For whatever reason, Sam hadn’t experienced a Christmas in her life. Most parents love the excuse to spoil their kids that Christmas gives them. After Sam’s visit to her grandmother’s home I think I understand why Sam hasn’t had a Christmas. Her grandmother appeared to barely make ends meet and had for a very long time judging from the poor condition the home was in.
During the last chapter Ron and Reese return and both separated from the military. George and Alyssa return from their vacation with giving the family just enough time to finish their cottage. Alyssa loves her cottage, every weekend and several times during the week you can find them there. George really loves it and the boat dock; he even bought a new bass boat for his new dock. The family seems to have moved Saturday morning breakfast to Alyssa’s larger dining area. We catch back up with the family as they sit down to Saturday morning breakfast.
Ron looks around at the cottage before he asks Reese, “Would you like a place like this may be with a couple more bedrooms?”
Reese says, “I think it would be marvelous if we can have place like this. I really don’t need thirty-two rooms, and indoor pool, although those are nice. Without them it would give us an excuse to come and visit JJ and Kathryn.”
Sam setting beside Reese says, “Reese, don’t forget about me too.”
Reese says, “Sam you would be a reason to come and visit even without all the bonuses.”
Daniel says, “You know this is my design, I should be able to add two more bedrooms to it easily do you want them with the master or split.”
Ron thinks for a moment and his hesitation gives time for Reese to reply, “Add the second two bedrooms as split, and leave the one near the master as a nursery with access from the master only. I want to have a guest suite off the bonus room.”
Daniel says, “That will be easy enough, I should even have enough room left for a larger utility room.”
Ron chuckles before he says, “I knew Reese would say what she really wanted if I hesitated long enough.”
There’s a clank from underneath the table and Reese yelps “Ouch.”
Ron chuckles, “Sweetheart you kicked the wrong leg.” Reese just sticks her tongue out at Ron. The entire table cracks up as Ron kisses Reese.
Today I have a special treat, scrambled toast I’m used cinnamon bread, dipped in an egg better with just a slight touch of French vanilla, with no cinnamon on the outside it looks like someone forgot it. I do serve it with powdered sugar or syrup. Sam and Kara like powdered sugar with a sprinkling of cinnamon on theirs. It’s something I learned from Bobby’s and Mary’s restaurant, being a silent partner does have the benefits of getting some recipes. Because the cinnamon is in the bread it has a totally different taste than normal French toast.
I’m disappointed not getting any. It disappeared from the table before I had a chance to set down. Although I did get the best complement I’ve ever had on my cooking. Alyssa, Helen and Misty actually want the recipe, Kathryn gives them a wink, when I say it's a closely guarded family secret. The three actually point out that their family. To which I say, “I didn’t say I wasn’t going to give it to you, I just don’t want you sharing it with everyone.”
Kathryn giggles, “I just emailed it to you. It’s actually Bobby and Mary’s recipe.” I stick my tongue out at Kathryn, who only giggles at me. Kathryn giggles stop abruptly and she gets a strange look on her face. Her hand drops to her stomach with her eyes wide she says, “I think the baby really likes that scrambled toast, she’s jumping around.”
My hand goes to Kathryn’s belly and I can feel the baby push has Kathryn says, “Oh that’s a strong little kick you got there Amanda.” Helen is at Kathryn side, and Kathryn takes her mother’s hand so she can feel the baby kick. Eventually everyone in the family gets the feel the baby move or kick. Sam gets the biggest smile as she feels Amanda kick at her hand. Amanda settles down after a while as Kathryn relaxes on the sofa. I have been caressing Kathryn’s belly and not too long after Amanda settles down Kathryn falls asleep against me.
Helen smiles as she quietly says, “JJ, I’m so happy for the two of you. It’s all that I want for my girls, if they can find someone like you, someone who would love them above everything else.”
Daniel whispers into Kara’s ear causing her to smile. The two of them are comfortable in each other’s embrace, and I reflect back almost a month ago he had asked permission from the Coach to ask Kara to marry him. Kara isn’t wearing that ring so I assume he’s trying to wait for the perfect moment or to create one.
When I gave Kathryn her ring it was only a half a surprise to her she knew I was planning on something but had no clue as to what. Kathryn told me later she believed I was going to try to seduce her long before she did, as she felt that was what was going on when I gave her ring to her and asked if she would marry me.
Helen looks at Daniel and Kara and she smiles before she says, “I think I got two down, and three to go.”
Kara giggles, “Maybe if I can just get Daniel to ask.”
Daniel sensing the opportunity slides his hand into his back pocket unnoticed by Kara and Helen. I can see he’s withdrawing the ring, and from the sound of Kathryn’s breathing she’s no longer asleep and is now witnessing what Daniel is doing. She doesn’t give it away, and neither do I.
He brings the ring out as he slides out from under Kara and goes to the floor on one knee. The room is silent as Daniel raises the ring to Kara for her to see. Daniel asks, “Kara my love will you do me the honor of becoming my wife.”
The family collectively holds our breath waiting for Kara’s answer. Fortunately we do not have to hold our breath long as Kara begins to scream, “Yes! Oh yes!”
The coach comes to Helen side as he watched the two embrace and kiss lovingly, he hugs his wife and gives her a kiss on the cheek. I know he shared the fact that Daniel has asked for Kara’s hand, and if I didn’t know better I swear the two have a wedding planned knowing how Helen thinks it’s probably on Christmas.
It doesn’t take long before the entire family is congratulating the happy couple, Kara shows off the ring to oh and ah from the other girls. Kathryn giggles, “I think your diamond is bigger.”
Kara says, “I don’t care if it is or isn’t. I’m just happy I got one.”
Kathryn hugging her sister says, “I’m happy for you too Sis.”
It takes a little while before the happy couple can sneak off together, and once we realize they have the majority of the family chuckles happy for the two of them.
Karen seems a little down and Kathryn I find out that her and Matt had a fight. Helen overhearing comes to her daughter, hugging Karen she says, “Don’t give up hope, a lot of couples have fights too. Sometimes it’s very healthy for the relationship. Very few people are exact matches and get along all the time.”
Kathryn gives what advice she can by saying, “Mom is right Sis. Just because you guys fight once in a while doesn’t mean it’s a bad relationship. It’s just that you’re adjusting to each other.”
Karen says, “Kathryn, I don’t believe you and JJ have ever had a fight.”
Karen is right Kathryn and I have never had anything more than a heated discussion on occasion. That made each of us feel so bad we almost immediately apologize to the other. Kathryn says to her sister, “We really haven’t, we haven’t had more than a heated discussion and that made us feel so bad we apologized immediately. What we do is talk to each other, I know exactly how JJ feels when it comes to any subject, and he knows exactly how I feel. We can agree to disagree without it destroying our relationship. We can shift our opinion or position on a subject to come to an agreement. For us we realize will never forget any argument we have, so we work harder it not having them.”
Take a deep breath before I add, “I think we also realize, it doesn’t pay to try to win in a relationship. When you’re in love the only way to win is to make sure it’s a draw, that way both win. Our relationship is all about being partners. Your sister and I love each other we respect each other and we’ll protect each other.”
Karen gives her sister and me a hug and she says, “Matt is a good guy, but he has some funny beliefs. I wish he would just talk to me like you and Kathryn do.”
Helen says, “Communication begins with you, you have to tell him. Other than Kathryn and JJ I don’t know any couple that can read each other’s minds. So talk to him it is the only way he will know.”
Kathryn giggles, “Mom I can only feel what JJ feels, I can’t really tell you what he’s thinking.”
I shake my head in agreement and say, “When Kathryn is happy or sad her eyes change color, all I do is touch her hand and I can tell that in a dark room. I probably can find her very easily, but as to tell you exactly what’s on her mind I couldn’t tell you. I could tell you how she feels just the way she can for me. I do know what she craves. She gives those to me as well.”
Kathryn giggles merrily and says, “JJ, go find what I’m craving please.”
I come back with two bowls of vanilla ice cream with potato chips on the side. With a chuckle I say, “At least you didn’t want a pickle.”
Helen giggles at the way Kathryn’s eyes light up and says, “JJ that’s not a disadvantage.”
Kathryn giggles, and I have to chuckle before I reply, “It was yesterday, what she was craving for was pretty disgusting.” Thankfully they don’t ask me to describe it.
Sam is with Alyssa, I think Sam is missing Alyssa a lot, on Saturdays Sam is with her as much is possible. I know a few times during the week Alyssa has come out to the house just to visit. I’m at school so I’m not totally aware of everything going on, but I try to keep up on who comes and goes through the day. It is not due to a trust issue, it’s just a way that I can keep an eye on my family to help protect them. I set up my security system to send me a photo on my cell phone of people coming and going.
It isn’t until Monday that Daniel and Kara are seen again, Monday at lunch I ask Kara how was the rest of your weekend. Kara giggles, and says, “We set a date what are you guys doing on Christmas?”
Chuckling I look at her and say, “I’m not sure maybe going to a wedding.”
Kara smiles brightly and says, “If it’s my wedding you were thinking of you may be going to, you would be right.”
I return her bright smile and say, “Congratulations I’ll love to be at your wedding.”
Kara says, “Actually it’s at 3 o’clock on Christmas Eve, I just got off the phone with Reverend Akins his church is available, but we’ll have to either use decorations they have or redecorate once were finished.”
Smiling I think aloud, “a Christmas theme wedding, that’s a pretty good idea to bad it’s not colder around here we can use a sled to take you to the reception.”
Kara laughs, “With as many geniuses we have in the family I’m sure you can figure it out, but don’t freeze the road.”
