ABOUT LEE FORSE
Lee has lived in the Bowling Green area for 44 years and her children have grown up here. Those children have produced 10 grandchildren and all live in various parts of Ohio. During Lee’s working life she wrote plans and programs for individuals with handicaps. After she retired, she joined the Wood County Senior’s writing group which has given her the opportunity to write fiction and most especially to use humor. Writing these stories entertains her as much as she hopes they entertain others.
A CHRISTMAS STORY
Marj looked at the tree lying in the front yard, the tinsel on it’s braches blowing in the December wind and thought “oh, boy. Hope none of the neighbors are looking outside right now.” She watched her irate husband Dave who was now stomping back up the stairs to the front porch after throwing the tree in the yard and saw their three kids who were standing on the porch. Joan, eleven, was staring open mouthed at her father. Paul, nine, was standing with his arms folded and his lower lip out and quivering. Donna, eight was starting to cry and howl, “Daaaaad”.
Dave stormed back into the house and slammed the front door. Marj said to the children, “well, you brought this on yourselves.”
Joan asked indignantly, “what did we do?”
“How about whining for weeks about everything possible you could want for Christmas and now complaining and crying that what you will be getting is not what you want? And how do you know what your are getting, hm?”
“Joan told us!” exclaimed Paul.
“Yes you did! cried Donna.
“Well you said you wanted to know. You said you wouldn’t tell!”
Joan could not stand not knowing what she was getting for Christmas and every year no matter where her parents hid the presents, Joan would find them, unwrap them enough to see what they were, then wrap them back up. It had been apparent to her parents that this year she had also told her brother and sister what they would be getting and the presents did not live up to their expectations.
Dave and Marj on Dave’s limited teacher’s salary, had done their best to get presents they thought the kids would enjoy but they could not afford some of the fancy T.V. game systems and clothing that the kids wanted.
Marj went into the house and tried to talk to Dave who was sitting in the family room watching T.V. and was obviously still fuming.
“Honey”, tried Marj.
“Don’t talk to me now. I have had it with their grasping greediness! That is not what Christmas should be.”
“I know Dave. They have been horrible, but why throw the tree out?”
“I can’t take back their presents, but I can show them what I think of their attitude about Christmas! They don’t care about me! All I am is a paycheck to them! I don’t want to talk about it any more!”
Marj thought it was best to retreat for a while until he calmed down and go into the living room to sort through the lights and ornaments Dave had ripped from the tree.
Donna was still crying and Marj hugged her.
“Mom, we love Dad.” sobbed Donna.
“Ya Mom”, put in Joan, “if we just wanted a Dad with a big paycheck we would have picked out a lawyer or doctor or something.”
“That’s not funny Joan. You snooping into the presents is what started this,”
“Well, I just thought they should know that they weren’t getting what they wanted.”
“Joan, Christmas is not just about presents you know. It is celebrating the birth of Christ. That is what your father is so mad about. That you kid’s attitude is not right”
“But I wanted a Mario Brothers game!” exclaimed Paul.
Marj looked at them. “There are a lot of children in the world that don’t have enough to eat much less games.”
“But I still want the Mario Brothers” pouted Paul.
Marj just shook her head and went back to see how Dave was doing. He was not as red in the face and he was breathing quieter. “Honey, is it okay if I bring the tree in?”
Dave looked at Marj for a long moment. “I’ll get it. But I’m not putting in back up!”
“That’s okay. The kids and I will put it up.”
Dave brought in the tree and Marj made the kids help with setting it up and putting the lights and ornaments back on.
Marj informed Dave and the kids. “I want everyone to go to the 11:00 service tonight. It’s Christmas Eve and I think this family needs it.”
There was some grumbling, but in the end everyone piled into the Pacer and went to the service.
It was a beautiful service of bible readings about the birth of Jesus, singing Christmas carols and ending with everyone having a lighted small candle in a cardboard holder. On the way home, after the usual squabbling of who was going to sit where, the kids started singing carols.
When they got into the house, Marj asked the children, “Now do you understand about Christmas? You are not going to get all you wanted, but I don’t want any complaining tomorrow”
“Well I still wan….” started Paul.
Paul folded his arms then said “oh, okay.”
Donna hugged her father. “Daddy, we really do love you.”
Dave gruffly replied “ya, ya” but bent down and hugged Donna.
Joan hung her head. “I’m sorry I told them about their presents.”
The kids trooped upstairs and got ready for bed with the usual wail of Joan who shared a bedroom with her messy little sister. “Look at the mess you made and when Mom told us to clean up, you put it all under my bed so Mom would think it was my mess and not yours. Mooom. Mooom.”
Marj and Dave looked at each other and Marj laughed. “Like I wouldn’t know who’s mess it really is.”
They gave each other a hug and a kiss and Dave said “Merry Christmas Mooom.”
As Marj headed up the stairs to settle the dispute she had to shake her head at her family, every one of which cared deeply about what they wanted, argued strongly for how they felt, and were a loud passionate bunch. She just hoped that as they got older, compassion, sharing and living their faith would grow as strong. And it did. It’s funny how faith works that way, and the entire family loves telling the story of the year Dad threw the tree into the front yard.