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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas Story’

About a year ago, my guest on today’s show Sandy Armstrong came along to share with us a book that was just right for the Christmas time of year.

I hate to upset some people, and it might not be PC, even call me old-fashioned, but at this time of year I say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Christmas”, I wish those of the Jewish faith “Happy Chanukah” but I have no idea how Kwanzaa came along, except that is was some bodies idea in 1966. I think people should have the right to celebrate how they want to, without the so called PC people stating they can’t sing carol’s or hold children’s nativity services without if being “politically correct”.

So saying I am very pleased to have back on the show Sandy, one of the co author of a book, which celebrates part of the Christmas story, but from a slightly different viewpoint.

Sandy Armstrong is one of the co-authors of the wonderful little book “My Journey to Bethlehem”, with fellow author Mona Brown Ketner, she produced this book over ten years ago, and like the journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem (about 70 miles) it took a little time complete.

The result is a book, well worth waiting for, the illustrations by Amy Tiller, matching the charming story and the way each page being shared by a verse from the bible as well as the actual story have, as Sandy shared during the show, has been extremely well received by readers.

About My Journey to Bethlehem:

Travel to Bethlehem for the birth of Jesus with Mary and Joseph as the journey is told from the donkey s perspective.

Extra special treats for breakfast, new blanket, everyone packing their bags. What is going on? Who is Caesar Augustus and what are taxes?

The donkey learns that he has the honor of ensuring a smooth ride for Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem for the birth of Jesus.

Sharing with other animals in the stable, where there is warmth, fresh straw for the donkey to eat, a soft bed for the baby. The donkeys blanket is even used to swaddle baby Jesus.

An angel appears to the shepherds keeping watch over the sheep to announce the birth of the Savior.

As we heard there is a new book due out next year about the donkeys grandson, which is written in the same format sharing the story, with pictures and texts from the bible. During the show we even came up with an idea for a third book…

My Journey to Bethlehem” is a book rightly stated for people of all ages, and I can see many a child sitting on their grandmother’s lap as they share this wonderful story together.

So listen now and share an interesting, and entertaining show as I chat with my special guest today on A Book and a Chat with Sandy Armstrong

Barry

Direct link to the show

A Book and a Chat with Sandy Armstrong

or you can download the mp3 file of the show from

“Sandy Armstrong”

You can find out more about my guest and their books at:

“Sandy Armstrong – My Journey to Bethlehem”

Barry Eva (Storyheart)

My Blogs:

Book Information and Things UK – Across the Pond

Book and a Chat Radio Show Guests – A Book and a Chat

Funny, Weird Or Just Interesting News From Around the World – Laugh I Thought My Trousers Would Never dry

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So finally we reach this years ” Christmas Story” I hope you all enjoy it.

The night was hot and steamy, too hot, too sticky and too not like Christmas for the soldier that lay trying to get some rest before going on duty, in the non air-conditioned barracks room.

Last Christmas had been so special, a family sharing their Christmas joy, watching children open presents, seeing the happiness on their smiling faces. Sharing a stolen kiss under the mistletoe with the one you loved.

The day had been even more special knowing that at any moment the deployment would happen and you’d have to leave the ones you love and head for a land far away where sand replaced snow, and the nearest thing to Christmas decorations were the socks somebody had hung on a small cut-down palm tree that stood forlornly in the corner of the barracks room.

It was strange to realize that the first Christmas had taken place in a land much like the one they were now stationed in. Despite the dangers that confronted them every day the country still had its beauty. You could almost imagine seeing three camels following one of the stars that twinkled in the clear black sky, which could just be made out through the slit, blast protecting windows.

Sighing, the soldier picked up a magazine carelessly dropped by one of the platoon members, and started to read how many years before a war had been briefly stopped by Christmas.

