Friday, December 17, 2010

Red Writing Hood: Home for Christmas

The song played loudly over the external store speaker, and Katelyn stopped walking to listen. "I'll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams," brought tears to her eyes. It'd been eighteen months since Kevin left on his tour of duty; eighteen months without R&R, scant letters, and rare phone calls. Last year, she had wished him home for Christmas, and he was supposed to come, but then the 101st infantry was slaughtered and his troop had to take their place. The next twelve months were spent in worry. His repeated requests for R&R had been denied. This Christmas didn't look very promising, either. It would be another six months before the powers that be would even consider bringing his unit home.

She whisked the tears off her face and started walking again, faster than she was before, distancing herself from the store front music. She had made promises to him, and she intended to keep them all. So far, she had been successful. This one was proving a bit harder for her though. She was not in the holiday spirit at all. She had promised Kevin that she would decorate and put a tree up every year, whether he was there or not. Christmas had always been a big deal to Kevin, and now that they shared a son, she knew that is was even more important to him now. She blinked the last of her tears away as she opened the door to her son's daycare, punched in the security code, and planted a smile on her face.

"Mommy!!" Parker screamed, as he always did when she picked him up. His chubby arms wrapped tightly around her neck as she hugged him close to her. She looked into his big blue eyes for a moment before putting him down and helping him get ready to go. She was always amazed at how much Parker looked like Kevin, though Kevin had never had a chance to lay eyes on him. He was born two weeks after Kevin left, a rough birth that he almost did not survive. She longed for the day her two men would finally meet, and she held hope that the next time he came home would be the last time he would have to leave.
     "Shall we stop and see Santa on the way home, my big boy?" She asked him, as she placed his red knitted cap tightly on his head, leaving his golden curls sticking out from underneath. His big eyes grew larger in his excitement of seeing Santa. She took his hand and led him out of the center.

The bustle of the busy city never ceased to amaze Parker, so she insisted on walking the three blocks home to their small but comfortable apartment, never in a hurry, and always allowing him time to explore to his heart's content along the way. She took a detour today, and led Parker towards the large Marshall Fields two blocks in the opposite direction. It required they go through the park, and since it was Christmas Eve, she considered it to be a nice, though cold, diversion.

Halfway through the park, as she found herself wallowing in self-pity missing Kevin again, she felt Parker pulling at her arm. She stopped and looked down at him, then in the direction he was pointing. One of the evergreen trees in the park had been decorated with lights and ornaments, and a small sleigh was assembled before it. Santa was sitting in the sleigh, clasping the reins of the twelve reindeer in front of him. There was a large red sack in the back of the sleigh as well.
"Ho, ho, ho. Merry Christmas." The Santa spoke. His eyes sparkled brightly from beneath his round silver frames, his round cheeks were rosy, and his belly jiggled as he laughed. "It's Christmas Eve, and you should cheer up. I think I have just the thing to do it." He reached out to the evergreen tree and took a beautiful red jeweled ornament off the tree and handed it to Katelyn. "Take this ornament and make a wish on it. If you do this at precisely midnight tonight, your wish will come true." She gave him a look of disbelief but took the ornament from him and put it in her pocket. She gave Parker a moment to relish in Santa, then they went back through the park they way they had come in, headed now for home, her detour to the department store Santa forgotten as her fingers played with the satin on the ball in her pocket.

As they reached the front steps of their apartment building, Katelyn swooped Parker up into her arms. "Oh my darling. I forgot to ask you what you asked Santa for?" she said simply to him.
     "Snow." was the quiet, baby-voiced reply, just as snowflakes began to fall from the sky. He laughed as he looked up, pointing. "Snow!" He said again. She hugged him again, drinking in his baby scent, and enjoying the sound of his laughter.
"Yes, Parker, snow!! Let's hurry upstairs so we can watch it from our window!!" She smiled brightly at him. She wished that her requests were so easily met.

She made them a small but festive chicken dinner, and after a bath and a story, Parker went willingly to sleep, his excitement about Santa's expected visit fresh in his mind as he dozed off. She quietly sat on her couch, wrapped in her favorite blanket, with only the lights of the Christmas tree on, and watched the snow fall outside her window.  She grasped the bejeweled ornament in her hand, turning it around, and marveling at its beauty. She spun it softly as it dangled from her fingers, and she laughed as the stones caught the light of the tree and left little pin pricks of light dancing along the walls .  Her mind began wandering again, back to Kevin, and try as hard as she could, she couldn't stop thinking about him, and she drifted off to sleep, dreaming of days filled with memories of him.

