Friday, July 19, 2013

The Best Christmas EVER

It's Christmas in July!
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Welcome to the blog hop, graciously hosted by Jennifer Conners, Danica Winters, Sharon Kleve, and the Books to Go Now publishing group.  I am one of the newest authors signed to BTGN.  Everyone included in this hop is giving away a great prize.  You must comment to be eligible for the prize.  BTGN is raffling off Amazon gift cards.  I will give away a box of Montana Chocolate Company Chocolates (formally known as Charbonneau's)

So below is a short story about coming home for Christmas.  Enjoy the hop!

I was upstairs when the phone rang.  Rushing to answer it, I wondered who it could be.  One of my friends seeing if I had plans tonight, or possibly that gorgeous jar head I gave my number to at the Irish bar - if he wasn’t too drunk to have lost it.  In the age before caller ID, it could have been anyone.
“Hello, Dodo.” It was my mother.    “What time is it there?”
“It’s just after five.” I answered, stopping myself from saying 1700 as my military half would do.  I automatically did the math in my head, nine am in Montana.
We conversed with the usual questions.  Yes, work was fine.  No, I haven’t been drinking too much.  Yes, the weather is nice.  Of course, southern Spain had no seasons besides warm, hot, and hotter.  
For months, my parents had been planning on coming to Spain for a visit.  They wanted to see the beautiful beaches, taste the garlic and olive laced cuisine and the sun soaked sherry.  Mostly, they were concerned that most of the pictures I had taken of Spain were from the inside of a bar.
“Listen, about Spain...” I had the feeling that she had been holding back. “We can’t come.”
“What? Why?”
“It’s Rachel.”
My younger sister, Rachel, had been causing headaches for my parents for awhile now.  Out of us three girls, I thought I earned the moniker of rebel.  Imagine my surprise when a few months earlier I received a letter from my best friend congratulating Rachel on her marriage, and why didn’t I call her if I was in town.  Marriage?  After an angry phone call home, I found out that Rachel had run away and eloped with her scuzzy boyfriend - who we had named “The Schmuck.”  My mother insisted to keep me in the dark about the situation because they were hoping that it was just another one of Rachel’s “phases.”  Also, they feared that if they had told me, I would have hopped the first flight out of Europe and kick the schmuck’s ass.  Which I would.  See, rebel.
“What’s Rachel doing now?”
“She’s dropped out of college.” My mother sighed.  Her weary voice told of sleepless nights and days of hand wringing worry. “We’re afraid they are going to move out of state.  We might lose her...”
I could hear her stifle a sob.  Waiting patiently, I remained silent until she was ready to continue.
“So, instead of us coming to Spain, we would like to bring you home for Christmas, then maybe Rachel would come home, too.”

The next few months were a blur of filling out leave paperwork, finding a dog sitter, and trying to find any winter suitable clothes I had yet to get rid of.
We sent the word out that I was coming home for Christmas to everyone except my little brother, Jonny.  It would be great to surprise the little guy.
My flight landed in Great Falls near midnight.  Jonny would be fast asleep.  I snuck into the house, cringing at the excited yips and barks from our two schnauzers.
It was good to be home, having not stepped foot in the house for almost two years.  My mother informed me when Jonny would be up, and I should come up when he’s eating breakfast.
I didn’t need an alarm clock.  Jonny’s munchkin voice filled the quiet dark house.  I crept up the stairs, hoping the dogs wouldn’t give me away.  With his back to the entrance, Jonny sat at the round kitchen table, his bowl of Frosted Flakes in front of him, jabbering away about what he hoped Santa would bring him that Christmas.  I was amazed how well he looked.  After all his medical setbacks, he finally looked like a normal boy.  The scar from the life support was covered by his bright geometric sweater.  No longer teathered to oxygen hoses and medication tubes, he sat in his chair kicking his legs, his feet barely reaching the ground.
I slipped into the kitchen and stood a few feet behind him.
“Good morning.” I said.
My father looked up from his paper, giving me a toothy grin.  My mother stood next to Jonny in her pink fuzzy bathrobe, sipping from her industrial sized cup of coffee.
Jonny looked up at our mother and cocked his head to the side.
“I didn’t say anything.”
He looked at our father for answers, who only pointed to me, giggling with his silent hissing laugh.
“Good Morning.” I repeated.
Jonny swung around in his chair.  His eyes grew wide, made even bigger by his round coke bottle glasses.
“DODO!”  He leapt up from his seat.  He reached out, but stopped short.  So shocked by my presence, it was almost like he was afraid he was dreaming and if he touched me, I would disappear.
I grabbed him and pulled him in for a hug.
“What are you doing here?”
“I’m home for Christmas.”
He buried his head into me and held on tighter.  We all laughed with tears in our eyes.
“This is the best Christmas, EVER.” Jonny cried.

