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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Chestnuts Roasting by an Open Fire

Before Christmas each year, members of the Trinity Writer's Workshop head to the Stockyards in Fort Worth and read stories to the children and help them to write letters to Santa. Writers contribute stories and poems which are compiled in a booklet and handed out to the children. Following is one of my contributions in Christmas 2007.

From the window Johnny stared at the white hill glistening with snow. The road was almost covered and he knew in a few hours Grandpa wouldn’t make it. His old car barely made it up that hill even in the summer and Johnny laughed remembering the car backfiring as it chugged along. Once, his Grandpa’s car couldn’t get to the top and so he had turned it around and reversed up the hill.

Behind Johnny the fire crackled and he breathed in the smell of roasted chestnuts.

“Come away from the window,” his mother said. “Grandpa will come if he can.”

“But he’s bringing me a Christmas present.” Johnny grinned. “A surprise.”

His mother shook her head and frowned knowing it would not be something she would approve of.

Johnny sat by the fire and stared at the threadbare rug. How he wished he had a dog of his own to curl up next to him. His mom was always busy and his dad worked long hours. Christmas was only special when his Grandpa was around to play with him but with a dog he would never be lonely. He glanced back at the window, the orange glow of the sun was fast disappearing and his shoulders slumped as the sky turned gray. From the kitchen he heard the soft sound of Christmas carols from the radio and listened to the music interrupted occasionally with the clatter of pots and pans as his mother cooked dinner.

Johnny recognized the hymn. “Away in a Manager,” he sang, remembering the words his teacher had taught him.

Watching the multi-colored lights twinkle on the Christmas tree, his eyes became heavy as he stared at the bulbs flashing on and off. Before he fell asleep, curled up on the rug, he glanced once more at the window, at the darkness outside.

“Please come Grandpa,” he whispered.

Warmed by the fire, he dreamed of a furry puppy licking his nose and the warm breath against his face as the tiny dog panted quietly. Johnny smiled as he opened sleep filled eyes and glanced at the snow covered boots. He heard a timid bark. Rubbing his hand over his face he peeked through wide spread fingers and looked up at the kindly face of his Grandpa.
“Do you like your present?” Said the old man.

Johnny blinked and turned, looking at the bundle of brown fur, the pink tongue and floppy ears.

“What are you going to call him?” asked Grandpa.

Johnny looked back at the fireplace, at the nuts roasting in the ashes. Hugging the whimpering puppy tightly he grinned. “Chestnut.”

1 comment:

wolffie said...

I love this story. It makes me want to run home and give my sweet puppy a hug. Very descriptive.