Author’s Backstory: This short story is inspired by Christmases of my childhood. My mother made the yuletide so very special for us four kids. Like many moms, every year she worked to the point of exhaustion to give us the most memorable holiday possible. This chapter was cut from the manuscript of Sew the Heart by award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard. To read part one, please click here.
Part 2 –
Except the day Moxie made the big mistake of poking her head in her landlord’s kitchen door, how queer it was throughout the weeks leading up to Christmas Moxie had heard hide nor hair of the kind woman who let Moxie live in her guest cottage. Moxie had taken to using the word “queer” as frequently as her landlord, and it tickled her every time she said it. It’s such a misunderstood word, Moxie thought, as peculiar as the woman herself.
It was as if her landlord had become a hermit. The woman was more than a little odd, and last time Moxie saw the woman she said ” it was time to make Christmas.” And not to take it to heart if their visits were infrequent. But still….Moxie thought, how long could it take to decorate for the holidays?
In her previous foster homes, preparations for the yuletide were so very minimal. A few paper chains around a sparsely-branched tree, an already half-burned red candle set out in a glass jar, and a couple of chocolate covered cherries in a plastic holiday bowl. Moxie recalled how the candies brought joy every time she put one in her mouth. As an adult, the only way to describe the feeling when she bit into the fruit was it made her toes curl; the juice was so sweet! Moxie didn’t want to sound ungrateful but her entire life could be likened to the story of How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
As Moxie’s thoughts journeyed back to many of her childhood holidays, the phone rang.
“Hello,” Moxie said, slowly coming out of her fog of memories.
“Moxie dear, can you come over tomorrow at 6:00 am. I want to start Christmas early, so as not to miss a single minute of the day with you.”
Six am? That’s crazy, Moxie thought. What in the world does the woman have planned that we’d have to start the celebration at that wee hour of the morning?
“Is there anything you’d like me to bring for Christmas dinner?” Moxie asked. It’s not that she had much in the cupboard to share other than a small bag of trail mix, but Moxie thought it proper to at least ask.
“Oh, no sweet heart, just bring your own beautiful self. It’s a gift just being with you.”
At 6am sharp on Christmas morn Moxie arrived at the landlady’s home. When the woman threw open the door, Moxie gasped. She was overwhelmed by the pungent pine scent. What greeted her in every room was what looked like magical eccentricity of wizard proportions, kind of like the landlady herself.
Moxie fought to contain her emotions until at last it became impossible. The tears of happiness began to flow when she realized the lengths the woman went to just “to make Christmas” for her sake in every room of the house. She’d never felt the depths of love of from a mother like that before. What came at the end of a beautiful day, was a fairytale ending.