Tasha checked and rechecked her shopping list. This one last trip to Walmart should be it.
Last week Jason put up the tree and lovingly placed the lights on it. While hanging each ornament Tasha recalled trips where they had selected a memorable token. A sand dollar hung on a red cord from their trip to Florida ten long years ago already. There was the antique Santa from Rochester, Minnesota, commemorating her encouraging diagnosis at Mayo Clinic. Mrs. Snowell loved the gold filigree barn, like the one from her childhood weekends spent on her grandparents' farm. She caressed the cute little handmade things the children crafted last year.
Jason's brother's family was coming for dinner and Tasha never felt she passed the “white-glove-test”. Although the kitchen sported new yellow curtains, the living room blue wall was transformed into creamy white to brighten the room of knotty-pine, and the silverware, windows and furniture were polished to a gleam, there might still be a critical comment about something.
“Mom, my shoe tie just broke.” hollered Maddie from her bedroom.
Carrots for Reindeer
Hankies for Aunt Margaret
Daughter Maddie, at age six, made a plaster-of-Paris dresser tray for her Daddy. It was painted bright blue, and she wrapped it herself in shiny green paper. Lee-Jay, four-years-old, drew a picture of a tree at his nursery school class. It was lop-sided and the colors were pale, but it hung on the fridge.
“Honey, did you remember that peppermint ice cream I like?” Jason called to her from the couch.
Half 'N Half
Peppermint Stick Ice Cream
The set of Christmas-tree dishes waited on the buffet—service for 12.
Nearly every present was wrapped and hidden in the trunk of the Ford, or in the garage rafters. The 18-lb turkey was ready to roast, with all the trimmings for the meal diced and sliced.
Decks of Cards
Cologne for Grandma Clarissa
Tasha drew on her red wool coat with her favorite silver snowman on the lapel, and picked up her list. Looking down as she opened the door, she noticed the nativity set had fallen off the entry shelf, and the figurines were all askew on the floor. She paused a moment, put the index finger of her right hand to her lips, kissed it and touched it to the tumbled baby Jesus. Kneeling then, the young, weary mother scooped up all the statues, repositioning the set on the baby grand piano. As she left the house, she sang:
“Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting light.
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight.”
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