When Kathryn and Sam slides in beside me Kara says, “I was wondering if you two were going to get my message and show up.”
Kathryn says warmly, “You know I’ll be here for you.”
Kara giggles, “I was just wondering about you getting the message.” The two of them giggle.
Sam steals a bite from my plate and makes a face before she says, “Daddy that isn’t very good.”
Kathryn giggles, “We’ll go down town and get something to eat Sam that’s better.”
Kara and I immediately stand up with the trays, as Kathryn giggles. I say, “I don’t care if there’s rumors are not if you’re going to Bobby and Mary’s for lunch then we’re going too.”
Kara giggles, “I’ll call Daniel and have him meet us there.”
Kara calls Daniel, and Kathryn calls ahead having a table ready for us, we even place our orders and as soon as we walk in the table is being set. Daniel arrives just as we sit down, and he takes his place by Kara and the first thing that they share is a kiss. After Sam finishes her first mouthful she says, “Daddy I didn’t realize how good this is until tasting the cafeterias’ food.”
Mary’s oldest daughter having graduated last year giggles and says, “Princess Sam my Mom’s going to be very happy to hear that.”
Sam is smiling and says, “I love your Mom’s cooking. It’s always the best.”
We make it back in time, and Daniel drops off Kara and she gives him a long passionate kiss in front of a bunch of freshman Janet being one. Kathryn and I bump into Janet on her way to class she asked, “Who was that guy Kara was kissing?”
Kathryn says, “Just so you don’t start a rumor accidentally, Kara was kissing her fiancé Daniel.”
Janet says, “Sorry about that, but I have to tell Kara congratulations next class.”
Instead of going to the library I take Kathryn and Sam to study Hall with me. Sam is a little disappointed, but one of the girls from self-defense class is there and gives Sam a hug.
Kathryn and Sam watch as I help the students with many questions from different classes. Almost every subject in school we seem to go over and help several of the students who are having problems. Kathryn helps several as well that I would not have time to otherwise.
With the class work getting harder it’s easy for a student to either become distracted or simply not understand part of the subject. With the number of students in class is also easy for a teacher to miss that one student who doesn’t quite understand the subject. I would not say one of these students is less intelligent or less deserving. I would say they just become lost in a subject. It’s just too bad more educators are not available to help these students.
At the end of study hall Sam and Kathryn walk with me to the self-defense class. Sam gives me a tug and I pick her up onto my shoulders. Sam rides my shoulders through the halls and Kathryn hugs my arm, a lot of students give us smiles as we walk past.
Arriving in class I put Sam down and she’s nearly swarmed by the young girls, they all want to give Sam a hug and Sam loves the attention and gives them as much back as she gets. Kathryn surprises me when she pulls out a workout outfit for Sam. Sam takes the outfit she goes with the girls to the locker room to change. Giving Kathryn a questioning look she says, “The principles said as long as she has parental permission she could join the class. Here’s the permission slip you need to sign.”
Chuckling I signed beside Kathryn’s name and take it into the office to file with the others. Sam surprises some of the girls as she goes through the steps of the Karta without problems. I’m teaching a new throw to the class, Sam’s learned it over a month ago so I bring her up to the front of the class to show how a smaller person is not at a disadvantage using this move. I explained the steps of the throw and Sam copies my moves exactly. I have the class go through the movements several times before actually attempting it.
Once they have it down, I step back up to the front of the class I say, “I’m going to act as the attacker and Sam will defend herself.” I give Sam a nod and she returns it. I make the movements of an attacker wielding a knife, Sam goes to the movements of the throw and I fly over her head and land on my ass further than she’s ever thrown me. The class is absolutely silent as I lie still for a moment. I raise my head and turned to look at Sam. She only grins at me when she knows I’m okay and sees mine. She runs and jumps onto my chest and asked loudly, “Daddy did I do it right.”
Grinning up at Sam I say, “Yes you did Sam.” When Kathryn is the first to crack up the rest of the class begins to laugh.
Ron and Reese have shown up and are watching from the bleachers. Ron says, “If I hadn’t seen it myself I wouldn’t believe it.”
When I stand and explain to the class I teach you the moves that even a smaller lighter person can defend themselves against a larger attacker. Sam here is less than a fourth my weight, and half my body height if she can throw me, you should be able to do the same once you learn the move. The look that comes across the students face is what a teacher truly works for, not pride or happiness it was a look of confidence a look that said I can do that too.
We work a little longer, then I have them do stretches and Sam helps me lead the other students. I send the students off to the showers, but I hold Sam back. I ask, “Sam can you help me show that same move to the advents class in about fifteen minutes?” Sam grins and shakes her head eagerly yes. Then I tell her, “You don’t need a shower yet, you can go through the advents class with me.” Sam has a wide smile as she gives me a hug. Then she runs up and talks to her Mom.
Reese is giggling when she asks, “Sam was it fun to throw your Dad like that.”
Sam looking her godmother in the eyes says, “At first I was a little afraid that I might have hurt Daddy. When he looked at me with that grin that said he was proud of me it felt really good.”
Kara coming in the class seen Sam in workout clothing and catching Sam’s answer is confused. She asks, “Sam, are you taking class with us?”
Sam turning to her aunt with a bright smile says, “Daddy wants me to show you guys a move. He just taught it to the last class.”
Kara leaves to get dressed as Sam cuddles up in Kathryn’s lap or what’s left of it. At four and a half months along Kathryn’s lap seems to be disappearing more each day. Amanda seems to be active a lot more each day as well. As Sam leans against her Mommy the baby kicks and Sam begins to giggle, Sam says, “Amanda is trying to get my attention Mommy.”
Kathryn giggles saying, “She has been moving around ever since I started laughing.”
Sam giggles, “I guess you woke her up Mommy.”
Several of the girls once dressed come by to speak to Sam and Sam tells them that she’s joining them for the class today. Janet shakes her head in disbelief. Kara giggles, before she says to Janet, “Watch Sam as she goes through the Karta.”
At the beginning of the class I start them on the Karta and notice as Janet watches Sam closely. After the class is warmed up, I asked if they remember the move and all but two girls Janet and another raise their hand. I ask the class, “Do you feel confident doing the throw? Only a few lower their hands, I then ask, “Against someone who’s four times your weight and twice your height?” The rest of the class lowers their hands.
Only Sam holds her hand up. A few students in the class begin to giggle. I give Sam a reassuring smile and asked if she’s ready, Sam shakes her head and goes into her stance. The class is watching although some still giggle. I have backed us a little closer to the edge giving Sam a little more room and so she didn’t throw me nearly off the pads again. When I make my attack Sam’s move is smooth and fluid and I go flying overhead against it still land near the edge of the pads. Sam has thrown me a good twelve feet. I lay still to a silent gym. After giving the moment for the realization to sink in I set up an open my arms for Sam. Sam practically flies into my embrace with a wide smile.
I stand holding Sam as I address the class by asking “Now who believes that you can defend yourself from someone much larger?”
When Sam raises her hand every single hand goes up. The look of confidence spreads throughout the class and Sam created the effect I truly wanted. Pairing them up afterwards for some reason no one wants Sam is a partner. I happily take her as my partner. We work through several throws, and I have a few of the smaller girls toss me. After their stretches I send them to the showers, and Kara takes Sam, Kathryn hands Sam a gym bag with a change of clothes for her and a towel.
Since football season is over, and I’m not part of the basketball team, I’m off for the day. A few of the class after showering bring Sam back dressed in her clean close. They swing Sam as they walk with her, Sam giggles as the girls swing her up and I catch her. Janet carries Sam’s bag.
Janet asks, “A lot of girls don’t understand why you don’t give belts for their skill levels?”
I state, “The dojo I trained in required classes that I wasn’t able to attend to allow the instructor to give out belts. I began training the students here four years ago, and no one has asked that question until today.”
Janet follows with a second question, “Just so I know what Kara’s level would be?”
I didn’t realize Kara was standing behind me when I say, “I have a third Dan in tae kwon do and a second Dan jujitsu, Kara would have at least two Dan tae kwon do and in Jujitsu.”
Kara begins to giggle, “That means I’m pretty bad ass.”
Chuckling I turn and tell her, “If your brothers haven’t been training with anyone else, you’re the second or third toughest person in the County.”
Kara giggles and says, “I guess Kathryn would give me a very hard time trying to find out to see who is second or third.”
Kathryn hugs Kara before she says, “I don’t care, you’re my sister and nobody is messing with you, not even me.”
Kara hugs Kathryn back and says, “You’re right sis, no one is going to mess with you too.”
Janet asks, “If she’s that much higher level than I, why did you pair us?”
I answer, “Because she is the best to defend against an unknown move, you are trained out-of-state and in a different dojo from my original. By the way I would not say you’re a green belt anymore, closer to maybe purple on a good day.”
Janet was a little stunned by the news but she quickly gets a smile on her face. Before she asked, “Does that mean I’m catching up with most of the class?”
Telling Janet the truth I say, “You’re just about caught up with everyone, by Christmas you should be easily caught up with everyone. You did start at a disadvantage most of the girls when they started class would’ve been at least one or two belt levels higher than you. You’re doing great.”
Janet practically floats away. Kara, Ron, Reese, Sam, Kathryn and I had to our cars to go home.
Ron and Reese were thinking of today for their wedding, but because of conflict of scheduling we moved it to tomorrow afternoon at 2 o’clock. We actually had the church for a rehearsal yesterday and it went off without a hitch. Reese’s father and mother have flown in and we put them up in the town’s best bed and breakfast. Reese’s father and mother were speechless as she showed them her accounts. Reese also wrote a check equal to the payoff for all her parents’ bills. I smile at Reese as she says, “JJ taught Kathryn how to trade they taught Marshall and Misty, who in turn taught us. My top Sergeant is retiring at the first of the year, JJ and Kathryn along with Marshall and Misty are going to help Ron and I teach him how to trade if you could come and stay for a few months we could share it with you too.