She was abruptly awoken by the sound of sirens outside of her apartment building, and she jumped off the couch. She glanced at the clock. 11:59 the digital display said, and her fingers itched over the ornament. Though she knew it was a foolish, she began wishing, gazing into the red gemstones as if she were hypnotized by them. So mesmerized was she in her wishing that she almost didn't hear the doorbell. Her reverie broken, she drifted to the door, wondering who could be there this time of night. She look through the peep hole and noticed it was the Santa from the park.

"What do you want, and how did you know where I live?" she asked through the crack she opened with the chain lock still on.
"I'm sorry its so late, but you see, I have another package to deliver before I head back to the North Pole."
"Another package? Where is it?" Her skepticism obvious in her voice. Santa stepped back to make room for another body to step in his place.
"Kevin O'Shea reporting for R&R. Mission accomplished." came the voice. The voice that came from the mouth she knew so well from tracing it with her own lips so many times. She flung the door open and leaped into his arms.

As he carried her over the threshold, a voice called from a distance:
"Ho, ho, ho. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night." Her eyes left Kevin's face long enough to look for Santa, but he was gone. She looked for the ornament, carefully laid on the table as she went to the door, and noticed that it too was gone.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

That One Time at the Playground...

The year is 1985. It is the end of summer. School is not in session yet, so the playground is always full, always a game of football being played in the large field behind the school by the playground. If you waited long enough, the little kids would go home, and the teens could take over the enclosed play area, which we did.

If you were one of those private church school attending kids (like me), the playground captivated that much MORE of your attention. It was spread like a huge wooden fort, with tunnels that provided lots of places to hide. The ground was covered in pebbles rather than dirt or sand.

This particular summer was indulged in being smeared on a regular basis during games of touch football with the boys. It seemed like when I was playing, they always gave me the ball, and I was always tackled within moments. I'd like to think it was because I was such a great wide receiver, but more than likely, it had more to do with my ample boobage, even at 14.

There was a boy, of course. Jeff was 2 months older than me, and I remember that he had a big nose, tall, and had a mop of curly black hair on his head, ala Screech style.  Now that I think about it, he was very similar to Screech in appearance. He was always inviting me to spin the bottle games on his block, where most of the boys I played football with came from, but the fear of my dad finding out kept me away. Within two weeks of our introduction, he had claimed me as his girl.

Being Jeff's girl meant I was hands off to the other boys, so playing football became a challenge at first. He always played on the opposite team so he could be the one to tackle me. Once I figured out his weakness, it was smooth sailing. My team always won.

One day, later in the evening, the sun not set yet, Jeff and I are at the playground. I was sitting on the steps of one of the structures talking to the little boy I babysat on occasion. Next thing I knew, a shower of pebbles come raining over my head. I look around and see nothing. I go back to talking to the little boy, and another shower of pebbles comes raining down. I look around again, this time noting the facial expressions of some of the gang on the playground. This makes me look at Jeff. He's got a guilty look on his face.

"Did you throw those rocks on me?" He denies it, yet his friends are nodding their heads.

Another shower. I stand up this time. "Did you throw those rocks at me?" Another denial.

I walk towards him, and he tosses another handful of pebbles on me, then laughs. "Ooooooo! Stop throwing rocks at me!" Another handful leaves his hands and showers over me. "I mean it, Jeff. Don't throw any more or I'll kick your butt." His response was to send another shower.

I pounced. I threw a left hook, and the boys surrounded us, enclosing us in a circle. He counters with a punch at my boob. I didn't even flinch. I gave him a right hook this time, landing square on his jaw. The boys are hooting, commentary coming from the peanut gallery on who's tossing the hardest punch and my ability to tolerate his punches to my chest and abdomen. Three more punches to his face, the last one landing on his eye, and he burst in tears and ran home.

School started, and we moved to a newer neighborhood just across the highway. I missed my football buddies, though I never missed the pebble shower or Jeff. He never showed his face at the playground again after that day.

Mama's Losin' It

I chose prompt #5: a fist fight.

2 Truths & a Lie Thursday: Naughty or Nice

Welcome! Tell 2 truths and a lie and make us guess which is the lie.
You've played this game before, so why not join The Scoop on Poop and CA Girl every Thursday by:

1. Grabbing the handy little button on the sidebar
2. Posting your 2 truths and a lie
3. Link up
4. Reveal your lie the next week!
5. Visit others who link up and leave a comment guessing their lie.

It's that easy!! You know you want to play!! Link up today!!
Last Week's Fact or Fiction
1. Last year Santa brought me some bling.
True. I did find some bling in my stocking last Christmas. It was a gorgeous mother and child pendant with diamonds on a 10K gold chain. I love it.

