Thursday, December 17, 2009

Turtle Doves: A Christmas Short Story

      Genevieve Taylor knew it was past time to trim the poor excuse for a Christmas tree but after eighty-five years couldn’t someone else give it a go?  As she lifted the tree skirt from the box of decorations, a frame photograph crashed to the floor.  Flustered, Genevieve rested in her rocker and clasped her trembling hands together.  When the tremor lessened she picked the broken frame up off the floor.  She gazed into the eyes staring out from the black and white photograph of Lloyd in his Santa hat.  Oh, how she missed that smile.
          Avoiding the broken glass, Genevieve held her cane in one hand and the photo in the other as she made her way over to the window.  She peered through the frosted window pane. Clear skies and bare grounds.  Such a shame.  “Doesn’t seem there’ll be a white Christmas this year, Lloyd, she said to the photo. 
When Anabelle entered the apartment, Genevieve could tell she noticed the lack of holiday cheer and décor.  How was she supposed to decorate with garlands, ornaments, and lights when she couldn’t even put out a tree skirt without breaking something? 
 “How are you doing Ginny?” Before Genevieve could respond, Anabelle noticed the broken picture frame and the glass shattered on the floor.  Without a word about the apartment or the picture, she cleaned up the mess.
Sweet Anabelle.  She had always been like a granddaughter to Genevieve and Lloyd.  She had spent her summers in their greenhouse watching the couple work side by side.  As a little girl, she would beg her mother to sit with the Taylors at church.  Genevieve would bring her candies and Lloyd would tease her that she reserved her brightest smiles for him.  When Lloyd’s battle with cancer ended, Genevieve could see how strongly his absence had affected Anabelle.
  “Would it be okay if I help you hang the ornaments again this year?” asked Anabelle. 
After a moments hesitation and a sigh, “Oh sure, honey.  I guess it’s now or never.”  The look on Genevieve’s face suggested that maybe never would be preferable; however, her expression quickly changed to one of determination.  “Well, let’s get that old tree to sparkle with some Christmas cheer.  We wouldn’t want to disappoint Lloyd.”
“No, we wouldn’t,” Anabelle said.  She turned on some holiday tunes then she retrieved the boxes of garland, beads, flowers, and trinkets. 
With unsteady hands, Genevieve lifted the turtle doves by their green ribbon and perched them in her palm.  After running the ribbon through her fingers, she smoothed her hair.  Genevieve dismissed a notion to tell the story.  No stories this year.  Remembering was just too painful.  She passed the crystal birds to Anabelle.
“Aren’t you going to tell me the story?”
“I can’t remember it,” Ginny lied.  Maybe time would go faster if she didn’t have to remember how great it used to be.
 “You were seventeen when you met Lloyd at the Christmas dinner.  Your mom made you a red dress and you wore this green ribbon in your hair.”  Genevieve tried to silence her with a glare, but Anabelle continued as if she hadn’t noticed.  “All the girls were jealous when Lloyd asked you to sit by him.  To be polite, you asked him what he was getting for Christmas.  ‘A kiss from you, if I’m lucky,’ he said. You told him he was very charming, but you were all out of kisses.  Instead, you took the green ribbon out of your hair and tied it in a promise knot around his wrist. What was it you said to him?”  Anabelle urged.
Genevieve couldn’t help herself, she said, “’I promise if you stick around for a year, I’ll have some kisses for you then.’” 
Anabelle laughed. “He held you to that.”
“He sure did.  And after a year of dating, he still had my green ribbon.”  There was love in her voice as she spoke of his sentimental gesture.  On the wave of emotion, she continued the memory aloud, “I can still remember the nervous look on his face as he fumbled with the gift under the tree.” Genevieve looked toward the bare tree and then to the empty space in front of her as if Lloyd was there now. 
“He knelt in front of me, waiting for me to open the box.  The doves were sparkling so much that I didn’t see the ring at first.  But when I did, he said he no longer wanted just the promised kiss; he wanted eternity.” Ginny smiled and looked directly at Anabelle.  “And when a guy like Lloyd Taylor wants eternity; you promise him eternity.”
 The room was silent—both women were overcome.  Every time Genevieve recalled their love story she felt so blessed.  She recalled the love notes, caresses, and looks of admiration from Lloyd.  He was better than any Prince Charming she had ever read about.  His expressions of affection never dwindled even in the years when he had fallen ill. 
“I can’t believe you two dated a whole year and never kissed,” Anabelle said.
“Times were different then.  Love was different. Don’t even get me started on how all you whippersnappers wouldn’t know romance from a fly on your nose.”  She laughed, and her smile erased some of the years from her face.
“Whippersnapper? Ginny, I’m near 30.”
“And that’s plenty young, sweetheart.  Now let’s get to trimming this tree.  It is going to take all day if you make this old lady tell you all her stories.” 