Reese’s Mom and Dad hug her, and agreed to come back in the New Year. They leave shortly after that, and the two lovers are disappointed as we forced them apart for the remainder of the night. I chuckle and say, “You’re not the only ones who had to go through that, it’s tradition remember.”
The next morning I am with Ron, eases nervous as I was. I tell him, “Don’t worry Captain everything is going to be fine.” That doesn’t stop him from pacing for half an hour. After he finish wearing my carpet down, I pull them into the kitchen and sitting down with some food. I order him to eat, reluctantly he begins to eat he knows I’m trying to help him. I keep him distracted most of the morning, Sam helps too. Sam got her Godfather to read her a story. Kathryn comes to get Sam as Reese is dressing.
Ron is in the shower, and I hear him stumble and begin to curse. I ask if he needs any help, he doesn’t answer so without a lot of time today I walk in with his cane. Ron is on the floor of the shower looking down at the remains of his lower leg, his right leg is missing halfway below the knee. I force myself not to stare at his injury but I look at his face and see the distress.
He looks at me and says, “I can’t even take a shower alone. I need someone’s help every time. Reese doesn’t need someone like that.”
I ask him, “Are you finished yet?”
Ron looks at me and says, “No, I can’t even reach the damn washcloth without fallen over.”
I grab that washcloth and hand it to him with the soap. I say, “You sit there wash and listen. Reese loves you, she doesn’t need your self-pity to her you are her hero. Every time she sees your leg she is reminded of what you are willing to give for her. I want to ask, what you are willing to go through for her.”
Ron looks up with soap covering his face. “You know I’m willing to die for her.”
I smile when I say, “I know that, she knows that, everybody that knows you two knows that. What I really want to know are you willing to live for her. Even though it’s hard, the hand you got isn’t the greatest, but you really ought to play it out. Live for her. Give her the life she deserves with the man she loves. If you fall down you can always get up again, if you need help Reese loves to help you. She loves the fact that you need her. Just appreciate the fact that she loves you.”
Ron rinsing the soap from his face says, “Damn that stings.”
I ask, “You get soap in your eye?”
Ron says, “No, an eighteen-year-old just gave me some fatherly advice, and some damn good advice at that.”
I ask, “You need help?”
Ron chuckles and says, “I think you gave me more help than you realize. I can handle it from here.”
We make it to the church on time, and Ron takes his place waiting by Reverend Akins. I walk back down the aisle ready to escort Kathryn back up when the music starts. I step out with the groomsmen and take my place at the head of the line. Ron chose me as his best man, and Kathryn is the maid of honor. Marshall and Misty are next. With his unit deployed none of his military comrades were available. We are videotaping it and will post the video file for them. At the reception several have made videos toasting the couple, Mom and Helen had watched all of them, and only had to delete two four rude comments.
The music begins and I take my place walking arm in arm with Kathryn. In the last five months I’ve been in three other weddings, and ten ceremonies, five of my own, this will make the eleventh ceremony, there’s a good chance I’ll be in at least one more for the end of the year. At the end of the aisle I take my place as Kathryn and I separate to be on each side of the bride and groom. Marshall and Misty stand next to us, Reese and her father begin the march down the aisle at the end Reverend Akins asks Reese’s father, “Who gives this woman.” With a smile he answers, “I give this woman.”
The Reverend begins, “I have the pleasure today to marry two veterans who served this country honorably. During that time Ron Davis proved he was willing to die for Reese Hansen. Now he proves he is willing to live for her. The Reverend begins his standard marriage vows after that. They say, I do at the appropriate times, exchange the rings and then the married couple’s first kiss. The Reverend announces, “I give you Mister Ron Davis and Mrs. Reese Davis.”
We are off to the wedding reception. When I give my toast to the couple I present them the keys to a brand-new SUV, and the reservations for the rest of the weekend and next week for a hotel in the Smoky Mountains. The reception seems to go by very quickly, but everyone has a very good time.
Days go by and life falls into a routine, Kathryn does get a little disappointing news just before Thanksgiving. Her doctor wants us to stop having sex. Kathryn’s Doctor feels it would be safer for the baby and Kathryn. So reluctantly we give up on sex, until after the baby is four months old. That’s worse than waiting for Kathryn from when I ask her to marry me until when we actually started having sex.
Kathryn does say, “The doctor said I still can give you a hand job or blow job.”
I give Kathryn a hug and tell her, “Does that mean I get to lick you.”
Kathryn says, “Only if you promise that you can control yourself after.”
Chuckling I say, “I’ll do my best.”
It’s Monday before Thanksgiving and all three houses are finished, it feels a little sad helping MC move out. She did spend a lot of time in her room writing, but she would come out and have dinner with us. Reese and Ron are moving into the apartment over Marshall’s garage. They are looking for land near here, and want to build a house in the spring.
Daniel had been working with Kara on building the perfect house for her. Now that they have their design finished and the crews are available, the work is beginning on their new home. I spoke with the work crews and they insist they’ll have it done by December tenth. Plenty of time for us to get furniture for the couple, although this time, Alyssa is insisting that she gets to buy the furniture. Misty is working on some artwork for them. Misty has also picked up a few from the studio that she feels would be nice for them.
Alyssa, Mom and Kathryn after taking a long look at the artwork leave one afternoon to go shopping for furniture. Ron and Reese bring Sam to school for her afternoon workout with my self-defense classes. It is weird feeling Kathryn that far away, it’s not like stretching a rubber band it’s more like when you talking on the phone to someone very far away there is a delay. If you are accustomed to talking to people close to you and then you have at one phone call from across the country the delay feel so unnatural.
Before heading home I gave Kathryn a call, her voice was happy when she answered she says, “I really been missing you, it feels so strange to be so far away.”
I almost chuckle as I say, “Hearing your voice feels good, I’m glad you’re headed home. I will have dinner ready when you get there.”
Mom and Alyssa overheard part of the conversation and tell me, “Don’t worry about dinner we eaten already.”
Kathryn says, “Some people have, but I’m still hungry. What were you thinking about?”
For the first time in my life my mind goes blank. So I say, “I have to look through the kitchen to see what’s there, do you have something in mind?”
Kathryn says, “Why don’t you just pick up a pizza, by the time it’s ready we should just about be there I’ll meet you at home.”
When I pull over at the pizza joint, Ron pulls in behind me I ask what they would like. After taking their order I waved them off and tell them to meet me at home. I start to have Sam go with them but Sam whispers to me, “Please Daddy let me stay with you.” So I wave and they leave.
Sam and I order that set down and wait for our pizzas to be ready.
As Sam and I wait an old pickup truck pulls them with two men in it. A strange feeling comes over me and I look out the window watching the two. It’s a warm day but when they step out of the truck they had ski masks covering their faces. I tell Sam to get the other customers and go to the bathroom with them keep them safe.
It’s one of the things I taught my class, avoid conceal then defend, avoid the trouble if you can, hide from it, and when all else fails defend yourself. It’s obviously too late to avoid what’s going to happen, I call 911 and say armed robbery in progress. I leave the phone open and on the table. The manager overhearing what I said and saw how I was acting and then pulls his people back into his office just before the robbers entered. The clothing they wear looks like has dried blood stains, it’s not hunting season locally so the automatic rifle and shotgun are for a different purpose.
I move forward closer to them and ask in a nonthreatening voice, “May I help you gentlemen?”
They shout give us all the money in the register, I step back behind the register and press the no sell button, to my surprise the drawer opens. I lift out the drawer and slide it over the counter it falls on the floor opposite me.
That gave me a split second as they both looked down and I took and open the top of a crushed red pepper container. As they look up with anger in their eyes I fling a large handful of the red pepper into their faces they blinked tightly, jumping back and lifting their hands before the pepper came in contact with them.
This gives me a couple seconds and I moved and grabbed the ends of the guns forcing them up and away from me. When the firearms pointing in a safe direction I kick both assailants in the knees and they buckle, screaming in pain the assailant with the shotgun fires wildly. My second kick is to his chin and it knocks him out for the night. As he falls out of the way I kick into the chin of the robber with the assault rifle. He’s falling to the floor as I placed both weapons onto the counter. I hear the siren of the police car approaching as I walk back to my cell phone.
Sam is running from the bathroom, tears of fear streak down her face and she flies into my embrace. The manager of the store peaks around the corner now that is gone silent, He sees the two guns on the counter and he rushes forward and takes one. I’m holding the cell phone telling dispatch the manager has the assault rifle covering the two assailants.
When the police are at the door the manager places the assault rifle on a countertop. The police then enter, and secure the restaurant. After handcuffing the two assailants an ambulance arrives and the EMT uses smelling salts after checking their vitals. The two are removed into separate police cars.
Sam clutches to me tightly, I’m only partly surprised when Kathryn forces her way into the restaurant. I’m still giving the statement for another half hour as Kathryn and Sam clutch to me. The manager has made fresh pizzas for us. He’s thankful and refuses taking any payment.
At home Kathryn and Sam still cling to me. Ron and Reese are curious as to why and I say, “They’re just very appreciative I got them pizza.”
Kathryn says, “Two men tried to rob the pizzeria but JJ knocked them out, so the police could arrest them.”
A news flash comes on TV. The reporter says, “This just in a local pizzeria was targeted by two armed assailants this afternoon. Mister JJ Mayer accredited with subduing the assailants. The two yet unnamed have apparently been on a string of robberies and murders. The police have linked the two with two other restaurants robberies in which all within the restaurant were murdered. Further news as it develops.”
