It’s December and for most people that means Christmas is around the corner. It’s a time for shopping, wrapping those presents, and tucking them under the tree. But how many of those gifts last in our memories? Probably only a few, and I’m not certain why. But I can tell you about a few in my life.
I think I was one when I received a doggie pull toy. I don’t remember that Christmas or anything about receiving it. It was listed in my baby book. That’s why I know it was a Christmas gift. But that little wooden dog that clacked when I pulled it along had floppy ears made of felt. I loved it and can remember having it forever. The other gift that stands out in my mind was a Girder and Panel Building Set. Considering I loved my blocks, this was the ultimate in building things. I would sit for hours and play with it. I actually considered being an architect or structural engineer as I looked towards college.
My oldest brother always gave me the best stuff! Mostly books. But whatever it was, it became an instant favorite. One year he gave me a gold Siamese cat pin with emerald green eyes. I wore that cat forever and when a green eye fell out and was lost, I gave it back to him and he had the eyes replaced with red ones. I liked the green eyes better, but at least I could wear it. Most of my jewelry wasn’t suitable for everyday wear, but that cat I could pin on a jumper, blouse, or shirt dress, and go off to school. But his choice in books for me were always filled with adventure, from knights in armor to fairies, or they were true stories of great sea adventures. I think I was grown before I realized that his gifts were always inexpensive, but somehow he always managed to find me the perfect gift.
When my nephews were little, my sis had a problem, and it was sending Christmas down the drain for her boys. So I bought them football PJ’s, sheets, and a half dozen other things with their favorite teams on them. And let’s not forget the Lego items! My nephew told me about 2 years ago that the Christmas that Santa gave him and his brother all that wonderful football stuff was the very best. He could tick off everything I had bought. (Even I had forgotten what some of it was!)
Why do some things stand out in our minds? I have no idea. But it’s fun when you do find that perfect gift and it’s remembered many years later.
This year I’m not going to do much for Christmas. I’m not baking or putting up a tree. The grandchildren are grown, and there’s no company coming. But enjoy it, I will. It’s the spirit of Christmas that I love and the time with family. That’s more important than all the decorations, gifts, and commercialism.
One of my girls will be hosting the traditional dinner, and we’ll all go there. We always try to keep the meal simple. The important thing is to enjoy the togetherness and that doesn’t happen when someone is tied up in the kitchen. There’s always the pre-meal nibblers, so cheese and crackers, cut up fruit, and a tray full of raw veggies. My girls like the spiral hams, so that’s what they buy. A side of mashed potatoes, a few veggies, and we are all happy. But along with the ham, is the traditional Tourtiere, a French Canadian meat pie served with gravy. (You’ll find the recipe in last year’s post. https://authorsofmainstreet.wordpress.com/2015/12/07/the-wonderful-holidays-the-things-ive-learned/)
I also intend to spend some time over the holidays reading. I hope you’ve picked up our limited-time boxed Christmas set of books. The whole box is 99c. We think this might be the best annual Christmas box that we’ve done. Ebook for 99c or our bind-up print book with all five wonderful stories that are perfect for gift giving or for those of you who love to hold a book in your hand. I’ll warn you , it’s a fat book! We aren’t writing little stories!
My book in the set is Chelsea’s Christmas. This is the newest book in Montgomery family saga. Chelsea is grown up and after a bad relationship, she’s come home and is now working in her father’s law firm as a lawyer. She’s not interested in allowing another man in her life until she figures out what went wrong in her last relationship. Except she’s fallen in love with a little boy and his father. But sometimes it takes more than just love to make a relationship work. If you enjoy a meaty story where the happily-ever-after isn’t going to be easy, I think you’ll like this one. Here’s what one reader emailed me the other night. “I just finished reading your book in the Christmas at the Inn on Main Street. I love the Montgomery family and the way you invite them back to me from time to time is always exciting.”
