Monday, December 17, 2018

WEP: A Christmas Miracle

Thought for the day: At Christmastime, anything is possible.


I enjoyed participating in the last WEP challenge so much, I decided to submit something for this one, too. Why not? It's fun!

As you can see, the theme this time around is ribbons and candles, and for lack of a more inspired title, I'll call my offering A Christmas Miracle.














                                               A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE



Ella’s eyes sparkled as she bounced in place, fairly vibrating with excitement. “Hurry UP, Nana! Open it!”

Gertrude shakily removed the last bit of wrapping paper, revealing a laminated bookmark decorated with enough gold and red glitter to fill a small bathtub. A gold cross shone at its top, and down its length, glittery red hearts alternated with equally glittery red letters that spelled L-O-V-E.

Ella clapped her hands. “Do you like it? Do you?”

 “Oh, my goodness!” Gertrude gushed, pressing one gnarled hand to her chest. “This is so beautiful a famous artist must have made it!”

“NO-O-O! It was me! I made it for you!” Ella giggled, her face more radiant than ever. “Now you can throw away that icky ribbon.”



Gertrude looked at the faded ribbon peeking out from the pages of her well-worn Bible on the table beside her. Then she patted Ella’s cheek. “I’ll happily use your bookmark in other books, sweetie, but my ribbon stays right where it is. That’s where it belongs.”

“But why?” Ella asked, her bottom lip trembling. “I thought you’d like something new and pretty.”

“Oh, I do like it, dear. I promise you I like it very much, but not for my Bible, because that ribbon is much more than just a ribbon.” With a smile, she whispered, “It’s a miracle.”

Ella sniffled. “It just looks like a dirty old ribbon to me.”

“Looks can be deceiving. Would you like to hear about it?’

The little girl nodded and climbed into her grandmother’s lap. “I like your stories.”

“Oh, but this one isn’t make-believe. It’s about something that happened a long time ago, when I wasn’t much older than you are now.” She tweaked Ella’s nose. “But I wasn’t nearly as cute as you.”

When Ella stopped squirming and giggling, Gertrude hugged her and continued. “It was just my parents, my younger brother and me back then, and we didn’t have much money, but we were happy. We had a roof over our heads, and we never went hungry. ‘Course, most of what we ate, we grew ourselves, and we rarely had meat, but we were fine. We had each other, and like I said, we were happy.”

Gertrude stroked Ella’s hair, a faraway look in her eyes. “Mama cooked a chicken on Thanksgiving, and after all these years, I still remember how good it was.” She closed her eyes and smiled. “The best meal I’ve ever eaten.”

“Why didn’t you have turkey? We always have turkey for Thanksgiving.”

Gertrude kissed the top of Ella’s head. “We didn’t have enough money, pumpkin. Hardly anyone did back then. Anyway, Papa lost his job a few days later, so we all knew it’d be an even simpler Christmas that year than usual, but Mama made me a new flour sack dress and told me I could have one small toy.”

Ella laughed. “NO-O-O! That’s silly! Nobody can wear a flour bag.”

Fabric flour sacks
Gertrude chuckled. “We sure did! Back then, flour bags were made of pretty fabrics, and lots of people used them to make clothes. The dress Mama made me was covered with tiny purple flowers. It was beautiful.”

Ella nodded her head solemnly, absorbing this new information. “What toy did you ask for?”

“I didn’t. I told my parents to get my brother two, because he was younger. But when I said my prayers on Christmas Eve, I asked God for a piece of purple ribbon to match my dress, so I could wear it in my hair when we went to church on Christmas. And Papa heard me.”

“So he got it for you?”

“He tried. Mama told me he walked all the way to town in a snowstorm and knocked at the door of every single store, but they were all closed. She said he was really sad when he got home.”

Ella kissed her grandmother’s cheek. “I’m sorry, Nana. So you didn’t get your ribbon until after Christmas?”

“Oh, no,” Gertrude said. “When I woke up on Christmas morning, it was lying on my pillow. One uncut piece of ribbon that was the same deep purple as the pansies I used to plant in my yard here every year. It was the perfect length to put in my hair, too, as though it had been created just for me.”

Wide-eyed, Ella gaped at her grandmother. “Where did it come from? Your mother?”

Gertrude shook her head. “No. She was just as surprised by the ribbon as my father was, and they both cried when they saw it.”

Ella gasped. “Elves?!”

“No, dear,” Gertrude said gently. “I believe God answered my prayer.”

Ella looked at her grandmother’s Bible with awe. “Wow,” she whispered. For once, the fidgety little girl sat perfectly still, as though deep in thought. Then she turned to her grandmother, her eyes aglow and an angelic smile on her face. “Think he’d give me a pony for Christmas?”

Gertrude laughed. “Do you think one will fit on your pillow?”

Ella giggled. “I was only kidding. Can I help you plant purple pansies next time?”

“Oh, I’m afraid my planting days are done, but thank you for offering. You’re a sweet child, Ella Bella.”