The phone rings and I say, “If that’s the press my only comment is no comment.”
I was wrong, it was worse than the press it was the governor’s office and he wanted a press release. He says, “The man of the year saves the day. The press is going to love it.”
Ron patted my shoulder and says, “Surrender JJ, the truth is that people need a hero. So many other heroes have fallen short. If they need someone to look up to you’re not too bad of a hero.”
Reese giggles and says, “It must run in the family, Nancy was just like JJ. She could never stand by and let someone else be hurt.”
Reluctantly I do give the governor’s office a statement, it takes a week but story dies down as other news takes its place.
It is soon Thanksgiving and the entire family gathers at Alyssa’s cottage for dinner. Uncle George begins the before dinner toast by saying, “This year we seem to have an extremely lot to be grateful for. First everyone is healthy. Second we have had several marriages in the family, JJ and Kathryn, Alyssa and I.” He begins to chuckle and says, “That’s nine marriages between the four of us. Marshall and Misty, Ron and Reese, had joined the marriage club. What I hear Daniel and Kara scheduled to join the club this Christmas eve. We’ve gotten Sam, who is our Princess who came on an event of love and brightens our lives. We truly have a lot to be grateful for.”
With so many people twenty-two in all sit at the table waiting dinner. There are three turkeys that look spectacular, couple huge bowls of mashed potatoes, every vegetable you can imagine, macaroni and cheese and several casseroles, and three different types of dinner rolls, adorned the table.
Kathryn is close beside me and even though Sam has a seat she still cuddles in my lap. Ever since the event at the pizzeria Kathryn and Sam has been very affectionate to me. Even more than Sam normally would she has taken to sleeping on my chest as often as she possibly can, which is nearly every night now. I keep doing my best to reassure her that her Daddy isn’t going anywhere to little effect, Sam seems now determined on guarding me. I attempted to explain to Sam my job is to protect her, not her job to protect me that only caused Sam to giggle and give me a hug.
Dinner is really good. One of the turkeys was deep-fried and a bit spicy but I like it, Sam tried a bite but it was too spicy for her. I give Sam a bite of the macaroni and cheese, and then a drink of milk puts out the fire from the spicy turkey. So I get to finish that slice of turkey without help, which was the only thing I didn’t get help on, Sam seemed very hungry today.
It was a warm day for late November, and we went out to the patio to enjoy the afternoon and our dessert. When I came back with two dishes of apple pie à la mode, the family looked at me strange because I had chocolate ice cream instead of vanilla. Giving Kathryn one her eyes lit up as she quickly dug into the dish. Helen begins giggling, “JJ you’re still suffering Kathryn’s cravings, now I see what you mean.”
Chuckling as I eat between mouthfuls I say, “This is mild compared to some of her cravings.”
Most of the family laughs at that, when Sam comes out she has strawberry ice cream on her apple pie, and a few of the family try it Sam sharing a taste with them. More than one has a surprised look that strawberries and apples go well together.
Misty has pumpkin pie, with chocolate syrup and strawberry ice cream. Marshall has a normal pumpkin pie with vanilla ice cream but keeps glancing at Misty’s. I ask, “Marshall, are you having Misty’s cravings? If you are fighting it doesn’t help.”
Marshall chuckles and says, “It just doesn’t look that bad, and is much as Misty is enjoying it I can’t help but wonder.”
Misty looks warmly at her husband and says, “Try a taste, the chocolate syrup ties it all together.”
Marshall’s eyes widen at the small bike Misty shoved into his mouth. After a moment he smiles as he eats, looking at his wife he says, “You’re right the chocolate syrup does tie it all together.”
Marshall disappears into the house, when he comes back he’s only added chocolate syrup to his dessert, he offers Misty taste and she takes it. Misty says, “It’s not bad that way, but I like it my way better.”
The family begins to experiment with the chocolate syrup and different ice creams for their pie. A few are different and rather good others only a woman with cravings would like. When Reese comes out with mashed potatoes à la mode Ron shakes his head and says, “I’m glad I don’t have her cravings.” He still hugs his wife and gives her a kiss on the cheek.
Before long I can tell Kathryn and Sam can use a nap, and frankly so could I. We tell the family we’re going home for Sam’s nap, and I give Mom a kiss before I leave. Mom was setting with Alyssa so I give her a kiss on the cheek too. I tell Alyssa that the dinner was great and I’m looking forward to Christmas dinner with the family. We all wave goodbye as we leave. Mom and Helen have promised to help clean up, and I picked up after myself which is my habit.
At home Kathryn quickly strips down to her bra and panties and crawls onto the bed. I just take my shoes off. It is rather a warm day I take my shirt off. Kathryn just strips Sam down to her panties. My jeans are rather tight so I take them off as well leaving me in my boxers. Before I can go for my pajamas Kathryn pulls me onto the bed, and Sam crawls onto my chest. Sam giggles as she rubs herself against my chest. Sam says, “Daddy your chest hair tickles a little, but I like how it feels.”
Kathryn giggles as she caresses my chest next to Sam and says, “I miss how it feels.”
Before I can say or do anything the two are asleep so I just relax and allow myself to drift off to sleep as well. We must’ve been were exhausted than what we thought, it’s well after midnight before Sam gets up and goes to the restroom. The movement awakes Kathryn and she shortly follows Sam. As they returning I have to make a run too, when I return Kathryn and Sam are talking, Kathryn explained about black Friday which is today, Sam like shopping so she’s excited. It’s still rather early but they are making plans on which store will be first, or which mall we should go to. They’re both too excited to go back to sleep so we ready ourselves for a long day of shopping.
A little surprised after we take our showers and dress to find Mom, Helen and Alyssa all dressed and ready to head out to start Christmas shopping. Helen seeing me comes and gives me a hug. Giggling she says, “JJ you got your wish this year, there are no limits on how much you can spend.”
Kathryn giggles, “Oh no, you released him, now I’ll never get to shop he will buy every store completely out.”
The three giggle and Mom says, “Do like Sam does, make the present something you want the person to have. It really doesn’t matter if it cost fifty dollars or fifty thousand. We’ve agreed that it’s the thought that counts.”
Mom’s comment made me think. Beforehand I would try to spend right up to the limit on everyone. Even if I knew they wanted something else sometimes I wouldn’t get that so I could buy something that was expensive to max the limit. This year with no limitations I decided Mom is right I should definitely try to get what each of my family want. If I don’t buy it for them for them will make sure one of the family members do.
Sam Kathryn and I get into our SUV, the one Kathryn bought me for my birthday, I asked Kathryn where to and she gives a store near our favorite mall. Mom knocks on my window before I leave, “Oh by the way JJ you only get to buy one gift for each family member. Don’t spend a million bucks on everybody that’s not what we want anyway.”
I know what Dad is buying, and Helen but I don’t have a clue what Mom is getting for Sam or Kathryn. I guess I can ask, or work something out later right now Kathryn is anxious to start. I blow Mom a kiss after she steps back and I begin to move. I’m not even to town yet and both Kathryn and Sam are sound asleep.
Glancing at them at a stoplight I think how lucky I am. Sam is an absolute joy for Kathryn and me, to us her antics are cute. She’s very goodhearted and loves to help others. The light turns and I go back to concentrating on driving. We make it to the mall area and I find the store they want to start with, it’s a half hour before supposed to open and a large number of people are still waiting outside. After finding a parking space I shut off the SUV, Sam awakes immediately, but I have to wake Kathryn. Gently shaking her I say, “We’re here sweetheart.”
That starts our shopping day, after looking at several places and a lot of things I’m still not certain of what to get for Sam. Going through a warehouse store they have a garden shed and Sam goes in looking around. I can almost see the wheels in her mind working as she is thinking if she could change this or that it would make it decent play house. That’s when the idea hits me, I’ll have Daniel draw up plans for a play house, I even have a good place for it a little behind my house and near the bridge is an area that is almost flat and would need very little work to set either a concrete pad or posts to hold up the house.
We could even put a picket fence around it that way keep the children away from the river as Sam and her sisters played. The real trick would be how to make it a surprise for Sam. Fortunately her bedroom window looks the other direction, only one window in our room that’s over my desk even faces that direction.
Putting it in place machinery would create a lot of noise and easily draw Sam’s attention. If I had it placed when Sam was out of the house. How would we keep it hidden for days? But if anyone was having problems finding what to buy Sam, they can buy items for the house, like a new tea set, a child size chair or something on that order.
The idea hits me. We have the perfect time for the delivery, Christmas Eve during Kara’s wedding. I’m certain I could not be there. I’m thinking about whom I could get to oversee a job like that. When Jamie comes to mind, I know he could use some extra money and he’s an honest man.
Now that I have the what and the when, that leaves a very big how. We could build it anywhere and bring it on a flatbed trailer. Set up on a previous formed slab like they do module homes, the electrical and plumbing would be the only thing needed connected that night. If it’s unlit and in the dark, or even we use a smoke machine to hide it may be Sam would not notice until Christmas morning.
I guess I’m a little distracted thinking about this because Kathryn is trying to get my attention. There is a tea set that can serve eight. It’s perfect for Sam considering how many kids are going to be around shortly. There’s a reason Joan added the extra bedrooms, MC have two extra too in hope she has kids. The way Sam is she’s going to love spending time with her little sisters, even if she maybe just a little older than they are just to play with them.
Kathryn takes Sam to the bathroom, and I pick up one of the tea sets and quickly go to check out, I have just enough time to rearrange the back of the SUV hiding the set before Kathryn and Sam come out to find me.
