Posts tagged: Christmas Tales
Good morning, everyone…
Here is a Christmas fable for both the young and the young at heart. Written
in 2001, and later copyrighted, but not before I substantially modified and
edited it in 2009, this tale has more miles than my tired old van.
The China Doll
Written by Dave Laird
November 22, 2001
Copyright Dave Laird
None of the stuffed animals reclining against the overstuffed sofa in the front window of the Swap and Shop on West First Avenue actually saw the blue china doll arrive, since she was obviously inside a set of pasteboard boxes, although they all could clearly see the boxes being hauled into the front door of the old pawn shop on a dolly on Monday morning. It had been a few days since anything interesting had happened in the old store. They had long since grown tired of gazing out onto the sidewalk, where hobos, winos and the homeless gathered together to talk, gamble or share bottles of cheap wine, so they welcomed just about any changes that might come about.
Peter Panda, because of his great height, could clearly see that the boxes were overflowing with used clothing, tattered school books with their covers all bent and mangled and the various other bits and pieces that were hanging down the side. Old Burt, towing the dolly like a locomotive behind him, set down the dolly on the creaky wooden floor by the cash register. Until his arrival, his stepson Billy had been reading a weathered comic book from a pile of Superman comics he kept stashed by the cash register for just such occasions.
“What's you got?” Billy asked his stepfather brightly, as if he really cared a great deal about it. “Looks like you've got yourself some kids' stuff.”
Old Burt chewed on his lip pensively a moment, as if debating whether to chew him out for sitting around reading comic books when he should be sweeping the sidewalk out in front or perhaps, god bless him, dusting off the shelves. He sighed, and leaning on the dolly, said, “No, I just got some stuff from a landlord over on Grace. He said the tenants were busted by the cops for meth last week, and since they were six months behind in their rent, he finally evicted them this morning. Three weeks before Christmas, and the whole lot of 'em are in jail, 'cepting for their daughter, who's been placed in a foster home somewhere. A sad story, I tell ya.”
Wide-eyed, but being very careful not to make any noise, the twin stuffed otters peered at one another from their vantage point in the front window, their black eyes blinking, at hearing this bit of news. They were both very shy and unworldly, having recently arrived in the store's front window after the freight truck in which they were riding had crashed outside of town some months back.
“We Little Beasts don't use meth,” Agatha the chimpanzee hissed, giving a repoving look in their direction. “Only very bad humans do that.”
“What's Christmas?” Oliver, the grey overstuffed cat asked hesitantly, sitting behind them on one of the semi-vacant bookshelves. Oliver, like most of his species, was exceedingly curious about everything and always prided himself on knowing the latest events. “Is that a thing or just a place?”
“SSSHHHHHH!” Peter Panda admonished them all, waving one paw in the air frantically. “If you persist in making so much noise, I cannot hear what is being said. Even worse, the humans might get suspicious.”
Once more, all the animals gathered in the front window fell back into that peculiar posture of relaxation they all maintain when there isn't anything really important to watch, and within minutes, half of them had fallen back to sleep.
It was a short time later that the otters, Hissie and Missie, in adjusting themselves into a more comfortable position, suddenly noticed the Blue China Doll sitting back in one corner of the storefront window. They were both very sure she had not been sitting there before, her expression blank, her eyes gazing through the dusty window to the street outside.
“Hello?” Hissie asked in a barely audible whisper. “I say, how long have you been sitting there?”
“Not long,” the doll barely answered. Her pretty blue satin dress was soiled in places, her hair badly mussed up, as if she had just arose from bed, with her face smudged with sleep. “I just arrived a short time ago.” Her voice drifted off, as if it took a great deal of energy even to speak. “Where am I?”
Good morning, everyone…
After spending an entire week working on less creative but far more lucrative objectives, I am finally sitting back down to the keyboard to work on my Christmas story collection for this year. Thus far, I have two new stories in rough draft and one semi-completed which will be posted here over the next few days. This first story, one that first appeared in the year 2000, is actually not fiction at all, but a real-life story of a woman who spent every Christmas with her late husband, long after he had passed on. Last year, after a fitful bout of pneumonia, she, too, succumbed and passed away at home in a cabin above Springdale, Washington. I will never forget her and her late husband and the wonderful bond that tied them in their lives together and then they were gone.
A Christmas Present
Copyright December 2000
by Dave Laird
The weatherbeaten old highway had seen better days, lots of patch jobs hastily done by county employees who didn’t care how well it held up. Where it crested the steep grade, the roadway generously overlooked part of the sloping valley to one side, with a tiny creek now frozen hard as a rock in the throes of winter. Down the road a quarter of a mile, there were a set of huge scars where, one spring several decades ago, the creek had neatly bisected the roadway in a flood. The patch job bore mute testimony to the violence of the washout, still to this day.
In the half-hearted sunshine of a cold winter morning, a rattling clattertrap of a vehicle, a faded red Toyota Landcruiser with dented fenders and a spare tire on the back door that jiggled at every bump, began wheezing its way up the hill, desperately attempting to dodge the potholes, and as it reached the scars on either side of the roadway, it momentarily slowed.
Behind the wheel, a woman with hair gone to white, slowed down, carefully downshifting, easing her way over the broken pavement. Although she wasn’t that remarkable, really, she was the kind of woman that if you met her in the grocery store, you would remember her brilliant blue eyes and white hair, all soft and downy, and perhaps the gentle lines of humor that tickled at the corners of her eyes. She wore a brown 60’s-style Chairman Mao work cap, shoved back on her forehead, and was dressed in a faded pair of bib overalls with a blue nylon down-filled jacket, open at the throat. There were a brace of pencils jutting this way and that out of the front pockets of her overalls, which lent her a rather businesslike air, much like a farmer on his way to town.
It was not unusual that the road was devoid of any other traffic at this hour of the morning. Those few houses scattered throughout the hills on either side seemed vacant, or so it appeared, driving down the road. Having been this way a number of times, she knew better. Since this was part of the Spokane Tribal lands, there were Indian families for the most part, living back in the trees, eking out their humble living hidden in nearly invisible cul de sacs that more resembled dirt tracks than driveways.
Good morning, everyone…
Here is a Christmas fable for both the young and the young at heart. Written in 2001, and later copyrighted, but not before I substantially modified and edited it, this tale has more miles than my tired old van.
For those who have complaints about it being fiction/fantasy or that it is longer than your typical blog post, simply do not open it.