December Round Robin: Christmas Dreams
Welcome to those of you joining me from Victoria Chatham.
The December Round Robin is to share a writing about hope, love, forgiveness, Christmas. I've chosen a short story which didn't quite make it all the way to the top at Woman's World magazine.
I based this story on a postcard I found in my dad's papers. The note on the back wished that all his Christmas dreams might come true. He was marrying my mother a week later. I didn't know the sender of the card, but I treasure the sentiment.
May all your Christmas dreams come true.
I placed the old postcard gently back in the scrapbook, its yellowed pages threatening to break with each page turn. The card’s date was December 11, 1942, the addressee my grandfather, the sender a name unknown to me. As Nat Jacobs had traveled from army post to army post, a line of correspondence had trailed in his wake, all of it duly saved by my grandmother Annie, his “Christmas dream.”
Ah, Granddad Nat, I sighed, when will my Christmas dreams come true?
“Maggie,” Mom called, “are you finished moving those boxes? I need some help in the kitchen!”
Who didn’t need help two days before Christmas? My company closed for the holiday each year and I was home and “in charge” of organizing Granddad’s things since he’d moved into the assisted living facility. Plus, my cousin Diane’s wedding was three days later and the entire family was in town.
“Mom, have you ever looked through Granddad’s scrapbooks? All the postcards?” I asked as we wrestled with the 25-pound turkey.
“Years ago. Why?”
“There’s one about Christmas dreams. It’s such a sweet card.” We got the leg clamp released and the bird into the sink for a rinse. “Someone knew how much he was looking forward to marrying Grandmother. I’d like to find something like that for Diane.” Or, a Christmas dream for myself, I thought somewhat selfishly.
“Try Benedict’s. Merle will know.” She stared over the rim of her glasses. “And don’t be gone so long Dad’s carving the turkey!”
I laughed back at her as I gathered up my coat and keys.
Merle Benedict had owned the small card shop on the square for as long as I could remember. Her mind was an encyclopedia of card stock, new and out-of-date. What I really wanted was a postcard, but were they even still made?
The shop was empty and the racks held scant inventory. I scanned them quickly—no postcards, no surprise—before calling out to her as I headed to the back of the store.
“May I help you?” The voice was deep, almost a melody, if it hadn’t come out of nowhere and startled me. I grabbed a display to keep from falling and it teetered precariously. The owner of the voice grabbed the display and then me.
“I, I was looking for Merle.” I stopped myself from asking who he was even as I stared into the bluest eyes.
“Gran went home to bake a pie. I’m Jason, her favorite grandson.” He grinned broadly as he released the display and me. We both attempted to stand still.
“I’m Maggie. Customer in search of a Christmas postcard.”
My heart set a tango beat to his smile. “Gran said she didn’t think anyone else would be coming in and surely I could handle sweeping up. Earn my pecan pie.”
Then I saw the broom he’d tossed aside to keep the display and me upright. “So you’re just temporary help and don’t know where anything really is?” I hoped my voice ended on an encouraging note, like he would surprise me and say, no, he knew where all my Christmas dreams were. Hold it—that wasn’t the question!
“Sorry. Home for the holidays and pressed into service.”
“Me, too.” We stared at each other.
“I could call her. She won’t mind.” He pulled a cell phone from his pocket. “Gran? Got a customer with a question.”
He handed the phone to me and I explained what I was about. Just as I’d thought, Christmas postcards had gone by the way years ago. My only hope was to go online. I thanked her and went to find Jason, sweeping away in the corner of the store.
“I’ll have to settle for an ordinary old card.”
“We’ve a few left.”
I headed to the racks and soon he joined me. We laughed over the funny ones and read the sentimental with exaggerated voices. He was in town until New Year’s Day just as I was and then, we found to our amazement, we both headed back to the same part of the state.
“After your cousin’s wedding,” he asked as I paid for a Christmas wedding card which didn’t really say what I wanted it to but I had to have a reason to stay just a bit longer, “are you free? Like for New Year’s Eve? Gran makes a mean pot of black-eyed peas.”
“I could do that,” I said as I smiled. I might not have my Christmas dream, but the New Year was looking quite promising!
Now please visit Skye Taylor.