A Christmas Tale
Published by Kathleen 2014
A Christmas Tale

       The wind was blowing hard, gaining speed as it
howled across the river. The Christmas lights that
dangled from the ledge of our deck danced and
sparkled in the ever growing squall. Night came early
that day and I was glad that my family was home safely
       School vacation had begun and I had closed the
store early. It was Christmas Eve. The snow blew
harder as the hours passed. The boys watched
Christmas shows on television and rearranged the
presents that lay beneath the Christmas tree.  They
shook them and wondered what was inside; and then
sorted them into four piles making them ready for the
hand-out later that evening. Our sons were having a
grand time, contemplating even more presents the next
        The table was set and all were waiting for the
meal to be served. “Scott, honey, would you put on
some Christmas music?” I asked. Bing Crosby’s soft
voice soon crooned a couple of old favorites, White
Christmas, and Silent Night. We watched the snow
whirl around the back yard as we took our places at the
table.  I said a prayer of thanks… and the lights went
       “What?” I asked as I looked toward George, my
husband. “What happened?” I stood.
       George was ahead of me. “I’ll grab a flashlight.”
       The boys stayed seated, thinking, how cool is this?
George found the flashlight; it was dead. I could hear
him rummaging around in the kitchen. “Well, as soon
as I find some batteries, the electricity will be back on,”
he mumbled. He kept digging through drawers.
       “Mom, the kerosene lamps, aren’t they all ready
to go?” Billy was out of his chair. Scott joined him and
they felt their way around, searching for the lamps,
lamps that my grandfather had used when he had a
cabin, we called it a shanty, down on the Mississippi
River bottoms.
       “Yes,” I answered. “That would be great. Please
be careful.” I found some matches and lit one so we  
could see. I followed the boys until they located two
lamps. “Bring them out to the dining room.” I lit a
second match. “Be careful so the kerosene doesn’t
       George threw the flashlight into the drawer and
joined us. “Here I’ll light them.” The boys sat and
watched, excited to be using an ancient implement to
illuminate the darkness.
       Shadows danced on the walls and ceiling after the
lamps were lit.  We settled around the table and
enjoyed our Christmas Eve meal. “This is fun,” Scott
said. “Let’s not turn the lights on even when the
electricity is fixed.”
       We agreed that it was magical to spend Christmas
Eve in such a primitive way. After supper, we retired to
the living room. A fire was started in the wood stove.
Our house never felt cozier and we never felt more
blessed. We opened our presents and later, the boys
played board games by lamp light. It felt like we were
in another world, a world without problems, a world
without stress, and a world with love for each other and
for those who were celebrating Christmas throughout
all the earth.
       Our sons remember that Christmas Eve. They
agree that it was the best one that they have ever had,
as children. Perhaps it was the protection from the
worldly things on the outside—a small family taking
the time to cherish the meaning of the special day that
was about to be celebrated.
By Kathleen M. Brosius Copyright 2014