Ina stepped out on the front porch and took a deep breath. It was all getting to her – the anticipation, last minute things to do, Ethel and Ernest traveling, etc. Just then she heard the phone – ring ring ringggg – and hurried inside to answer.
“Hello, Mama,” Ethel’s voice came through clear as a bell. “We arrived in Orofino an hour ago. Ernest went to the Portfors’ Garage to see if transportation up the hill could be arranged, and Charlie Portfors agreed to drive us. He has a car outfitted with chains but asks that Dad meet us with the sleigh at the top of the hill.”
Ina assured Ethel that her dad would be there to meet them.
|Nina and Charlie Portfors on a warmer day|
Then Ethel continued, “Mrs. Portfors heard that we were waiting at the depot and invited us to come to her home. That’s where we are now. She’s serving us a light lunch, and then Mr. Portfors will drive us at 1:30 so as to be back before dark.”
After the noon meal, Jack pulled the sled out of the barn and hitched the horses. The jingle bells on the reins jangled merrily. Ina gave Jack an old blanket to cover his knees and placed other quilts and blankets in the sleigh for the travelers. Then she boxed up fresh eggs and cream as a gift for the Portfors. The Portfors were not in need, but anyone could use farm-fresh eggs and cream, or if not, Nina Portfors would certainly know someone who could. She also included a jar of her best Himalayan jelly.
Meanwhile, Ina placed the rag doll and her clothes in a shirt box, wrapped it, and affixed a tag: “To Sadie – From Santa.” Then she hid the box under her bed.
It was 3:00 when Ina heard distant jingle bells. She pulled on her boots and coat, as did Shirley, and they stood at the dining room window and watched. Soon the sleigh hove in sight – “with a little old driver so lively and quick” – and three passengers. Then Ina and Shirley went out to greet the family.
Ina was thrilled when little Sadie threw her arms around her for a tight hug. Everyone talked at the same time. Once they were all inside, it seemed to Ina that it was Christmas now indeed.
And now we’ll leave them to their visiting. Tomorrow -- let the festivities begin. KW