Christmas in Garfield-- Part three. Terri

The noise of the crowded mall faded away as Terri circled the large tree. She studied the ornaments carefully, nodding, tapping her pursed lips with her finger tips. An even dozen, I think. Finally, after two full circuits around the tree, Terri began plucking white cardboard angels off the tree like a farmer picking apples. Once she had her harvest she retreated to the food court for lunch. With her burger and fries spread out before her, she dug a note book from her bag and began to make her shopping list.
Andy, age 12, Skate board.
Cassie, age 3, winter coat. Awww, a coat for Christmas, bet Santa brings you a baby doll too.
JoAnne, age 10, Skates. Terri made a note to add helmets and knee pads to both Andy and JoAnne’s package.
Hannah, age 3, Elmo doll.
Derrick, age 5, Foot ball. How about a ball and bat too, buddy?
Ronnie, age 14, Batman video game.
Crystal, age 12, this request consisted of a long list of books. Terri smiled, a girl after my own heart. I’ll make sure Santa hooks you up.
Mollie, age 7, a new sweater for my mama. Terri’s eyes swam with tears. Will do, baby, along with a matching one for you and a stuffed animal.
Hank. She sipped her soda and smiled at the sturdy picture the name alone drew in her mind. Hank, age 8, a puppy. Ouch. “Oh, Hank,” she whispered. “A dog?” With her chin propped on her fist she pondered Hank’s request. Santa would need to be extra careful with this one.  Terri wrote Hank’s name at the top of her list and circled it for special attention. Maybe one of those robotic things from Radio Shack.
Andrew, age 8, Legos.
Elizabeth, age 5, horsey. Terri rubbed her face. Another animal? At least this wish was easier to work with than the dog. She’d seen some stuffed rocking horses earlier in the month. Complete with bridle and galloping sounds when you rocked. Too cute!
Terri smiled when she turned over the final angel. Twins, a baker’s dozen. Shelly and Kelly, age 4, tricycles. Terri scribbled a note to give Callie a call. Benton better break out his tool belt. She was a pretty good Santa, but not much of a tool girl.
She looked at her list and did some mental math. A winter coat for all thirteen, stocking caps and gloves for all, along with a toy, requested or not. Thirteen stockings stuffed with candy and fruit. Terri would need Benton for more than tools this year, she’d need his truck to fill in as Santa’s sleigh.
The chair legs screeched on the concrete floor as Terri scooted back from the table. She studied the stores across the food court. Better get busy. Santa had a long list to fill.

A Garfield Christmas, part 2 Pam

How did you lose a three foot reptile? Pam shook her head as she restacked the Christmas gifts under the tree. “Jeremy, he’s not hiding under the tree.”
“Thanks, Mom. I’ll keep looking.”
“Yes, you will.” Goose bumps marched across the bare flesh of Pam’s arms. There was a slithering creature loose in her house. She shuddered. It could be worse, they could have agreed to Jeremy’s plea for a snake. Pam took a deep breath. Okay, not a snake, thank God, an iguana. A cold, scaly, beady eyed, bad tempered snake with legs.
Her son reappeared, dropping small pieces of romaine lettuce on the carpet in a trail from the kitchen to the empty terrarium in the corner of the enclosed back porch. Lizard central due to the direct sunlight the room received. Jeremy looked up and intercepted his mother’s frown. “Bait. Spot has to be hungry by now. Maybe I can lure him back to his cage.”
“You think he’s just going to climb back in?”
“He climbed out.”
“I live in a zoo,” she muttered. Two dogs in the back yard, a newly acquired cat, an FFA project in the form of a goat, and a lizard. The animals outnumbered the people, especially if you counted the dozen or so fish swimming in the aquarium. Were fish animals? How had this happened?
Pam faced her son with her sternest expression. “I’m going to bed. You will find that creature before you come upstairs. When Harrison gets home tomorrow night we’ll discuss Spot’s living arrangements.”
Jeremy crossed his arms and jutted his chin. “Yes Ma’am.”
She ran her fingers through her hair as she climbed the stairs. Before heading to her own room, Pam stopped to knock on her daughter’s door. “Megan?”
Pam heard the sound of something heavy sliding on the carpet behind the door. Said door opened just an inch.
“You barricaded the door?”
“Barricaded and towels stuffed under the crack. After a complete and thorough search, I can report that Jeremy’s missing beast is not in here and I intend to keep it that way. Reddy and want nothing to do with the slimy little nuisance.”
“He’s not slimy, just scaly.” Pam corrected.
“Okay.” Pam kissed her finger and touched it to her daughter’s nose. “Sleep well.” The door closed without further word and she laughed when she heard dragging noises again. “I really don’t think he would have climbed the stairs.”
She turned to her own room. The thought of spending another night alone made her shoulders slump, and it had nothing to do with the missing lizard. Harrison was hunting and would be back from his week in the woods tomorrow. Pam missed her husband. She changed into a sleep shirt, turned out the lights, and crossed the dark room.  Leading with her hands she pulled down the comforter and slid between the cool sheets. The nest of pillows at the top of the bed scattered as she tossed to make herself comfortable. Her out flung arm came into contact with cold scales. A pounding heart propelled her from the bed. Mystery solved.  “JEREMY!”
***This short post was taken from a personal memory. Yes, I found a pet lizard in my bed one winter night. What's the most surprising thing you ever encountered in a dark room.? Post your answer, or leave a comment over on Terri's page regarding the interview with Deb Raney and I'll register you to win a copy of Deb's book, Forever After. Be sure to leave a name and E-mail address so I can contact you if you win. If you enjoyed your visit, please consider becoming a member.***

