Advent Event Day 9

 Welcome to day 9 of the Advent Event! Please share this event with your friends. The more anthologies we can sell, the more money we can raise for the National Down Syndrome Society.

Purchase the book here: http://amzn.com/1479266248

Or visit this site for more information: http://adventanthology.wordpress.com

Here’s a look at the next two stories:

“Angels We Have Heard on High” by Marta O. Smith

Ann carefully unwrapped the tissue paper cushioning a blown glass angel.  She had been sorting through her mother’s things for a few days now, but this was the first thing that brought tears to her eyes.  The experts said there were several stages of grief:  disbelief, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.  She had been going through the grieving process for her mother for several years now, since Alzheimer’s had effectively taken her away.  To Ann, all that had died last week was the shell of a body where her mother used to live.  The personality, the love, everything that had made her mother who she was, had been gone for a long time.  A sort of numbness had carried her through the funeral, and up until now.
            It had been worse when her father died 10 years ago.  His death had been sudden and violent, the result of a drunk driver on an icy winter road.  Ann and her mother had been able to support each other through their grief.  Miraculously, the other driver had been fully insured and, also miraculously, one of her father’s childhood friends, a lawyer, had contacted them and offered to take their case, pro bono.  Between the large settlement he had negotiated and her father’s life insurance, Ann had been able to quit her job and move back home to take care of her mother, who had already been showing early signs of dementia.
            After her mother’s funeral, Ann had begun sorting and cleaning and giving things away, mostly to keep herself occupied.  Three green plastic storage bins full of Christmas decorations had been down in the basement, and on a whim she had lugged one up to the living room to look through it.  She had pulled out a few of the ornaments, and while looking at them felt a flood of happy emotions from her childhood.  Her mother, Miranda, and her father, Joe, had loved the holiday season.  Christmas had always been a magical time in their home, until the last few years.  But it was her mother’s collection of angel ornaments that opened the floodgate of emotions.  There were glass angels and ceramic angels, angels with wings made of hand-crocheted lace, some Styrofoam and felt creations Ann had crafted in grade school, and even several beautiful angels made of olive wood from her parents’ trip to Israel.

“White Christmas” by Madonna D. Christensen

Wrapped in a drab woolen quilt and standing on the straw-filled mattress he shared with his brother, five-year-old Israel scraped frost from the window and peered out. That snow had fallen in the night did not surprise him. Winter in western Siberia lasted through most of the pages of the calendar Papa had made. There might be snowfall for days on end, or drifting snow, icy snow, howling cyclones of snow, snow by moonlight, snow by daylight, snow on rooftops, or snow glistening on scrawny tree limbs when the weak sun found it. The whitened tundra stretched as far as Israel’s eyes could see. This morning, a path of trampled snow offered solid footing to a woman shrouded in a knit babushka and balancing a marketing basket on her hip. Israel squinted at something moving in the distance. Was it a horse-drawn sleigh, its merry bells cracking the frigid silence? More likely it was his imagination; for who in this village owned a sleigh—or even a horse?
The three room house Israel shared with seven siblings and Papa and Mama was a crude wooden structure. Burlap sacks covered the dirt floor, which wouldn’t feel warm again until long after the ground thawed. To escape the confinement of close quarters and endless, dark days, Papa regularly escorted the family to synagogue. As cantor, he hoped his prayers and readings temporarily eased the isolation and poverty all the villagers endured.

On a spring morning in 1893, Israel awoke to thundering hooves, to glass breaking, and fiery torches cast through shattered windows. Years later, his only recollection of what Papa called a pogrom was of lying on a blanket by the side of the muddy road, watching his burning home dwindle to an ashen skeleton. After the riotous Cossacks departed, the family had skulked away, moving quickly from town to town. Eventually, they emigrated to New York City.

It is the release day for another Christmas anthology of which my story is the headliner! If you purchase it today, you get all sorts of extra free prizes. The details are here: http://bit.ly/REQ2zu

And here a look of one of the prizes:

http://familyclassicseditions.blogspot.com/2011/11/red-house-mystery-by-aa-milne.html

View P15.png.jpg in slide show

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Advent Event Day 6

 Welcome to day 6 of the Advent Event! Please share this event with your friends. The more anthologies we can sell, the more money we can raise for the National Down Syndrome Society.

