Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Christmas Gifts (11/13/08)
TITLE: Love Speaks Softly
By Mary Alice Bowles
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I covered my head, closed my eyes and snuggled down deep inside my Lassie quilt that my granny made me for my fourth birthday. All kinds of thoughts were running through my brain as I waited for mommy to come and tuck me in. My thoughts kept going to the man that walked us home from prayer meeting.
“What was that look I saw on mommy’s face when that man named Hiram was around”?
I closed my eyes even tighter and hugged my Lassie quilt to my heart, I could smell granny’s cinnamon cookies and I could feel those little pink fingers touch my cheeks and call me baby. I tried so hard to fall asleep, but the thoughts of Hiram and the magic of those twinkle lights that I saw at the prayer meeting place would not leave my mind.
In my minds eye, I saw those lights twinkling on and off as the Bethlehem baby cooed softly in the manger. I could see Mary as she caressed his tiny feet and counted each perfect toe. As the twinkle of the lights went on and off, the faces of all the little animals lit up and bounced high and low all over the ceiling of the stable.
I was brought back from the stable scene when mommy walked through the door with my favorite book,“The Littlest Angel,” underneath her arm. I listened contently, my eyes getting bigger with each word, but the final paragraph made me think once again of the little twinkle lights: “Yet, earthly eyes, blinded, too, by its splendor, would never know that the lowly gift of the Littlest Angel was what all men would call forever, “The shining star of Bethlehem!”
The next sentence that was spoken did not surprise Grace one little bit as her baby girl said, “Mommy, please, may we have some of those pretty twinkle lights”? Grace shook her head and said, “Honey, we will have to see”.
On Christmas Eve, Grace said, “Sweetie Pie, I have invited Hiram over for some apple cider and cheery cobbler.” Very timidly I said, “Ok mommy”.
A little later, I heard the knock on the door and mommy smoothed her pretty green dress down and went to the door. He walked inside the parlor, smiling from ear to ear as he placed a red package inside my lap. He said, “This is for you honey, but there is one thing you have to do, open it now!”
I opened the package and looked inside, two sets of twinkle lights lay in that box with the red, green, yellow, and blue tips of the edges sticking out each side. My fingers touched the corners of the lights as I looked up into Hiram’s eyes. I started giggling and clapping my hands. I watched his big brown eyes light up with little specks of dancing dots. He said, “What do you think baby? Let me see if I can get them free of their packages and then we will put them on the tree”.
Hiram unraveled the strings of lights and let me hold one end while he held the other end. He said, “now start walking". I walked round and around that tree until each light hung in perfect order. As the lights started getting higher, he lifted me in his arms and we both started circling the tree. When we finished our little walking dance, we were both stranded behind that tree kind of like playing hide n’ seek. I heard Hiram say with a short laugh, “Well, Grace, I guess you are stuck with plugging them in. Grace said, “Ok, close your eyes and count to three.” When we opened our eyes, twinkles filled the room.
With me still in his arms, Hiram walked from behind that tree and walked straight up to my mommy and his lips touched her cheek so very softly. I saw him reach inside his pocket and take out a tiny little box, and as he put me down to my feet, I heard him say, “Grace, will you please open this?”
He got on his knees until he was almost the very same height that I was and he took his hand in hers and said, “Grace, will you marry me?”
I looked up just in time to see three shadows on the wall, a daddy, a mommy, and a baby.
Merry Merry Christmas 1950!
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