Once arriving at home I tell the two, “I’m really tired can I wait to unload the SUV, I need a nap and I want to snuggle with my favorite girls.”
Sam giggles, “Daddy I’m not sleepy at all.”
Kathryn knew that I didn’t want Sam to see certain things namely the tea set. She also knew I had something I wanted to tell her, and didn’t want Sam to hear. Kathryn giving Sam a kiss saying, “That’s okay Sam, you can watch some TV while JJ and I take a nap.”
Sam smiles and gives us a hug and tells us, “I would rather go swimming but since no one else is here the TV will be okay.”
I suggest to Sam, “After our nap Sam we can go swimming.”
Sam giggles, agrees and starts skipping off. Kathryn and I head up to our bedroom once there I say, “I figured out what want to get Sam for Christmas.”
Kathryn giggles and says, “I bet you are going to get her the play house. That’s why I’ve told you the get the tea set, it goes with it.”
Chuckling I say, “I’ll never be able to keep a secret from you my Love.”
Kathryn giggles, “I just remembered how much you really wanted to bring Sam’s mother’s Playhouse with us. Did you even ask Jerry if it could be moved?”
I tell Kathryn, “Jerry actually built it a long time ago. He looked at it. It needs major work on it soon. A lot of the lumber is now rotten or termite eaten. It would never survive even being lifted onto a flatbed.”
Kathryn asked, “If you can’t bring the play house, what are you doing for Sam?”
I tell Kathryn, “The crew said they would have Kara’s house finished by 10 December. That gives the crew fourteen days to build a Playhouse and move it over into the backyard, this spring will put a white picket fence around it with a gate. That way the kids can play in its yard. Maybe we’ll make it a little bigger and I had power and air conditioning that way the kids can have more fun in it.”
Kathryn giggling says, “You’re going to spoil our kids so bad. I bet it will have three or four rooms, and a bathroom and TV set in its living room.”
Chuckling I say, “That’s not a bad idea, I was thinking of surveillance cameras so we can keep an eye on the kids. With the TV set, we can make it so we can broadcast from one of our computers directly to it.”
Kathryn giggles, “Our kids are going to think you’re the Wizard of Oz. You know all and see all that type of thing.”
I hug Kathryn to me, “I love you. You know it’s just to keep an eye on the ones I love.”
Kathryn giggles, “I love you too, and I know you are just watching out for us.”
Kathryn and I lie there enjoying each other’s company, we chat as I caress her. We both know we can’t make love so it’s not sexual, it’s just a way I can show that I love her. After maybe half an hour we both hear Sam’s footsteps on the stairs, we pretend to be asleep as Sam walks into her room. As she shakes Kathryn gently we pretend to wake up. Sam is already in her swimming suit, we both know she couldn’t wait any longer to go swimming. We quickly change and take Sam down the play in the pool and do our laps.
After swimming while Kathryn and Sam change I removed the tea set in place it in the utility room. We’ll wrap it as soon as we can.
Now for Sam’s house, I call Daniel’s cell phone and Kara answers, without Sam around I tell her what I’m thinking about doing and she puts it on speaker, Daniel was making dinner for the two of them. Daniel knows a little about module homes, he had interned at a design facility for them. He even tells me the barn at his place just down the road would be perfect to build it in. They can build it right on the flatbed.
Daniel jokingly says, “JJ, I will make it just big enough so Sam and all her cousins and sisters can have a good place to play.”
I tell him about the surveillance I want to install. How a TV set that can accessed via the Internet allowing us to talk to the kids. That way we can talk to the kids over the TV, and watch what happens. Daniel chuckles and says, “That’s a great idea, if all of us get to watch our kids play.”
Chuckling I return, “I think that’s a great idea, that would make it easier, we all wouldn’t have to watch all the time, but could or take turns making sure the kids are safe.”
Kara giggles, “I’ve got an idea of what I want to give Sam now, and I saw this little dining room set. It set about six small chairs with it, it would be great for the kids, and we can always use it for Thanksgiving and Christmas after moving it out of the play house for those dinners.”
Daniel chuckled, “I saw a sofa, and I’ll get her that.”
Kara says, “Karen and Michelle both did not have a clue on what to buy Sam. I think this is going to be a lot of fun. Joan and Misty are probably going to enjoy this too.”
I see Sam just starting downstairs and I tell Kara and Daniel, “I’ll talk to you soon Sam’s here you want to say hi?”
Kara wants to, and I hand the phone to Sam she has a big smile as she talks to her aunt. Sam tells about her day, and she’s gotten almost all the family something, but she’s going to need another day to shop. Kara asked if Sam has gotten her gift, and Sam smiles as she says “I think I got a really nice one for you.”
I can hear Kara giggle through the phone before she says, “As long as it’s from your heart Sam, I’ll love it. Since you do not need to shop for me, I could take you shopping you can help me find a gift for your Mommy.”
Giggling Sam agrees, and I say to Kara. “You want to pick up Sam tomorrow so she can finish her shopping?”
I hear Daniel chuckling, and the two of them whisper back and forth a couple times and they ask, “Would twelve tomorrow be too late?”
I say, “I think that will be just about perfect, Sam can do some swimming and then be ready at noon to go with her Aunt and Uncle shopping.”
Sam gives me a hug after the phone call ends. She loves spending time with Kara, and I know Kathryn trust Kara to ensure Sam is safe. I like the fact that Sam loves her Aunts and Uncles if anything were to happen to Kathryn or me I know Sam will still be well cared for. Of course I’ll never let anything happen to Kathryn or Sam.
We start dinner, and have it ready as Mom arrives home. When I get the opportunity I tell Mom my plan for Sam’s Christmas present. Her eyes express her happiness at the idea, and she has to admit she hadn’t thought of what to give Sam either. Now with the play house idea she already knows what she’s going to do. Mom says, “Make sure there’s a porch on the house.”
Daniel’s house is coming along surprisingly fast, before my week is done at school it seems to be finished. Well before the crew said it would be ready. I stop and walk to the worksite, I find Daniel speaking with a few of the crew, he tells me, “JJ, we’re going to make a foundation for the play house, you can tell Sam it’s a greenhouse for Kathryn. Here are the plans, your Mom talked to me about putting on a porch. We’re actually going to put you on two a front and back. A good part of the crew is already working on it. We’re going to have a small kitchen play area, no real cooking but the kids can pretend, a water closet so they don’t have to run home just a pee, the loft will have a sleeping area so they can nap or sleep over. I have a friend of mine who does security cameras and he found some micro security cams, and we’re already installing them. The kids will never know they are there.”
I chuckle, “You know you’ll probably end up having to design several of these especially for the family.”
Daniel says, “Not really, this will be big enough for all our kids. Your Mom and Helen suggested that.”
I look over the plans, and he’s right it’s nearly 850 square feet without the porches, the living room, the kitchen, dining room, water closet, one downstairs bedroom, and a loft. They’re monitors in each of the areas, and numerous angles on the security cams so everything is watched even the porches and the yard around the play house.
He tells me, we’re going to bring it in two sections, setting each down on the foundation and move them into place. It would take about fifteen minutes to set each and another half an hour to make the connections, and bolted to house together and down, once they are together the center section of roof we’ll complete. The entire operation should take no more than an hour to an hour and a half.
The only thing is it can’t be done in the dark, will have to do it the morning Christmas Eve, I want to be there too. We checked everything the two halves will go together perfectly. Electrical, water and sewage connections can be done while we’re securing the sections together the electrical actually being the last thing to be accomplished.
Chuckling Daniel says, “Kara really loves Sam. She wants this for her so much. She is going to have Sam and Kathryn stay with her in town on the night before our wedding, which will give us plenty of time to actually put the house together. We can do it first thing in the morning.”
Instead of having Jamie work on the house, I have him fix up a sled with roller blades mounted under the runners. He even uses the non-reversing blades and devises a braking system. He has a horse training to pool the sled and will drive it for Daniel and Kara.
The reception is going to be in town, only two blocks away from the church. They both didn’t want a huge wedding but about five hundred people should attend. Mom, Helen, Misty, and Kathryn along with a few people they’ve hired are decorating the church, the Reverend has agreed to their decoration scheme, Kara loves Christmas and a Christmas themed wedding is what she’s always wanted. So the decorations will be good for the church, they’re planning a Christmas morning service.
What we decided to do is attend the midnight mass with father McCoy. Kathryn, Sam, and I will spend the entire day in town after the wedding. Daniel, Marshall, Ron, Michael senior, Michael Junior, Mark and Edward along with me will help with Sam’s play house. But our main job is to make sure Daniel gets to the church on time.
Alyssa, Joan, Misty, Kathryn, Mom, and Helen along with all of us guys are there for Kara’s furniture delivery. That was a long day, but when the house comes together it’s absolutely beautiful the job that was done.
Fortunately Sam’s house isn’t going to be as bad. We have the stuff delivered for Sam’s play house storing it in Joan’s garage. I’m sure Sam will have us rearrange her furniture, but that will be Christmas Day.
The days finally countdown and it is the day to finalize Sam’s adoption. Ms. Clark and another of her associates meet us in, Uncle George, Judge Thurgood’s office. Another judge from a neighboring county will preside, to prevent a conflict of interest. The judge’s name is Cynthia Natters; she’s a family court judge. Ms. Clark shows her the entire file and indicates Sam’s well-being is been well looked after. The entire family waits silently in the courtroom adjoining the judge’s office.
After looking over the records Judge Natters a little confused turns to Uncle George, and she asked what conflict of interest would require her to oversee such a simple adoption. Uncle George asked if the room could be cleared, and Ms. Clark and myself along with Sam and Kathryn leave to join the rest of the family in the courtroom.
