Everyone now knows that Christmas is really coming. In fact, everyone is so busy that they have all forgotten about the magic closet. Gifts are either piling up in there or there’s nothing at all. No matter – no one is concerned. They have enough to do to get ready for the Gingerbread Pageant, and those involved are filled with anticipation.
This morning, after the chickens were fed and various other routine chores performed, Ina and Bertha set to work in their respective homes. The sewing machines whirred in double time -- pocketa whir, pocketa whir, pocketa whir, clackity clack – clunk. They made excellent progress today and left off as the early dusk fell, feeling that they would indeed finish the costumes in time. Of course! – wink, wink.
Jack was now pressed into service in the name of Christmas. Ina insisted he go to the mailbox every day. Today he came back with a box from daughter Shirley. You may recall that she’s in Idaho Falls, and her brother Earle helped her find a job as a live-in nanny / housekeeper. But Shirley had been her mother’s “right-hand helper” for many years and knew the Christmas drill, so she sent an early package containing supplies such as one found at a “five and dime” – stickers, cellophane tape, mints, stick candy, and nuts. The goody box was a day-brightener for Ina.
When the dishes from their light supper were finished, Ina and Jack returned to the table to open their Christmas mail, savoring the process. Jack removed each card from its envelope and read the sentiment. After the card was admired, Ina read any letter or note aloud. This Christmas ritual was more important than I can say, a special kind of togetherness that they only enjoyed at Christmas. The cards brought them news of family and friends from whom they had been separated for many years.
Little Shirley Anne listened with half an ear while she read a book. Before going to bed, Ina coached her on her lines for the Gingerbread Pageant. KW