Monday, December 28, 2015

‘Twas the night before Christmas—A sneak preview of Christmas in the Old McDonald’s Funny Farm

The following is a sneak preview from my second Old McDonald’s Funny Farm series. Please keep in mind that it’s a first draft; I will post a continuation in the next couple of days. I hope you will enjoy it. Please leave your thoughts and comments down below; I would love to read your opinion.
scan0028‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be there. The children were nestled all snug in their beds while visions of sugarplums danced in their heads…”
Clement Moore’s beautiful poem The Night before Christmas, could be applied to almost every home on S.W. Orchid St. The stockings were hung, in most cases, by the Christmas tree with care, since the inland southern California climate didn’t really require a fireplace, and visions of sugarplums were dancing in most children’s heads. And most homes could also claim that not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
Melody couldn’t believe it wasn’t seven o’clock yet. She thought she had been awakened by a loud banging sound, but when she looked out all she could see was that it was still very dark outside; the moon wasn’t even shining through her window, so she couldn’t even use that as an excuse, this time. She jiggled her feet; the rattling sound at the bottom of her bed let her know that at least Santa Claus had been there, so maybe she had heard Santa Claus as he was leaving; but she was still completely disoriented both by the darkness outside and her excitement about what she would find under the Christmas tree this year. She didn’t want to wake up too early and finish all the goodies in her stocking and then have to wait hours doing nothing. She mulled over the question briefly and then snuggled back down under the blankets, nestling her head comfortably in the soft fragrant pillow, her right arm draped over a purring Butterscotch.
Those delightful visions of sugarplums had barely begun dancing in her head again when she heard the loud banging once more, but this time she knew it was coming from the living room. Convinced that thieves were in the living room, trying to steal the Christmas tree and everyone’s Christmas presents (including the ones the family members had bought for each other) she shifted slowly and quietly in her bed; taking care not to awaken Jan and Butterscotch or to knock her stocking to the floor, Melody tip-toed down the hallway to the living room door, guided by the feeble light shining from under the door and started to turn the knob.
It wouldn’t turn! Frustrated, she tried peeking through the keyhole, but right then, everything went dark and she couldn’t see a thing. Worried, she turned around to walk back down the hall to wake up Honey and Ross and let them know there was a thief in the house, when suddenly she heard what sounded like tap-dancing outside in the backyard. In her hurry to reach her bedroom so she could look out her window, she forgot her caution; soon, Jan, Mark and Kenny were running to join her looking out the boys’ window as the jingling sound of sleigh bells reached their ears.
Entranced, they stared out the window, looking in all directions, trying to discover the source when suddenly they heard someone shout “Merry Christmas!” And then, they saw it! They were sure they had seen a bright red light flying across the cloudy night. They jumped up and down in excitement – they had really seen Rudolph leading the other reindeer as they pulled Santa’s sleigh! And they knew – they had seen Santa wave to them as he flew out of sight!
Their loud euphoria lasted only a few moments before they were brusquely brought back down to earth as Honey stuck her head out of her bedroom door. “What are you four doing out of bed? Santa Claus is NOT going to come if you don’t go to sleep. It’s only midnight! Now go back to bed. It’s not time to get up yet.”
 “But Mommy, Santa Claus already came! He left our stockings on the bed and we just saw him flying across the sky, with Rudolph in the front, just like the song says! Man, his nose sure is bright red! And it blinks, too!”
Honey stared at them as they danced around, nonplussed by their unexpected statement. “You saw him? With a blinking red nose?”
“We saw Rudolph’s red nose as he led the sleigh. We heard Santa Claus shout out Merry Christmas as they took off flying. Oh man, Mommy! It was so neat! Wasn’t it, you guys?” The other three cohorts in crime nodded their heads vigorously in agreement. “We really did see them. And I bet the elves were with them, too, ‘cuz I heard someone hammering in the living room, and ev’ryone knows that Santa has elves that make all the Christmas presents.” 
“Because,” Honey said absent-mindedly. The children paid no attention to the correction, but they did take her next words to heart. “If you four do not go directly to bed, there will be NO Christmas presents for you. We will give them all to the poor children without even unwrapping them. One…two…” Even before she could say three, Melody, Jan, Mark and Kenny were already under their covers, their fake snores resounding through the house, punctuated by Melody’s giggles and Butterscotch’s contented purring. Somehow, Missy and Chas managed to sleep through all the excitement.
As the snores and giggles settled into a regular breathing pattern, Honey went to their bedsides and tucked them in. Shaking her head she realized that they should have known that the mistress of curiosity would have heard the hammering and gone to investigate. Next year, though, the stockings would be the last thing to be put in place… 
All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Copyright © Mary Purpari December 27, 2015