Archives For Short stories

Since I’m celebrating another birthday this week, I thought I’d dig out my quote notebook & share some thoughts on aging.

You are young quote 1

You are as young as your Faith & as old as your Doubt, as young as your Hope & as old as your Despair. ~Douglas MacArthur~  (Click to Tweet)
Forty is the Old Age of 7aForty is the old age of youth. Fifty is the youth of old age. ~Victor Hugo~              (Click to Tweet)

We turn not older 5a

We grow not older with years but newer every day. ~Emily Dickinson~                    (Click to Tweet)
Old wood best to burn 2aOld wood best to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust, and old authors to read. ~Francis Bacon~  (Click to Tweet)
I am old enough to see 6aI am old enough to see how little I have done in so much time, and how much I have to do in so little. ~Sheila Kaye-Smith~  (Click to Tweet)

Backstory: The first quote is displayed on a graphic I made. The others are quotes I popped into Quozio & then tweaked. As always, feel free to download & share.

Thanks for stopping by to spend some time here. Online friends are one of life’s sweetest blessings! Now I’m off to do lunch with my cousins. Enjoy your day!

This week I’m linking up with Inspire Me Monday, Miscellany Monday, Monday Musings, Hear It on Sunday, Unite @Rich Faith Rising, The Better Mom, Modest Mondays, GraceLaced Mondays, Teach Me Tuesdays, Gratituesdays, Just Write, Titus 2 Tuesdays, Teaching What Is Good, What I Learned This Week, Heart and Home, Domestically Divine Tuesday, Tuesday Muse, Raising Homemakers, Deep Roots at Home, Wise Woman Builds Her House, Tell His Story, Wholehearted Home Wednesdays, Winsome Wednesday, Wise Woman Wednesday, Works for Me Wednesday, Wednesday Hop @Adorned from Above, Hope in Every Season Homemaking Party, Thursday Favorite Things, Thriving Thursday, Hearts for Home, Thoughtful Thursday, Raising Mighty Arrows, Share the Joy Thursday, Time Travel Thursday, Desire to Inspire,Thrive @Home Link Up, Grace at Home, Faithful Friday Blog Hop, Faith-filled Friday, Fellowship Friday, Friendship Friday, Freedom Friday, Aloha Friday Blog Hop, Womanhood w/ Purpose Friday Link Up, TGIF, Friday Company Girl Coffee Link Up, Essential Friday Link-up, Sunday Collective, and Heart Reflected.

If you’re reading this in an email, save it and come back to this post when you have time to savor a special treat. (You’ll see a neat old photo of my family, too.) Before you return, grab a cup of coffee and turn the tree lights on. You’ll be glad you did! . . . Now here’s the family photo:

One of the few pictures of my dad's family. Little boy in front row: Uncle Clyde, 2nd row from left: Grandpa Smith, Uncle Jake (with pipe), Uncle Ken, Uncle Don, family friend; back row: My dad Al (plaid shirt), Great Uncle Otto

My father was a special guy. He left high school a few years before graduating in order to help his sharecropper father support the household. The only time he was away from home was during the War. His three brothers were his best friends. The Smith boys’ loyalty to each other never wavered. Dad was a tough, smart, no-nonsense kind of guy. And no matter how he made his living, he was a farmer at heart.

I found the story below years after Dad was gone. But it’s always been special to me because I think this is a story my father would truly have appreciated. Take a few moments to read one of my all-time favorite Christmas stories:

Christmas Day in the Morning by Pearl S. Buck

He woke suddenly and completely. It was four o’clock, the hour at which his father had always called him to get up and help with the milking. Strange how the habits of his youth clung to him still! Fifty years ago, and his father had been dead for thirty years, and yet he waked at four o’clock in the morning. He had trained himself to turn over and go to sleep, but this morning it was Christmas, he did not try to sleep.

Why did he feel so awake tonight? He slipped back in time, as he did so easily nowadays. He was fifteen years old and still on his father’s farm. He loved his father. He had not known it until one day a few days before Christmas, when he had overheard what his father was saying to his mother.

“Mary, I hate to call Rob in the mornings. He’s growing so fast and he needs his sleep. If you could see how he sleeps when I go in to wake him up! I wish I could manage alone.”

“Well, you can’t, Adam.” His mother’s voice was brisk. “Besides, he isn’t a child anymore. It’s time he took his turn.”

“Yes,” his father said slowly. “But I sure do hate to wake him.”

When he heard these words, something in him spoke: his father loved him! He had never thought of that before, taking for granted the tie of their blood. Neither his father nor his mother talked about loving their children–they had no time for such things. There was always so much to do on the farm.

Now that he knew his father loved him, there would be no loitering in the mornings and having to be called again. He got up after that, stumbling blindly in his sleep, and pulled on his clothes, his eyes shut, but he got up.

And then on the night before Christmas, that year when he was fifteen, he lay for a few minutes thinking about the next day. They were poor, and most of the excitement was in the turkey they had raised themselves and mince pies his mother made. His sisters sewed presents and his mother and father always bought him something he needed, not only a warm jacket, maybe, but something more, such as a book. And he saved and bought them each something, too.

He wished, that Christmas when he was fifteen, he had a better present for his father. As usual he had gone to the ten-cent store and bought a tie. It had seemed nice enough until he lay thinking the night before Christmas. He looked out of his attic window, the stars were bright.

“Dad,” he had once asked when he was a little boy, “What is a stable?”

“It’s just a barn,” his father had replied, “like ours.”

