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Sunday, December 9, 2012
CFF #10: A City Hall Christmas by Anna Wadlow
When Christmas Eve looks like a wash, this sweet little family takes it all in stride. Read this story from Anna Wadlow to see how a ruined Christmas gave a small town the chance to pull together. Be sure to leave a comment...
Waking to a cold snowy Christmas Eve, the Toothless family shivered, donned their fuzzy slippers, fluffy robes and trotted to the living room.
The weight of the snow collapsed the living room ceiling, smashing the once beautifully decorated four foot Christmas tree.
Crunching through the snow Peyton started whining, “What happened to our tree?”
Being younger than Peyton, Brianna replied, “Hey dufus, can’t you see that the snow fell on it?”
“Shut up,” cried Peyton.
“That’s enough,” said Liz. Looking at her husband she asked, “What are we going to do about this?”
“I guess we will just have to find a shelter to stay in until we can get it fixed,” replied Charlie.
“On Christmas Eve?” asked Liz.
“That’s when most people need shelters,” he said.
“Nooooooo, not a shelter,” moaned Peyton. Then he turned to Brianna and asked, “What’s a shelter?”
Rolling her eyes she reached over a hand and smacked him in the back of his head.
Crossing his eyes and sticking out his tongue, he quickly turned, running to hide behind his mother.
“Let’s go get dressed and go find a place to stay for tonight,” said Dad.
Trudging back to their rooms, their snow laden slippers felt as though they were cement.
Adorning layers of clothing, coats, hats, scarves and gloves, they found shelter after shelter turning them away.
“Looks like we will have to stay at home in the cold,” said mom.
“I have an idea,” said dad. “If we are going to be sleeping in the cold anyway, why don’t we just sleep outside?”
“What are you saying?” asked mom.
“I’m cold,” cried Peyton.
“So am I,” said Brianna. “And we need a tree for Santa.”
“Exactly my point,” said daddy as he wrapped an arm around her shoulders. “I know where we can go and have the biggest Christmas tree ever.”
“Then by all means lets go home and get what we need for the night,” said mommy sarcastically.
Slipping and sliding their way back to the place they once called home they laughed in anticipation of what the night may bring.
Arriving back at the house Liz and Brianna gathered pillows and a change of clothes for each of them. In the kitchen Liz removed the turkey from the refrigerator and placed the bird in a duffle bag.
Meanwhile, out in the garage dad and Peyton loaded sleeping bags, the smoker and charcoal, and a cooler onto the sled. Dragging it to the front yard, they unloaded it into the car, then they entered into the house to find out if the girls were ready to leave.
Walking back into the center of town, daddy paused in front of city hall. Eyes bulging, the children gasped at the sight of the fifteen foot Christmas tree adorned with thousands of lights and decorations.
“It’s beautiful,” said Brianna.
Shaking her head mom said, “You’re not planning on us staying here tonight?"
“Oh yes I am,” said dad.
Unrolling and arranging the sleeping bags around the gigantic tree, mom placed the gifts for Brianna and Peyton beneath it. Dad started the smoker and placed the turkey inside.
Staring at he wonders of the tree they all finally fell asleep. Billowing smoke emerged from the smoker surrounding the Christmas tree. The windows of the city hall building blackened with soot.
Waking to the sound of sirens blaring, lights flashing and water falling upon them, the toothless family thought they had caught the gigantic tree on fire. The firemen hosing down the tree ruined the gifts along with the turkey.
“What on earth is going on?” yelled mom loudly.
“I’ll find out,” dad called out. Stumbling against the powerful pressure of the firemen’s hoses, dad came upon a man in a yellow and orange suit.
“What happened here?”
“Seems like your family set the place on fire,” replied the man.
“On fire? Are you crazy? We are smoking our turkey,” dad said wiping the water from his face.
“Time out men, looks like it may be a false alarm,” called out the man in the suit.
Suddenly the falling rain stopped as the men shut off the hoses. “Let’s go have a look,” the man said walking towards the smoker.
Looking at the smoker the man laughed, “I guess your right. It was just the smoker. Ooops…sorry.”
Approaching the fire chief asked, “What on earth happened here tonight?”
Unable to control his laughter the suited man answered, “This family decided to celebrate Christmas here this year and we received a call that the tree was on fire. When we arrived smoke filled the air so we immediately began hosing the area down. The smoke was only from their smoker, there is no fire here.” Doubling over the men all laughed.
“Let’s find you all a place to stay tonight,” said the officer.
“All the shelters are full,” said mom as she and the children walked up to the man.
“I think we have room for your family at our house,” replied the officer.
Snuggling up in warm thick blankets in a spare room of the officer’s home, the Toothless family regained the faith of a compassionate friend. The faith that God is caring and loving, and the faith that Santa would find them by the small lit tree shining in the window.
Rousing on Christmas morning, the Toothless family enjoyed many presents left by neighbors and friends in the community. There were toys for Brianna and Peyton. Lumber, nails and notes of promises to help restore their house.
Gathering together the Toothless family smiled for a first ever portrait. That is, the first where they all had all been given the gift of teeth from the local dentist.
“I guess we will have to change our last name now,” laughed mom looking at her children.
The house was repaired, new friendships made, a ‘No Camping’ sign was posted by the Christmas tree and their last name was changed to Jones.
Anna Wadlow is a writer of fiction. She lives in a small town in Missouri. Giving it her best shot she entered National Novel Writing Month 2012 and won. She is currently working on her first novel, a suspense thriller titled Haunted Memories. In her spare time she likes reading and playing with her grandchildren.