A Garfield Christmas, Part 1 Callie

A couple of steps away from the tree gave Callie room to survey her handiwork. Lights twinkled, throwing prisms of reflected color from creases in the silver tinsel. She circled the seven foot evergreen and studied it with a critical eye, looking for bare spots still in need of attention. A tug on the braided garland here, an extra ornament there, and two hours from start to finish Callie breathed her approval into the room. “Just right.” Almost.
Callie’s gaze traveled from the tree, to the sofa, and the item she always saved for last. Her heart beat stumbled in her chest as she took a seat. She braced herself against a flood of emotions and pulled the worn tin box into her lap. Thirty five years had not blunted her grief. Thirty five years of hanging this final decoration on the tree had not made it easier. Thirty five years and her fingers still trembled as the lid came off the box.
Her hands were gentle as she unfolded soft blue flannel. Eleven months in storage had allowed the sterling silver to tarnish again. Callie shook her head and used the cloth to shine the ornament, rewarded as the metal brightened and began to reflect the red, green, and blue lights from the tree. A single tear plopped onto the surface as she worked. She ignored it, working the moisture into the surface where thousands of tears had gone before. Memories blurred Callie’s vision.
Their first Christmas as man and wife, just a few weeks short of their one year anniversary, opening their gifts from each other. Benton dancing a stuffed monkey across the top of her very pregnant belly. The piercing pain as she stretched to straighten the star on top of the tree. The shock of blood puddled at her feet. The assurances of her doctor that seven month babies could do “just fine”. Labor that lasted into the wee hours of the next day while Benton refused to leave her bedside. The precious hour she’d spent holding her baby as the light faded from his tiny blue eyes.
A shiver jerked her thoughts back to the present. The scent of pine had changed from pleasant to cloying. Callie shook it off and rose to face the tree. She stood on tip toe to place the final ornament high in the branches and gave the sterling silver bear a gentle nudge to bring the inscription into view. Gavin Wayne Stillman, December 26th. Her fingers traced the date. Just a day, less really.  “Merry Christmas, Angel.”

A special post for a special friend

When I was a little girl I loved Christmas and I believed in Fairy tales. I still love Christmas, but I thought I’d outgrown Fairy tales. That was before Linda Goodnight gave us her book The Christmas Child.
Fairy tales are back…
The Christmas Child has all the elements, all that's missing is the "once upon a time":
A pure and beautiful princess whose love will cure the broken hearted.
A handsome troubled prince whose faith is gone.
A child in need of a Christmas Miracle.
A Scrooge out to put an end to the Season’s joy.
And a town where the focus is still on Christ at Christmas, and the whole town loves it and no one protests it. What more could you ask for in a place called Redemption?
Read the book. You will believe again.
I’m giving away a copy of the book, but instead of an interview with Linda to comment on, I need your help.
Linda’s whole life has been dedicated to helping others. She has been a nurse, a teacher, and now a writer.
Linda suffered a personal tragedy over the Thanksgiving holiday. On top of that a close family member is battling a particularly vicious form of cancer. Linda and her family are holding onto Christ, believing for their own Christmas miracle. Will you help?
Please leave a verse of encouragement or a promise to join Linda in praying for the miracle they need. The Bible says that when 2 or 3 agree wonderful things happen. I think we can get lots more than that. In a couple of weeks I’ll give the book away and I’ll include all your verses and pledges to pray in a card to Linda. I know it will bless her and uplift the entire family.
Please click on the word "comment" below and leave a special message for Linda and her family. Every response is a chance to win the book.