Then Jesus had been born in a barn, and to a barn the shepherds had come… The thought struck him like a silver dagger. Why should he not give his father a special gift too, out there in the barn? He could get up early, earlier than

four o’clock, and he could creep into the barn and get all the milking done. He’d do it alone, milk and clean up, and then when his father went in to start the milking he’d see it all done. And he would know who had done it. He laughed to himself as he gazed at the stars. It was what he would do, and he mustn’t sleep too sound.

He must have waked twenty times, scratching a match to look each time to look at his old watch — midnight, and half past one, and then two o’clock.

At a quarter to three he got up and put on his clothes. He crept downstairs, careful of the creaky boards, and let himself out. The cows looked at him, sleepy and surprised. It was early for them, too.

He had never milked all alone before, but it seemed almost easy. He kept thinking about his father’s surprise. His father would come in and get him, saying that he would get things started while Rob was getting dressed. He’d go to the barn, open the door, and then he’d go get the two big empty milk cans. But they wouldn’t be waiting or empty, they’d be standing in the milk-house, filled.

“What the–,” he could hear his father exclaiming.

He smiled and milked steadily, two strong streams rushing into the pail, frothing and fragrant.

The task went more easily than he had ever known it to go before. Milking for once was not a chore. It was something else, a gift to his father who loved him. He finished, the two milk cans were full, and he covered them and closed the milk-house door carefully, making sure of the latch.

Back in his room he had only a minute to pull off his clothes in the darkness and jump into bed, for he heard his father up. He put the covers over his head to silence his quick breathing. The door opened.

“Rob!” His father called. “We have to get up, son, even if it is Christmas.”

“Aw-right,” he said sleepily.

The door closed and he lay still, laughing to himself. In just a few minutes his father would know. His dancing heart was ready to jump from his body.

The minutes were endless — ten, fifteen, he did not know how many — and he heard his father’s footsteps again. The door opened and he lay still.

“Rob!”

“Yes, Dad–“

His father was laughing, a queer sobbing sort of laugh.

“Thought you’d fool me, did you?” His father was standing by his bed, feeling for him, pulling away the cover.

“It’s for Christmas, Dad!”

He found his father and clutched him in a great hug. He felt his father’s arms go around him. It was dark and they could not see each others’ faces.

“Son, I thank you. Nobody ever did a nicer thing–“

“Oh, Dad, I want you to know — I do want to be good!” The words broke from him of their own will. He did not know what to say. His heart was bursting with love.

He got up and pulled on his clothes again and they went down to the Christmas tree. Oh what a Christmas, and how his heart had nearly burst again with shyness and pride as his father told his mother and made the younger children listen about how he, Rob, had got up all by himself.

“The best Christmas gift I ever had, and I’ll remember it, son every year on Christmas morning, so long as I live.”

They had both remembered it, and now that his father was dead, he remembered it alone: that blessed Christmas dawn when, alone with the cows in the barn, he had made his first gift of true love.

This Christmas he wanted to write a card to his wife and tell her how much he loved her, it had been a long time since he had really told her, although he loved her in a very special way, much more than he ever had when they were young. He had been fortunate that she had loved him. Ah, that was the true joy of life, the ability to love. Love was still alive in him, it still was.

It occurred to him suddenly that it was alive because long ago it had been born in him when he knew his father loved him. That was it: Love alone could awaken love. And he could give the gift again and again. This morning, this blessed Christmas morning, he would give it to his beloved wife. He could write it down in a letter for her to read and keep forever. He went to his desk and began his love letter to his wife: My dearest love…

Such a happy, happy Christmas!

[The End]

I appreciate your visit and wish you many Christmas blessings!



Blog Sense

Renee Ann Smith —  October 11, 2010 — 1 Comment

Maybe some of you are interested in what’s going on in the blogging world, but you don’t have time to search it out for yourselves. If so, this post is for you! I’d like to bring to your attention some of the great reads and resources that are available through blogs. Take a few minutes to visit these sites. (If you’re reading this by e-mail, you’ll probably have to come to the site to follow these links, but you’ll be glad you did!)

Encouraging Readings
Follow this link to read God as My Restorer by Sharon Hinck.

This original fable by Max Lucado touched my heart. It’s a quick read. Follow this link to read Finding Father Benjamin: A Fable by Max Lucado.

Devotional Thoughts Combined with a Dash of History Follow this link for history buff Laura Frantz’s inspirational thoughts. (You can find her books here: The Frontiersman’s Daughter and Courting Morrow Little.)

Follow this link for author Sarah Sundin’s blog, which combines inspirational thoughts with a This Day in World War II section. (You can find her books here: A Distant Melody and A Memory Between Us)

Book Giveaways
Check out some of these great book giveaways. All you have to do is leave a comment to enter the various drawings.

Follow this link for The Amish Way: 10-Book Giveaway.

A high school senior named Carman keeps a list of Christian Book Giveaways on her blog of the same name. Follow this link to view the latest giveaways. (If you leave a comment on her main blog, tell her Renee Ann sent you!)

Free E-books
When I was looking up an old devotional I remembered enjoying, I found it at Manybooks.net. Follow this link to browse a site filled with many categories of e-books, which you can download for free.

All Giveaways
The internet is filled with other great giveaways. Follow this link to browse Giveaway Scout, a site which list giveaways in various categories, such as fashion, home & garden, jewelry, and, of course, books.

Lesson for a Teacher has been added to the new short story section of my blog. Take a break, pour a cup of coffee, and spend a moment reading an uplifting story.