door open, but the shade was pulled and the lights were off, so I still couldn't see anything.

Ha! They're just trying to be tricky and prolong this, I thought. I reached in and groped for the light switch but that switch was in an odd place and it took me a moment to locate it. I wanted to see, and get my hands on, that word processor so badly I could almost taste it. When I finally felt the switch, I flipped it on impatiently and nearly jumped out of my skin.

Sitting there, in the desk chair, in the dark, was a man. A man with his hair sticking up at odd angles and big smile beneath his beard.

I clapped a hand over my mouth, but, I'm embarrassed to say, not before a shriek slipped out. Once I was confident no more hidden girlieness would slip past me unaware, my hand slid down to make sure my heart was still where it belonged. I just knew it was beating out of my chest like you see on the old cartoons my dad and I were so fond of.

The man just sat there grinning, as if he found me highly amusing. “Merry Christmas,” he finally said in a rough morning voice. And my knees turned to jelly.

“Phil! What are you doing here?” I tried to bluff my way out of my faux pas.

His laugh rumbled from his red checked flannel. I loved that flannel on him. He had told me he couldn't come for Christmas, but here he was.

He shrugged as he gave me a hug. “Work was canceled at the last minute, but I can leave if you want me to.”

“Oh, no you don't!” I pulled him into the living room to confront my smug-faced dad. “And you didn't tell me!”

Dad just laughed and pointed out the living room windows. I turned and looked. There sat a red pick-up that I hadn't noticed in my headlong rush to get to the Christmas tree that morning.

I looked at Phil, in his red checked flannel, and knew I was sunk. Not only was he not a word processor, but he was a man and I thought I was done with men. I tell you, I was doomed.

It's been twenty years since that Christmas, and I have to admit--but certainly not to him!--that he's still the best Christmas gift I've ever received, and I've received some good ones since then. Especially from Phil.

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This article has been read 854 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Sher 11/22/08
Oh, do I EVER love the voice of this! I can just hear the dialog in my ear--perhaps a southern accent?

Enjoyed this. Lots!
Verna Cole Mitchell 11/22/08
I loved your tongue-in-cheek humor in your delightful story.
Lynda Schultz 11/25/08
Details, details! I need to know why your MC was done with men, where Phil fits into the picture prior to his unexpected appearance in the place of a word processor—there has to be a longer article, a sequel, a book in here some place. Very good.