On Christmas Eve in December 1914 one of the most unusual events in military history took place on the Western front. On the night of Dec. 24 the weather abruptly became cold, freezing the water and slush of the trenches in which the men bunkered. On the German side, soldiers began lighting candles. British sentries reported to commanding officers there seemed to be small lights raised on poles or bayonets.

Although these lanterns clearly illuminated German troops, making them vulnerable to being shot, the British held their fire. Even more amazing, British officers saw through their binoculars that some enemy troops were holding Christmas trees over their heads with lighted candles in their branches. The message was clear: Germans, who celebrated Christmas on the eve of Dec. 24, were extending holiday greetings to their enemies.

Within moments of that sighting, the British began hearing a few German soldiers singing the Christmas carol “Silent Night”. It was soon picked up all along the German line as other soldiers joined in harmonizing.

One by one, British and German soldiers began laying down their weapons to venture into no-man’s-land, a small patch of bombed-out earth between the two sides. So many soldiers on both sides ventured out that superior officers were prevented from objecting. There was an undeclared truce and peace had broken out.

That night, former enemy soldiers sat around a common campfire. They exchanged small gifts from their meager belongings – chocolate bars, buttons, badges and small tins of processed beef. Men who only hours earlier had been shooting to kill were now sharing Christmas festivities and showing each other family snapshots

The soldier put down the magazine, and lay back on the bed, still thinking of the previous Christmas, until an order barked into the barracks told that it was time for the night patrol.

Taking out a slightly tattered picture from their fatigues pocket, a small tear crept into the eye of the soldier. It showed a smiling husband and wife and two young children, gathered around a Christmas tree, the lights reflecting in the eyes of each member of the family.

Sighing once more, the soldier carefully pushed the photo back into their pocket, before reaching into a bag under their bed. Looking once more at the discarded magazine, they pulled out a dozen bars of chocolate and stuffed them into a side trouser pocket.

Corporal Fanning might be many thousands of miles away from her family, but as a mother, she may still be able to bring a brief smile and moment of happiness to some children in a war torn country this special time of year.

Click the microphone to hear the story narrated by the author


You can always read or share the story at:

http://4tendereheart.com/xmas2009.html

Barry



BARRY EVA (Storyheart)
Author of Young Adult Romance/Fiction book
“Across the Pond”

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Today’s Christmas story is from 2008, the penultimate before I share my story from this year with there will be a narrated version has been added for those who like to listen rather than read.

CHRISTMAS DREAM (2008)

It had started like a distant rumble of thunder, which had grown into the roaring of a hundred jet engines. The trees, then the whole earth seemed to shake from the full force of the wind.

She had begged her husband to leave before the hurricane hit, to just save themselves. He had told her the wind would die down, the boarded house would be fine, and the water would soon go. That was before the roof began to peel off the top of the house, like a giant pealing back the skin of an orange. That was when the panic had set in. Looking back, several months later, the images of that night still sent shivers through her body. Like still photos sliding across her mind, the sound, the fear, the destruction all seemed so fresh. Hanging onto each other hoping this was not to be their last moment on earth.

They had been found many hours later in what was left of their home, still in the same position. Numb with shock and the impact of what had happened, the rescuers had taken them to an overnight shelter. That night rolled into days, and days into weeks.

Their whole world had gone, in just a few small hours there was nothing left of what once was their home and their future.

When she had eventually been allowed back to the broken timbers of the smashed building where they had planned their future together, it was like a giant hand had taken their lives and emptied them… there was nothing left.

After a few months, a family member had provided a caravan for them to live in.This was parked in what once was their driveway. Her husband’s workplace no longer existed, vanished in that terrible night. After some time, he had found work in another state, many miles away, leaving her to pick amongst the pieces of their lives and wait for whatever would happen next.

The alarm woke her from her sleep, she shuddered the cold creeping through the ill fitting windows of the mobile home. At least she had a roof over her head, more than many she thought, reaching for the kettle and hoping there was still water in the tank and she would not have to make the trip to fill the water container again.

