It had been a wonderful Christmas Day. I’m sure you can imagine what fun the family had as they opened gifts together in the morning.
The gathering for an early afternoon dinner included Aunt Bertha and Uncle June and their family and several neighbors who would otherwise be alone for Christmas. Ina served a big mid-day dinner, such as farm wives know how to prepare, with everyone sitting together at the big dining room table. Small gifts were shared, and as the neighbors took their leave, the leftover food was parceled out.
|Ina & daughter Pearl, c. 1918|
In the evening, the men withdrew to sit before the fireplace in the living room while the women drew chairs around the wood range in the kitchen. But before long, Sadie began to cry, and the womenfolk nodded knowingly at one another, recognizing a tired child. In the warmth of the kitchen, Ina helped Sadie get ready for bed. Ethel fixed a hot water bottle and placed it in the middle of Sadie’s bed.
Of course, Sadie wanted to take her new doll Lucy to bed with her, so she was allowed the time to put the doll’s nightgown on her. Then she and Ina climbed the stairs to her bed. Ina pushed the water bottle further toward the bottom of the bed to warm Sadie’s feet. Then she wrapped herself in an afghan and stretched out beside the little girl to help warm the bed.
Sadie asked to hear a story, and so Ina began to recite the verses from Luke 2:1-20, which she knew by heart. As she finished, Sadie’s breathing was deep and even, and Ina carefully slipped off the pallet and tiptoed from the room. She looked forward to rejoining the group in the kitchen.
“Gram?” the little voice called before Ina reached the stairs.
Oh dear. What now? “Yes, Sadie?”
“Thank you for making Lucy for me.”
“Why, Santa brought Lucy to you. Mrs. Claus made her.”
“I think you were Mrs. Claus,” said Sadie. “And anyway, I want to know that you made her.”
Ina was touched and admitted that yes, she had made the rag doll.
“Mama said I couldn’t have a doll this Christmas, and I’m so glad you made Lucy. Thank you.”
Ina gave the little girl a goodnight kiss and slipped off downstairs, thinking it had been a very satisfying Christmas indeed. People could do things like this – make somethings out of nothings so that there is “no skimpy Christmas.” KW