Aunt Abby got sick right after Christmas. She lay on the couch bundled in all sorts of blankets and surrounded by mugs of tea and water. One day, Bruce came to see her with his Mommy and some groceries.
“Are you sick?” he asked.
“Yes, I am sick,” Aunt Abby said.
“Are you going to write another story soon?”
Aunt Abby smiled for there is no better question to ask a writer.
“I will, as soon as I’m well.”
“Can it be about holly berries?”
“I guess so.”
For Bruce: Once upon a time, a little Auntie lived in a little house, on a little bit of land with several large oak trees. Across the street, make sure you look both ways, lived her two blond-haired, blue eyed-nephews. One was still quite little though he had a smile that could charm the world. The other, Bruce, was quite tall and not little at all. He was so not little that he was often mistaken for a four or a five year old, even sometimes by his little Auntie.
One day, when the smiling nephew wasn’t smiling so much Auntie offered to take Bruce on a walk to the park. Bruce’s mom bundled him in a coat and off they went. First, they had to make their way past the super dangerous traffic. Auntie tightly held Bruce’s hand until they were safe. Then, they had to cross the big open lawn filled with squirrels hunting for pecans. Auntie and Bruce chased several squirrels, but the squirrels were always faster.
“Look at all the puppies!” Bruce exclaimed pointing.
So, next they let kind old dogs sniff their fingers and patted many heads.
“Look up there!” Auntie said.
They turned their faces to the sky and Auntie pointed out the bird’s nests in the bare branches left over from the summer and the squirrel nests being prepared for the winter. Finished looking up, the chased leaves, collected rocks, and had a sword fight with two sticks. When both their stick swords broke, they poked their noses behind two trees and found a little path.
“Should we see where the path goes?” Auntie asked.
“Yes!” hollered Bruce.
Going with great care, watching for huffalumps and woozles, listening for dragons and giant spiders, Auntie and Bruce crept down the path. The path twisted between trees. It climbed up a small hill and slid down the other side. It snaked around a small creek and then stopped.
It stopped right beside a holly tree covered with holly berries. Dark green leaves with pointy ends covered the tree and little red berries brightened the day.
“Look Bruce! It looks like Christmas all in one tree!” Auntie said.
She started to sing an old song called the Holly and the Ivy quiet off key.
“No it doesn’t and don’t sing,” Bruce ordered with a twinkle in his eye.
This only made Auntie sing louder, “The holly and the ivy, when they are both full grown . . .”
Bruce grabbed a handful of bright red holly berries and threw them at his Auntie. She stopped singing with a gasp!
Without warning, Auntie gathered up some berries and dumped them on Bruce’s head. He squealed as they rolled down under his shirt. With that, the battle of the berries began. Back and forth, dancing around and around the holly tree, giggling for all they were worth, Auntie and Bruce pelted each other with holly berries.
Soon, all the berries they could reach were gone. Their hands were scratched from the sharp leaves. Their cheeks were red from the battle and their eyes sparkled.
“Good battle,” Auntie said holding out her hand.
Bruce shook it seriously. “Good battle.”
“Now, let’s go home and get something warm to drink.”
Hand in hand, Auntie and Bruce, followed the trail back through the trees, noticed nests, patted dogs, and chased away the squirrels. Hand in hand, they braved the sidewalk beside the dangerous traffic until they got back to their street.
Bruce couldn’t wait to tell his Mommy about all their adventures and the holly berry battle.
“How’s that for a holly berry story, Bruce?”