Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Christmas Visit

Once upon a time there were two young cousins named Molly and Hudson, and their dog, a beagle named Daisy.

It was a few days before Christmas and school was on vacation. The three friends were playing at Grandma’s house while Molly’s Dad and Hudson’s Mom were shopping for the big day. They wore their warmest coats, green for Hudson and purple for Molly.

They played outside all afternoon; they built snowmen, made snow-angels, and rode sleds down a small hill.

After they played they all went inside for cookies and hot chocolate for Molly and Hudson; Daisy had a biscuit and a bowl of water. They sat in front of the fireplace and enjoyed their snacks while laughing about the day.

Molly, who noticed things, saw that Grandma was staring out the window at the snow and looked very sad. She told her friends so they would see too.

Hudson, who was very kind, asked Grandma, “is everything okay, Grandma?”

“Are you sad Grandma?” Asked Molly.

“Woof.” Asked Daisy.

Grandma laughed. “Oh my darling’s, I’m not sad,” said Grandma, “I just miss your Granddad and during the holidays I wish I could see him.” Grandma looked at an old black and white picture on her mantle place surrounded by pictures of all of her family. Molly and Hudson gave Grandma a big hug because they both remembered when Granddad went to Heaven, and they missed him too.

* * *

That night Molly, Hudson, and Daisy were having a sleep-over at Molly’s house. The three friends sat and played all night until well past bedtime.  After pizza and movies Molly’s Dad made them settle down and get ready for bed. He told them that when they were ready he would bring them all a special treat. The friends all got ready and once they were done Molly’s Dad brought them a plate with two white star cookies and cups of milk. He asked everyone if they were ready for bed.

“Yes, Daddy,” said Molly.

“I am,” said Hudson.

“Woof,” said Daisy.

“Good,” said Molly’s Dad scratching Daisy behind the ears. Molly’s Dad took the plate of cookies and brought it down for the friends. “These are magic Christmas wishing cookies and there is one for each of you.” Molly and Hudson took the cookies from the plate.

The cookies were star shaped and covered in white icing. The icing had a blue line of frosting around the outside edge and bits of sparkly white sprinkles all over the tops. Before they had a chance to eat them Molly’s dad said, “These are special cookies. You can only eat one every Christmas. They help make Christmas dreams come true.”

“Neat,” said Hudson.

“Wow,” said Molly.

“Woof,” said Daisy.

Molly’s Dad laughed and took a dog biscuit out of his pocket. “I didn’t forget you Daisy.” He held the biscuit up and said, “Before you eat these make a wish and then after you eat the cookie and go to sleep you’ll have the best Christmas dreams ever.”

“What are the dreams about?” Asked Molly.

“They can be about absolutely anything,” said Molly‘s Dad, “you have to make a wish before you eat it. That makes the dream.”

Molly’s Dad took the plate and kissed Molly on the forehead. “Goodnight.” Molly’s Dad left the room, closing the door behind him.

Molly and Hudson closed their eyes, made their Christmas wishes, and after a few seconds they ate their cookies.

* * *

It was the middle of the night when everyone sat up in their sleeping bags. In the middle of the room stood Kevin the Sandman. He was a tall man with a plump belly and a fancy beard in multi-colored pajamas. They were covered in shapes and pictures that flowed and moved. They constantly changed from dinosaurs to motorcycles to ponies to unicorns. He carried a heavy pillow case full of sand.

Hudson looked at Kevin and got out of his sleeping bag “Kevin, Mister Sandman, why are you here tonight?” Asked Hudson.

Kevin smiled at Hudson, Molly, and Daisy. “I’m here on special assignment. The request came down just a little while ago. I’m here to make sure you’re ready to go.”

“Go where?” Asked Molly.

A bright light filled the room. It was warm and comforting, full of joy and cozy thoughts. When the light dimmed a man stood there with a smile on his face. He was thin and a little shorter than Molly’s Dad. He wore a cheery red suit with a green button shirt underneath. A candy cane stripped tie hung from his neck with a small button in the center that lit up in different colors. As the friends looked at the flashing button they began to hum jingle bells and realized that the button was flashing in time to the song.

“Hello,” said the man, “my name is Scot.”

“He is an angel,” said Kevin, “he will be your guide tonight”.

“That’s right,” said Scot. “I’m an angel.”

“Hello,” said Molly as she curtsied.

“Hi,” said Hudson as he bowed at the waist.

“Woof,” said Daisy bending her front legs.

Scot turned to Kevin. “Is everything ready?”

“Yes sir,” said Kevin, “I made sure they’ll all sleep soundly till morning.”

Molly looked at Kevin and asked, “Are we dreaming?”

“Yes you are,” said Kevin.

“Thank you,” said Scot to Kevin. “I don’t wish to keep you any further. You must have a busy night?”

“I don’t mind,” said Kevin, “this was important, after all the last time it happened was forty-five years ago.”

“What happened?” Asked Molly.

“I’m sorry,” said Scot, “I suppose I should explain.”

Kevin waved at everyone in the room. “Good-bye, and Merry Christmas.” He picked up his sack, dissolved into sand, and floated out the window and away.

Scot pulled a beautiful gold watch on a long chain made of light from his pocket and looked at the time. “We’re running late. I’ll have to explain on the way.” He clapped his hands and the room was filled with the same warm light as before.

The three friends and Scot stood in the light and felt as if the world was moving quickly past them. “Each of you made a Christmas wish before going to sleep tonight.” Scot smiled at the friends. “Wishes are powerful things and while we can’t get to each one as quickly as we’d like, we try to answer each and every wish we get.” Scot looked at Molly and Hudson.

