Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Winter (the season) (08/13/09)
TITLE: A Christmas Wish
By Bryan Ridenour
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A few solitary snowflakes landed on a young evergreen bordering the winding walk to the quaint cottage. Marie noticed a soft lamplight glow behind a kitchen window. A snow shovel leaned against the porch rail, evidence of its use long covered by another blanket of snow.
In an instant, snow fell thick and fast, a swirling chaos settling on the powdery white fluff already blanketing the ground. Marie squinted and made out a doe and two fawns standing motionless in the winter wonderland.
Her eyes were drawn again to the welcoming cottage. “I wonder,” she thought aloud, “if a family lives there and they drink hot chocolate and make s’mores by the fireplace.” She could almost hear crackling embers and feel the warmth of the roaring fire, stoked by seasoned oak and pine.
Up on the hill, a rustic barn stood sentinel; a cow and nuzzling calf peeked out, observing winter’s display. A horse drawn sleigh poked from the barn’s open door, awaiting a joyride through the frosty landscape. Marie imagined a family wrapped in patchwork quilts riding snugly, meandering through the winter paradise. The dull clop of horse hooves and runners carving a snaking path through the powdery snow, the only sounds interrupting evening winter tide.
The snowfall slowed. Soon only a few straggling flakes drifted from the heavens, adding to the white innocence of a frozen oasis.
“Marie,” a voice whispered. “Marie…it’s time to go.”
“Mom, look, isn’t it beautiful?”
“Yes dear, very,” she nodded, admiring the snowy tableau.
“Momma, I wish we had white Christmases’,” Marie said wistfully, wiping away the tears streaking down her cheeks.
Marie felt hands on her shoulders and she snuggled into her mother’s embrace.
“I know sweetheart. I miss the snow, too. Remember the snow angels we used to make?”
Marie smiled through her tears. “And how about the times we hid in the bushes and pelted daddy with snowballs when he got home from work?”
Mother laughed. “Maybe Daddy’s job will transfer him back to Minnesota some day. We can ask God, and who knows? He might send us packing back to the snowy North.”
Marie’s mother retrieved a handkerchief from her handbag and Marie took it, dabbing away tears.
“We’ve got to go sweetheart. Don’t forget, it’s Christmas Eve, and all children are supposed to be home... tucked in bed…early.”
Marie nodded and placed the snow globe back on granny’s knick-knack shelf. She looked out the window and saw palm trees swaying softly; a salty sea breeze orchestrated the dance and sway of sheer curtains tickling her nose. A single strand of lights entwined around Granny’s lamppost blinked a celebratory red and green. Christmas morning would soon be here.
“One more time mom?” she asked, eyes pleading.
“Ok, one more time.”
Marie cupped the globe, turned a small silver key, and shook vigorously. Once again the winter’s scene swirled to life as the globe rendered a hushed tune. Both mother and daughter watched in quiet awe, humming, I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.
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