Lighting the small gas ring she put on the kettle for a hot drink. Looking out the window she could not believe her eyes, it had snowed overnight, the ground was covered in a quilt of white.

A while later she sat sipping her coffee, wondering how her husband was getting on, hoping he might be able to make it home for Christmas. Christmas … some Christmas this was going to be.

After clearing up and making her bed… “No excuse for not caring” she had told herself when first they had moved into the caravan. She went outside to see if things looked any better under the curtain of white.

At least it hid what was left of their home, broken timbers, the scarred surfaces, all was now smooth and white. Something made her look down.

There in front of her was a set of prints in the snow. Too large for a cat, not that of a dog… sort of hoof like. She shrugged “Oh well good luck to them finding any food around here.”

Her mobile phone rang. It was her husband, her mood brightened at the sound of his voice. He had some great news, his company was going to rebuild the factory, and they wanted him to help work on the new design. He was coming home!

A silent prayer of thanks was said, he was coming home.

Throughout the rest of the morning she worked on what she could do to try and make this Christmas special for her and her husband. Despite everything, they would be together and that was a start. She was in the process of writing a list of items that she needed to try and purchase to turn their mobile accommodation, in a home when there was a knock at the door.

A man stood there, a smile on his face and an envelope offered towards her.

“I think this might cheer up your holiday plans” he said handing her the envelope.

She went inside and opened the envelope, it was a check, a very large check, the insurance had finally come through. Now, they could get on with their lives, rebuild their future.

She tried to contact her husband to let him know the good news, but could get no reply.

What a day, first her husband coming home, with a new job, now the insurance money.

Her hand brushed a small bell that lay on the table, something they had found amongst the rubble of their home. Christmas, yes, it was all part of Christmas, and this year she would make sure it would be one they would never forget.

She rang the bell again, and again, ring… ring.. ring…

She struggled through the tangled web of her dream, only to surface into reality. It had all been a dream, a wonderful dream, but just a dream all the same. She looked out the window, hoping to see the white covering of snow that had been there in her dream. But all she saw was the scarred debris of what had been left after the hurricane had hit.

Sighing she put on the kettle and opened the door to greet the day. Her eyes caught site of some prints in the mud in front of her, too large for a cat and not that of a dog, sort of hoof like.

It couldn’t be, could it? And her mobile phone rang.

Click the microphone to hear the story narrated by the author

Barry



BARRY EVA (Storyheart)
Author of Young Adult Romance/Fiction book
“Across the Pond”

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For those of you who have not been reading my Christmas Story’s (normally on a Thursday) up to now, each year I write a special holiday story, and have done since 1999. I will share them each week until finally just before Christmas I will publish this seasons story.

Today’s is from 2007, and one of my own favourites a narrated version (will be added later) for those who like to listen rather than read.

SHADOWS ON THE WALL (2007)

He took the last photo frame from the wall, and added it to several others in a small box on the table. He looked around the room, then back at the box.

Was that it?

Three years of living with Jane, fitting into one small cardboard box, and a few shadows on the wall where the pictures had hung. His eyes wondered to a small dent in the wall near the kitchen door… No quite all!

He shook his hand remembering how in his rage he’d punched the wall.

It was three months ago, since that day he’d come home early to find the woman whom he had thought was the love of his life, in bed with a complete stranger. She had not even tried to disguise what she was doing, just laid there with a smirk on her face.

“Now you know.” Was all she’d said.

He’d turned and walked out, but not before hitting the wall so hard with his fist, he’d broken several bones in his hand.

After a night lost in various bars, he’d arrived home to find Jane gone.

Over the next few weeks several friends, or at least a people he’d thought as a being friends, had told him, that Jane had been “playing around” some time. Like a jigsaw puzzle, small items from the previous months had fallen into place, and he realized just what an idiot he’d been.

Weeks turned into months and the shops started to fill with the glittering sights and sounds that can only belong to Christmas. His house still remained empty, except for memories.