A few minutes later Judge Natters comes out it looks like she’s been laughing so hard she cried, she calls them for and ask, “Sam did you actually name your uncle George as one of beneficiaries to your great-great-great-grandfather’s treasure?”
Sam says matter-of-factly, “I did he is family.”
Judge Natters turns to me and asks, “Mister Meyer do you realize, that was not required under the law. Because you owned the land when the treasure was found even though you may have been a descendent, it actually was not covered under any will therefore what you did was voluntary.”
I shake my head yes, then I say, “It may have been voluntary, and not required under the law. But we are all descendants of the man who buried the treasure. He fully intended to recover it at a time when it would be safer to. If the events had played out differently, and our ancestor John Thurgood had lived longer it’s very likely he would’ve distributed the treasure equally among his heirs. Therefore it was the right thing to do.”
Judge Natters’ faces a little strained as she struggles to control herself suppressing her laughter. Shaking her head she says, “Your dedication to your family is commendable, and demonstrates one more reason to allow the adoption of Samantha Sheridan to Mister and Mrs. John Mayer.” The Judge asks one more question of Mrs. Clark, “Mrs. Clark you see any reason for further visitation?”
Mrs. Clark answers simply, “No your honor.”
Judge Natters then orders, “I hereby grant the permanent custody of Samantha Sheridan to Mister John J. Meyer and Mrs. Kathryn Meyer. I further grant the name change of Samantha Sheridan to Samantha Sheridan Meyer.” Sam flies into my arms and hugs me tightly. After giving me a kiss she goes to her Mommy and repeats the process. Sam moves through the entire family repeating a hug and a kiss to each of her aunts and uncles.
Time flies by with helping the organizations I always have, plus the give a gift of giving organization and before you know it is the day before Christmas Eve the day before Kara’s wedding. Everything seems to be in place. The foundation completed and triple checked. Power line sewer lines and waterline are ready. At two in the afternoon Kathryn and Sam leave with Kara, they’re going to have a spa afternoon with Mom and Helen. I will join them for dinner, along with Daniel and Michael senior.
We decided we would start Sam’s play house today, we finish up anything that needed work done tomorrow morning and not have to rush so much. We altered the plan, because all the work completed three days ago. This would allow the carpenters to spend Christmas Eve with their families. We also had another surprise for Sam. The play house was big enough that we were going to move the Christmas tree into Sam’s living room. Sam’s first Christmas would be in her play house, a Christmas gift in itself.
Daniel has done a tremendous job of designing this Playhouse for Sam, most of the lighting is recessed nothing for me to hit my head on. He’s even added heat in the form of radiant heating. Both the floor and ceiling use a series of specially made pipes they carry a warm fluid. It’s a cool day and the radiant heating warms the interior of the space and just a few minutes after it’s fully connected. Air conditioning provided by a forced air unit with an external compressor. The kids should be very comfortable in this house.
We had a smoke machine, and hopefully the wind would be calm once we bring Sam home after midnight mass. It would be very late for Sam hopefully she would sleep as I brought her into the house. The smoke machine was to add a little insurance to Sam not seeing her play house until the morning.
MC is driving Kathryn and Sam into town. She also will stay with Kara tonight. Almost as soon as they drive past the first truck pulls out followed by the Crane, a half hour later the first piece is in place, the crane lifts the second and slowly moves it into place. This is actually the most dangerous part, if a breeze catches the section they could blow into the other half destroying our plans. Fortunately it’s a very calm day. We set it down gently exactly where it belongs. Everything now fits perfectly together. Several bolts tightened than the Crane released. The last bolts installed, tightened and the two halves now are one. The last of the shingles are going on the roof. Were busy hanging curtain rods, Alyssa and Joan are helping with the decorating.
Before long Sam’s play house look spectacular. Joan ties a huge red ribbon across the door in a huge bow. We’re beginning to move the entire Christmas tree with its huge stack of presence, each person in the family got the other one present each. But Sam has a very large family. When we finish Sam’s living room is half full presence. I guess we did over estimate the size of the room or underestimate the number of presence.
Joan has a few bags of bows and she’s going to leave a trail from where the Christmas tree was to where it is. That will make it a little like when the Grinch stole Christmas. We’ll keep the smoke machine on to hide Sam’s play house and the entire family will meet Sam on her new porch. We have a huge fan that would blow way the smoke and reveal Sam’s house, with the family waiting on her.
This will be a Christmas no one in the family will forget.
Everything is ready, and Daniel and I go back into my home to take a shower and redress, he goes off to grandma’s suite and would use her bathroom. At half hour later we were both ready and we’ll share a ride to the restaurant.
Pulling out I noticed the difference in the appearance of the place, at the first of this year I hardly had any neighbors just the Edward’s house, the nineteen twelve house, which was unoccupied. Now I have Marshall and Misty Thurgood, Joan Thurgood she took the judge’s name too, Michelle Collins Sam’s aunt MC and favorite writer, the bridge to Alyssa’s cottage, and now Daniel and Kara’s home. Yes this place is changing a lot, but I like each and every one of the changes.
Parking near Bobby’s and Mary’s restaurant, we walk in to join Kathryn, Sam, Kara, Helen and Mom. Sam seeing me comes to the door runs and jumps into my arms. Smiling brightly she asks, “I missed you Daddy, did you miss me too?”
Giving Sam a good squeeze I say, “I did miss you my Princess.” Letting her grandpa have a hug, I take my opportunity and give Kathryn a warm hug too. At over six months Kathryn definitely showing even if she were trying to conceal it. No sooner than I hug Kathryn than Amanda gives me a kick too, cause me to ask, “I didn’t hug you too tight?”
Kathryn giggles, “No, she’s just excited that her Daddy is here too.”
Rubbing my hand on Kathryn’s belly I say, “I missed you too Amanda.”
Kathryn giggles as the baby goes still. “You calm her down so easily.”
Dinner is good like always at Bobby’s and Mary’s place. I leave hundred dollar tip on the table. Wishing them Merry Christmas on the way out, Mary stops me, hands me a large cake in a box she says, “It’s special for your Christmas dinner. Thanks to you we will have a Merry Christmas.”
On the way back to my SUV I can’t help but notice how happy everyone seems to be on the street. Daniel notices it as well and remarks, “It doesn’t look like it’s just me this year.” A few are busily getting the last of the Christmas shopping done. With only today in half a day tomorrow they’re cutting it close.
When we arrived home, Daniel is a little reluctant to get out. He is guessed that we are going to throw him a bachelor party. We have one it just doesn’t have any strippers or alcohol, most of the family is still too young to drink anyway. Kara has told us that Daniel didn’t want a raunchy bachelor party. We set there and share a lot of stories, just before dark grandma shows up. I expected her sooner. I tell her, “We are having welcome to the family party for Daniel here.”
Grandma joking says, “I could flash him my tits.”
Daniel chuckles, “Grandma it’s not that type of party.”
We still managed have a pretty good time, hanging out and listening to some of grandma stories. About ten I call Kathryn to wish her good night, Sam was still up so I wished her a good night too. They both said they were having fun but missed me. I tell them the same thing that I miss them as well.
Sleeping by myself was harder to do and it took me nearly to 2 AM to fall asleep. My alarm was set for very early in the morning and when it went off I reluctantly got up. Not having to wait for the bathroom I quickly took a shower and dress and took the vacuum cleaner out to Sam’s play house. I vacuumed the floor clean where we had been walking in and out so often carry in the presence in. It didn’t take long to fill the vacuum and I had to empty it twice of the sand trapped in Sam’s carpet.
I decided to do another project for the spring to put in a walk way to Sam’s door. I have only three projects for the spring, a new stable, the picket fence and walk way for Sam’s play house.
I’m finishing clean up when Daniel comes through the doorway with grandma. Daniel sees the vacuum cleaner in my hand and I just shut the motor off when they came through the door. Daniel chuckles, and grandma says, “The money hasn’t changed you a bit. You still do the simple things when they are needed.”
Chuckling I say, “No job is unworthy of being done, they are only unworthy people who think that a job or wealth is a person’s worth.”
Daniel chuckles, “That’s an interesting saying. Where have you heard it before?”
I shrugged my shoulders and say, “I don’t ever remember hearing it before, it’s something that makes sense to me.”
Grandma says, “That is actually something my Grandfather would say a long time ago. Of course he was normally mucking out stables when he would say something like that. He was reminding my Uncle George that he was no better than anyone else, which was our George’s Grandfather.” Grandma gives me a hug and kiss. Then she continues, “You do remind me of Grandfather in a lot of ways.”
I say, “From what I’ve been able to find out about him he was an extraordinary person. He cared more for people than money. He would give people credit that honestly didn’t have any way of paying it back. That worked for him because he was so well loved.”
Grandma giggles and says, “He was well loved. Not because he gave credit, he loved those people and they would do anything for him.”
Daniel chuckles and says, “JJ, that’s one more thing you have in common. People realize you do things for them because you care. You keep spreading happiness, and people are beginning to follow your example. More than a few people discovered that bringing happiness to others is a great way of bringing it to yourself.”
Grandma giggles with twinkle in her eye she says, “As far away from you as I was, my neighbors called me and asked to find out if you were okay after the robbery. Even just a few times you met them you made a big impression on them. They were genuinely worried, and then relieved on the news that you were okay.”
Daniel chuckles for a moment then says seriously, “JJ that’s one thing is going to take getting used to, once people find out I’m going to be your brother-in-law they keep asking me questions about you. It’s not that I mind them asking, sometimes I don’t have the answer.”