The two women spent the majority of the day hanging ornaments, lights, garland, and beads, as Genevieve told the stories related to each trinket. 
Anabelle was completing the final task of positioning the star on top of the tree, when Genevieve said, “That was always his job, you know. Even if he wasn’t able to be home to hang the other ornaments, I always saved the star for him.  I told him no one could light up my life the way he did.”
The women hugged and looked at the full tree.
“He hasn’t come this year,” Genevieve confided.  “I’ve been waiting, and waiting. But—”
“He will.  He always comes.  He couldn’t miss Christmas with you,” Anabelle said.  Genevieve had shared with Anabelle her belief that Lloyd had spent every Christmas with her since the year they met—even the ones after his death.  Anabelle seemed inclined to believe her.  “Now don’t you worry yourself sick over this!  You get some rest, and I’ll be back in the morning for our Christmas breakfast.”
“You’re right dear.  He’ll come,” Genevieve agreed, but she couldn’t erase the doubt from her voice.  “You shouldn’t worry about being here for breakfast.  You should be with your family.”
“I’ll see them for lunch.  Besides you’re family. You’re welcome to join us for lunch.”  Before Ginny could protest further, Anabelle said, “See you at eight o’clock.  If you’re good maybe Santa will leave you something nice.”  With a kiss on the cheek and a hug, Anabelle bid her farewell.
After her friend’s departure, Genevieve turned off the overhead light and allowed the glow from the tree to fill the room.  A tree full of memories and she felt so empty.  She should be thankful that her mind was clear enough to recall those memories, but somehow it only emphasized the void she now felt.  Why hadn’t Lloyd come to be with her this Christmas?  She knew it was selfish—some would say crazy—to believe he could be there with her, but she never doubted that the comforting voice she heard year after year was his.  All the lights and all the ornaments were meaningless without him.
          Before closing the blinds, she took one more glance out of the window.  Still no snow.  Still no Lloyd.  She settled into her rocking chair.  From the radio she heard the King belting out the lyrics of Blue Christmas.  This Christmas was blue without Lloyd’s holiday cheer.  She closed her eyes and massaged her arthritic hands.
          The disc jockey made announcements about Santa being spotted in the Tri-state area and cheered that in a few short hours it would be Christmas.  It didn’t feel like Christmas.  Bing Crosby began singing White Christmas.  Genevieve opened her eyes wishing for white flakes to create a blanket outside, but she was certain nothing was there.  She shut her eyes again.
          “Genevieve?” It was a whisper—a sweet melody to her ears.
          “I’ve been waiting for you,” she said in almost a sigh.  The tears of pain and relief could be heard in her voice, and a few escaped from the corners of her closed eyes.
          “I know, my love.  I am so sorry it has taken so long.”
          “You’re here now.  How long can you stay?”
          “I’m afraid I can’t.”
          “Oh, please Lloyd, don’t leave me here.  I can’t bear it.” Genevieve was so afraid of being separated again.  Each year the burden of separation was harder, and she was too old to do it again.
          “Has this year been so bad?”  His voice seemed remorseful.  “I should have come sooner.”
          “Why didn’t you?”
          “I had preparations to make.”
          “I recall a certain girl promised me eternity.  It is getting pretty lonely up here alone.”
          “You mean—” she was unable to finish as the realization of his implication filled her heart.
          “It’s time for us to be together, dear.  Eternity has been mighty lonely without you.”
          Genevieve smiled through her tears and released a sigh. 
Anabelle entered the apartment quietly when no one answered the door.  After setting the cinnamon rolls on the counter, she opened the blinds so Ginny could see the snow when she woke.  Ginny was reclined in her rocker with her quilt tucked under her arms.  Anabelle set the table for two; the noise didn’t seem to disturb Ginny’s slumber.
As she crossed to wake the sleeping woman, she noticed Ginny’s pale face.  There was no rise and fall in her chest.  When Anabelle lifted a lifeless hand to check for a pulse, an envelope slid to the floor.  Struggling not to cry, she replaced the hand to Ginny’s lap in reverence, and bent to retrieve the fallen envelope.
She gazed in wonder—it was addressed to her.  She removed the letter.  It read:
Dearest Anabelle,
He came.  My Lloyd made it. We’re together for Christmas.
Your love and kindness has meant more to us than you will ever know.  As a token of love and gratitude, please keep
our turtle doves.  We love you.
          Merry Christmas!
Genevieve and Lloyd
          The simple note said it all.  Anabelle wiped her eyes.  Noticing the green ribbon on Ginny’s lap, she lifted the crystal bird and held them to her heart. She leaned over to press a gentle kiss to Ginny’s brow and whispered, “Merry Christmas, Ginny.  I love you, too.  Go enjoy eternity.”