One night he was sitting in the chair sipping a drink, looking at the shadows left from where the pictures used to be.

Had he ever known love, true love?

His mind went back five years to the summer he’d spent in France after graduating from college. Yes he had known love, known it and lost it.

It had been a wonderful time, the cares of studying over, the pressure of a job not yet begun. Six months lazing about in the sun in the south of France. Then there had been Pascal.

He’d been sitting in a bar next to the beach when she’d walked in, the sun had been setting seemingly surrounding her with a red glow, that matched the copper tinge of her hair, making her look almost on fire. Like in all good romance movies there eyes had met across the crowded floor… But in his case, she’d looked at him, then turned and walked back out the bar.

That brief moment of eye contact had though, left a message written across his heart, setting him a challenge, which over the next couple weeks he’d taken up.

Ten days from the moment their eyes first met, they’d laid in each others arms, bodies, hearts and minds joined as one.

For the rest of the summer they had been together, until he’d had to leave, even then phone calls and emails had kept their romance alive.

Then one day she’d told him on the phone that she would not be contacting him any more, she did not give her reasons, and her last words of “I will always love you.” had just left him confused, as well as heart broken.

Yes he thought, his eyes once more straying to the shadows on the wall, he had known love.

His thoughts were interrupted by the ringing of the front door bell. When he opened the door, there stood a woman perhaps a little younger than him, with dark hair. She handed him a letter, written on the top envelope was his name.

“Please,” the woman said, with a slight hint of a French accent “you have to read the letter.”

He went to open the letter then noticed a small face peering from behind the woman, her curly red hair only half hidden by her hat. Something about her seemed familiar.

“Please,” he said opening the door, “come inside.”

He led the pair into the living room, where they sat while he opened the letter.

“Peter,” he read “if you receive this letter, I will no longer be with you. I have been very ill, and I know my time in this world is not much longer.”

He looked up at the woman, and noticed the dark rings under her eyes.

He read on.

“My love, I have never forgotten you, and saying goodbye to you over the phone like I did was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to say.”

A shock of reality hit him. He looked up at the woman, his lips mouthing one word… “Pascal?”

The woman nodded.

“Oui… I mean yes she sadly passed away two weeks ago, but made me promise to bring you the letter before she died. I am Joelle, Pascal’s sister.” He could see the tears starting to swell in Joelle’s eyes. Not knowing what to say he want back to the letter.

“I had to say what I did, I know now perhaps it was wrong, but at the time, I did not want you to hate me.”

How could he ever have hated her?

“I was confused, embarrassed and scared.
Later I realized that I’d done was wrong and that you, of all people would have understood, but by then it was too late. The words had been said, the deed had been done. Peter, a few months after you left I found I was pregnant.”

The room seemed to spin, a myriad of emotions swept through him like a tidal wave. The rest of the words seemed to swim before his eyes until he got to the last line.

“Please don’t be mad at me, and remember I will always love you.”

He put down the letter his hands trembling, a thousand questions springing to his lips each remaining un-asked.

Joelle, ushered the small girl towards him, a package clasped in her hands.

“This,” she said, her eyes now filled with tears. “Is Pascal’s daughter, her name is Angela. She has a gift for you.”

“Me.r..r..y Christ..mas..” Angela said, her face breaking into a smile of pleasure that she had managed to say the words correctly.

“Thank you, Angela. Bonne Noelle to you” he said taking the package from the small hands, now noticing how much she looked like her mother.

The child gave him a small smile, her fingers just touching his for a moment.

Slowly he opened the package; there were two pictures, one of Pascal and one of Angela. Written on the bottom of Pascal’s picture were the words.
“To the Man I will always love.”
He looked up at Joelle a film of tears across his own eyes.

“She made me promise to bring you the pictures,” Joelle said, a small smile touching her lips.

She reached across and took the pictures from his shaking hands, moving across the room, she hung them over the shadows left by the images of a previous life.

