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The Perfect Christmas Tree (standard:drama, 1257 words)
Author: Maureen StirsmanAdded: Dec 10 2002Views/Reads: 2583/1517Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Cora examined the Christmas tree with a critical eye. It was perfectly decorated, as usual. But to her eyes--something was missing. Then the doorbell rang and Christmas eve changed.

The fresh green smell of Christmas filled the house and the sight of the
tree took your breath away.  Your refection multiplied without end 
infinitely echoing in the shiny red and gold balls.  Striped candy 
canes were evenly distributed and colorful paper chains draped artfully 
on the branches. The white silvery winged angel stood at the very top 
watching over the entire tree.  It was a beautiful tree; at least I 
thought so at first. 

Morris says I am a fanatic about my trees.  I can't help it.  It's just
my way.  It was a lovely tree, from the angel on top to the crèche my 
great grandfather made underneath.  Great Gram told us he carved it the 
first year they were married.  She loved telling stories of knitting 
wooly scarves and mittens for presents.  They lived on the plains in a 
small soddy house for their first four years. 

When Laura and I were children story telling became a tradition.  We put
the manger under the tree when the decorating was done and waited for 
Christmas Eve when Papa read the Bible story.  Only then were we ready 
to put the Baby in the manger.  My word, I can't believe how many years 
ago that was. 

Laura has eleven grandchildren and we have two. Cindy and Mark, my
daughter JoAnne's twins, are 14 years old and live in Kansas City.  
We'll see them in February, but I do miss them all at Christmas.  It 
seems a shame how families move away, but I am thankful for the 
telephone calls. 

That night I admired the tree critically.  ‘Morris, don't you think it's
a pretty tree?' 

My husband looked up from his newspaper and between the notes of  'White
Christmas' on the stereo he said, ‘Yes, Cora, it's a very nice tree, as 
always.'	That's Morris for you.  His enthusiasm is under-whelming.  We 
plugged the lights in when the sun went down and ate turkey sandwiches 
and cheesecake off of my Christmas china on TV trays.  I looked at the 
tree and couldn't put my finger on why it didn't look—well—quite 

‘Cut it out, Cora, you'll make yourself crazy.  It's a very nice tree,
really.  Come on look, it's snowing,' he said leading me to the bay 
window.  I sat down on the sofa next to my husband and picked up the TV 
Guide.  Just as Morris pushed the 'on' button the doorbell rang. The 
man was covered with the new fallen snow.  He was dressed warmly enough 
but he looked as though he had been outside a long time. ‘Please, may I 
use your telephone?' he asked. 

There had been so many warnings about people doing horrible things once
they got into someone's house, my first thought was don't let him in. 

‘I have had car trouble,' he said.  ‘I had to walk about a mile before I
saw your lights in the window.  I guess a lot of people aren't home 
tonight.'  He looked so cold and before I could answer Morris led him 
into the hall and closed the door.  He said his family was in the car 
wrapped in blankets.  They were on the way to his mother-in-law's 

Morris took the stranger back to the car.  The young couple and their
three children had started out after work and expected to arrive at 
their destination four hours ago. Thirty minutes after they left Morris 
and the man were back with the young family.  I had perked coffee and 
made a few sandwiches. Morris wasn't able to get the car started, even 
with the new jumper cables that were under our tree. I held the front 
door open and the baby's blanket brushed against the wreath. 

The man carried, four-year-old Katherine.  She was named after her
grandmother.  I asked if she was Kathy.  ‘No, I'm Katherine.' she said. 

The little boy was two years older.  He held shyly to his father's coat.
‘Is this Gramma's?' he asked his mother. 

‘No, Sweety, this is someone else's gramma.'  The young mother's white
wool stole slipped from her dark hair.  She held the baby in a blue 
blanket and maybe it was the light reflecting from the ceiling fixture 
in the hall or maybe it was the special night, but just at that moment 

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