Saturday, December 22, 2012

Merry Christmas! Here is a Christmas treat...

“The Star on Pebble Stone Avenue” 

The leaves, the crisp air, the breeze, and the acorns were all gone. Autumn was gone. It left behind winter, a cold, bare season. The only thing to be hoped for on those icy days was Christmas.
The Public H.C. Harris House for Orphans was full of enthusiasm. Everyone was looking forward to the holidays. The orphan girls dragged down from the attic boxes of all shapes and sizes filled with holiday decorations. The orphan boys tried to prop up the eight-foot-tall pine tree in the parlor.
Alas! This was no ordinary pine tree. This tree was to be decorated by the girls with homemade ornaments. It would be lit up with candles. A silver star made of shiny paper would top it. This was a Christmas tree!
No one is sure how it became a tradition, but it had been a tradition in The Public H.C.Harris House for Orphans as long as the old servants could recall, that who ever found the silver star first in the boxes would be the one to put it on the top of the tree. The children were now searching wildly.
“Mr. Harris, Junior, I found it! I found it!”screamed a little girl named Flora.
She waved the star over her head. The boy behind her patted her back and murmured his congratulations. She beamed. 
“Good job, Flora! You have found it,”declared Mr. Harris Junior giving one of his rewarding smiles.
Mr. Harris, Junior, did not smile often. When he did, he looked happy and friendly, otherwise, he gave people the impression  he was a stern, angry man. This was not all together true. Mr. Harris, Junior, had taken lead of the orphanage after his father died because he had seen it as his duty. He had come to love the children; although, no one knew it. He hardly knew it himself. The man was sensible and fair. He was warmhearted. Of course, he could be stern when it was necessary, but more often than not, he seemed sterner than he meant to be. Of all his faults, like everyone, he had many, his worst was not smiling enough.  
The girls were covering the tree with ornaments. They hung tiny bells.  Then they wrapped ribbons around the tree.  The boys brought the string of gold beads and draped it over or under each branch. An older girl came holding the candles and bade everyone to hang them on the tree. The little children proudly hung up the ornaments they had made. During all this, Flora protectively hugged the star in her arms and watched the decorating earnestly. Mr. Harris, Junior, picked her up. He walked to the tree, and lifted her higher and higher until she could reach the top. Her eyes shining and her face glowing with pleasure, Flora placed the silver star on the top. She gazed at it for a moment.
“What does the star mean, Mr. Harris? What does ‘Christmas’ mean?”asked Flora softly.
“Christmas is all about having a good time. The star is a tradition!” Mr.Harris, Junior, laughed and placed her back on the floor. 
At that moment a visitor appeared in the door way.
“Merry Christmas, darlings! Remember me? Mrs.Cream! There is frost on the windows! I came to bring your Christmas presents and take one of you to my house for the holidays!”announced Mrs.Cream.
Every child raced to her and formed a sloppy line. Flora was at the end. When Flora received her present, Mrs.Cream urged enthusiastically,
“Here is the last present I have. Open it, dear!”
Flora obeyed. Once opened, she stared at the gift dolefully for a moment. It was a plastic toy truck. The other girls got dolls, but she had received the last present. 
“Christmas is the best time of year! It is about family. All of my presents are special because of the people that gave them to me! Without my family, Christmas would have no purpose in the end.”Mrs.Cream cried,“Were you saying something, dearie?” 
“Thank you for the gift.  Did you mean that the reason...”Flora sighed“...we celebrate the holidays is because of family?”
“That is what Christmas is all about!”Mrs. Cream stated.
Flora slipped out of the parlor. She trudged toward the school room. The house was shabby and old. The floor boards whined against her light step. She tried to tiptoe into the school room as quietly as she could.  There she slipped onto the window seat to think. 
What does Christmas mean? Is it just about family? I have no family! Does that mean Christmas is only a holiday for people who do? If Christmas is just about having fun with your family what is the point of us orphans celebrating Christmas? We are all alone. 
Curling up in a ball to stay warm, Flora pressed her nose against the frosty window pane. 
I have nothing ... except a silly truck. That present is not special. It was not meant for me. 
“Flora! You are crying!”gasped someone from above her.
Flora peeped up. She saw her teacher, Miss Molly. Flora wondered what to say.
“I like your sweater,”she commented absentmindedly.  
“I love dressing up for the holidays. My sister gave this to me one year for Christmas,”said Miss Molly with a little laugh.
Miss Molly loved to laugh. Once she had told a friend it was her favorite thing to do. It was. She was hardly ever glum.
Now she stared at Flora, and her smile faded away. 
“Teacher, is Christmas about family? Is that the point of it? What about me? I do not have a family, I am all alone on Christmas!”Flora whispered.
Miss Molly frowned, “No, you are not! Christmas is about Jesus who came to Bethlehem as a baby. He was born in a stable, and the only crib He had was a manger. You have Jesus. That means you are never alone. He came to us as a child...”
“So He could die for us, Teacher? Christmas is celebrating His coming?”Flora looked overwhelmed. 
“Yes, He came to the earth for you even though you live all the way down on Pebble Stone Avenue in a big orphanage. He loves you. The wise men followed a vibrant star to see the baby King. They knew it was no ordinary star and they were right!”Miss Molly grinned.
“Then that is what the star means! The star on the Christmas tree! Then Christmas is for everyone. Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas, dear Teacher!”sang Flora as she covered the teacher with kisses, and Miss Molly giggled.
Flora skipped back to the parlor. She stared up at the silver star. Her eyes sparkled as she thought to herself, The star of Bethlehem led the wise men to Jesus. Thank you Jesus, for coming to die for me. 
  Fall was gone. Snow, whirled around outside. The few people who went by Pebble Stone Avenue would often catch a glimpse of a Christmas tree through the front window of  The Public H.C.Harris House for Orphans. Somehow, it looked significant; And those who stared long enough just might have caught a glimpse of a silver star.


