" One Cold Winter Night" by g.l.parker
I would like you to listen, for there is a tale you should know, of a wonderful night such a long time ago...
On a cold winter’s eve, of splendid repose, our mother sat reading to us from an old book of prose.
"Excuse me," said I, feeling contrite, and when interrupting a story one should be polite.
Mother put down her book and then looked my way, as I searched in my heart for the right words to say.
"Please," I asked, "Mother, may I go to the store and buy us a Christmas wreath for our front door?"
Mother said softly, so sadly, so sweet, "I have not the money to buy such a treat."
"Yes, I know, Mother, but do close your eyes." For I did not want her witnessing my great surprise.
I reached in my pocket, and I had to dig deep, trusting my mother would surely not peek.
Said I boastfully and full of good cheer, "Mother, open your eyes and see what I’ve here. It’s money I’ve earned scrubbing the fine marble floors; of rich ladies who paid me for doing their chores. As I scrubbed their floors I had but one thought in mind, t’was to buy us a Christmas wreath that is one of a kind."
Mother said, "Surely, you are such a dear." And my brothers and sisters cried out in great cheer,
"A Christmas wreath! A Christmas wreath for our front door! Now our quaint home won’t seem nearly so poor!"
I put on my coat, got ready to leave, and to keep my hands warm, I tucked them up my sleeve. I needed new mittens, mine were so old, too tattered and worn to keep out the cold.
My family gathered ‘round me, smiling smile after smile, and I said as I left them, "I’ll be back in a while."
As I walked down the street I just had to decide, with which colored ribbons our wreath should be tied.
It would have velvet ribbons, bright as Rudolph’s red nose, with gold braided trimming on the edge of its bows. There’d be red holly berries, adorned in white lace, and right in the middle would be ole Santa’s face.
I quickened my pace and suddenly found myself where? For a forest of Christmas trees appeared from thin air.
Then out from a cottage, and sporting a beard snowy white, an old man approached looking so cheery and bright.
"Sir," I said hopefully without sounding too bold, "I’ve come for a Christmas wreath for all to behold."
He let go a laugh so hearty and strong, put his hands on his hips and said, "Well, then...let’s hurry along."
His face looked so jolly, I just couldn’t help smile, and without saying a word we walked aisle after aisle. Row after row, we passed nothing but trees, breaking the silence I said, "Sir, if you please. I have come for a Christmas wreath, I have one in mind, if you’d show me some wreaths, please, I’d think you most kind. I’m sorry for rushing you, and I don’t wish to be bold, but I’m just so dreadfully tired and my hands are so cold."
"Look to the right of you," he said smiling with glee, "and watch the magic and wonders of Christmas that be."
Then, most unexpectedly, and to my great surprise, lay the wreath I’d come seeking; not believing my eyes. I reached down and touched the satin ribbons and lace; the red holly berries, and ole Santas’s face. The red velvet bows felt so soft to the touch, and I don’t think I ever wanted something so much.
I dug in my pocket and got ready to pay, but as I turned to the man, he had stolen away. I couldn’t be dreaming, of this I was sure, but there was nothing around me that was around me before. Gone was the kindly old gent and the bevy of trees, I stood all alone feeling weak in the knees.
Confused and befuddled I picked up the wreath, and found a pair of new woolen mittens hidden beneath. I put on the mittens, my hands felt so snug, and as for the wreath in my arms, well...that..I just hugged.
As I stood dreamily gazing into the crystal night sky, a brisk blowing wind whipped chillingly by. I thought of my family huddled close to the stove, and I called out to the coal man as he leisurely drove.
"Please, Sir." I said, "Won’t you stop and sell me some coal?" Running to catch him, I scaled a snow covered knoll.
"Thank you kind, Sir., but I’ve no time to tarry, won’t you sell me some coal, the most I can carry?"
"Such a wee little lass out on such a bitter cold night. Here’s a sack special for you, now, hold onto it tight."
.The man gave me my change, heavier than I’d taken it from my pocket, I ran straight to the store and bought mother a locket. I bought candy and cakes, and toys that made noise, for my brothers and sister who were such good girls and boys.
As I quickly ran home to tell mother my tale, a great gust of wind blew by with a wail. Did my ears deceive me, or did I hear someone say, "Fear not my good child, for we’ll guide your way."
I turned and looked, but I saw no one there, then I looked to the sky and could do nothing but stare. For there in the heavens shone a beacon of light, and the North Star, Polaris, shining ever so bright. And the seven sisters of Pleiades’ sparkle did not yield to Orion the Hunter and his radiant shield.
Not wasting more time, I hurried on home, as cathedral bells pealed from their heavenly dome.
My family happily greeted me as I opened the door, and were delighted to see all I had bought at the store.
As I told them my story, they proclaimed disbelief, and though my tale they thought doubtful, it caused me no grief.
Mother put on the locket; it brought on a tear, and the children gathered around us crying out in great cheer, "A Christmas wreath! A Christmas wreath hangs on our front door, now our quaint home doesn’t seem nearly so poor! "
After eating some cake, our dear mother said, "I do think, good children, you should go to bed. Tomorrow is Christmas, and I wish you happy thoughts, but remember Christmas is more than just presents of sorts. For the gift of love, and I proclaim this indeed, is the most precious of all gifts you’ll ever receive."
As I lie in my bed not making a peep, mother kissed me goodnight and said, "Have a good sleep." The coals in the fire gave our room a warm glow, and I stared out my window at the falling white snow.
Cozy and drowsy, and warm in my bed, the vision of my odyssey swirled in my head. In the forest of trees; of the man who was kind, the twinkling sister of Pleiades danced in my mind. The snowy white bearded man was singing a rhyme, and feeding some reindeer as cathedral bells chimed. Orion the Hunter, in the glow of Rudolph’s bright nose, stood laughing at the sisters who danced on their toes.
My last conscious thoughts of that night I envisioned, was just who could have known of my wreath decision?
If for one brief moment you doubt what I say, next time you’re out walking, please, walk my way. For you will know my house as you pass my door, and you will stand there just looking in wonder and awe. For there on our door still hangs the wreath I have spoken, and I share its story with you as my Christmas token.
It's like 6 papers if you should 'want' to print it out.... :)