Christmas Cheer Day 13, a scene from A Christmas Wish by JoAnn Swearingen
JoAnn and I have traded critiques over the years, and I love her writing and artwork. (See sample below of her holding a prize-winning picture she painted of her daughter hanging an ornament on the Christmas tree!) This passage below from A Christmas Wish brought an “Aww” from my lips when I got to the end of it. Hope she gets this book published so I can read the rest of the story. Now, here are JoAnn’s thoughts about Christmas:
Christmas brings out the child in all of us–the wonder, the excitement, and anticipation of the season. We look forward to nativity scenes, Christmas lights and decorations, giving and receiving gifts, and a candle light service at church. This scene is part of a romance I’m working on titled A Christmas Wish. I pray for all of you a joyous holiday as we share the story of the birth of our Lord and Savior. JoAnn Swearingen, author and artist.
Scene from A Christmas Wish
. . . Emma and Talon circled the tree, clapped their hands, and squealed. Another scene, decades ago, flashed into my mind. The week before Christmas when my Mom brought the family tree home. She would wrap cotton around the stand and then place the evergreen on the counter. The counter separated the kitchen from the living/dining/bedroom area in the small trailer we lived in. The angel topper touched the rounded ceiling.
Then she brought out the magic—the lights, which she had hidden in a cupboard in my parents’ room. We weren’t allowed to touch anything in their room, so we saw those lights only once a year.
They had round bases, like old-fashioned lamps, and tiny chimneys. Colored fluid bubbled up when the lights were plugged in. Mom draped the string around the tree, and we helped fasten the thin metal clips to the branches. The scent of fresh pine reminded me of the outdoor books I read and enjoyed—Lassie Come Home and Jack London’s Call of the Wild.
We would turn off the overhead bulb and watch green, red, yellow, and blue lights flicker like stars. When we finally had to put down the folding dining table to make a bed, my sister, brother, and I begged to leave the tree on. Mom would give in. I suspected now, years later, the tree was really Mom’s tree. She never mentioned celebrating Christmas at my grandparents’ house. Grandpa thought Christmas was a waste of good money.
As a child I stayed awake most of the night listening to the gurgle of colored gas floating up the stems. I thought about the present I would receive on Christmas morning. Mom would ask us what one thing we wanted and sure enough that was what we found under the tree.
The year I turned nine I asked for a Bible. Mom mentioned she had read both the Old and New Testaments when she was in the eighth grade, and I thought I wanted to do the same.
Christmas morning the Bible was all I found with my name on it. No toys. Nothing but what I asked for. I turned the little mahogany –colored book over and over in my hands while I watched my brother play with the toy he wanted. My sister, who was older, asked for a blouse, which she modeled for us. I sat with my Bible and felt the pangs of growing up. But I didn’t want to grow up. I wanted Mom to care enough to know my heart and tuck a toy or small doll in my package as well as what I’d asked for.
My heart still ached for the little girl I was then.
Emma and Talon snuggled into my lap. I held them close, and we watched the tree lights twinkle.
“What do you want for Christmas, Mommy?” Emma asked.
Words have always fascinated me. However, a third grade teacher and my Dad inspired me to be an author. Nancy Drew Mysteries and later Mary Higgins Clark’s books hooked me on mysteries and suspense. My Dad grew up in an orphanage and couldn’t read or write. So I was thrilled to go to school and learn how. However, words and books didn’t connect for me until a third grade teacher read to us everyday after lunch.
All my life I’ve found ways to express myself either through writing or art. Even my paintings tell a story. I’m a former freelance photo-journalist, college writing professor, newspaper feature editor, managing editor, and have written articles for national and international magazines. In fiction, I am a finalist in the Tony Hillerman Mystery Writers competition. I hold a Master of Arts degree in English and Literature and have extensive training in oil and pastel painting.
I am the South Central Kansas area coordinator for ACFW, belong to the SouthCentral chapter, member of Oil Painters of America, and Kansas Academy of Oil Painters. My life verse—“I will instruct you says the Lord and guide you along the best pathway for your life; I will advise you and watch your progress.” Psalms 32:8 The Living Bible
Suspense & mystery with a twist of humor