Because of his seriousness I suppress my laughter then I tell him, “Daniel if you need to know anything about me, just ask. There’s not much I have to hide, especially from our family.”
Daniel asks, “Really, all I have to do is ask?”
We spent an hour talking as we touched up little things that needed cleaning or painting. All the questions he asked, it almost felt like a news interview. Grandma even had a few comments in a few questions. As we finished we had just enough time to get ready for the wedding.
I explained to them, I attended on keeping Sam and Kathryn out well past midnight tonight, attending the midnight mass given by Father McCoy. Hopefully Sam should be asleep when I pull into the garage tonight, but if they can start the smoke machine around eleven thirty to conceal Sam’s play house it probably would be a good idea.
Grandma chuckled, “You going to tell Sam that Santa delivered everything into here.”
Chuckling I say, “I was thinking a Grinch came and stole our Christmas.”
Daniel says, “Please don’t traumatize my niece.”
Joan giggles, “Sam has that effect on everybody, and I haven’t met anyone yet who hasn’t fallen in love with her. Every one of JJ’s defense classes are, the people at give a gift ware floored by her.”
Daniel says, “She is so cute, I told Kara I want a house full.”
Grandma giggles, “JJ and Kathryn are going have a huge house full of daughters, if Kathryn is right.”
Joan is looking around and she says, “Sam is absolutely going to love this. This has to be the biggest play house I’ve ever seen.”
Daniel chuckles and says, “After talking with the family finding out that JJ and Kathryn, Kara and I, Marshall and Misty, all want large families, and Sam wants to be the big sister to all of them. Sam’s place will give her what she wants, a place that she can play with her little sisters and cousins.”
I tell Joan, “Her mother had a smaller play house in Washington State when she was a little girl. Sam was playing in it when she was at her grandmother’s. Sam asks if I can bring it out, but it is so old that it wouldn’t survive the trip. It’s the only thing that was there that Sam wanted that I couldn’t bring.”
Daniel says, “JJ had me make designs for this house for Sam. I did it just like I did for your Mom. The day that Sam was with Kara and me, I even asked a few questions about her old playhouse and Sam told me a lot of things. That’s why there’s a water closet in this one. The sink works and even has hot water. There’s a bedroom where she can sleep if she wants to take a nap without leaving. That’s one thing she liked about the other it had a daybed she would use. See the monitors on the wall, JJ can access them through the Internet and use either a laptop or a Webcam and broadcast to them. There’s hidden cameras that watch everything going on in here. JJ’s going to share the video with the rest of the family, so we all can keep an eye on the kids here.”
Joan giggles, “You’re going to give them a sense they are independent, when actually being watched.”
I say, “Guarded, not spied upon. Remember all the kids will be sons and daughters of very wealthy people. We need to make sure they’re safe.”
Joan says, “We better hurry and get Daniel to the wedding, or they may not be any kids for him.”
I run everyone else out with one more look around to ensure everything is ready I close and lock the door. Now I go take a quick shower and dress again for Kara’s and Daniel’s wedding.
After we are ready I’m driving a nervous Daniel to the chapel. We are half an hour early because Daniel insisted that we leave as soon as possible. I drove slowly, the weather seems to be turning a little colder and I would love to see snow. But I seriously doubt we’ll have a white Christmas here. It’s not totally unheard of but it’s been decades. Who knows if we get another nor’easter in time to give us a white Christmas? I haven’t watched the news or the weather lately.
There is a small room, with a bathroom off of it the Reverend uses to get ready. Michael Junior is Daniel’s best man, and he’s waiting on us there. We send Daniel off to the restroom him use the bathroom now while he can. When he’s out of the room I ask Michael, “You got the marriage license ready?”
Michael Junior smiles as he points to his suit pocket and says, “I got it right here.”
I ask, “The rings?”
He reaches into his front suit pocket and is a little nervous when he doesn’t immediately find them both relaxes once does. He pulls out the two and puts them back into his pocket moving them back to the corner of it. We both relax waiting for Daniel. I can hear some people talking the remarking about how beautiful the bride looks.
Of all the weddings so far this year I’m not playing a major part. I’m the third groomsmen, Kathryn is maid of honor, and her oldest brother will walk her down the aisle. I will proceed down the aisle with one of Kara’s friends from school, I barely know the girl her name is Crystal Johnson. She is one of Kara’s long-term friends and a senior this year.
Michael Junior has gotten the pair an SUV for their wedding present. It’s a real nice hybrid, and has really good mileage. We decided to as a role in the family, the best man gets to buy a major wedding present. Since I already help with their home, it would’ve been inappropriate for me to buy the vehicle for them.
Daniel is still quite nervous, and we both chuckle tell him to fix his shirt, it’s poking out of the fly of his pants. We tell Daniel to relax. Getting married is not something that you die from. Daniel cracks up as he fixes his shirt. The last few minutes pass by quickly, Daniel walks into his place and waits. The groomsmen and I walk back ready to accompany the bridesmaids down the aisle. The music begins, Michael Junior and Kathryn start down the aisle. The next groomsmen one of Daniel’s friends who I only met during the rehearsal escorts Misty down the aisle. Misty is definitely showing in her bridesmaid dress. The next is Crystal and I find step with her as we proceed down the aisle. Sam looks lovely in her flower girl dress, a large basket of rose petals, all-white she spreads as she follows.
Michael senior, Dad walks with Kara he has a wide smile as he approaches, once at the end of the aisle Reverend Akins asks, who gives this woman away.
Dad without losing his smile says, “I give this woman.” He scoops up Sam and takes her to set with Helen, Mom and himself.
Reverend Akins begins, “I’ve known Daniel Akins his entire life, my nephew has grown into a good man. Kara Edwards, I have also known her entire life. Even as a young girl I could see her love for Daniel. Now as adults they found that love to have grown from puppy love to that of a husband and wife. We come together to celebrate their love, on the eve of Christmas.”
Reverend Akins begins as Kara and Daniel gaze into each other’s eyes they must become lost in their thoughts because the Reverend had to gently nudge them to get their attention back on the here and now. Asking again if Daniel takes this woman as his beloved wife, to honor and cherish above all others? Daniel quickly replies, “I do.”
The Reverend asks the same question phrased for Kara, and she quickly replies, “I do.”
They exchange the rings saying, “With this ring, I thee wed.”
The Reverend says, “You may now kiss the bride.” As the two kiss lovingly the Reverend shouts, “I give you Mister and Mrs. Akins.”
Everyone in the church stands and gives the two a standing ovation. We congratulate the two, and Michael Junior brings forth the marriage license for the two to sign and make it legal. When I get a hug from Kara she says, “Be sure and call us tomorrow morning we want to be there too.”
The photographer taking pictures and it takes a while for all the pictures to be done. Sam has one done with her Aunt Kara that I’m going to love to get a hold of. It’s nearly 4:30 PM little under an hour and a half for the wedding and pictures. When the bride and groom walk out only a few people are on the street most having gone to the reception. One reason is the weather has turned a lot colder and is actually snowing rather hard. More than an inch and a half already is on the ground, and its turn the world into a winter wonder land. Snow rest on tree limbs and pine trees making the world is white as Kara’s wedding dress.
The horse-drawn sled awaits the bride and groom, a quilt covers the backseat just to keep it dry, and add a little warmth for the couple. Daniel helps Kara in to her seat then climbs in with her cuddling close against the cold; they cover themselves with the quilt. Jamie dressed in a nineteenth century costume begins driving the horse drawn sled to the reception.
Jamie takes a long route around the park as the light fades and the Christmas lights come on it’s truly a beautiful scene. The snow adds to the experience this time of day on Christmas Eve the street they’re driving not a single car passes them. Daniel and Kara nearly have the entire world to themselves. The ride isn’t so long as to severely chill them, but gives the rest of us time to be at the reception to greet them. The photographer has taken several pictures of their sleigh ride the best she could, the snow made it difficult for a long shot, and her flash was useless. Several of the shots she’s taking were silhouettes of the two against Christmas lights.
The photographer to get a good break as the snow nearly stopped when they arrived at the reception. She can use her flash and only enough snowflake shown up to let you know that it was actually still snowing without interfering with the photograph.
After the two come in from the cold everyone hurries to join them. Fortunately the reception hall is quite warm compared to the outside weather. We dance late into the night, Kathryn and I spent a lot of time on the dance floor. Occasionally Sam will let me get her out on the floor too. We notice how Daniel and Kara move as one on the dance floor. They truly were made for each other.
Ron and Reese actually dance a few dances together, but even without his injury I think Ron would be out of place on any dance floor. I know he’s only trying for Reese. He would try to do anything to show her how much he is willing to live for her. Reese knows and seems to be very happily setting in his lap most of the night.
There are a few children Sam’s age, and they played together and talk of things like Christmas and school. Sam listens intently at what the kids say to her, most believe in Santa Claus and want to be home before midnight when he makes his deliveries.
At about eleven most of the crowd leaves shortly after the bride and groom. I tell Sam, “We’ll be going to a mass given by Father McCoy. Then we will go home.” Sam is a little tired, but she doesn’t complain.
Sam still in her flower girl dress, Kathryn in her bridesmaid’s dress and I my tux take seats together, Sam slides into my lap and leans against me. Father McCoy starts his mass with all the traditional Catholic rights. Kathryn and I are not Catholic but we do enjoy the mass. They read the traditional verses from the Bible explaining how Joseph and Mary traveled to have censes taken, a small Christmas pageant accompanies the start. Sam watches intensely the story seems to have awakened her.
