Came For Christmas”
Pamela Perry Blaine
It was a cold day in early December in 1916, when Momma took five year
old Midge along to the general store with her. The wind was blustery as it
often was in the little town of May, Oklahoma, and it whipped at Midge’s woolen
scarf as if it were trying to snatch it away although Momma had
tied it securely beneath her chin.
“We’ll get your Grandpa the nails he needs and then when we get home you
can help me fix supper.” Momma explained as she opened the door
of the store causing a bell to jingle, announcing their entrance.
Midge loved to go to the store with Momma because then she had a
chance to look at all the pretty things while Momma got her list of
needed supplies. There were rows of pretty shiny ribbons, materials,
and buttons on one side of the store and on the other side there was
food that came in cans instead of jars like Momma and Grandma had at home.
Midge was looking at the ribbons when something soft brushed against
her hand. She turned to look and her blue eyes met the pretty
soft brown eyes of a stuffed bear. She controlled the urge to pick
up the bear because she knew she wasn’t to touch anything or ask for
things in the store because “the things in the store belong
to Mr. Bailey”, Momma had explained.
Just about that time Mrs. Bailey came around the corner and said, “Hello Midge,
how are you today? I see you have met Teddy,” she said as she picked
up the bear. “Would you like to hold him?” Mrs. Bailey offered.
Midge wasn’t sure what to do but she supposed it was all right since it
was Mrs. Bailey who made the offer. Midge took the bear and held him
gently against her. Meanwhile, Mrs. Bailey was asked a question from
another customer so Midge continued to hold the bear and then she
whispered in his ear, “Hello Teddy,” and it was love at first sight.
Momma walked over about that time and said, “It’s time to go Midge.”
Momma bent and spoke softly to Midge, “Thank Mrs. Bailey for
letting you hold the bear.”
“Thank you, Mrs. Bailey,” Midge said as she slowly handed back the bear.
Midge wanted so badly to ask Momma for the bear but she knew there
was no money for such luxuries. Besides that, she knew she would
be scolded for asking and maybe not allowed to come back to the
store with Momma the next time…and just maybe, she reasoned, she
could come back and visit Teddy. Midge tried very hard but as her
eyes met Teddy’s one last time, she couldn’t help it, big tears welled
up in her eyes. She thought sure she would be scolded but Momma
was suddenly very quiet herself so Midge thought Momma
hadn’t noticed her tears.
Midge did get to help with supper that night and other nights as well but
her mind often went back to Teddy, the most wonderful friend she
had ever met, she thought to herself.
Midge was so busy the next few days that she didn’t have time to think
about Teddy so much. There were preparations to be made because
it was almost time for Christmas and her cousins would be there.
Midge was so excited because she knew they would all get to go
to the woods with Grandpa and choose a Christmas tree and then
string popcorn to decorate the tree.
On Christmas Eve Midge always hung up her stocking and last year she
and her cousins each got a big round orange in each of their stockings.
It had been the first time Midge had ever eaten an orange and she had
eaten it ever so slowly, savoring every bite. She hoped that Santa
might bring her another one this year.
Before she knew it, Christmas Eve came and that evening Midge and her
cousins sat by the firelight as Grandpa read the Christmas story from
the Bible. Midge liked the part when Grandpa’s voice rose with
excitement with the angel’s announcement, “Behold, I bring you good
tidings of great joy which shall be to all people.”
Midge left a piece of her gingerbread for Santa along with a huge
glass of milk. There was always plenty of milk because of
Brownie their milk cow.
All too soon it was time for bed and Momma came and tucked Midge
and her cousins in bed. There weren’t enough beds for everyone so
Midge had to sleep across the foot of the bed when her cousins were
there. It was cold in the bedroom but there were lots of Grandma’s quilts
to keep them warm. Midge had decided she would stay awake all night
and listen for Santa but the next thing Midge knew she saw the glow
of the sunrise coming through the window. Midge was going to get out of bed
and see if an orange might be in her stocking again this year but she couldn’t
seem to move. Along with the heavy quilts, there was someone lying against
her back and she began to try to wiggle away from whichever cousin had
managed to push her out of her place on the bed. Finally, she was able to
turn over and before she knew what she was doing, Midge let out a squeal
of delight, for right there looking her straight in the eye was Teddy himself!
Midge drew Teddy into her arms and ran off barefoot into the kitchen
where Momma was making biscuits. She threw herself into her
Momma’s arms as she exclaimed, “Look Momma, Look!
Teddy came for Christmas!!!”
(Teddy Came For Christmas is based on a true story told to me by my
mother about her own childhood and how she first met Teddy.)
Pamela Perry Blaine