I took half a dozen warm mince pies to my good friends Vittoria and Nino a couple of nights ago. It is the season of baking and we often exchange sweet treats. I enjoy Vittoria’s Italian dolce, and she enjoys my traditional British Christmas fare. We sat and talked for a while. She is very patient of my limited Italian, I’m getting better but slowly. During our conversation about my daughter and son-in-law’s upcoming Christmas visit, she got up and pulled my book “Princess Tess and her Mess” from her bookshelf. Tess of course is my daughter’s pup, and the furry four legged character in my book.
It made me happy and warm inside knowing my book is in their house. I don’t write to make money, but to share my stories. Knowing it is read and enjoyed in other countries makes me very happy.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B097ND34BF Amazon US
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B097ND34BF Amazon UK
Also available in all countries Amazon services. Buy a copy for Christmas.
I was tired, my eyes heavy, but I was no longer cold or afraid! The glowing light hovering ahead cast warmth onto my limp body. Gazing into the glistening snowflakes my worries and tension floated away. A feeling of well-being spread within me.
Did I die?
I longed to see my mother’s face one more time, but my world faded to grey and the grey darkened to black.
How will it feel when my soul leaves my body?
I took a deep breath and waited.
For unto us a child is born,
Unto us, a son is given.
A choir of Angels, I’d made it to heaven. What will I see? What does heaven look like?
I was sad, scared and excited all at the same time.
So here it is Merry Christmas everybody’s having fun!
Look to the future now its only just begun….
Noddy Holder’s voice bellowed. How could I be hearing Slade’s Christmas song?
I opened my eyes and gazed at my surroundings.
Snow no longer fell, bright sunshine kissed the snow-covered grass.
A dazzling shape floated towards me. It looked like an angel, but it couldn’t be. Could it? I blinked, and it was gone.
What would your daddy do if he saw your mama kissing Santa Claus?
My radio still blasted popular Christmas music.
I was alive!
The snow started about an hour before I left town. The weatherman said “flurries” so I didn’t give it a second thought. Thirty minutes into my journey I couldn’t see. My headlights were packed with snow. It came down hard and fast.
Unfamiliar roads, no hedgerows, flat open country. I knew from my trip to Thetford a canal ran along by the road. It was pretty in the sunlight, boats gliding along its glassy surface, but I couldn’t remember which side. In the flat white landscape that surrounded me, I couldn’t see. I was terrified I’d slide into the icy waters.
My head ached with concentration! I skidded! My heart missed a beat! I straightened up. My little yellow car was the only vehicle on the road. If anything happened, if I got into an accident, I’d freeze to death. Or maybe I’d drown in the icy waters of the canal. Inching along at ten miles an hour, tears streaming down my face, I prayed.
Please God get me home for Christmas.
Don’t let me die.
Sliding slowly sideways. Out of control. What shall I do? Oh dear god what shall I do?
Ian and Gina met in the break room around ten o clock! It has been a rough morning and coffee was needed. The talk around the coffee machine was animated. The room was buzzing with excitement. Gina inserted herself into the group.
“What’s going on?”
Fred, the droll accountant looked at her, a smile on his usually serious face.
“Didn’t you check your emails, we’re getting a visitor today.”
“A visitor, who’s coming Santa Claus?” Gina laughed at her own joke.
“No Valerie is paying us a visit.”
“Valerie Street? No way! Have you met her before?”
Fred’s eyes filled with tears, “Not since before George and Ethel died. She used to play with my kids at the company picnic.”
Ian joined them, “What do you think she wants?”
“Maybe she’s going to sell the Company?”
“Maybe she will,” Fred replied
The noise in the break room escalated as folks talked about the purpose of the long overdue visit.
“Don’t you have anything to do?” The piercing voice was that of the Desiree, the CFO. It commanded instant silence.
“I don’t want to ask anyone to work over Christmas, but I will if I have to.”
Fred spoke up. “We’re excited to see Valerie this afternoon. She’s been away too long.”