The little girl jumped down from her grandmother’s lap and faced her with hands planted firmly on her hips. “Then Mama and I will have to plant them for you!”

Tears sparkled in Gertrude’s eyes. “That isn’t necessary, sweetheart. I don’t need to see purple pansies to remember how beautiful my ribbon was. To remember the miracle.”

“But I do!” Ella insisted. “I want to plant purple pansies every single year until I’m old like you, so I never ever forget.”

Gertrude smiled at her beautiful thoughtful grandchild, every bit as much of a miracle as that piece of ribbon ever was. “Well then, Ella Bella, purple pansies we shall have.”

                                                              ******************



                                              May all your Christmas dreams come true.
                                    Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

P.S. This story was inspired by a lovely old song called Scarlet Ribbons. 



81 comments:

  1. Two posts of your posts in a row have made my eyes leak.
    Thank you.

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    1. There's something about this time of year that makes our eyes leak more easily. :)

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    2. I'm a member of the leaky eyes club, too!!

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    3. Leaking all over the place here, too.

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  2. Thanks Susan. That, well THAT was beautiful.

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  3. Beautiful story. I thought of scarlet ribbons as I started reading it. May all your Christmas wishes come true! Hugs, Valerie

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    1. Thank you. As soon as I saw what the theme was meant to be for this challenge, that song immediately popped into my mind. Most readers are probably too young to remember the song, but I thought I should acknowledge it, anyway. :)

      May all your Christmas dreams come true, too! Hugs back atcha.

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    2. Love that song. Sooooo beautiful.

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  4. such a good story and perfect for the season. Merry Christmas.

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  5. Thank you for the feel-good story... it's perfect for the season.
    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, Susan.

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    1. Thanks. I'm a feel-good person most of the year, but Christmas makes me even warmer and fuzzier. (And fatter...) I'm glad you liked it.

      Merry Christmas to you, too!

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  6. What a beautiful story of that miracle ribbon. This is the time of year when we often see miracles and this story blessed my heart today. Thank you for sharing. I have a precious little granddaughter that loves the color purple.

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    1. Thank you. I'm glad the story touched you. Two of our granddaughters are purple-crazy, too. :)

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  7. That was really sweet. A miracle from God indeed.

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  8. I love this, Susan! I well remember my grandma's flour sacks … which later became kitchen towels and goodness knows what else. If memory serves, she even wore a simple frock with tiny purple flowers all about.

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    1. Thanks, Myra. I'm glad you liked it. :)

      I think the fabric flour sacks were around until WWII or thereabouts. They even made some with sewing directions and simple patterns for making toys, etc.

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  9. Those flour sacks are so much prettier than the plastic or paper containers we buy our flour in now. But I had heard stories from my grandparents that in the Great Depression they made clothes out of flour sacks.

    Your story had so many beautiful elements, Susan. You can't get much warmer than a grandmother relating miracle stories to a grandchild. Very realistic. And the story was beautiful. Now I'll look at my blooming purple pansies in a different light.

    Thanks Susan for joining WEP again. Such a wonderful incorporation of the prompt.

    Merry Christmas!

    Denise

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    1. Lots of people made clothes from those sacks, and I think they were available until the mid- 1940s.

      Thank you.

      Merry Christmas back atcha!

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  10. Great warmth between the pair indeed. Sure can't top a miracle from God. Or maybe her brother put it there after she let him have 2 toys. What? It's an option haha

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  11. A very sweet story. I loved the memory of the flour sack dresses. I'd totally forgotten that my grandmother used to make dresses out of those sacks.

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    1. Thanks. Not many people remember the flour sacks anymore...

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  12. Ok, Susan, you got me teary-eyed. You wrote it so beautifully, and it is a perfect Christmas story. I have always loved that song by the great Harry Bellafonte. It still makes me cry.

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    1. Thanks. I'm glad you liked it. That song always makes me cry, too.

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  13. A lovely story. And I learned something too, I'd never heard of flour sack clothing like that but I can understand the need and the inventiveness in those harsh times.

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    1. Thanks. Yes, those flour sacks were very popular. They weren't made of prettily-designed fabrics at first, but when the company realized how many women were using those sacks to make clothes, etc., the companies started using pretty fabrics, and they even included direction for how to turn the sacks into various items.

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  14. Greetings Susan. A wonderful story for this time of year. God is indeed awesome with His spirit. A well-written piece that I enjoyed reading. My mother used to make us five kids clothes when I was at an early age, she was a seamstress by trade. She used to dress us all up nicely. The sacks were before my time, but where there is a need there can be a will. Again, a great story for this time of year. You are a good author. Blessings. Love love, Andrew.

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    1. Greetings, Andrew. Thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed it. My mother wasn't a seamstress by trade, but she made most of our clothes, because it was more economical.

      Blessings back atcha.