Purchase the book here: http://amzn.com/1479266248

Or visit this site for more information: http://adventanthology.wordpress.com

Here’s a look at the next two stories:

“Stars Were Gleaming” by Theric Jepson

Across the bay and beyond the hills from San Francisco, the city lights reduce to a dull orange glow behind a hill. Browning wild grasses blanket the gentle slope, and father and son lie together and look at the sky. Off to one side, the blinking lights of planes attempt to outshine the stars, but the boy ignores them, and remembering the question he always used to ask, says, “Where were you, Daddy?”
His father leans back on the grass and points to the sky. “Right there.”
“By those two stars there?”
“Could be.”
“‘Could be’?”
“It’s the right path, the right orbit—so I was definitely there at some point. It takes less time to get around the earth than it does to watch King Kong, after all.” They had just watched it together that afternoon—mostly he had wanted his son to see the dinosaurs. They’d spent the drive over here imitating Fay Wray’s classic screams.
“And Mom called.”
“That’s right. It was Christmas Eve—”
“It was Christmas Eve and you’d been in orbit for three days.”
“And Mom called.”
“And Mom called.”
Jack squirms under his dad’s arm as if he were still three and hearing this story every night before bed. “And she said you’d had a baby.”
“She said we were going to have a baby.”
“And that was me.”
“That was you.”
“Christmas baby.”
“Well, of course you wouldn’t be born till the end of summer, but yes. That’s why you’re our Christmas baby.” He smiles at how easily the old story’s form falls into place.

“What Child is This?” by Peg Russell

   It probably began the evening David opened the Christmas card from Lydia’s classmate in Bradenton. “Listen to this, ‘Since we won’t have the children around at Christmas, we decided to take a cruise so we wouldn’t be lonely.’ Now there’s a good idea. Why didn’t we think of that?”
   Lydia called back from the kitchen, “We haven’t had a single lonely day since you retired and we moved up here.” She brought two mugs of eggnog into their living room, set one on the wide arm of David’s recliner, settled into her recliner with the other, and reached for the day’s mail stack. “You wouldn’t want us to miss the church cookie exchange, or marching in the Christmas parade, or even bagging Toys for Tots would you?
   “Going on a cruise would mean driving or flying in the holiday traffic, boarding the dogs – and remember how restless you were on the ship during the Caribbean cruise that summer? Here you’ll be making your Christmas bread, we’ll go to the cantata and the candlelight service and the pageant.”
  “Good eggnog,” David replied.
   After supper, David cleaned up the kitchen, started the dishwasher, and took a cup of coffee into his study to read his email.
   Shop with a Cop will be Saturday, December 15. We will meet at the elementary school at 8am. Over $8,000 has been raised so far, and we are expecting to bring in between $3,000 and $4,000 more by next Saturday. The goal is to take 150 children this year so we need as many volunteers as we can get. Lunch is provided for the children and volunteers after the event. Please let me know if you plan on helping out. Merry Christmas.

And here a look of one of the prizes:

Toys Remembered, compiled by Madonna Dries Christensen

 View MDCback cover.jpg in slide showView toyscover.jpg in slide show

Although many toys and games are common to a particular era, each boy’s experience is unique. The locales in this collection represent a cross-section of America, as well as the Philippines, Canada, England, and Latvia. Some stories are poignant, others are humorous; some are serious, others are tongue-in-cheek; still others slip into fantasy or whimsy, or are creatively dramatized.

        The dictionary defines a toy as something a child plays with or uses in play. So, is a stick strummed across a picket fence a toy? When in the hands of children, do maple tree seed pods become toy helicopters? Was the old Underwood typewriter on which Nelle Harper Lee and Truman Persons (later Capote) pecked out stories, a toy? Must a toy be tangible, or might it be as weightless as a whisper secreted in a boy’s small fist? Keep an open mind.

        These reminiscences are not only about toys; they are about indoor and outdoor games and the arena in which they were played. In sum, this anthology is about boyhood. One writer called it, “The magic and wonder and marvel of that time of life; the simplicity and innocence of childhood.”

        Step back and enjoy the magic.

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