2. Last year Santa brought me some music.
True. I received 2 CDs last year, Tim McGraw's Southern Voice and Carrie Underwood's Play On. The first one was new, the second I already owned. It was returned for Creed's Greatest Hits instead.

3.  Last year Santa brought me some Wii.
False. While I was a very naughty good girl, I did not receive my Wii until Mother's Day. It was a combined Mother's Day and late birthday present. My birthday is in February. Yeah. I soooo deserved that Wii!
2 Truths & a Lie
1. My favorite present ever was an HP computer.
2.  My favorite Christmas album is "The Nutcracker".
3. My favorite Christmas special is "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer".

Can you tell the truths from the lie?
You know you want to play. What are you waiting for? 

And I need to announce a winner. Last Wednesday, y'all voted for your favorite Christmas card. I promised a free custom card of your choosing (now or later!!). According to Random. org, with 9 entries, and #7 being so LUCKY...


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010

BSOW: Gigi in Da House!!!!!!

Today, I am very, very honored to share my ice cream with one of the funniest bloggers in blogland. She has her own voice that captivates everyone who takes a moment to read her, instantly sealing her badge in your list of favorites. There are so many reasons to love Gigi how can I share them all? Who else would rather have a vacation than buy presents for her sons many friends? Not only will you die of laughter, but you can pick up such useful tips like why blogging is good for you. But the best part of all? She REALLY puts the "Poop" in The Scoop on Poop this week. And? She's got the PERFECT giveaways, one for a coffeeholic like me, and a great travel companion,  just in time for the Holidays. You really should check it out!

So, without further ado, I give you Gigi, aka Kludgy Mom.

Kludgy Mom

Top Ten Things That Make Me Think of Christmas

 First, I want to say thanks to The Drama Mama for having me over today, especially at the holiday!
When you say the word “Christmas” to most people, they immediately think of chestnuts roasting over an open fire, sleigh rides and jingle bells.

Well, I’m not going to get all Martha Stewart on you like that. When DM asked me to list the top 10 things that make me think of Christmas, I figured I needed to do it kludgy style, ‘cause that’s how I roll.

So away we go!  
The Top 10 Things That Make Me Think of Christmas

1.    Pain. The searing pain I feel in my foot from stepping on tiny candy sprinkles my kids have spilled on the floor after cookie decorating. Worse yet? Those little silver, red and green nonpareil balls. Ouch!

2.   Panic. The morning panic that sets in when I realize my kids are awake and I have not yet moved the Elf on the Shelf to its new location for the day. I must immediately implement evasive maneuvers.

3.   Time. The time I spend vacuuming up pine needles, tinsel, Christmas candy wrappers and wrapping paper shrapnel.

4.   Under eye Bags. The kind that are so big, I could carry a large Nutcracker in them. I get them when I stay up all night buying Black Friday specials online.
5.   Parties. Parties that have kiddie photo ops with Santa, where I yell, “Would you PLEASE SMILE for one second? Stop choking your sister! Dammit, would you PLEASE tell Santa what you want for Christmas? DON’T say you don’t KNOW! Get your HAND AWAY from your FACE. PRETEND you LIKE each other.  Be NICE to Santa, he won’t hurt you.”

6.   Postage. Deciding how much money I’ll save on postage by taking all of the nasty people in my neighborhood off my Christmas card list this year.

7.   Television. My DVR being so filled with the 25 Day of Christmas programming on ABC family that I miss watching Top Chef, Survivor and – gasp – Real HouseEskimos of the North Pole.

8.   Packages. Ordering my children that they are not, under any circumstances, to open any boxes or envelopes that arrive at the house. Or they’ll learn a lot more about Santa than they really want to at this point.

9.   Politics. Biting my tongue at my husband’s work Christmas party and not telling his boss that she has no business managing people.  After she fails to remember my name. After meeting me twice in the last year.

10. Pleading. Doing my best impression of a beggar as I plead with the parents of my son’s classmates to donate money for the teacher’s Christmas gift. She really does deserve more than a $10 Starbucks card.

11. Bonus! You get an 11th. Posturing. As in standing in front of the mirror, posturing to see how big the fat balls on my thighs are stretching my jeans out due to my 30 day diet of fudge, cookies, hot cocoa and almond butter crunch candy.

So there’s my list – I’m so exhausted from writing all of that. I need to go have a little sweet treat to reward myself. Have a merry Christmas and a happy New Year!


What things make you think of Christmas?

Thanks for guest posting today, Gigi. I'm so pleased to have you here. Don't forget to run on over to Kludgy Mom and leave her some comment love, and maybe even win a Tassimo Brewpot T20 or an iGo!

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