Word Count 405
The tree was set in the great room. Tonight, they would decorate it. They, his family, together, home for their first Christmas.
There’d been trees before, but this was the first time is so many years these ornaments had been unpacked. He’d brought them from the attic. There weren’t many; a few Catherine had brought with her, others he’d purchased with Maria at his side. He picked up the string of delicate silver bells. They’d delighted his toddler; he’d run by the tree and set the string of bells tinkling. But now it seemed time had corroded the bells and stilled the tiny clappers. But a little polish and at least they’d shine on the tree for the first time in many years.
At first, Johnny was hesitant about what he was supposed to do to decorate a tree; there’d been no such ritual in his life in Mexico. But a few cups of spiked eggnog, his family, the laughter, and he found the spirit to hang the ornaments and strings of popcorn Teresa had strung.
Johnny picked up the string of silver bells, a memory of holding them whispering to him.
“Murdoch, these were on our tree,” Johnny said, a look of wonder lighting his face.
“Yes, they were.” Murdoch felt his heart catch; that Johnny remembered something from so long ago, that he remembered something of Lancer, was a gift Murdoch hadn’t expected. “They don’t jingle anymore, but still pick up the light.”
Johnny gently placed the string on bells on the tree, just at the height to brush them as he walked past the tree.
The tree was trimmed, the delicate blown glass ornaments shining in the light of the fire, the silver bells twinkling. Murdoch told stories of each of the ornaments Catherine had brought with her from Boston and of picking out decorations with Maria. He sat in his chair by the fire and watched his children ready the house for Christmas. They laughed and talked into the night.
“I don’t know about the three of you, but I’m going to turn in.”
Murdoch rose from the chair.
Johnny stood and stretched by the fire.
“The tree looks good, Murdoch.” And as he walked past the tree, he brushed the silver bells, and they chimed, the sweet musical sound the echo of years past, the sound of the holidays to come.
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4 thoughts on “Silver Bells by Christine”
Sweet and well-written.
Again that you for commenting. I think this story may have been in response to a Christmas challenge. You may have guessed that Anderson’s “The Little Match Girl” was the inspiration – but this story has a happy ending.
I enjoyed reading this again, Christine. Thanks for sharing it with us. Terri
Sweet that Johnny remembered something from his childhood.