Holiday Greetings

By: Lauren Spagnoletti

“Stand in front of the tree. Both of you. Get closer together. Stop touching your brother. Put your hand down. Not in front of your face! Stand still. Don’t touch the dog. Don’t look at the dog. Can you look at the camera please? BOTH OF YOU. Smile. Smile! Just STOP MOVING and SMILE! Wait, pull your shirt down—it’s up on the side. No, the other side. No come back here we’re not done yet. Stop. Stand still. Both of you look at me for one minute please. Smile! SMILE!”

 Happy Holidays from Our Family to Yours!

Mission Accomplished.

The 3 Magi

By: Megan Cramer

Three wise people had swiftly followed the lights down the road for almost a mile. It was worth the shortness of breath and sore legs. They arrived at the park, awed with the twinkling and glowing orbs surrounding them and the wisest amongst them led the trio to the grand finale, where they traipsed the suspension bridge into the trees. Thousands of lights hung from the sky, and colors and spots popped and dropped and surrounded and spun and moved all around them while Flight of the Bumblebee and John Williams classics blared in their ears. O Holy Night, indeed. 

No Kiss Tonight

By Ed Dzitko 

“She’s there, near the mistletoe,” Billy said. “Wow.”

“So… go over there,” said Al. 

“I can’t. Nobody takes mistletoe seriously. I’ve never seen a single mistletoe kiss.”

“So what? Billy, now’s your chance.”

“I don’t know. What if she walks away, Al, doesn’t step closer? People’ll see. I’ll be embarrassed the rest of the night.”

“Just go. Put an arm around her and lead her a step forward. Then give her a peck.”

“I don’t know,” said Billy, anxious now, sweat forming on his brow.

‘Bill, just go. Now.”

“Whew. I’ll go. Right out the front door. See ya, Al.”

Bubble Lights

By: Lauren Spagnoletti

There was a magic to it. The tree was so green. When the room lights went out, the bubble lights on the tree were particularly bright. (What were they filled with? And considering it was the 80s, were they even safe?)

My mother would spray a Christmas-scented room spray from Crabtree & Evelyn. (Christmas decidedly has a scent.)

My father would blast Christmas music from our stereo. If my mother had her way, it was Mannheim Steamroller.

There is a sadness about it all now. Those memories are a flash back to a time before it all crashed and burned.

Winter Spirits

By: Ed Dzitko

He peaked out from the doorway. Not a soul on the street, and too few cars moving far too slowly for any kidnapping and quick get away.

Strange, he thought. Did he imagine those screams? Possibly. But they were so real, so loud, so right outside the window. He looked down. No footprints, either. The snowflakes floated lazily onto the thick blanket already covering the sidewalk.

Again he wondered how something he thought so real could not have happened at all.

He shivered, turned, and headed in. Another brandy was waiting on the end table. Hm. “Did I pour that?”

They Stood

By: Ed Dzitko

They stood, the three of them, staring at the stump.

“It’s a shame we’re going to have such a lovely tree, and we’re leaving this where it used to be alive,” one of them said.

“A moment of silence,” said another. And they stood, longer and quiet, the sun casting a long shadow amid their legs.

I saw one brush a tear from her cheek. I watched longer, as they stood longer.

“Time to go girls,” their Dad yelled. I could hear the collective sigh.

“OK,” said the one who hadn’t spoken yet. And off they went, home to decorate.

The Stand-Off

By: Lauren Spagnoletti

We had been dating just a month. It was getting serious, and important elements of life kept creeping into our conversations.

At lunch, he joked that maybe I could convert to Judaism. I laughed. He wasn’t joking.

He said he would never, ever want a Christmas tree in his house. He didn’t understand why anyone would want such a huge piece of the outside to be inside their home.

I probably looked horrified at the suggestion that I never have a tree again.

We married about a year later. And he carried the huge tree four blocks to our apartment.

The Phone Call

By: Lauren Spagnoletti

“He’s dead,” my brother said, as the phone in his hand slid into his lap and he reached for his brow, his head bowed. My face went numb, and then my whole body felt warm. All my organs twisted, and I was aware that the first stage of grief – denial – was descending upon me.

He’s can’t be dead, I thought. I didn’t say goodbye.

Freefalling while sitting in an armchair is possible.

There was no flashback of life’s most precious moments. Just a void. And the slow realization flooding my veins that I could never call my father again.  

She Rage

By: Melissa Ratliff

The storm in her veins was raging and nothing she did would quiet its call. She needed the trees to root her and the sun to give her life renewed. Her pace quickened. Soon she was running, propelled by the urge to leave it all behind. Could she outrun it? The judgment, guilt, what ifs, expectations, imperfections, heartaches, never good enoughs? Reaching the summit, feet firmly planted on the rocky ledge, she let it all out. Her roar – long and fierce – called forth the winds and rains. Lightening sizzled from her wild hair as the earth trembled from her power.

*Painting by Sara Goodyear

Acknowledgy

By: Steve Fite

I’ve invented a word.  It’s called an “Acknowledgy.”

It’s when someone is supposed to offer an apology, but falls just short.  In fact, it sounds like an apology, but really they’re only acknowledging what that did.  

Let’s say, for example, you’re at a restaurant and the bill comes, and you see there’s a whiskey and potato skins you didn’t order adding another $25.  You point it out to the waitress and she looks right at you, not blinking, and lets you know that she did it on purpose, hoping you wouldn’t notice.

“Oh!  Yeah, I did.  Be right back.”

Acknowledgy.

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