( Intermediate Level )
George and Martha’s sons had grown and moved away. So, for the past 6 years, they lived in a simple apartment in upstate New York.
Their first son, Barry moved to Connecticut as their other son, Greg, had moved abroad to Sydney, Australia. Each had made promises to come home at least once a year but their schedules kept them too busy to follow through with these promises.
Christmas, in the Romano home, was usually quiet. They would exchange one simple present with each other and have a small meal. Both in their sixties, they didn’t need anything.
Mattie, as her husband called her, always wished her boys would make it home for the holidays. She stopped asking about two years ago. She felt as if she was a bother to them.
George and Martha sat by the big window in the living room watching the snowfall. Christmas carolers, making their rounds on Christmas eve, could be heard in the distance. They knew they would, eventually, see them as they made their way through the neighborhood.
The winters were usually harsh in Buffalo so neither George nor Martha never ventured outside once the snow began to fall.
The telephone rang and George got up to answer it. The night air bothered Mattie. Her arthritis gave her a bit of trouble, making it difficult to move, when the temperature dropped.
Martha could hear George on the phone. “Yes. I see. Alright, that would be terrific.” He hung up the phone and headed back into the living room. “Who was that, Dear?”
“It was the city calling to tell us they would have someone shovel our sidewalk after it stops snowing.”
Martha thought for a minute, “But tomorrow is Christmas and we will not be going out. The workers should be home with their families. You should have told them they could wait a day.”
George looked at Martha, “It will be ok. They will be making much more money on the holidays.” She frowned at him for his remark.
Just as George sat down, the carolers stopped in front of their home and began to sing. “We wish you a Merry Christmas. We wish you a Merry Christmas. We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New year!”
Martha looked over and smiled at George. She looked back at the carolers and smiled, holding her teacup up in the air. It was the perfect end to a Christmas Eve.
George told a white lie to his wife. The phone call he received was from his eldest son, Barry. He had made plans with his brother to surprise Mom for Christmas. They both planned on being home on Christmas Eve but the airport in New York had a snow advisory so each of their flights was canceled.
The soonest the boys would be in was at six in the morning. They would catch a taxi cab and be home by half-past six. Barry had arranged for Christmas dinner to be delivered around two in the afternoon. Mom would not have to worry about not having enough food.
Usually, George was up at that time in the morning so he would have coffee brewing before they arrived. He slipped into bed next to Martha who had already fallen asleep. He turned off the bedside lamp and drifted off to sleep.
Like clockwork, George was up and started the coffee at five. He sat at the kitchen table looking out the window. The snow had stopped and the birds sat on the trees singing as they greeted Christmas day.
Martha never liked getting out of bed before seven in the morning so if everything went according to plans, her sons would be waiting for her in the kitchen as she would come in to get her first cup of coffee of the morning.
The sons arrived on schedule. They quietly walked in as they did not want to wake their mother. Hugs were exchanged and coffee poured. They sat at the table catching up on their lives.
It was getting close to seven and their mom would be getting up and surely be surprised. The anticipation was in the air. Tick. Tick. Tick.
“Merry Christmas George,” Martha as she headed out of the bedroom. “I slept so well last night. Did you leave me any coffee?” As she walked into the kitchen she stopped dead in her tracks when she saw her two sons standing there with enormous smiles on their faces.
Martha could not believe her eyes! Her boys were finally home, together, for Christmas! She held out her arms to give them both a huge bear hug. It was the best Christmas present ever.
“Now Mom, everything has been taken care of. Our meal will be here at two. Until then let’s just sit and enjoy the morning.” Barry made sure the day would be perfect.
Greg had sorted through old photos of all of them and had a special photo album made. Photos of them at different stages of their lives. They looked through this album over coffee and chuckled at some. Silly haircuts, first fish caught, birthday parties and not to forget Christmas photos.
On the front cover was a place for a photo with the label Christmas 2021 on it. “Mom, This is for the photo I will take of us today. You can remember this Romano Family Christmas where all of us were together again.”
Everyone gathered around the Christmas tree in the living room, the camera timer was set and this year’s Christmas memory was captured in a photo.
Dinner was a success. There was turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, broccoli, and apple pie. The boys had a few weeks off from school so they plan to be home until after the New Year.
Both George and Martha were very happy to spend the holidays, once again, with their sons. She couldn’t have asked for a better gift.
She sat drinking her afternoon tea and looked around the room watching her boys laughing and talking with their dad. She thought, “Old memories are cherished but new ones were made this Christmas for the Romano family.”
Written by: Angel
MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!
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promises – verb: guarantee
exchange – noun: giving and receiving
bother – noun: effort, worry, or difficulty
carolers – noun: person or people who sing
harsh – adjective: cruel, difficult or severe
ventured – verb: journey
sidewalk – noun: paved path for people
frowned – verb: an expression of disapproval
white lie – noun: harmless lie
advisory – noun: official announcement
arranged – verb: organize or make plans
brewing – verb: making
bedside – noun: space next to a bed
clockwork – noun: routine
poured – verb: flow from one container to the next
stopped dead in (her) tracks – idiom: to stop suddenly
album -noun: a book for pictures or photos
captured – verb: show or record
cherished – verb: treasure or adore
Question ( s ):
Do you have any special holiday memories?
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