Out From Under the Umbrella

playing in the rain


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A Christmas Memory

It was Christmas morning and Ruth was excited.  It was already daylight outside and Karen was still asleep.  How could she sleep?  Surely Santa was long gone by now!  So Ruth quietly climbed out of the bed they shared, tiptoed into the kitchen and peeped her little head around the kitchen door to see if she could spy what he had left.  What in the world?  That’s mama and daddy putting the gifts under the tree, not Santa.

Now, Ruth was only six, but she was no dummy.  Something wasn’t adding up here.  It hadn’t been that long ago that she saw that same little Singer sewing machine in the top of the closet at Ann’s shop.  When Ruth asked her about it then Ann told her she was storing it for a customer to give their daughter at Christmas.  She wasn’t foolin’ anybody.  That was Ruth’s sewing machine all along.

So Ruth tiptoed back to bed and climbed in and pulled the covers up.  She waited patiently until Karen woke up.  And by patiently I mean that she moved about and bounced the bed as much as she possibly could without outright jumping on it like a trampoline.  They got up and tore into the living room where there, under the tree, was that shiny new sewing machine, complete with thread and some scraps of fabric.

Ruth mentioned to Karen what she had seen, but Karen just passed it off.  She was ten so she knew better.  There was a Santa Claus and mama and daddy were not it.  We didn’t have a chimney, so Santa had to leave the presents outside.  Mama and daddy must have brought them in and gone back to bed.  That’s all.  Ruth had misunderstood what she saw.

No matter.  Ruth couldn’t wait to use that sewing machine.  It was a real one.  It plugged into the wall and really worked.  Mama and daddy awoke to the rather noisy sound of sewing.  Boy that thing was loud. Ruth had set that thing up on the table, threaded it, and went to town sewing those tiny scraps of fabric together.  She wanted to be just like Ann.  And now she was.  This was great!

There was just the matter of the whole Santa thing.  Ruth couldn’t get it out of her head what she’d seen.  And she wasn’t buying what Karen was selling.  Karen could go on believing that if she wanted to, but Ruth knew the truth.  A big man, in a red suit, delivering presents to all the kids in the world in one night?  No way.  But Ruth never mentioned what she’d seen to Ann and J.L.  She thought it would disappoint them if she knew the truth.  So she just let them play the game and she played right along with them.  


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Katie Makkai – Pretty

I had a good cry the other day.  Bruce over at Fallen From Grace replied to a comment I made and we traded stories about missing our mothers.  My mother did such a good job raising me. She was special in so very many ways. I never thought I was pretty. I was a tomboy to the core. Had freckles all over my face where I’d played in the sun all summer long. I hated them because the other kids picked on me at school, calling me “freckle face”. When I said that she always, always retorted, “A girl without freckles is like a night without stars”. She always thought all of her children were beautiful, even when we had jiffy store feet and mud on our faces. She made me feel pretty creative, pretty amazing, pretty intelligent. It took me 30 some-odd years and some help from the Tour Guide to finally get that message. That I am all these things just the way I am.  I still get a face full of freckles when I spend the summer in the sun.  Now when I see them in the mirror I see the beauty in them no matter what others see.  I loved her and I miss her.  I hope when I have children I make them feel pretty spectacular.