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"Two Versions Of One Christmas"

Author's note:
Our comedy bit: "A Weird Little Christmas"
is based loosely on this true story.

*     *     *

It was the day before Christmas, in the late 1970's.
We were travelling westward through Illinois or Iowa,
probably on our way to a show somewhere.
Things get blurry when you're always on the road.

Misty would probably remember the exact place and time,
but she's out Christmas shopping.
She lives in the present, and so she's my historian.
I'm always thinking ahead about some project or idea,
and not paying attention.
Our differences compliment each other.

It was an almost deserted Interstate highway,
and a dusty snow had begun whirling.
The road was dry and cold,
with occasional stripes of old ice.

We thought we'd celebrate our Christmas later,
under the circumstances.
The big windshield of our motor home
was a giant moving Holiday card...
a Currier and Ives, in this rural landscape.

The snow began falling in earnest,
going for a white Christmas.
We figured we'd better find a place to pull in for the night.
There were fewer RV parks than there are now,
and those were rarely open in the northern winter.
We started to get a little worried.

The snow was several inches deep and drifting
when we pulled off an exit.
There were no signs about food, lodging, or camping.
Not even a motel.
The only sign of life at the small town exit
was an old barn, and some antique farm machinery,
which was starting to get buried in the snow.

Sawed out wooden letters on the barn front said: "VILLAGE BARN".
There were lights on inside, even though it was still daytime.

We drove in and Misty went inside to ask about lodging,
while I pretended to check the oil.
She brought the owner out and introduced us.
The place was a little store with a few groceries and supplies,
but mostly it was an antique shop.
The man let us plug in to an outlet
in a little room containing boots and snow shovels.
Misty had made a good deal: One night, two dollars.

A Christmas tree appeared in the front of our bus,
fully trimmed and lighted.
You'll have to ask her about that.

We wandered around in the back room
where the antiques were,
looking for presents for each other.
There were a few other customers,
townspeople, coming into the store.

We each picked out a couple of gifts,
and tried to hide them from each other,
but we had no wrappings.

Some people from town offered to take our purchases home,
wrap them for us, and bring them back.
Being from a city where crime is always on the news,
we half trusted them,
and half thought we'd never see our antiques again.
They came back with the gifts beautifully wrapped,
and brought some Yuletide goodies.

We wanted to cancel all future bookings and live here.

Christmas morning we awoke to the perfect winter scene.
Snow covered cornfields on one side,
with an old plow, and a wagon, mostly buried in new snow.
And on the other side,
a forest of frosted winter trees.

I don't know the name of the town,
or even which state.
It may be in the twilight zone.

But, I have a picture of it I'd like to show you.
Click here:

A Christmas adventure like this is something you want to share.

Jack Blanchard

P.S. To hear the comedy version, click here:

Copyright  December 19, 2004, Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. 
Reprinted by permission.


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