Desiree rolled her eyes, “For goodness sake, do you really think she want’s to talk to you folks. She’ll be coming to check on the company profits. I’ve arranged a meeting with leadership, headed by me. You won’t see her. Now get back to work, I want her to see a well run ship, not a gossip shop.”
“We would all like to…”
Desiree held her hand up. “I believe I said get back to work, now do it!”
Ian, Fred and Gina walked along the hallway together. A miserable silence replaced the excited buzz.
“She’s unbelievable!” Ian said. “A real life Scrooge!”
The office of Street Talk Magazine sat on the edge of George Street Memorial Park in a small town in Northern England. The Park was named after George Street, founder of Street Talk Magazine. It was dedicated to him in 2001 after he and his wife were killed in a car crash. The drunk driver, who hit them head on escaped unhurt, so did Valerie, the Street’s ten-year old daughter.
George and Ethel Street had only one child and thankfully they’d left a very detailed will to make sure she was taken care of. All profits from the thriving magazine went into to a trust until she was old enough to make decisions. The Magazine was run by a trusted team of long time employees in the meantime and continued to be successful. After the tragedy, Valerie fell off the face of the earth. Local media were interested in her for a while, and tried to track her down, but they soon lost moved on to other stories.
It was a cold December morning. Small particles of ice fell from clouds that looked so full they wanted to burst.
“What, oh Morning Ian, I thought you were on vacation this week.”
“Should be, but our new CFO needed me here to go over some figures for last year.”
The two Street Talk employees hurried through the park, clouds of breath escaped their mouthes as the talked.
“Jesus its cold!” Gina said “Look, that homeless woman is under the bridge. Surely she’ll die out here.”
At the edge of the park, on the cold stone ground, sat the solitary figure of a woman. Her hood was pulled over her face. Neither Ian nor Gina knew what she looked like. They knew she was female because of her voice.
“I’m going to give her enough money to go and buy breakfast somewhere, she needs to get out of this cold.”
Gina took a ten pound note from her wallet. Crouching down she handed it to the pitiful figure. A grateful voice floated from the hood of the old coat she wore. “Thank you and God bless you”
“Here, take my coffee, I haven’t touched it” Ian said as he gave her his Starbucks.”
The woman looked up at them and for the first time they saw her face. It was grimy and tired looking, but it was young. They were both taken aback.
“Merry Christmas!” She said.
Neither of them spoke until they were out of earshot.
“She’s our age, ” Ian said. “I wonder what happened to her.”
A voice from behind interrupted them, loud and thoughtless
“You shouldn’t give money to street people, they’re likely to have all sorts of diseases. I’m going to call the Tim in Security and see about getting here removed. She has no right being here. It’s a disgrace. They should find a place to put people like her.”
It was Desiree, the new CFO. She bulldozed past them, her expensive high-heeled boots piercing the morning silence as they stabbed the ground.
“Bitch!” Gina whispered as the followed her into the building.
“Careful, she’ll hear you, she already fired her analyst for less.”
We sat by the fire drinking hot cider infused with rum. A perfect drink for a snowy December evening. It was Christmas in a glass. Les was engrossed in a noisy car chase on the television. So tense was his body, he might as well driving the cop car. It never ceases to amaze me how guys lose themselves in television. Isn’t real live much more fun?
I gazed at the Christmas tree. It was full of ornaments and memories. Many of the decorations were older than me, passed down from my grandmother to my mam, and then to me. My mam was still alive so they could have hung on her tree, but she ‘didn’t like clutter’. To me those old faded baubles weren’t clutter, they were history. When I touched them my body tingled as though they were trying to reach out to me, trying to tell me a story.
I took my empty glass to the sink and stared out of the kitchen window. It was snowing again. Christmas twinkled in the distance from the local bar. I faintly heard music, “Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock” sang with a country twang. It was a Saturday night, live music night. “Lets go down to the bar,” I said to Les. “It’s live music night, should be fun.” No answer! He was of course, on the edge of his seat, avoiding a collision with a school bus that had somehow gotten between the cop car and the bad guy.
