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One Photo; One Story: The wee Christmas quiet.

The old radiator hisses as it works to warm my drafty room. The valve bubbles as hot water beads on the pipes and onto the floor. The black stain on the hardwood is growing from the moisture it glistens from a blinking light.

The night glow through the window is brighter tonight. Lights sparkle and shine on the snow in the yard. It illuminates the landscape to the tree line at the edge of the park. The yard ends at the trees. It’s too dark past their border, too dark for young boys to venture any further.

Tonight, I can see deeper into the trees, the park so foreboding seems more inviting. From my perch on the top bunk in my bedroom. The whole world seems safer.

My brother is asleep on the bottom bunk, I haven’t heard him in quite a while.

I am too restless. Something great is going to happen. The anticipation has got me

very excited. Weeks of preparation and childhood dreams will collide in a few short hours. The night seems so long. Time has stood still.

Lights dance on the white walls of my room. Red, blue, green, colors changing from the Christmas tree in the den. The house smells of cinnamon, pine flour and fruit. I am hungry.

Every noise has me wonder in amazement, who is there? What is happening?

I hear mumbling. I concentrate a bit harder to hear.

Maybe it’s Santa. I sneak out to the room only to see Alastair Sim on the TV. Scrooge, in black and white. Sim is moaning at the ghost of Christmas Future.

Sim is menacing, the ghost even more so.

I sit in the quiet of the house, watching the lights of the tree. The drone of the TV in the background.

To my astonishment, Santa has come. I jump to look under the tree for my name on the presents.

From the door I hear, “Go to Bed”.

It’s Dad. Home from work, his work clothes oily and dusty from long hours on the railroad. He looks tired.

“Santa came.” I think I’m whispering but I’m shouting.

“I know, go to bed” Dad directs. He helps me climb back up to the top bunk.

I toss and turn. Seems forever, until I wake in the morning light.

My brothers and sister are already bounding across the floor to the tree.

It’s Christmas!

I think of that night often during the holiday season. I know Santa was there and it’s my Dad I see, exhausted from work so we can have everything.

I miss you mom. Thanks Dad.

Merry Christmas from this little boy’s memories.


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