“And every father should have a picture of their daughter on display…”

Click the microphone to hear the story narrated by the author

Barry



BARRY EVA (Storyheart)
Author of Young Adult Romance/Fiction book
“Across the Pond”

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For those of you who have not been reading my Christmas Story’s (normally on a Thursday) up to now, each year I write a special holiday story, and have done since 1999. I will share them each week until finally just before Christmas I will publish this seasons story.

Today’s is from 2006, and includes a narrated version for those who like to listen rather than read.

THE FINAL STAR (2006)

She stopped what she was doing and took a step back, looking at her handy work. The tree sparkled with multi-colored lights reflecting on the numerous ornaments that dotted around the tree. It would do.

She had only decided to put the tree up at the last moment, for her this Christmas was an empty shell of what it had been in the past. Her only daughter was three thousand miles across a stormy ocean with her family. Sure she would get the phone call, or if she remembered how to get the thing to work, a web cam session on the computer. The computer was something her husband had bought them so they would be able to keep in contact with their daughter.

Last Christmas he had spent hours teaching her how to use the computer to enable them to see and talk to their daughter and their grandchildren. It was almost like he was showing her because he knew… he knew that the next Christmas, he would not be there to create the link.

Just four months previous, she had suddenly found herself alone. One morning he had simply just not woken up. She never imagined life without her husband, but over the last months it was something she’d had to deal with.

Now being Christmas it was even harder.

She wiped away a tear that had leaked from her eye, and took a final look at the tree.

There was only one thing missing, the final star.

Every Christmas, the star had always been the final item on the tree, placed there by the two of them, as if to underline that they were ready for Christmas. This year when she had unpacked the Christmas decorations, she’d found the star broken, like her heart.

She sat sipping her coffee, looking at the tree; it looked so empty without the star. Just like her life was without her husband.

Sitting on the table beside her sat a pile of cards. She just had not been able to open the festive greetings when so many had been addressed to Mr and Mrs Johnstone. Picking the first one from the pile, she opened it and read the words inside. It was too much. Tears she’d held back for months streamed down her face. She dropped the letter and buried her face in her hands.

Why had he been taken away from her? What did she have to celebrate this Christmas?

Leaving the pile of letters unopened, she made her way to a lonely bed to cry herself to sleep.

It seemed she had only just gone to sleep when loud knocking on the front door woke her up. She looked across at the clock through heavy red rimmed eyes. It was ten past ten, who would be calling at this time of the night. The knocking came again.

“Hold on, I’m coming.” She shouted pulling her dressing gown round her as she descended the stairs to the front door. A small face was pressed up against the glass. Carol singers, this late at night???

She opened the door and was nearly bowled over as two young children jumped at her, wrapping their arms around her.

“Merry Christmas Grandma.”
“Merry Christmas Mum” came the voice of her daughter Rosemary and her husband, as they moved into the light from the hallway.

“What…. How… Why didn’t you tell me…?”

Words were lost as fresh tears spilled down her face as her daughter hugged her close.

“Mum, we sent a letter. In the Christmas card? ”

She looked back at the pile of cards, still unopened on the table.

Still in a state of shock, she led the family into the living room.

While her husband took the cases and the children up to the bedrooms, Rosemary sat with her Mom.

“You did know we were coming didn’t you Mom?”

“I did not get around… I could not…” tears once more. “Mom, we could not let you spend Christmas alone, or any other Christmas for that matter.”

“I don’t understand….”

“Mom… After Christmas, we’ll start planning for you to come back and stay with us.”

Further conversation was stopped by two children filled with the love of the excitement of the trip, the love of their grandmother and the joy of Christmas came running down the stairs.

“Grandma, Grandma” they both shouted. “We’ve brought you a special Christmas present. Dad says you can open it early.”

Eager little hands thrust a package at her.
“But… I can’t.”

Rosemary put her hand on her mother’s, as her husband came and stood behind the two children, eyes wide as saucers with excitement.

