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Tracie Skarbo was motivated to write by her father, who was her biggest supporter. “He was always behind me, rallying me on with my writing. I would always see him with a book in hand. He gave me a great appreciation for the written word, and the power and responsibility that writers have to shape those who read their words. He also taught me to respect nature and to value the beauty within it; my reflections on my environment are just an extension of this.” Skarbo was raised on Vancouver Island and is working on her next two books.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Christmas Baskets

~~One of my mother's Christmas stories...           
“I’m going to start counting!  Come back here and get your shoes on!”  I threatened down the hall to the source of the sounds of the scuffle.  Please God… let me get them out the door!   I implored with the ceiling. 
Reluctantly my two children emerged from the dark hallway; hair tousled, cheeks tearstained and flushed.  I gave them the look, which prompted the quick lacing of their shoes and then they ran out the door with coats in hand.  My husband was right behind them with a smile and a wave, they were on their way to who knows where.  Probably hitting the malls for their own Christmas shopping, I hoped that my husband would keep the candy to a minimum.
Not much time, I thought.  I raced up the steps to my bedroom and closed the bedroom door behind me.  Quickly I went to the window, a burgundy Buick leaving the driveway confirmed they were on their way.
Uncovering the gifts that needed wrapping from under the bed, my thoughts turned inwards. 
I thought about various things I had yet to do: the planning, the lists upon lists, and gathering personal items, sure to make those I love smile.  Christmas is my favorite time of year.  When the house is filled with family, everyone in good humor and forging new memories nothing could be better.  The house was fully decorated: the wreath on the front door, the tree set “just so” in the big bay window, the handmade center-piece for the Christmas dinner table.  
While wrapping some of the gifts, I pondered the homemade baskets I had made some of my friends.  Each stuffed with goodies I had made myself: Biscotti, wine, candles, almond bark, an angel tree ornament; and some I had not made but thought would go well with the theme, store bought salmon and cheeses as well as some specialty coffee.  All wrapped up in red and green cellophane paper, and tied with a huge glistening red bow and gold ribbon.  Proudly they stood at side of the room lined up like little soldiers, dressed in Christmas attire. 
A look at my watch told me that I had been daydreaming again. 
Focus, you need to focus if you are going to co-ordinate the paper to the person...now, what bow would be best with this? 
Crinkle...crinkle, crinkle... I looked up, confused by the soft sound.  What on earth could that be?  I perched in one position intent on listening for the sound.  Crinkle, crinkle...
Oh no.  No, it couldn’t be.  Dread filled me as I looked once again to the side of my bedroom.  How could this happen after all the work I had put in?  How could fate fall on me like this?  Everything under control everything in its place, what an illusion!  How could I have over looked such a blatant possibility?  I watched as Bandit, the household cat, found his way out of the cellophane. 
The little ginger tabby left a trail of little chocolate paw prints as skirted past me, an angel ornament hanging from his mouth.