Flash Fiction: The Pile

 

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Courtesy of Alethia Young. 

 

The Pile

Christmas Eve.

Mouths opened. Lungs expanded. Eyes gleamed.

“Not a word.” Dad leaned in over the table, finger extended, a twinkle in his eye. “Not a word.”

Five mouths clamped shut.

23 sleeps ago.

The Five, armed with saw and wagon, hurried out into Grandma’s fields, hunting just the right tree. In the back pasture they examined tall trees and short, round and skinny. Each child voted yes or no. The tree had to be perfect. It would take the center, Norman Rockwell stage for the whole month. Victorious, they return home over the small hills and dells, scratched but happy. Decorating and off-key singing ensued.

The holly green, the ivy green, the prettiest picture you’ve ever seen…

14 sleeps ago.

Boxes arrived. Big boxes. The Five immediately helped unpack.

“The tree doesn’t look lonely anymore,” the youngest said.

“Everyone keep your fingers to yourselves,” Mom said. “Don’t touch the pile.”

8 Sleeps ago. 

From under the prickly cedar tree, trussed up with lights and handmade decorations, spilled the pile. It spread into the narrow living room, cutting off the path from the kitchen to the bathroom. The Five huddle around it in the dark morning, dreaming of toys and more toys. Waiting. Waiting. The countdown dragged. The older ones swore the pile extended further into the room than any piles had before. Each present had been examined. Each of The Five knew which present was theirs, and the noise it made when shook. The Five had the entire pile mapped out.

1 sleep to go.

Christmas Eve sauntered in. Anticipation reached a breaking point. Tomorrow the paper would be ripped off and the toys would be theirs. Just a few more hours. One more sleep.

“Not a word.” Dad leaned in over the table, finger extended, a twinkle in his eye. “Not a word.”

Five mouths clamped shut.

Dad held out his hand to Mom and the two of them retired from the kitchen table for what The Five prayed would be a short winter’s nap.

Their parents’ bedroom door shut.

Screams of joy erupted.

In a moment of real Christmas magic, The Five gathered the dishes, ran hot soapy water in the sink, wash, dried, cleared, and cleaned the kitchen without a word of disagreement. Not one single squabble arose. No one pushed, pulled, glared, or even joked. Instead, carols erupted from them, swirling about the room on winds of excitement.

…it’s the most wonderful time of the year…

Sunlight streamed into the tiny mobile home as The Five went about their work. It splashed across the pile, the wonderful, huge pile.

Dad, king of his castle, lord of his family, general over the ranks of the Five, had superseded the holiday.

“I have an announcement, but I don’t want to hear a word. Not a single sound,” Dad had declared, as they sat around the table on that now famous Christmas Eve, eating tomato soup and grilled cheese. “Are we agreed?”

The Five shared a glance, then nodded in unison.

“Good.” Dad smiled. “Mom and I are going to take a nap. During the nap I want the table cleared and the dishes done.”

The Five waited. That was normal. Nothing about that part of the announcement would induce anything but sighs.

“After we get up,” Dad took a deep breath, “we’ll open presents.”

Five mouths opened. Lungs expanded. Eyes gleamed.

“Not a word.” Dad leaned in over the table, finger extended, a twinkle in his eye. “Not a word.”

Five mouths clamped shut.

The End


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Quote of the Weekend

There is so much I’m not getting to do this Christmas that are normally part of my Holiday Spirit. But, this quote sums up how I feel. I get to be with my family. I am loved. I have so many people I love. Christmas will be a happy time even if all the packages and bows aren’t here.

Merry Christmas!

(Don’t forget! Come January 1st all my content will move to my new blog: Faerie-Stories.com. Make sure you hop over there and follow so you don’t miss any of my upcoming articles!)

An Ordinary Thanksgiving

I’ve missed several days this week just due to a busy schedule. The bottom line is that I’ve been generously provided for. God is good.

To wrap it up, I’m thankful for holidays. They change life up, make us pause and think, and let us celebrate with food and drink!

I hippie you make merry today! Happy Thanksgiving!

Ordinary Thanksgiving Day 18, 19, 20

I got a little behind over a busy weekend.

For the 18th, I’m thankful for leaves blowing in the wind. I’m thankful for the smell of wet leaves, and the sound they make when you kick through them. Autumn is filled with lovely sounds, smells, and sights.

For the 19th, I’m thankful to have a place to go for thanksgiving when everything falls apart and you can’t do what you planned. I’m thankful for friends who love me and I’m thankful for family who I will miss.

For the 20th, I’m thankful for family get togethers, even little ones, even when someone is missing. I’m thankful that we love each other enough to miss each other.

Ordinary Thanksgiving Day 16

I’m thankful for God’s generosity to me. I’m thankful that I not only have a roof over my head, but a beautiful home. I’m thankful that I not only have clothing on my back, but a while closet filled with beautiful things. I’m thankful I’m not only starving, but have to watch not over eating. God has been generous in so many ways, and I’m thankful.

Ordinary Thanksgiving Day 15

Today, I’m thankful for trees. I love all trees, from towering oaks to small cedars, from redwoods to mesquite trees. I find their shapes appealing and beautiful. I love their steadfastness. I love how often the Bible compares a battle-hardened Christian to a tree planted by rivers of water. Deep roots and and the water of the word.

Ordinary Thanksgiving Day 12, 13, 14

Playing a bit of catch up here:

Day 12

I’m thankful today for the ordinary means of grace, the preaching of the word, and my faithful pastors. I’m thankful for my local church. These are both ordinary and supernatural.

Day 13

I’m thankful for my family. I’m thankful for my little home, my brothers and sisters, my parents, my nieces and nephews, grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles. I love them all.

I’m also thankful for the family I married into. For my extra parents, extra siblings, extra nieces and nephews, extra grandparents, extra cousins, and extra aunts and uncles. I love you all and I’m blessed to be a Jones.

Day 14

I’m thankful for stories. I’m thankful for they way they share, teach, and the us together. I’m thankful to live in a world that tells stories.