Thank you to Meagan and L.T. for your help.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wednesday French Inspiration

In a previous Wednesday French Inspiration.  I talked about stopping for a snowball fight. We had when we stopped at the Col de la Republique outside of  St-Étienne.  (To learn more about this area in connection to the first Tour de France held in 1903 click here.)  This is another picture from that stop.  As you can see I am the experienced snow angel maker in this picture.  (This post was inspired by reading Lara's post about Snow Angels on her blog OverStuffed.)

Today I wanted to talk about snow, why I love it, and how that relates to my love of writing

When the ground is covered with a fresh blanket of white fluffy snow, it beckons me.  There is something so luring about the unpolluted beauty.  It holds so much potential.  

Sorry for all the videos, but these movies just run through my head as I try to explain to you what I feel.

Fresh snow can be a battle field, a canvas for snow angels, a snow man, an igloo.  There are endless possibilities (depending on how much snow you have.)  Pure Imagination covering the earth ready to create your own paradise.  And when you need a break, you come in from the cold and enjoy a warm glass of homemade hot cocoa made from white and milk chocolate a splash of vanilla, and a spoonful of marshmallow fluff.  Imagination and chocolate go hand in hand or they should.    How does this relate to my feelings on writing?  Well it is same thing with a blank page or word document.  It sits there pure and white just waiting for a little imagination to come and be etched upon its surface to create something new, adventurous, a tale of love, or achievement. 

The thing I love most is there is nothing you can't create with a pen and paper, and a lot of times I feel that way about snow.  (of course creating fire with snow may be hard, but you get my point). Words have the power to inspire love, or hate.  Words can cut down, or build up. 

Do you love or hate snow?  What is the best thing you have created with snow? 

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Enough with the peace and quiet; It's time to Party.

I know it has been quiet around this blog recently.  With holidays, birthdays, moving, and traveling I have had a hard time sitting long enough to tell you about what is happening.  I recently got by blog to read count down from 300.  Every day I would put a small dent in the numbers, only to find more there the next day.  But I've catch up on my reading, and I'm ready to party with my peeps.  Will you be my peep?     

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones


Press Play you know you want to...but if you don't that is ok as long as you stay for a minute while I tell you something. As I was reading over here at Cranberry Fries.  She talks about how much she loves comments.  

Do you have a love for comments as well?  I DO!

To demonstrate how much I like comments, I want to tell you a recent event in my life.  Actually I will have to tell you a few things.  When I went to Texas for my best friends wedding, my camera was in a fatal crash with the ground.  My husband performed and autopsy to determine cause of death.  After disecting my friend, he determined the cause of death was blunt force trauma.  He offered to replace my camera with a slimmer more portable model.  I turned my nose up at his offer and pouted about my loss.

I am certain he couldn't stand to see me suffer any longer (it was that or he needed me to stop wasting time searching online for a camera that could make me forget my loss).  He took over the search, and found a camera that came with guarantee to return a smile to my face.

Due to the fact that Hubby and I are both technology lovers, we shop online frequently.  Therefore, the UPS guys are on a first name basis with me.  We kick up our feet and have a golly old time a few times a week.

So anyhow, I was waiting very impatiently for delivery of my camera, but I also had some flameless candles, and other assorted Christmas gifts coming our way.  I had checked online and the camera was one day out, and my candles were out for delivery.  When I heard the bell, I knew my candles had made it safely.

I had to open the package immediately.  (Who waits to open packages?  That is just crazy.)  Underneath the layers of cardboard, and bubble wrap was my beautiful camera.  I am only slightly embarrassed to admit that I may have stood up and danced around my livingroom saying. "I got my camera, I got my camera."  I also apologize to all the people with numbers stored in my phone.  I know you may have been busy, but I had to let the whole world know that I got my camera.  I called a million people or at least I felt like telling everyone.  I may or may not have picked up the camera and kissed it.

A few minutes later my bell rang, I had more boxes.  It was a red letter day.

So you see just how excited I was about my camera. Well that is how I feel about comments.  I love each of them.  I can't wait to open them, I could kiss them.

So you may have noticed that I've changed my commenting section. THANKS MOMBABE  for your help. I am hoping that it will make it easier for all of those stopping by to leave a quick hello.

Throw on a party hat and let's make some noise.

Friday, December 11, 2009

12 Days of Christmas

My family has a few Christmas traditions.  One of my favorites was that starting on the 13th of December each person got to unwrap a small gift (normally some sort of stocking stuffer) We called this the 12 days of Christmas.  While Hubby is not a fan of this tradition (it means more shopping and coming up with gift ideas); I love it.  And Little Princess likes to open presents every opportunity she gets. 

So Starting Sunday I get to open a gift.  YEAH ME!  So in the Spirit of Sharing I want to give you the gift of song.  If you are like me this song will get stuck in your head.  It is my way of passing on a smile.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wednesday French Inspiration

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wednesday French Inspiration

Les raboteurs de parquet (The Floor Planers)

In the collections of the Musée d'Orsay, you can see the art of many great artists.  Pictured above is the work of Gustave Caillebotte.  As I was wondering through the many collections, I found Hubby admiring this painting.  I have to admit; at first sight, I did not have a connection to this work.  However, I have grown to love it the more I look at it.

The skill with which Caillebotte paints is undeniable, but the thing that I love the most is the content.  I love the depiction of hard work.  I can relate to that.  As I labor to decorate my new home, I feel slightly burnt out.  I can see all the work ahead of me. 

So if I have been missing in action these past few months, I hope you will understand that I have been hard at work.  I do have plans to share pictures, as well as some of my writing projects with you hopefully after the new year.  Or sooner if I get a new camera. (My old camera had an unfortunate fall in Texas last month.)

Are the holiday's making it hard for you to keep up, or am I the only one?