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  15. I love that song, it always makes me cry a little and I knew it inspired the story, this wonderful story. I hope there are many purple pansies in Ella's future. Ribbons too. I never knew flour sacks were made from different pretty fabrics, I thought they were plain calico like they are now and the people who sewed them into clothes added flowers etc

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    1. I love that song, too. I had the pleasure of seeing Belafonte perform at a concert at my college. (back in the Dark Ages) I already loved his music before then, but seeing him perform in person was exquisite. His rendition of "Scarlet Ribbons" was better than any recording I've ever heard... and he had everybody on their feet singing along with "Day-O, Day-O, daylight come and me wanta go home..." :)

      Some of the old flour sacks even included inked-on patterns to make it easier for people to sew various items. Even toys, I think.

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  16. I had a comment here and thought I'd hit publish already before I closed the computer as someone was knocking on my door. So I had a lovely visit with Pat who used to live next door and here I am again trying to remember what I wrote.
    I remember that song very well, I think I knew the Pat Boone version, and I knew it inspired this wonderful story.

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    1. Oh yeah. I forgot that Pat Boone sang that song, too. Perry Como, too, if I remember right.

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  17. A cute and uplifting story - perfect for the season! I'm not too young to remember Harry Belafonte. Though this one I heard by Jim Reeves, didn't know Belafonte had sung it. Thank you for including the song.
    Merry Christmas and all the very best for a wonderful 2019.

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    1. Well then, I'd say we're even, because I didn't know Jim Reeves sang that song. :)

      Merry Christmas to you, too, and all the best in the new year.

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  18. What a beautifully written story, Susan. It really touched my heart. Prayers given in earnest are always answered.

    I hope your holiday will be filled with warm blessings.

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    1. Thanks, Jon. (I KNEW you had a soft heart, no matter how hard you try to pretend otherwise...)

      I hope your holidays are awesome. And warm and cozy. Here's to an even better 2019!

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  19. This story was lovely! I absolutely adored Ella and her excitement to hear a story from her grandmother. Hearing about the grandmother's childhood also reminds me to be grateful for all that I have and to find joy in the simpler things in life. Thank you for sharing something so wonderful with us!

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    1. Thank you so much! Ella is a lot like one of my granddaughters. (And it's purely a coincidence that one of my granddaughters happens to be named Ella...)

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  20. Such a beautiful, gentle story. It brought tears to my eyes.

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  21. Emotionally uplifting and seasonal. Lovely piece, Susan. My wife and her sister had pretty flour sack clothes as children - their mother is still a dab hand with a needle.

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    1. Thank you. I'm pleased so many readers were familiar with the flour sack clothing. If your wife had kept those clothes, they'd probably be worth a pretty penny now.

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  22. Absolutely lovely! Made my heart fill :)

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  23. This was beautiful, Susan. Reminded me of all the happy memories I have of my grandmother. She taught me to sew, and there is nothing more precious to me than all the poems she wrote and sent to me in her very neat script.
    Your story was definitely tear inducing, but lovely all the same! (Gosh I hate to cry! But, hey, that's what tissues are for!)

    Thank you, and I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and the most wonderful of New Year's!

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    1. Thanks. I'm glad the story filled you with happy memories. :)

      MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY NEW YEAR to you guys, too.

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  24. Scarlet Ribbons is one of the first songs I recall from my childhood. I remember teaching myself the words and repeating them over to myself!
    Your lovely story certainly resonates with it!
    CLICK HERE for Bazza’s floccinaucinihilipilificatious Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

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    1. I love the idea of you, as a young boy, learning the words to that song. It's beautiful, isn't it? Given the "ribbons and candles" theme for this month's challenge, that song immediately popped into my mind and wouldn't go away... so I went with it. :)

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  25. Your entry carries a strange sense of joyous melancholy about it. Along with showing how the expectations of Christmas change with both age and generations. Well done.

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  26. lovely story with a lot of wonderful elements.
    Merry Christmas

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  27. Sweet and lovely story, Susan. Merry Christmas to you!

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    1. Thanks, Connie. And a very Merry Christmas to you and your family, too. :)

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  28. What a lovely story. A ribbon that's a miracle from God. Very nice and uplifting.

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  29. Loved it.
    Merry Christmas, Susan.
    Happy New Year.

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    1. Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

      Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you, too! (Five hours of Christmas left...)

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  30. A beautiful story, I had to reach for a tissue!
    I've always liked that song by Harry Belafonte.

    Merry Christmas Wishes

    All the best Jan

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    1. Thank you. Sorry you had to reach for tissues, but just listening to that song has a similar effect on me. :)

      Merry Christmas to you, too! Five hours left...

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  31. Lovely story, I teared up.

    Merry Christmas !
    cheers, gayle

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    1. Thank you. (Sorry...)

      Merry Christmas to you, too. I hope it's been a joy for you so far. Cheers back atcha.

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  32. A lovely story and I like the use of the ribbon as a major element in the memory of the grandmother. Enjoyed reading this and I'm sorry for the late visit, but do wish you the best in 2019.

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    1. Thanks! I'm glad you liked it. And hey! There's no such thing as a "late visit" in the blogosphere. Any time you can stop by is the RIGHT time.

      HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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  33. Love the story, love the Harry Belafonte song!

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  34. This story is beautiful! Thank you!

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