Thursday, December 6, 2012


"The First Journey"

Point Two

Out from behind the bush, a savage soldier stared at them. Hoe leaped forward and poked the man in the stomach with a stick.

"None of that, little boy," commanded the stranger.

Hoe stopped and peaked up at the man. Hoe was trembling because to him he had just done the bravest thing he had ever attempted to do before. This man looked like a giant to Hoe.

"I am Sir Icmath. I do not plan on hurting either of you children. In fact I think I can use you," the knight explained.

"You look like one of the knights who destroyed my village," cried Brenda her voice trembling from anger and fear.

"I know. I ran away from them," Sir Icmath said solemnly. "They are evil men trying to gain power. I was brought up as one of them. Did I like it? No, I hated that life. I have at last escaped. I have a plan, and I will need your help."

"Can we trust you?" asked Brenda staring at the tall man doubtfully.

Sir Icmath laughed, "You do not have much of a choice."

Hoe stomped and shouted, "Hoe won't help!"

Sir Icmath glared at Hoe and turned back to Brenda, "Explain to that boy that he does not have a choice. Hurry! We need to go on our way."

"What do you mean?" Brenda frowned at Sir Icmath.

"Were going to the City of Fire.  That is where head quarters are," Sir Icmath stated sternly.

Sighing heavily, Brenda nudged Hoe and mumbled, "He is right. We have no choice."

Hoe trailed behind them without a word.

"What is you plan?" asked Brenda addressing the soldier. "Are you planning on gathering a troop or something?"

Sir Icmath laughed again, "There is only one way to defeat this group. They have one weakness."

"What is that?" Brenda sighed.

"They are not used to being surprised. They are used to surprising others. Headquarters is underground. A troop of thousands of people could not defeat them. A troop of one person could," declared Sir Icmath thoughtfully.

"You are that one person," Brenda guessed.

"Nope," the big knight grinned, "You are."

to be continued 


If you like paper dolls or have little sisters that love them like I do, this is the place to go...

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

"The First Journey"

Point One

Brenda carried all her belongings in one sack. She stared up at the sky and gazed at the large mountains. She was leaving. Leaving her home in Dusk Town. She had to go. This valley, which had once been so amazing, was now bare. Her home was smoldering in the dust. A terrible army had attacked them... she knew nothing about the barbarians who had torn her town to pieces. All she knew was they were evil.

Suddenly she heard a whimper. The sound was so faint she could hardly make it out. Hope soared in her heart. Maybe she was not all alone in this destruction. Could someone else of survived? Silence. She pushed herself to her feet. It had been her imagination.

The sun was peaking out from behind the mountain top. Time to move. Brenda walked carefully around a broken chair and down what had once been a dirt road.

She heard a whimper. This time it was louder. Brenda walked faster toward the sound. She found herself staring face to face with a little boy.

He was muddy from foot to toe. He stared at her and blinked.

"Are you alright?" asked Brenda.

The boy whimpered and held up his tiny hand. It was bleeding.

"It is just a scrape,"Brenda murmured.

The child nodded and let Brenda wrap her handkerchief around his fist.

"What is your name?" asked Brenda curiously.

"Name is Hoe," declared the boy staring up at Brenda, "Where Ma?"

"Your Ma is gone Hoe. You better come with me. This place is no home for you anymore," Brenda said gently.

