Christmas Morning

They're going to Grandmother's house today!
She lives in the country so far away…
It's Christmas morning and he just can't wait,
"Oh, hurry up daddy, let's not be late!"

It was his fifth Christmas, but at his age it was the first
he remembered. He didn't know much about it, but he had seen the
wrapped gifts and had even been told that some some of them were for
him (he didn't read yet). He had heard the grown-ups talking about
the "meaning" of Christmas, but he wasn't sure exactly what they
said, or what it meant. His mother told him that men don't really
know when Jesus was born, but that our country chose to honor His
birth with Christmas. None of that mattered to him. He saw
presents, he smelled the dressing mother was making, he knew all the
family would be there, and he was excited.

Hurry up sister! You're lagging behind…
Daddy said, "Come on" and "You'd better mind!"
Mother said, Settle down" and "Bless your heart"
Daddy is ready and it's time to start!

He liked turkey – especially white meat – and mother told
him that there would be plenty, and to spare. He didn't care for
cranberry sauce, as he learned at the other grandparents' house on
Thanksgiving, but he agreed to try it again – only a small portion,
though. It seemed to mean so much to mother. When he agreed to it
he wasn't sincere, he only did it because he knew mother wasn't
really "asking…" and besides, what harm could there be? With all
the food and presents and fun, a little cranberry sauce surely
wouldn't ruin the day.

They lined up in the front room, side by side,
When mother saw them how she glowed with pride;
Each detail of their dress was checked with care,
From their shiny new shoes up to their hair…

He didn't much like dressing up for anything, and he didn't
understand why he had to be so clean and neat if they were going to
open presents, eat and have fun. But he didn't argue, it just
didn't seem right to argue when there were presents at stake.
Besides, this seemed to mean so much to mother. He hadn't ever
remembered seeing her so nervous and excited all at the same time.
He wondered if she was this excited because she was getting presents
too, but deep down he didn't think so. Grown-ups weren't that way.
Soon enough visions of presents replaced all other thoughts, and he
just wanted to go!

Father pulled the wagon near the front door,
When mother unloaded she said, "There is more…"
The two went inside and gathered the rest
While he and sister made themselves a nest.

It wasn't that far to grandmother's house, but it would take
longer since the snow had fallen. It was cold, too. He and sister
were wearing long underwear, their best clothes, a coat, and were
wrapped in a blanket as well. Still, it was cold! They pretended
to be smoking – they saw their breath – for a while, but that got
old and they just snuggled and wished they were there already. They
were careful not to let mother see them pretending to smoke, as she
didn't approve. Once he asked father how long it would be before
they arrived, but he just said, "We'll be there soon enough." That
didn't tell him anything, but he knew better than to ask again.
They rode. He thought of food and fun and presents and family… They
rode some more.

Over the next hill and around the bend
Their journey would finally reach its end;
The fun and the food would all be so good,
And he'd be the best little boy he could…

There, looking out the window, he saw grandmother's face.
She was smiling and he could tell that she was excited! There were
wagons parked down by the barn – lots of them. He could smell the
fire in the mid-morning air. What fun they would have!

H. L. Gradowith


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