Later that afternoon, my older sister Stephanie came over.  She had a tape for me to watch, Mr. Bean.  After popping some popcorn, we sat down and popped the tape into the VCR.  In the middle of all the laughing, the phone rang.  My mother answered it.  Her expression fell, and we knew it had to be Rachel.
“But Dorothy’s home.” Mother said. “Yes, from Spain.  She’s here.”
My mother hung up the phone.  “She said she’ll see what she can do.”
We all sat in the silent room.  Tomorrow was Christmas eve.

The next day, we tried to keep occupied.  Christmas is always a marathon of cooking, cleaning, and wrapping gifts.  Our mother paced the house, wringing her hands, and muttering.  Our father helped the best he could by staying out of the way.
This was our last chance at getting Rachel to come home, show her that we still love her, try to convince her that she’s made a mistake by running off.  Also, it might be the last time we all could get together for Christmas as a family.  Who knows where the Navy will send me next, or when Stephanie get’s her masters, where will she end up?  It’s a bittersweet tragedy every family faces.  Parent’s clutching to the straws of their emptying nests.
We all got ready for Christmas Eve mass, when my mother ran down the hall.
“She’s here!”  
The front door squeaked open and we all ran to the top of the stairs.  Rachel stood in the entryway.  My jaw dropped at the sight of her.  Once a beautiful blonde, slim and tall, Rachel was the envy of all the girls in high school.  Now before us stood a broken version of her.  Her hair died dark purple, making her fair skin pale, almost translucent.  Her svelte figure hidden by a ratty oversized sweater and jeans.
What did he do to you, I thought, my anger rising.
“Hey.” Rachel looked up at us.  We descended upon her and took her in our arms.
“Rachel, you came!” Our mother cried.
“Yeah,” she squirmed in our group hug, “I’m home.”
“That’s all that matters.” Mother pulled away, wiping off her tears.  “We’re all here, now it feels like Christmas.”

Thank you for reading my story.  Go now and hop to the next one.

Click here for the next blog!

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Remember You Must Comment To Be Eligible for the Prize Drawing.


  1. Thank you for participating in the BTGN Blog Hop!

  2. Thanks for the giveway.

  3. Thank you for hosting another great Blog Hop!

  4. Yum! I love the idea of giving a chocolaty treat for the christmas blog hop! Thanks for the giveaway! My Christmas in July wish is for less stormy-rainy weather this summer. Kyla Patton- kamclauc AT gmail DOT com

  5. Thanks for the giveaway and joining in!!


  6. Thanks for the giveaway.
    magic5905 at embarqmail dot com

  7. Awww, that was just perfect for Christmas. That's the time for warm fuzzies and plucking on the heart strings.


  8. Yum Chocolate!

  9. great story
    thanks for the chance

  10. I love chocolate!!

    susanmplatt AT Hotmail DOT com

  11. I've got to say, I love chocolate too. :) Thank you for being part of the hop! heather1974 at gmail dot com

  12. Chocolate sounds amazing right now. Thanks for the chance to win!


  13. My Christmas in July wish is for a remodel of my house. Thanks for the giveaway!

  14. What a yummy gift! Thank you for offering it.
    Kimberly Comeau
    casey 4 4 6 at hot mail dot com

  15. Thanks for the awesome giveaway!
    dixiedukegurl2 AT yahoo DOT com

  16. So funny to read this in the middle of summer, but still nice :D
    Thanks for hosting!

  17. My christmas wish is for central air! These summer nights are unbearably hot!

    dreammie_angel at yahoo dot com

  18. I like participating in these blog hops since I get introduced to a lot of authors I have yet to read. I have added your name to my TBR list.

  19. Delicious gift! I welcome anything "wintery" in the summer heat. Thanks!


  20. Nah, thank YOU for providing a free story!

    supersatchmo at myopera dot com

  21. Thanks for the hop!

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  22. Aw! I love family reunions at Christmas!

    dancingcelt at gmail dot com

  23. OMG!! Chocolate!! Yummm. Thanks for hop and the great prize!! and Merry Christmas:)
    cc_clubbs at yahoo dot com

  24. Chocolate is one of the best gifts ever! Can't go wrong with that one.
    bournmelissa at hotmail dot com

  25. Thanks for the amazing giveaway!
    elizabeth @ bookattict . com
    Google +:: Book Attict

  26. Thanks for the contest.

    slehan at juno dot com

  27. CHOCOLATE!!!!! Thanks for the giveaway!

  28. I'm always up for chocolate.

    My Christmas in July wish this year is for an in-ground pool, so I can escape this crazy heat.
    Kathryn Merkel

  29. MmMmmmm Chocolate!
    Thanks so much for the opportunity!

  30. Hi! Chocolate! Yummy! :) Great post! Thank you for the fun hop and giveaway! :)