"Big mean knights take Ma? I want Ma!"shouted Hoe.

"Hoe, you have to come with me!" Brenda stated grimly.

"Hoe wait. Ma come. Ma always come," cried Hoe glaring up at Brenda.

"Hoe, your Ma is not coming back! You have to come with me!" stormed Brenda.

Hoe shook his head, "Hoe be good. Hoe wait. Ma come."

"Hoe, your Ma is not coming back! She is dead," Brenda said.

She took Hoe's hand and pulled him. He was strangely quiet. He let her tug him down through the rubble and into the forest. She did not look back. She could not. Her home was ruined. Now she would start a new adventure. Her heart ached, but she was going to be brave. She would find the City of Fire and start her new life there.

"Hoe stop. Hoe is tired," said the little traveler beside her.

Brenda groaned, "Hoe, you have to understand. We have hardly started. If you come along you have to keep up."

"Hoe not want to come," said Hoe.

"I could not have left you there alone,"growled Brenda.

"What big mean knights want? " Hoe asked bluntly.

Brenda shrugged her shoulders, " You sure do talk a lot for being so young. I do not know what they wanted. All I know is they are evil."

Something moved in the shadows and a great voice snarled, "I know who they are. They are evil alright!"

to be continued

Saturday, December 1, 2012

“Minnie Grey Goes To Tea”