As a reviewer once said about our boxed Christmas sets: “There’s not a sinker in the bunch.”
We love our readers and this 99c ebook set is our gift this holiday season.
Here’s another excerpt from Chelsea’s Christmas.
“Line one, a personal call.”
Chelsea was certain it was Keefe. So she was surprised when it was a woman’s voice.
“Chelsea Montgomery, I understand your father is not in the office. I’m sure you don’t remember me, but you probably know who I am. I’m Jenna Montgomery Sheller. I’m your mother.”
Chelsea swallowed and found her authoritative voice. “How may I help you?”
“I was hoping to meet you and your sisters while I was in town.”
Chelsea’s head spun. Bide time. She forced herself to smile because everyone says it comes through in the voice. “Where are you staying and how long will you be here?”
“I’m hoping to leave by Wednesday. I need to see your father, but I want to see my beautiful daughters. I’ve lived for so long without you. I’m certain that you’ve been brainwashed with some sort of story about me, but I never wanted to leave you.”
Chelsea noted the desperation in the woman’s voice.
“Chelsea, believe me when I say your father tossed me out and threatened me to stay out of your lives. He paid me off.”
The woman began to cry. Chelsea looked at the blue button on the phone that said the conversation was being recorded. If Chelsea didn’t tell the woman, it was considered an illegal recording. “Ma’am, this conversation is being recorded, there’s a device on our phone system that does it automatically.”
“Ma’am? Is that what I get? I bring you into this world and I get ma’am? I’m your mother. Omigod, I know he’s turned you against me. Who knows what he’s said about me. I had to leave my beautiful daughters, my babies.”
Another round of tears, and sniffling, along with a few wails came through loud and clear. Chelsea leaned her head into her fingertips as she placed her elbows on the desk.
Pictures that her father had kept of Jenna showed a young pretty woman. Of the three of them, Julia probably grew up to look the most like her birth mother. Chelsea wanted to hang up on the woman who had abandoned her father. But another part of her was curious about who this woman was, and why she wanted back into their lives after so many years.
She let the woman ramble, but some of what she said was disturbing. Could there be another side that her father had failed to tell them? When the woman paused, Chelsea took that as her chance to slide in a comment and see how the woman responded. “I’ve been told I look so much like my father.”
“Oh, you do! You did. You were his little clone when you were born. You are your father’s child, there’s no doubt about that!”
Chelsea wanted to ask who her father really was, but she kept her mouth closed and listened.
“When’s the best time to catch up to your father?”
“I have no idea. Where are you?”
“The hotel here in the downtown.”
Chelsea smiled. “I’ll be sure to tell him.”
“What about catching up with you and your sisters tonight?”
“Tonight is impossible on such sort notice. I’ll call them. Maybe we can do it tomorrow night. Let me have your phone number.”
“I’m in room 126. I’m so excited, darling. I’ve been waiting for years to see my daughters again.”
I’ll bet you have! “I’ll call you later.” Chelsea disconnected the line. She was on some sort of psychological trip and none of it was pleasant. Using her cell phone, she called her dad and left a message. Her second phone call was to Julia, and when that conversation ended, she called Melissa. They all had the same feelings. They were curious about this woman, but it was obvious that she never suspected that their father had the children’s DNA tested.
Chelsea pressed the intercom to connect with Carlie. “I’m taking this afternoon off. I have some family obligations to handle. I’ll be here in the morning.”
A few hours later, three sisters sat in Melissa’s house.
“Let’s do it!” Melissa was enthusiastic about the meeting. “Three cats and one mouse. She has no clue.”
“But what if some of what she’s said is true?” Chelsea protested.
Julia shook her head. “If she had wanted back into our lives, she would have done it before now. Dad said she went through the money in a few years. Something has happened and she’s looking for more money.”
Chelsea’s road to a happy Christmas is going to be a very complicated one. She has that big family behind her and a one man who truly loves her. But she has to live long enough to get through the next few weeks.