“Mom, please, the children bought this with their own money, it means a lot to them.”

Slowly she opened the package. Under the wrappings of tissue paper, she carefully removed a bright shining star.

Rosemary took the star, and with help from her husband placed it on the top of the Christmas tree.

Hugging her grandchildren to her, she looked at the star glittering at the top of tree. The final star was in place. Now she could celebrate Christmas.

Click the microphone to hear the story narrated by the author

Barry



BARRY EVA (Storyheart)
Author of Young Adult Romance/Fiction book
“Across the Pond”

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Today’s Christmas Story is from 2005, and as requested have added a narrated version, so if you want to hear that just click the microphone at the end of the story.

Laura finished typing the last part of her report, sat back and looked around the office. Snow covered the pavements, and with Christmas being just around the corner, most of the people in her department had already left for the day. She would be here for a little while yet, Daniel her boyfriend worked nights as a ground technician for Air Canada. She preferred to let him sleep, rather than, by her arrival home wake him early. Staying late also enable her to start that bit later so she had a brief time with him in the morning at the end of his shift.

Her thoughts of Daniel were interrupted by the phone ringing. She picked it up, wondering who would be calling her at this time.

“Hey, girlfriend,” came the voice of her friend Patti, “Merry Christmas.”

“Same to you Patti.”

Patti always managed to bring a smile to Laura’s face, something she felt in need of at the moment.

“To what do I owe the pleasure of this call?”

“Oh you know me, dashing here and there all the time, and right now I’m there. Well not quite, but will be soon.”

“What are you talking about girl?”

“I’m on my way downtown, and wondered if you’d like to stop for a coffee with me before you head home?”

Sure sounds good to me.” Laura answered; glad to have a something to do before she headed home.

“I hear the coffee shop near you is doing a special coffee and snow or something. I think they are calling it “Christmas Coffee. Whatever I’m sure it’ll be worth a try.”

“Sounds interesting, I’ll meet you in what, twenty minutes?”

The other end of the phone went quiet.

“Patti, Patti, you there?”

“Oh yes, sorry, sure twenty minutes will be just fine.”

Laura put the phone down, and started to clear her desk. She was looking forward to a good girls chat with Patti.

Packing up her laptop, and checking her desk she headed out the door. Noticing the light still on in her manager’s office, she peeped in the door. “Goodnight Carolyn, I’m off now.”

“Night Laura, I’m wading through the month end figures so I’ll be here for a while yet.”

Laura caught the lift to the ground floor and wrapping her scarf round her headed into the snow covered night.

The lights sparkled from shops full of Christmas goodies, and she wondered just what Daniel might give her for a Christmas present, it was always hard for him to get to the shops. Not that she had really decided what to give him either, but then she was always a “last minute” shopper.

A small time later, Laura entered the warmth of the coffee shop and looked around for Patti, not able to see her, she was just about the leave when somebody touched her on the shoulder.

“Fancy meeting you here.” Came a voice she knew so well.
“Daniel!” she exclaimed turning into the arms of her boyfriend. “What are you doing awake, let alone here?”

“Oh,” Daniel casually remarked “I couldn’t sleep. Anyway I had a few errands to do, and thought I’d stop for one of the “Christmas Coffee’s that I’ve heard so much about.”

The couple sat at a table near the window, Laura’s hand automatically going to Daniel’s.

“I meant to meet Patti here,” Laura said, “I guess she’s been held up. Still, what a lovely surprise meeting you.”

Daniel leaned forward and kissed Laura softly. “How could I stay away from the woman I love.”

“Tell me that when you’re feeling half asleep at 5a.m.” Now go… get us two of these special Christmas Coffee’s.”

“Yes boss lady.” Daniel said giving a mock salute. “I love it when you’re dominant.”

Laura laughed and gave Denial’s rear, a friendly slap as he went to get the coffee’s.