Off in the distance they could hear laughter and music getting louder.

Scot smiled at everyone. “What makes your case really special is that you three wished for the exact same thing.”

“I wished that Grandma could see Granddad again,” said Molly.

“Yes you did,” said Scot, “and so did everyone else.”

Hudson turned to Daisy. “You wished for Grandma too?”

“Woof,” said Daisy. Hudson scratched her behind the ears.

The sound of laughter and music grew louder and the light they were in got very bright before fading away. When it did everyone was dressed in fancy Christmas clothes. They all had on different pieces of red and green. Hudson wore a shirt and pants. Molly had on a pretty dress that sparkled in the light with ribbons and bows on it. Even Daisy had a bright new collar ringed with lights and a little bell in the front.

“Welcome to our party,” said Scot.

Everyone looked around the huge room filled with people. The area was circled with pillars wrapped in bright lights. Instead of a ceiling overhead there were thick clouds with multi-colored blinking lanterns the size of beach-balls hanging down. A large table had been set out with more food than Molly thought they had in a grocery store.

A large band of twenty or more people sat on a large stage and Molly recognized several men and women from her Daddy’s records. There were plenty of people dancing all around the room. Some of them were standing on a section of floor set off to one side. Other couples were floating above the rest of the party and spinning in wide circles.

Crowds of people in all manner of fancy clothes stood in groups around the room. Some wore nice suits. Some wore clothes like the people at the fantasy festival they went to every fall. Some wore neat bed sheets wrapped around their bodies. Hudson and Molly pointed to the men in sheets. “Those are togas,” said Scot, “they were what everyone wore a long, long time ago.”

In one corner was a huge tree all covered in lights and ornaments. It was as tall as a house and bright green. Strands of multi-colored clouds were twirled around it from the base to the top. Sparkly strands of tinsel hung from its branches. Long glossy candy canes hung amongst the decorations. On top sat a shinny globe, like the ones Molly and Hudson had seen at school. The globe was bright and happy, covered in lights that twinkled across its surface as it slowly turned.

“What do you think of the party?” Asked Scot.

“The music is so beautiful,” said Molly.

“The tree is really cool,” said Hudson.

“The food table is astounding,” said Daisy.

Molly and Hudson looked at Daisy. “Daisy you can talk,” they said in unison.

Daisy looked at the children. “You can understand me,” said Daisy.

Scot chuckled. “We all understand each other here. That’s what makes it Heaven.”

Scot smiled and led the friends to a nearby table. “Before we get started, I thought it would be nice for you guys to have a bit of a visit.”

A young soldier walked up to the table. He was wearing his nicest dress uniform. He was tall and strong, with an easy smile and bright kind eyes. When he arrived at the table he looked at the Molly and Hudson and grinned. “They told me you were coming, but it’s still so good to see you.”

Hudson and Molly looked at the soldier trying to figure out why he looked so familiar to them. They both knew they had seen him before but couldn’t remember where or when. The soldier knelt down in front of them. “I must look so different to you.” He closed his eyes and breathed in deeply a few seconds his hair grew grey and his skin began to wrinkle. Thick glasses appeared on his nose and his face changed to the one they had known for so long. Granddad. He held his breath for a second and then slowly let it out returning to the young man who approached the table. Molly and Hudson jumped up and hugged him.

While they talked Scot brought everyone a small plate of their favorite foods, and cups of their favorite drinks. They told Granddad about school and the holiday break. He told them about Heaven and the things he had been doing and the people he’d met. They talked for a long time and after a while Scot interrupted.

“I’m sorry to break in but I have to cut you short,” said Scot.

Molly and Hudson were disappointed and Granddad looked sad too.

“I know you want to talk more but the reason we’re all here just arrived.” Scot pointed to the entryway to the party.

There in the door stood a beautiful young woman in nice blue dress. It was not as fancy as the other clothes at the party but it was very pretty on her. Her hair was done up, and she wore pretty makeup and from her ears hung a pair of pretty earrings that Molly recognized.

Granddad stood up from the table and kissed Molly and Hudson on the foreheads. “Thank you,” said Granddad. He walked over to the door to meet the woman.

“That’s your Grandma,” said Scot. “That’s how they looked on the day they met.”

The group sat at the table and watched as Granddad took Grandma’s hand and walked her out onto the dance floor. Scot turned and waved his hands to signal the band leader. Seeing Scot he nodded and clapped his hands. The band stopped the song they were playing and began to play a beautiful slow song. “This is the song they danced to at their wedding,” said Scot.

Granddad and Grandma began to dance in the center of the floor and the crowd slowly parted and moved away until they were the only ones dancing. As they swayed there, moving in time to the music, they slowly began to rise up into the air over the dance floor.

The group at the table watched as the couple moved higher and higher into the air slowly spinning in place. As the music neared its end, Granddad leaned in and kissed Grandma.

* * *

The next morning the friends woke to the smell of bacon frying in the kitchen and all went downstairs to sit in front of the TV and watch cartoons. As Molly’s Dad was asking them what they wanted to eat, Hudson’s Mom showed up with Grandma. She had brought a huge box of donuts and a jug of chocolate milk. Hudson and Molly ran and hugged her. She told them she just felt like seeing family today and couldn’t explain why. She’d been in such a good mood all morning. As she set about in the kitchen making everyone plates of donuts and passing out the already cooked bacon she hummed.

The friends smiled to one another. They recognized the song she hummed as the one she danced to the night before.

Happy Holidays everyone.

If you're interested in reading my other Christmas Stories you can find them here and here. I hope you enjoy the stories. Have a wonderful Holiday and a safe New Years.