Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!
My writing ‘career’ began in the fourth grade when our teacher, a true gem of a teacher whose name was “Mrs. Drew” (we never knew or called any teachers or other adults by their first names back then), placed a painting of a country lane scene on the rim of the chalkboard. There was a family riding in a wagon down the dirt road in the scene, and our assignment was to create and write a short story about the picture. I was instantly inspired!
Long story short, my story was chosen as the very best to be read aloud to the class, and on the top of my paper when I got it back, right next to the “A+” mark was a note from Mrs. Drew — “You will be a WRITER someday!” My writing journey began that very day.
Ever since, photos, pictures, and works of art frequently inspire me to write stories or poems about them in the same way they did on that day in fourth grade many years ago. The holiday painting shared below, by the wonderful country artist John Sloane, inspired this little poem about a boy shopping for Christmas presents for his family.
A little boy, a country General Store, snow, and a sled full of family love.
“The General Store Christmas”
A present for his father.
A gift for his mom.
A dolly for sister Susan.
A Tonka truck for brother Tom.
A hairbrush for Grandma Betty,
A Sunday tie for Grandpa Bill.
Milk-bones for little Petey,
With a doggie sweater for the chill.
❄ ❄ ❄
But what to give a horse,
For whom he cared and fed?
Just the perfect present —
A shiny apple for Ol’ Ned!
He’d worked for many weeks,
Saving money for Christmas cheer.
Finding all the perfect gifts,
For those he held so dear.
❄ ❄ ❄
He’d waded thru the snow,
To Rosebud’s General Store.
Stacking presents on his sled,
‘Til he couldn’t fit no more.
Heading home, away he went,
Across the countryside.
Pulling his gifts and treasures,
And filled with love and pride.
❄ ❄ ❄
Awash with Christmas spirit,
He sang happily and free . . . .
“We wish you a Merry Christmas,
And a partridge in a pear tree!”
As my Mother so frequently reminded me at this time of year though, it is never truly about the package size or the gift inside, but rather about the thoughts and wrappings of love. Those things which are felt and seen only by the heart.
My story character friend Little Red Bear joins with me in wishing you and yours the very Merriest of Christmases and Happy Holidays! — Jim (and Red!)
“The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.” – Burton Hillis
“Christmas is the season of joy, of holiday greetings exchanged, of gift-giving, and of families united.” – Norman Vincent Peale
Meet Little Red Bear & His Friends — “Once Upon A Time In A Very Special Woods . . . .”
(Royalties from the sale of Little Red Bear’s books go directly to supporting this site.)
“Christmas is most truly Christmas when we celebrate it by giving the light of love to those who need it most.” – Ruth Carter Stapleton
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“Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.” – Laura Ingalls Wilder