She looked around, wondering where Patti might be.

Daniel returned with two cups of coffee, the whipped cream piled on the top, had silver sprinkles in it, so it almost looked like snow.

“So these are the Christmas Coffees,” Laura said taking a sip. “Hm not bad.”

Daniel wiped the cream from his lips caused by his first sip. “I like the snow,” he said “but I think it needs more ice.”

Laura looked a little puzzled. “More ice?”

Daniel fumbled in his pocket. “Yes,” he said “more ice like this.” He handed Laura a red box, which she carefully opened. There inside was a ring, not any ring, but an engagement ring.

She looked at Daniel her mouth half open in shock.

A smile flicked across Daniel’s lips. “I’m sorry love, this is all a little plot hatched between me and Patti, to get you here so I could ask you one question.”

Laura’s eyes filled with tears.

Daniel knelt down on one knee. “Will you marry me Laura?”

People at the nearby tables had stopped talking and were looking at the couple.

“Well?” said a lady sitting next to Laura. ”What’s your answer?”

Tears started slide down Laura’s cheek. “Oh yes Daniel, with all my heart, yes.”

A cheer went up as the couple kissed, sealing their engagement.

“About time!” Came a voice from behind Laura. Turning, she was greeted by not only Patti, but also Carolyn, and several of her friends from the office.

Laura turned back to Daniel, and slipped the ring onto her finger. “Some plot, fiancée of mine. Then she laughed, saying, “I think Christmas Coffee’s the best drink I’ve ever had.”

Click the microphone to hear the story narrated by the author

Barry



BARRY EVA (Storyheart)
Author of Young Adult Romance/Fiction book

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I turned over the Calender this evening to find December is already upon us. A small amount of maths later and a check of where I was up to and I realized that I would not get all my Christmas Stories in before December 25th. So here’s a Thursday story on a Monday.

Today’s is from 2003, one of my favorites. I was also asked if I could add the narrated version, so if you want to hear that just click the microphone at the end of the story.

THREE DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS (2003)


I peered through the car window at the dark outline of the road ahead, trying to find my way through the shadows, with just the “swish, swish” of the wipers to keep me company. Once more I cursed the fact I was out on a night like this, when even the car radio had given up and decided enough was enough.

It had all started from the phone call that had come out of the blue, just as I was settling down with a film I had wanted to see for ages, a cozy log fire, and a glass of good whiskey. All of which now lay many miles behind me, film over, fire out, and whiskey left still in its glass.

When I answered the phone it was a voice I knew so well, yet was the voice of the last person I would have expected to call me.

“Hi Dad, it’s me Marie.”
I did not know what to say. Hearing the voice of my daughter brought so much flooding back to me. Like a cinema reel flicking through frame after frame, visions of the past few years filled my mind.

It had started with the death of my wife, trying to get over it and look after my family at the same time. The constant arguments with my daughter had driven her away, leaving me devastated, both of us vowing to never speak to the other again. So many harsh words had been said in the heat of the moment. So much hurt given and received from both sides.

After she had gone, my son David, had simply looked at me.
“You’ve done it now, Dad.” He had said.
Like a knife piercing my heart, the realization that I had lost another member of my family cut right through me.

Like the stubborn people we are, neither my daughter nor I had talked from that moment forward. David passed on the odd pieces of news from his random contact with Marie, how she had found a place to live with a group of friends, and how she was doing ok. But now David was away defending our country, and I was alone.

“Dad, are you there?” Marie’s voice brought me back from my memories.

“Hi Marie, I’m here. Sorry. I was miles away. What do you want”
Half of me was glad that my daughter had called; the other half wondered what she was after.

“Dad…” I thought I heard a sob.

“Dad, please Dad, I need your help.”
At once all the anger and doubt left me. My daughter needed me, she was in trouble.

“Marie love, what’s wrong?”
This time I know I heard sobs, and my heart lurched and all the pain came back to me.

