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 Every Christmas time, I tap out my versions of the holiday. Some new, some old. This, my 2017 offering:

Our den is so quiet on this Christmas Eve. Even our little dog, Molly, hasn’t found anything to bark about. Our children, now adults, have long left our condo. Oh, how I miss our children. I think of little Peter every moment during the holidays, and how he was scared of Santa until he was big enough for a little bike. That night, he peeked in from the kitchen to see that the bearded fellow had brought him a pint-size Schwinn. From then on, the Santa fear was forever gone.

Our little nest is so lonely, hollow, without the kids. Quiet. I think of how little Becky tightly held my hand whenever she saw a department store Santa. Becky, now a grown woman, still believes in Santa. One night, when she was about 5 years old, she was looking out her bedroom window and yelled downstairs to us: “It’s Santa. I saw him with my own eyes, going into the Motto house next door.” She has never quit believing that it was the real Santa. Likely, it was Dr. Ed Motto, the daddy, well-padded with pillows and a rented beard.

TONIGHT, Helen will be reading "Fairytale” by Danielle Steel. She may occasionally nod. I will probably do the same. We have a habit of doing things together. I will mind my own business, listening to the wind in the pines alongside our house. It is always windy where we live out in the boondocks. I turn to a recording, a ballad sung by Michael Bublé:

“I’ll be home for Christmas.

"You can count on me.

"Please have snow and mistletoe,

"And presents on the tree.”

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Christmas is a time for memories. It was, perhaps, third grade at old Buchanan School in west Davenport. All the classes gathered in the big main upstairs hall to sing holiday songs. We were given small boxes of hard candy with a loop of heavy string. I was so elated that I ran all the way home with my treasure. “Look, look,” I shouted to my dad. He harrumphed: “We have a whole glass case of fine candy in the front of our store, and you get excited over a dime’s worth of cheap candy.” No difference to me, I was ecstatic.

TONIGHT, I settle into my green leather chair across from the fireplace. I read, once again, Eugene Field’s “Christmas Eve.”

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"Deep lies the snow upon the earth,

"But all the sky is ringing

"With joyous song, and all night long.

"The stars shall dance with singing."

I know that I will fall asleep in my green chair. In the morning I will rub my eyes and awaken with a smile, “Why, this is Christmas Day!”

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Contact Bill Wundram at 563-383-2249 or bwundram@qctimes.com.

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