“Christmas Eve Miracle for Mrs. Groseing” ©
By Janet L. Creighton 12/09/12
She turned the water off, sighed, opened the shower door, and easily stepped out while holding onto the hand rail that her husband had lovingly attached to the shower door so she could enjoy her showers without any fear of losing her balance. Mrs. Groseing’s eyes swelled with tears; her husband’s skillful attention to detail was everywhere in her small cottage home. She could not escape it and did not wish to. She just wished that he was also still with her. It had been eight months since she whispered ‘goodbye’ to him at the cemetery. Eight long lonely months.
She quickly dried off, got dressed, plaited her long white hair and secured it with a red ribbon to match her long faded red dress. She was finished with nothing else to do except to face that uncooked thawed turkey that she had foolishly bought. Why did she do that? She wondered. Nothing would heal the raw loneliness she felt on this Christmas Eve. Not even the warm moist smell of an herb seasoned finely baked turkey.
She thought about her first attempt at baking a turkey which she and her husband had named, Bessie, and after cooking it, he had teased her that the turkey must have been a ‘Thomas’, because it turned out far too tough to have been a female. He had cocked his head and winked at her; an action that became his trademark whenever he wanted to tell her, ‘I love you’, without actually saying the words. Tears again rimmed her eyes.
She tightened her grip on her cane, and marched to her front door. She needed cold fresh morning air. She determinedly stepped out on her small porch; the piercing coldness gathered in silence around her. A thin layer of shiny ice had captured the bushes, the few parked cars, the ground, several small trees, and even the one step of her porch. Several youthful neighbors were scraping the windows of their cars. Mrs. Groseing did not know them or any of her neighbors anymore. As the years had sped by, her few friends had passed away. The effort to meet the constantly changing new residents of her neighborhood had been too much; she and her husband had gradually accepted their isolation. They watched the older homes turn into apartments where strangers energetically moved in and out. Today though, she wished she knew someone to wave to or to say, ‘Merry Christmas’ to.
Enough, she thought. This is too cold for me. She quickly glanced up the street toward the house on the corner where the bus stop was and sure enough, the decorations were lit up. The people who had moved in seven years ago always set up brightly lit angels who stood over a small nativity scene, a smiling shaking Santa Claus, a turning wheel of flashing white lights, Rudolph with his nose so bright, scampering deer with lit up harnesses, smiling elves, and white tiny lights strung out over the front of their two story house. Mrs. Groseing and her husband had made it their tradition to walk up to view the sights on Christmas Eve after it got dark.
Not this year, she thought. She took one more look at the icy scene and turned back into her home.
The Virginia forecast called for a high near 45 today, so said her TV as she moved through her living room into her kitchen. Good, she thought. The ice will melt soon.
She lifted the turkey out of the refrigerator and moaned at the weight of it; why do they grow so big she wondered. Seventeen pounds and mostly bone had been her experience for the past few years. Somehow the breast had gotten thinner and the legs full of muscle and the bones larger. Maybe it was just her faulty memory; maybe she should just forget it. Waste not, want not. She could not bring herself to ignore that precious warning.
After thirty minutes of tugging and struggling, she had the ‘thing’ prepared, in the roaster, and ready for the oven which had been properly preheated. She was already wore out. The oven door leaned outward, ready to accept its part of the chore. Mrs. Groseing tried several times to pick up the heavy roasting pan; she couldn’t do it. She knew she would drop it. Again she needed her husband who so much had enjoyed sending the turkey to its destiny. She looked at the oven and at the turkey; such a simple task, there must be a way. Maybe she could scoot the pan onto a chair and slide the chair up to the over door. No. She still would have to bend way over and pick up the pan and place it on the over shelf. Her back was already complaining.
The tears flooded down her face; she sobbed out loud.
Outside the sun was teasing the shinning ice by allowing it to drip while still clinging to hope that its silvery grip will not be totally lost. Mrs. Groseing’s next door middle aged neighbor who lived in the first floor apartment had stepped outside to welcome the sun. He was pleased the snow storm had moved more North of them. He couldn’t see the hedge in front of Mrs. Groseing’s house where a black spot seemed to move; two pale green eyes opened wide; a long black tail flipped upward and two front long black thin legs stretched outward as if rising from a restful nap. His ears cocked; he heard the neighbor using a garden spade to strike the melting icy covering on the sidewalk. The cat opened his mouth wide and yowled as if his heart was breaking; he ran across the cold wet ground and right up to the alarmed neighbor who realized that either he or that black cat was in trouble. The cat stopped in front of the confused man, raised up on his hind legs, and started to softly mew.
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