I smiled. I wish my mind switched off from real life so easily.
I was drawn again to the Christmas tree, and the old clutter that hung there. Smiling I touched one of my Grandma’s ornaments, balancing it in the palm of my hand. It was a golden bauble, so worn and shiny it was like looking in a mirror. It moved slightly in my hand, or did I imagine it? Carefully taking it from the branch I held it up to my face and gazed into its smooth surface. My own face looked back at me, slightly distorted because of its shape. I closed my eyes and thought about my Grandma. When I opened them again my face no longer looked back at me, instead I saw the image of a child with blonde curly hair.
She smiled at me and waved, before turning around and walking away, leaving only footprints in the snow!
Christmas Eve is alway special to me. I remember as a child being allowed to stay up late and watch for Santa as he sped across the sky. I alway saw him. “Mum, look, there he is,” I’d say. To which my Mum would reply. “Quick, get ready for bed. Santa only leaves Christmas presents for children who are asleep.
As fast as I could I would run up the stairs and get ready for bed. I’d peep from under the covers, but was ALWAYS asleep before Santa made his delivery.
Last Christmas eve I sat alone in front of the fire and thought about my mum. She’s been dead over ten years and I miss her. Everyone else was in bed and I was enjoying the peace and quiet, and one last glass of wine.
I whispered to my mother, hoping she was listening from above, “Mum, I miss you. I wish you were here for just one more Christmas. I remember how flustered you used to be as you prepared for Christmas day. You were so eager to make every year the best Christmas ever. Your mince pies were the best, your sage and onion stuffing was to die for and your tearful hug on Christmas morning always made everything right.”
I heard the sound of tinkling bells, where did it come from, I wondered. I looked out of the window and gasped as I saw a familiar image in the night sky far above. It couldn’t be Santa could it?
I heard a sigh from behind me, and turned to see who was there. I was no one, but smelled ‘Lily of the Valley’, my mothers favorite fragrance. Inhaling deeply I stepped forward and closed my eyes. Briefly I felt warm arms envelop me, just for a moment, and then they were gone.
I got my wish. My mother shared one last Christmas with me.
Merry Christmas everyone. Enjoy your family while you can.
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The first Christmas I remember came with plastic roller skates. I knocked over the Christmas tree learning how to skate. That was in 1962. I was young!
A stereo was special in 1975. David Bowie sounded much better in stereo. It was a good year.
In 1988 I was a mother with a child of my own. A child who spent all day jumping on her Christmas gift, a trampoline, it was the best year ever.
The Christmases have quickly passed me by, from child, to bride, to mother. Each filled with different types of joy only a family can share.
This year is the last one my baby, my child, my only daughter, will share our last name. She will be married before the next Christmas rolls around. How time flies. What next? Grandchildren I suppose and the cycle starts again.
Merry Christmas to One and All.
Enjoy the present, look forward to the future and remember the past.
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I have a new book out for Christmas. If you have time over the holidays, give it a try. Set in Germany in 1982, it is a fun read. A German Ghost Story and the adventures of a British Army Wife.
Click on the cover to purchase from Amazon.
Christmas seems to come around quickly now. Is it because I am getting old?
Every year I look back and look at my achievements. More often than not I am disappointed and always vow to do better next year.
What have I done this year? I finally finished my novel. On the grand scale of world events, that isn’t a big deal, but in my world, its huge. What makes it even better is the fact people are reading and enjoying it.
I didn’t write my book to make a fortune, merely to entertain, to leave my mark on the world. Its my legacy. It would be nice to make a little money in the process, but if I don’t, I still fulfilled my ambition. If you decide to give it a try, please, please, leave a comment and let me know what you think. Eager for feedback and reviews on Amazon. Happy Christmas everyone.
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A German Ghost Story
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