Kathie and Cousin Mandy VI - Christmas
Thanksgiving is over and Christmas is at the door. Mandy's father will be there to pick her up at any time. There are no phones to know exactly but he has sent a letter and he will be there and the time does not really matter. No one is watching the clock or even questioning his arrival. It will be when it will be.
Thrills of Country Life
Kathie’s mom, Mary, would make wreaths as soon as the two girls found her the ground pine and Katie knew just where to get it. It was in dips in the forest floor under tall trees. Shaded and moist was the ground pines favorite home.
As they gathered it up they also searched under the pines for beautiful cones that they themselves could make into decoration but also let Mary use some to fancy up some of her wreaths. She also used pretty fabric or ribbons weaved around and tied in bows.
The general store in town would sell them for her and keep part of the money. Mary gave Kathie and Mandy cash in their hand for every one that sold and although there was absolutely nothing either wanted or needed, it was a thrill to see how working could earn you money. Mary sewed them both up a little satchel with a drawstring to put their coins in. It was fun to make it jungle with the more that went into it each time.
The ground pine was plentiful and seemed never-ending. There was beautiful moss on the fallen logs nearby being a great place to sit and rest before heading home. They used Kathie’s brother's wood cart, which was neither very long nor wide, with wheels. They could pile it so high and take turns pulling it back with the other watching for stray strands that might fall off. That was rare to happen though unless they started romping and racing which only happened a time or two. They had plenty of time for play earlier in the day while Mary did all her chores to see how much time she would have to work on the wreaths.
Mandy loved every minute of every day and it was so thrilling when they would come upon wildlife in the woods. Especially the ones that seemed to take as much interest in Mandy as she did them. Some did not run away but would freeze looking back at Mandy, giving her plenty of time to soak in their beauty. How could anyone want any life other than this, she wondered.
Work and Play Makes a Fun Day
As soon as breakfast, clean-up and chores were done they were free to run what seemed like hours. Many times, they would take shortcuts by their new friend Callie’s farm. Almost always she could talk a little while and then sometimes she could go with them on their search for beautiful pine cones. Callie had started to collect some too for her family’s decorations. She had shown them new trees and new pine cones that were so beautiful unlike any they had ever seen. Mary had a surprise planned to make Callie’s mom a wreath for her mantle with a beautiful ribbon and wonderful smelling pine cones of every kind.
Kathie was so tickled at Mandy and how much fun she had helping in everything. Kathie had not appreciated their farm and all the storing of the foods until seeing it through Mandy’s eyes. She knew she was so lucky to live here and have her family and would never want to trade places with Mandy.
Mandy did do fun things Katie would probably never get to do. Thankfully, Mandy would get to spend many summers with her and neither could see the end of these summers that would eventually come, as each ventured into lives of their own.
Yet for now, there was nothing left to do but have adventures and play until Christmas came and brought the end to an extraordinary long summer vacation that would surely not happen just this way, ever, again.
Harvest and Preservation
Have you ever seen anything like the harvest at Kathie's farm and all the canned foods?
A Christmas Feast and Small Miracles
Christmas dinner was always such a feast and this year was no different. Aunt Mary could not help but laugh out loud at Mandy and her big eyes as all the foods where piling high all around the kitchen even before the table was set.
As everyone was seated and prayer was ready to be said Katie's dad asked Mandy if she would like to say it, being her last day? Kathie loved Mandy and of course she loved her dad but somehow this made her feel so hurt that her dad once again seemed to be putting Mandy first and not paying Kathie any attention as was the usual way of him. Quickly Kathie brushed it all aside, for this was not a day for feelings like that and what good did they do her? Things would always be this way, she just had to accept them.
Mandy said a beautiful prayer and Kathie felt so bad to ever be jealous of her, especially with that mother of hers. Kathie just rightfully agreed with her dad when he bragged about Mandy's sweet prayer for it really was and everyone put an Amen to it, agreeing completely about the family and food to be thankful for. Kathie knew how much Mandy loved them all and how much she would miss them and be missed, by everyone.
The plates were so full of so many things it seemed impossible to get some of all on it but everyone planned to try. The conversation was about Mandy's father who would be there soon to pick her up. Everyone would miss her so very much and the only thing keeping it from being so very sad was knowing she would be back next summer! A little bigger and a year older!
Mary told Mandy they would save her dad some of everything for him to eat tomorrow when he got there and that she would make a large tray of food for him to take home. There would also be fruits, nuts and candies and Mandy said yum about it all as she was busy with the feast in her plate.
Kathie's dad was laughing at her and told her how rosy and full she was looking after this visit with them. Katie tried not to listen because she hated the way it made her feel when her dad seemed to have more nice things to say to Mandy than to her, his own daughter. The jealousy just wouldn't stop as hard as she tried. He seemed to go out of his way to hurt her feelings and no matter how her mom tried to make excuses for him it just did not make it better.
She had about blocked out all he was saying to tease and make Mandy laugh to keep from showing her feelings but was soon very glad she had not done that completely. Did she even hear that right?
Dad had told Mandy she was getting as healthy looking and as pretty as Kathie. If Kathie had been up walking she would have surely fallen down! She stopped everything in mid-air to grasp what she had just heard. Mandy was thanking him and laughing about all the good food while Kathie was getting over the shock of a lifetime. Her dad thought she was pretty? She could not help but smile and look at her mom who smiled back and winked.
She leaned over around Mandy at her dad, with new loving eyes. Well... this was the only Christmas present she could ever want or need!
Sharing a Family
Did you ever feel jealousy of sharing a parent/parents with an outside member as in Kathie's situation?
© 2018 Jackie Lynnley