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Learner story archives

December 24, 2007

The following story was written by Maureen MacIntosh, from Sydney, Nova Scotia. Maureen is part of the Sydney Writing Circle, a seniors’ literacy group enhancing their writing skills.

Christmas Tails

by Maureen MacIntosh

It’s Christmas Eve and a special one for me, the mother of two grown children. My daughter, who works in Toronto, was home for the Holidays and we were spending them with my son and daughter-in-law and their two dogs. Newman, the smaller dog, is a bit of a rogue, while Sawyer, the larger dog, is kind of a gentle nature.

Before we left for church and to visit relatives, a gift for each dog was taken from the large stash under the tree. Like, children, they excitingly tore off the wrappings, and were very happy with gifts of pig’s ears. As we left the house, we looked back at two contented dogs.

Upon returning home, around midnight, the dogs met us at the door and bolted outside. My son chose to stay our on this moonlit night and frolic with them for a while. My daughterin-law was the first to enter the living room and a scream pierced the air. My daughter entered next and I heard her gasp. As I rounded the corner, I saw them standing kneedeep in paper, cardboard and styrofoam particles. The dogs had opened every gift under the tree in hopes of finding another treat. Boxes of candy had the corners chewed, just to make sure of the contents, but the candy was intact. A crystal vase stood upright under the tree, its box and packing shredded about the room.

When my son entered, I can’t repeat his first few words but he ended with, “Christmas is ruined!” Mother, in her wisdom, replied “Christmas is a spirit that comes from the heart!”

We proceeded to dig out and exchange gifts and hug and laugh till tears came. We couldn’t identify the giver or receiver of some gifts. When the mess was cleared away, we changed into our comfy nightwear. As my son poured the wine, my daughter-in-law set out a scrumptious array of food and my daughter slipped “It’s a Wonderful Life” into the VCR.

As I looked out onto the sparkling snow, I felt Jesus must have been born on a night as beautiful as this one and I realized that the true gifts of Christmas cannot be wrapped. They need to be exposed and shared with one another. We had been blessed with peace, love and goodwill on this special night.

These memories would be etched in our minds indelibly and bring forth joy and laughter in the days ahead.

[This story was taken with permission, from Tales From The Island: A Collection of Cape Breton Poetry and Prose from the Sydney Writing Circle, p. 34.]

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