“Dad,” she whispered through the tears I knew were falling. “Dad, I need you. Please Dad, I need you”

That had been several hours ago, and here I was traveling through the worst weather that this December night could throw at me to a place I only had a vague idea of its location, to a daughter whom I thought I had lost and who was in trouble.

The miles came and went, and signposts seemed to be as common as the other cars on the road, “namely none”. I came to a crossroads totally unsure of which direction to go, when suddenly a flash of something caught the corner of my eye. I looked up into the dark skies. I had forgotten the morning news’, reports of space debris entering the atmosphere this evening and burning up. As I looked, several more small sparks lit the night heavens. OK, I thought, follow the star. I turned towards the first light I had seen and started driving once more through the night.

After a few miles, out of nowhere a sign appeared at the side of the road, a sign naming the very town I was looking for, and it took little time after that find the café my daughter had called me from.

I walked into the smoky, warm room, and immediately saw my daughter sitting head bowed at a table. “Marie” I called softly. She looked up, tears still filling her eyes, dark rings from lack of sleep surrounding the red rimmed gaze that looked up at me.
“Dad, oh Dad, I am so glad to see you”

Without thinking I rushed to hug her, and as she stood up, I realized that my daughter was not as I had last seen her; she was in fact very, very pregnant.

She filled my arms, and I gently hugged her, so much going through my mind.
“Dad” she whispered in my ear “Dad, please take me home”

We drove back through the dark, neither of us saying much, until the soft sound of her sleeping left me alone in my thoughts as to what was going on, and what had happened to my little girl that now slept in the car seat next to me.

Many hours later we arrived home, and I helped her out the car and into the house. I made Marie comfortable, and made us both some tea, before sitting down with her, waiting for her to talk.

After a while she seemed ready, and started to tell me what had happened. She was, as I had thought, nine months pregnant, her boyfriend of some time, whom I had known nothing about, was away. I was going to ask where, but bit my tongue and let her carry on. She had been trying to make it to a friend’s house, when her car had broken down. She had been lost and alone, worried about the baby. Not knowing what else to do, she had called me. She tried to tell me how sorry she was and what an idiot she had been, but I did not hear the words as my own were tumbling from my lips until we both started crying and once more hugged each other.

I tucked my little girl into bed that night not knowing what I was to do, trying to get all that had gone on that night into some form of order.
About four in the morning, a tap on my shoulder woke me, my sleep filled eyes seeing the face of my daughter. “Dad,” she said, “The baby is coming. We need to get to the hospital”

I jumped out of bed, thinking about hot water and overnight bags and such.

“It’s ok Dad, breath deeply. You’ll be alright.” She smiled, and I knew how much I had missed my daughter.

That was the start of a hectic seven hours that saw me go into the hospital as a Dad, and come out a doting Grandfather of a beautiful baby boy.

I looked up, holding the baby in my arms, as the door bell rang a week later. My daughter went and answered the door, and I heard whoops of joy and laughter before bursting into the room came my son, David, with his arm around Marie.

“Hi Dad,” he said “Did you think we would miss this moment?”

I smiled, then realized he had said we, and for the first time I noticed another man next to David, his hand clasped around that of my daughter.

Marie smiled, she looked from the man and then at me.

“Dad, this is Andy, Andy Carpenter, my fiancé and the baby’s father.”

I must have looked shocked, because a worried look crossed Marie’s face.
“Dad, I told you Andy was away, but as he was on a secret assignment, I could not tell you where”

I sat down trying to work it all out; somehow what had gone on seemed to have a vague ring to it.

My daughter Marie being pregnant, alone with nowhere to go, a guiding star, the birth of a baby and now a Carpenter.

I smiled; it couldn’t be, could it?

No matter what, I had my daughter back. But more than that, I had a family, which now included my new son and grandson, and there were still three more days until Christmas.

Barry



BARRY EVA (Storyheart)
Author of Young Adult Romance/Fiction book

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