By Tabitha Fields © 1987
Issue: December, 1987
Editors Note: The following story is an excerpt from Tabitha Fields' book Teaberry Sprigs & Mountain Laurel. This is a soft back book of 55 pages. Ordering information will be at the bottom of the story.
My first Christmas on Owl's Nest was in 1936. We had a hard winter that year and this story was related to me in later years.
The winter sun made the valley white as silver on Christmas morning. Mom was roused by Sister and Brother in their search for Santa Claus. Keeping them in bed until she got the fireplace roaring warm was almost impossible. With a quilt around her cold shoulders and a ten day old baby girl in her arms, she put more coal in the grate.
She built a fire in the kitchen stove and put a cast iron skillet on top of it to warm. Stepping back into the living room with the two beds in it, she knew her two children could not wait any longer. Pulling back the curtain in front of the closet, she brought out presents. For Brother there was a cap pistol and for Sister a coloring book and crayons. Later on she would give them a Milky Way for a special treat.
After breakfast, Mom placed me in the middle of her bed and covered me warmly. While Brother and Sister played with their toys, she stepped out the kitchen door to the well. Tying a rock to the well rope she dropped it down to break the ice so she could draw water. On the rim of the stone well was a beautiful red cardinal standing in the snow. He cocked his head to one side as Mom drew a bucket of water. "Hello, Mr. Cardinal," she said. "Dad is not with us this Christmas. He was taken away in a mine accident on Hospital Hill just this past July. Don't worry though, you have a new friend inside and I named her Tabitha. She will be out to see you in the spring."
On that cold December day was born my love of all nature. Mom had a special way with all creatures and she gave that gift to me.
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