Okay. I know this is a Christmas story. But look, wouldn't you rather read it in Feb., than in April or something? So I decided I would get this one out of the way, and then do some other ones. This one is also the most recent story I've written (but I'm currently working on another mystery :-). So, here goes!
A Snowy Christmas
I smacked the beeping alarm clock. Why did it have to be morning already? Then, I suddenly remembered. I opened my eyes and jumped out of bed. Sure enough, the late night forecast had been right. Tiny snowflakes fell to the ground outside my window. I gave a leap of joy.
“Kalin! Breakfast!” I threw on my robe and bounded down the stairs. I ran into the kitchen and plopped into a chair.
“Did you see the-“
“Snow. Yah, we saw it,” Robby, my ten year-old brother finished. I shot him a look.
“Has it snowed up where Grandma and Grandpa are?” I asked, pouring a glass of milk.
“Yes, there’s quite a lot of snow,” Dad answered. “I just hope we can get there without any trouble.”
We were spending Christmas with my dad’s parents, who lived about six hours away. Maybe it would be a white Christmas!
“Cool,” Robby exclaimed. “Maybe we can build a snowman!”
“What time to we leave, Dad?” I asked. I waited as he sipped his coffee and put down his paper.
“As soon as we clean up breakfast, grab the suitcases, and warm up the car,” he smiled, tugging on a strand of my messy brown hair.
“Make way,” Mom said, setting a pan of bacon and a bowl of perfectly cooked eggs on the table. Robby grabbed a piece of bacon and tossed it onto his plate.
“Got any ketchup?” All eyes landed on him.
“On bacon?” we cried. He looked around.
“What?” he asked. “It’s good!” I rolled my eyes. Typical ten year-old brother. Always smothering something in ketchup.
After the dishes had been cleared, I headed up to my room. I threw on a dress, some socks, and grabbed my coat out of the closet. I brushed my hair and slipped on my shoes. I looked at the calendar that hung on my bedroom wall. Only one more week till Christmas. It would be great to see Grandma and Grandpa again. And to be able to spend an entire week with them!
I looked around the room, trying to think of anything I might have forgotten while packing yesterday. I ran through a mental checklist. Nope, I hadn’t forgotten anything. I grabbed my hat and gloves from my dresser. I looked at the calendar again. There was a picture of two kids sledding down a hill. Sledding. The word seemed to stand out in my mind. Sledding. Then it hit me like a bucket of ice. Duh! The sled! How could I forget such an important thing?
“Come on, Kalin!” Mom called from downstairs. I grabbed my two suitcases and headed out the door.
“Coming!” I called. I struggled all the way down the stairs, feeling like I weighed 200 pounds with my fluffy coat and overstuffed suitcases. I followed Mom out to the station wagon. Dad was in the driver’s seat, with Robby on his lap. They honked the horn.
“Come on, slow pokes!” Robby laughed. I piled my suitcases with the rest in the trunk.
“I forgot the sled,” I said. “I’ll go around and get it.” I trudged around the side of the house, and to the shed. I opened the rusty door and looked inside. Somewhere beneath all this stuff, was a blue sled. Somewhere. I sighed and started digging. I went through tons and tons of junk. Of course at the very bottom, I found the sled. It lay there, probably untouched since last winter. I grabbed it and threw everything else back in. I squeezed the door shut just as the Dad honked the car horn. I raced around front.
After stuffing the sled in the trunk, Robby and I climbed into the backseat.
“Do we have everything?” Dad asked. There was a loud chorus of ‘yes’ and ‘yup’ and ‘I hope so’. Dad smiled.
“All righty. Well, thank you for coming aboard. We hope to make this a very comfortable trip, a trip where you can relax and forget about all your worries. If you have any questions, concerns, or comments, please speak now.” Mom rolled her eyes.
“All right, no questions, so lets go! Oh, and please do not exit until the ride has come to a complete stop. Thank you.” Robby exploded with laughter. Dad must of thought it was pretty funny too, because he was laughing just as loud.
And we were off! Dad drove, Mom held the maps, and Robby held the snacks. Typical. I stared out the window. In six hours, we would be at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. I could just see it now. The Christmas tree, the garlands, the lights. And oh, Grandma’s famous pies. The perfect thing on a cold winter night, sitting by the fire.
“Kalin! Kalin Johnson!” Robby shook me. “Wake up!”
“Huh?” I asked, turning away from the window.
“Want some crackers?” he asked, handing me the box. I reached in and grabbed a handful.
“What were you thinking about?” he asked, taking back the box.
“Grandma and Grandpa’s house, and all the decorations. I can’t wait!”
“And the food!” he added, with a mouth full of crackers.
“Robby, you are always thinking about food,” I laughed.
I lifted my head, sleepily. I looked out the car window and into the fields of snow. We had been riding in the car practically all day. But we were getting close. It was exactly one hour till we would reach Grandma and Grandpa’s house. I looked down on the slick road. There was melted snow and a little ice. I couldn’t wait to jump in the snow at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. I could just see the snowman that Robby and I would make. Or us sledding down the big hill.
Dad had decided to take all the back, country roads. He wanted to see all the scenery. So, for 5 hours, we had seen field after field after field. And an occasional small, country town. So much for the ‘educational opportunities’ of the country, Dad had been talking about.
It was beginning to get dark when it happened. Dad slammed on the brakes. On the road ahead of us, was a thick sheet of freshly fallen snow. It must have been a foot and a half tall. Mom turned to Dad.
“What should we do? This road hasn’t been plowed,” she said. Dad thought for a minute.
“Let’s ask if there’s another road leading to Clarksville,” he said.
He backed up the station wagon, and turned around in someone’s driveway. We headed back to the old town we had recently passed. It was really starting to get dark. Dad pulled into the general store parking lot.
“Dad, can I go in, too?” I asked. He nodded his head and I followed him inside. It was a tiny place, with racks of flour, sugar, and other things. There was a wooden counter, and an old man behind it.
“Can I help ya?” he asked.
“Yes,” Dad replied. “Do you know when the roads will be plowed?”
“Not for a few days, I reckon,” he said.
“A few days! Why so late?” Dad exclaimed.
“Only a few people ‘round here parts own themselves a plow,” he said, calmly.
“Well, we need to get to Clarksville,” Dad said. “We were hoping to get there by tonight,”
“Well, the main road won’t take ya there,” the man said. “It wraps around to Kingston. I’m afraid the only road that’ll take straight to Clarksville is the road by ol’ Jeffery’s place.” I could tell that Dad looked a little annoyed.
“Where is Jeffery’s place?” he asked.
“Ol’ Jeff’s got a barn that has an ad for Carnation Milk on it,” he replied. Dad looked solemnly at me.
“That’s the road we were on,” he said. “It’s not plowed.” Dad sighed. “Are there any hotels around here?” I gasped.
“Stay at a hotel?”
“There’s no other option,” he said. “We’ll just have to wait until the road gets plowed,”
“No hotels, but there’s a motel down the street a ways. Called Stanley Motel,” the old man said. Dad thanked him and we left the store.
After explaining to Mom and Robby, we headed down the road to find the motel. We finally spotted the old place. It was small, and frankly, a little run-down. But then, what wasn’t, in this old town?
Dad pulled in and parked. The moon shined down. I hopped out of the station wagon, landing with a crunch on the snow.