By Madeline Fiol

On the top of a hill was a house as large as the city chapel. In the time when houses had names, it was called Thorn Brook after the thorns on the rose bushes that surrounded it and the brook, which rippled around the hill. Everything about the house was big and boring except for Minnie Grey Binds. There was nothing dull about Minnie Grey. The brown haired, green eyed, short little girl was always braving problems and having adventures. Mr. and Mrs.Binds, who were the owners of “Thorn Brook” and parents of Minnie Grey, never knew what to expect from her. Minnie Grey’s nannie Sally Dedrin always expected the worst.
“Minniegretta,”Sally cried one morning calling Minnie Grey by her real name. “You always forget to curtsey when you see someone.”
“Isn’t waving just as polite?”Minnie Grey asked. “I would rather wave then curtsey. It is more fun.”
“If you did as you were told you would curtsey,”grumbled Sally glaring at the little girl. 
“I am sorry Sally. I try to remember to curtsey, but it is not the same!” Minnie Grey gave a wistful sigh. 
At that moment Mrs. Binds marched into Minnie Grey’s room. She towered over her daughter and wore a unsatisfied frown as a child wears a new outfit they are proud of.
“Minnniegretta, I have news!”declared Mrs.Binds grimly. “Mrs. Paris has invited you and I to tea.”
Minnie Grey gave a huge smile, “ Will she have sugar cookies and chocolate cake and raspberry scones and lemon curd?”
“Minniegretta, can you not think of anything else but sweats?”Sally shook her head. “Mark my words, it would be a mistake to bring that rascal to Mrs.Paris’s tea party.”
Mrs.Binds stared at Sally, “ I will not mark your words! After all, what could my innocent child do to cause trouble? What nonsense Sally Dedrin! I will decide if Minniegretta will go. I do not need your cruel warnings!”
“Mrs.Binds, make your own decision. I would not want to get in your way. I was only giving some of my advice, but I see it was not wanted,” said Sally feeling insulted.
“The tea is in an hour. I want Mrs.Paris to see what darling little girl I have. See that she is ready in half an hour,”after she said this Mrs.Binds wasted no time in sweeping away.
She left Sally looking down angrily at Minnie Grey and Minnie Grey staring back at her with wide eyes full of excitement. 
“Go fetch a dress to wear! Do not spill lemon curd on it whatever you do!”Sally told her.
Minnie skipped to her closet feeling very happy. She chose a dress the color of a sunny sky and said,
“You do not have to worry, Sally! I will be so good and make you and Mother so happy!”
“Now Minnie Grey, you cannot twirl or laugh or shout during the tea!”Sally reminded her a little more patiently. 
“Oh Sally!”sighed Minnie Grey in dismay. “Those are all the fun things that I like to do.”
“ Just the same, you must not do them,”snapped Sally sharply as she buttoned the back of Minnie Grey’s dress. “Please do not tell Mrs. Paris about your fort you made, the snake you saw, and the dress you ruined when you were visiting Kate and Charles last. I died of horror when you kept babbling off to the minister’s spouse last Sunday.”
Minnie Grey gasped and gave Sally a look of amazement, “ You died? You can die of horror? I cannot. I tried once and nothing happened! I think it is good you came back to life. What made you die, did you say?” 
“Minnie Grey, you cannot talk like that!” protested Sally.
“Like what? I am happy you came back to life. If you had died for good I do not know who would have buttoned my buttons. I can never reach them myself. How do you button your dress? I have tried so many times but I never can!”Minnie Grey complained. “I know what it is! You must have magic fingers!”
“Who taught you about that sort of nonsense? That is ridiculous!”Sally grumbled.
Minnie Grey stared at Sally with surprise, “You yourself taught me about magic. I like to pretend it is real. It is fun!”
“Minnie Grey, you have to remember your manners when you go to tea. You forgot to say thank you last time,”Sally reminded her.
For a while they went on like that while Sally brushed Minnie Grey’s hair and braided it like Minnie Grey always begged her to. Minnie Grey felt important. She had been invited to a real tea party. To her it seemed like a long time before Mrs.Binds came and they started walking to Mrs.Paris’s house. (When you live in a small town you can walk every where) As they traveled Mrs. Binds asked cooly,
“Will you be a good baby-girl for Mother?”
“Mother, you do not have to worry. Remember I am not a baby. I will act like an old lady,”declared Minnie Grey smoothly.
“Do you mean a young lady, my dear?”Mrs. Binds questioned her eyes faintly glimmering with amusement.
“No, I mean old lady. Old lady sounds more important. Old ladies are always so sweet and happy. At least the ones I have met,”returned Minnie Grey.
When they got to Mrs. Paris’s house they were led to the dining room. There they found a table set with a blue willow tea set. Already sitting in her chair, Mrs.Paris smiled at them with two twinkling blue eyes. She greeted them and watched as they sat down. She first said to Minnie Grey,
“What a charming necklace you are wearing!”
“Thank you! My father gave it to me. He did not say a word when he gave it to me, but he smiled really big. Usually I hate to wear jewelry, but I like to wear this!” Minnie Grey said proudly. 
“Let me help you put sugar in your tea!”Mrs.Paris offered and not waiting for an answer put a spoon full of sugar in to Minnie Grey’s cup.
Thinking a moment, Minnie Grey said suddenly, “Thank you, but I can do it. Why use a spoon when you might as well just...”she graved the sugar bowl and dumped all the sugar into her cup“...might as well just put it in like that. You were very kind, but I think my idea worked better! Is something wrong Mother?”
Mrs.Bin’s face had gone white, “That was to much sugar.”
“Oh! I thought it was all for me. Well, at least I figured out a faster way to put sugar in a cup,”murmured Minnie Grey optimistically. 
When Minnie Grey asked for something to eat, (she made sure to ask politely) Mrs.Paris gave her three cucumber sandwiches. They were green. For along time Minnie Grey could only stare at them in dismay. She mustered enough courage to eat one little bite. Whatever it was, Minnie Grey did not like it. 
“Eat quickly, my dear, I have cinnamon scones as well!”Mrs. Paris cried.
In a very low tone Minnie Grey said, “It tastes slimy.”
Mrs. Paris smiled uncomfortably, “I suppose it does.”
“Slimy is not what Minniegretta meant to say! I think she meant to say...splendid,”stated Mrs. Binds sharply. “Right, baby girl?”
“It tastes funny,” said Minnie Grey a little louder.  
“I think she said sunny,”Mrs.Bind declared quickly.
“Yes, of course!”agreed Mrs. Paris,“I hope sunny sandwiches are good.”
Minnie Grey looked from Mrs. Paris to Mrs. Binds puzzled. At last she retorted,
“I do not think sunny sandwiches are good. I do not like them.”
“If you do not like them you do not have to eat them,”Mrs.Paris said.
“Oh thanks!”Minnie Grey jumped up to hug Mrs.Paris. 
As she did so, she shook the table, and Mrs. Paris’s beautiful blue willow cup fell to the floor. It shattered. No one ever found out what Mrs. Paris would have done if Minnie Grey had not ran to her strangled her into one huge bear hug. 
“Oh Mrs. Paris! I did not mean to! I did not mean to! I am so sorry! Will you ever be able to forgive me? I will do anything!”No one said a word as Minnie Grey fumbled to unhook her necklace. “I will give you my necklace if it will make you happy! I will!”
“Of course you did not mean to! Keep your necklace, dear. I can buy another tea cup. I was very angry at you for a moment, but how could I be angry with you for long. Mrs. Bins you must never come again without bringing this sweet young lady,”Mrs.Paris smiled.
Minnie Grey slowly whispered, “Do you mind calling me old lady? It sounds nicer.”
Mrs. Paris raised an eyebrow, but from then on she called Minnie Grey the dearest little old lady she ever knew.
And as they were leaving Minnie Grey asked Mrs.Bins,
“Can’t you not wait to go back next time?”

The End