After the mass is completed and it was time exactly the end at midnight all the chapel bells ring in Christmas. Shortly while were on her way home Sam has a few questions and I try to explain. Halfway home Sam yawns and closes her eyes unable to stay awake any longer. Kathryn is nearly as tired but fights sleep, I slowly pull into our drive and push the garage door opener several times until it opens.
I pull into the garage and start the door back down once it’s below the windows is when I shut off the SUV. Sam must be very tired. She doesn’t awaken when the engine stops. Kathryn bites her lower lip and I know she wants to go and take a look at Sam’s Playhouse.
I mouth, “You’ll just have to wait.”
Kathryn gives me a playful pout, to which I shake my head. I open my door and slide out opening Sam’s door I gently lift her to my shoulder. Kathryn is tempted to take a look at the house, but she reluctantly goes with me knowing she will get to see it in the morning.
Coming into the house I see the trail of bows that leads to the up the stairs and into the front door. On the front door is a rather large sign that reads, “Sam, go get Mom and Dad before you leave the house. Santa Claus”
I send quick text message to the family, saying Sam made it in without spotting her present. Kathryn has Sam in her pajamas, and she dresses in her pajamas and places a flannel housecoat over an arm of the sofa. I get in my pajamas, and lay my robe beside Kathryn’s. I set a pair of our shoes down for us to use in the morning. I finally crawled into bed, and Sam moves onto my chest. Sam relaxes quickly, her and Kathryn both falls asleep almost instantly. I whisper I love you, I don’t even know if they replied because sleep took me.
I awake to a nearly panicked Sam. She is asking Kathryn what happened to all the presents. Kathryn wasn’t in on our decision to move the presents. Dressing in our robes after using the bathroom, Kathryn insisted Sam go with her. That gave me time to send a text to the family. I called Kara too, and just got off the phone when Sam and Kathryn returned. I tell Sam, “Kara said all her presents are gone too.”
Sam asks, “Daddy you think the Grinch came and took them?”
I tell Sam, “Let me use the bathroom, then we’ll go downstairs and look for clues.”
We take the elevator down to the family room where the tree and the presents were. There’s the trail of bows starting from where the tree was, a large note reads, “Sam I have a very special present for you that wouldn’t fit in here. So I moved everything. Santa Claus”
Sam’s eyes get wide after reading the note she asks, “Daddy what could it be.”
I slowed my shoulders and say, “Let’s find out look at the trail Santa left.” I point to the bows.
Sam tugs us along as we follow the trail first up to the door. I sent Sam after her coat, and take the opportunity to make a call. Dad says everyone is ready on Sam’s porch. He tells us too, there’s six inches of snow on the ground.
Before Sam comes back I take a broom and begin to sleep this snow way from the front porch. Only at the very bottom I find the next bow through the snow, Sam coming out in her coat and a pair of boots looks rather frightened at seeing the snow has covered up the trail of bows.
Sam asks, “Daddy were could Santa have put all our presents?”
As if in answer to Sam’s question a jingling sound can be heard in the direction of Sam’s Playhouse. I don’t hear the fan motor start or the fan running but a breeze comes and blows away the smoke revealing Sam’s Playhouse. It’s a good hundred feet away in the midst still hides the family on the porch. Sam squeals with glee seeing the small house. She shouts, “Santa said it was too big to fit in the house.”
Kathryn squeezes my hand, as Sam turns and begins to run towards the house. Through the mist and smoke I swear I see a red glow for an instant and the jingling from near Sam’s house disappears. The lights in Sam’s Playhouse comes on in the family can be seen waiting on a sprinting Sam with their arms open for her. Sam practically flies across the snow and jumps landing in her grandfather’s arms.
The family encircles Sam in hugs as each take their turn giving Sam a hug and kiss and wishing her a Merry Christmas. Sam’s joy is contagious and many of the family have tears streaming down their faces.
Kathryn and I finally managed to catch up with Sam as Daniel and Kara set her back down. They were on the outer edge in the last two hugs Sam. Sam jumps into my arm and pulls Kathryn close excitedly she says, “I love it Mommy!”
We open the door for her, and Sam’s eyes go wide seeing the inside of her playhouse for the first time. I could swear the pile of gifts grown overnight. It seems higher and wider than it was before. We take our shoes off at the door, and Sam’s Playhouse is very warm and comfortable despite the cold outside.
Sam looking around is wide-eyed at seeing everything, she runs into the next room and sees the bed gives an excited squeal, she looks out the window onto the back porch, and there is a door in the bedroom to the back porch as well. She runs back in to the living room almost blindly she hugs the closest person to her which just happens to be her grandmother Helen. Sam releases her grandmother and sees the door open looking in finding a water closet there’s she gives another excited squeal. She runs up the stairs into the loft which is open to the living room Sam spends around another excited squeal she just can’t contain herself. Coming down the stairs she says, “There’s bunk beds for my little sisters upstairs. We’re going to have so much fun here!” Sam’s eyes finally fall upon the huge pile of presents. She excitedly runs to them, as most of the family simply laughs with joy.
Sam looks at the present she first came to and sets it aside, she takes the next and reads the label she carries it to me and says, “Santa got you something too.” Sam runs back and continues finding presence and taking them to each of the family. Sam gets plenty hugs and kisses as she gives each present to the family. Occasionally Sam will come across one and set it aside with the others she has already. When everyone has a gift Sam turns and asks, “Why haven’t you opened any of them yet?”
I chuckle and say, “Sam you get to open the first one.” Everyone in the family smiles and shakes their head in agreement.
Sam takes one from her pile and reached the label she comes over to Karen and says, “May I open yours as my first?”
Karen gives Sam a hug and says, “I would be honored if you opened mine first.”
Setting in Karen’s lap Sam begins to rip at the present and before long it is open and Sam turns giving Karen a very warm hug. Sam says, “I love the book, thank you Aunt Karen. Now you open yours, who’s it from.”
Karen reads the label and says, “Sam it’s from your Daddy. Let me see what JJ gave me.” Karen isn’t quite as excited as Sam and she still rips at the package quickly. Once it is open Karen’s eyes almost water in a bright smile on her face as she turns to me and says, “I absolutely love it JJ.” It wasn’t terribly expensive but it’s been something she’s been asking for. I asked around the family, and she hadn’t asked anyone else for it so I purchased the best Kindle fire HD for her.
Sam goes to grandma next she says, “Great Grandma Elizabeth will you please open yours next?”
Grandma giggles as she reads the gift’s tag, her eyes light up seeing it’s from Michael senior. She quickly opens it, and without a word she simply hugs her son. “Thank you Son.” She doesn’t let us know what she got but she is extremely happy with it. So much so, her voice fails.
Sam goes to her Grandpa Michael and he tears open his present after reading the name tag, his eyes go wide at seeing what the present is, walking over to Kathryn he hugs her tightly and says “Thank you.”
A little curious as to what Kathryn gotten her father but if he doesn’t care to share what it is I’ll not force the issue. Sam goes to her grandma Helen next. Helen opens her present her eyes go wide as she realizes what it is. She has her husband put on the necklace he’s gotten her. She’s wearing a bright smile that matches the beautiful necklace she now sports.
I realized Sam was going from one gift giver to the next, now with Helen getting a present from Michael Sam has to take another idea on who to pick next. She goes to her Grandma Maggie, she smiles as she begins to open the present, again Mom is very happy with the present and we continue on down the line until everyone has opened the present given a warm hug a kiss and a think you. It takes a while to do it this way especially since there are so many, and eventually we go on opening each one until we come in to our last. I’m extremely happy with each. It seems most of the family is the same with well thought out presents from each family member.
It’s the one present that I know cost the least I like most. Sam is gotten me a T-shirt that reads, I love My Daddy.
When I look around I realized there’s one too many presents for me. We each agreed on one, but I find one more. This last one has a strange tag as I read it. It reads, “You have given the gift of giving and happiness to so many. How could I not put you on the nice list? Santa”
I show it to Kathryn, who shows me a present with a similar tag. We talk among family and I say, “I appreciate this whoever gave it to me.” As I open it it’s something that I’ve always wanted but have never been able to find. It is my father’s rookie card, it was extremely rare and only a few ever printed. It’s in an exquisite glass case, unlike anything I’ve ever seen. There is no seam in the case, and from what I can see it looks like one piece of solid crystal that incases the card.
Kathryn is holding a small doll to her chest looking at me she says, “Did you?”
Looking at the doll I shake my head no. I show Kathryn my card and asked her the same question, and she shakes her head no, and says “I didn’t even know they existed.”
Mom sees the card and she remarks, “I try to get one of those for years, but they’re very rare and no one would give up the one they have, I even offered a couple million for it, and no one would sell.”
Looking at her I ask, “So it wasn’t you that got it.” She shakes her head no. The only other people that might have been able to even know about them would be George and Alyssa and possibly the Coach.”
Asking the family in general I say, “I got to know who got this.”
Absolutely no one has a clue, needless to say I’m quite blown way. Sam holding a new teddy bear tightly to her asks, “Did Santa Claus really get this for me Daddy? It’s the bear Angel Mom promised to get me when she came home.”
I truthfully answer to Sam what I know, “Sam I didn’t buy the bear for you. Did anyone else here buy it for her?” Everyone in the family shakes their head no, so I see the tag that came with the present. It simply reads, “To Sam a beautiful Princess. Merry Christmas Santa Claus”
I just tell Sam, “I believe he did.”
Storyteller’s note: My hope is that you are happy and healthy during these holidays, may love and happiness find you now and throughout the New Year. Remember an act of kindness may bring happiness to others, and once you bring happiness to others you will have a very difficult time keeping it out of your own life. Hold onto those happy moments, they will see us through the sad. Both cannot last, so choose the happy ones to hold and share.