Christmas

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Christmas is about to start and the year is coming to an end, so time to think back. Of course there have been beautiful moments, but overall the world has not changed much since last Christmas, there still is poverty and war and awful disasters happened. The world again experienced violence, hate, envy. Not all was good in this year.

Personally this has been a rather good year for me though, as I have been able to work most of the time, in spite of some health problems that are continuing, and I sold 20 novels to my Dutch publisher 🙂 so I am grateful for that and surprised of myself!
My poetry book “Amor” was released, and there is another grandchild on the way 🙂 What the next year will bring, we shall see!

For everyone who has shared parts of their lives, part of their art and thoughts in blog postings and comments, thank you very much! I hope you will all have a very good Christmas, in the way you like it best, and have a good start of the new year. {{{{ big hugs }}}} and much love! 🙂

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The next story really happened and is a repost of January 1 2010, the day I started this blog

The Christmas card

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Last Christmas would be the first without my mother. We did the tree, the candles, and I bought some Christmas cards at the local photographers shop, with pictures of the island in snow. I got four of each, a total of about twenty-four I think, or twenty-eight. I was not very inspired this year, and hardly looked at the pictures of the lighthouse, the panoramic view from the dunes, and a scene in the street with the lighthouse in the background. All in snow. Somehow the spirit was not really there.

Things got worse when one aunt got a stroke just before Christmas day, aunt Esther broke her wrist and one son never made it home for Christmas because of weather conditions. (He is here now though. )

On Christmas day my husband, me and the youngest son went to my eldest son, who lives 6 km away, and whom I had sent a card as well.

“When did you make that picture of the Christmas card?” he asked while we were enjoying a drink.

“I didn’t. The photographer did. I bought the cards from him.”

I had sent him one of the street view, like I sent my cousin in Belgium. She had asked about a house in the picture. Something had been altered during the yeaRS and she noticed. I realized the pic must have been more than twenty years old. They had been made by the former photographer.

My son then wanted to know: “How come I never saw this picture of my grandmother before?”

“What?” I took a good look at the card. There were only two people on the pic.

“The woman with the sledge!” he said. “It is Oma!”

I watched. The woman was seen on the back But I knew the sledge, a typical Terschellinger design. As this sledge was very small, the handle had been made higher. I remember my father doing that. He never bothered to paint it green like the rest of the sledge.

“There is only one sledge like that and I have it here. And besides, I know that coat she is wearing,” my son said. “It is grandmother alright, going to do her shopping!”

I recognized the yellow boots. The trousers she hated to wear, but that particular year it was so cold… And yes, that coat!

“O my god! It really is her!“ I exclaimed. We were astonished. There she was, my mother, three months exactly after her burial, on this Christmas card I had sent to some people who had loved her. This way she was with us after all…

Of course it was a big coincidence I had picked this card in the shop for this Christmas. But a very nice one!

The cards are still being sold! 🙂

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The lighthouse and the candle (fiction)

It was a quiet evening. Christmas eve.
The “Pythia” was sailing under a full moon. On board, captain Hessel Westra did his shift and drinking his coffee that the cook had brought to him in the stirring cabin.
“Another Christmas at sea,” the cook sighted. He gleamed outside.
Hessel didn’t speak. He shivered. Every now and then a beam of light flashed over the water from the coast. The island became visible. The lighthouse Brandaris. Terschelling.

The old farmer put his book down and his glasses away. He looked at his wife, who was sleeping in her chair near the window. On the windowpane was a candle next to a picture of a young man. The candle was flickering. Christmas eve and a silent night. Maybe it was a pity there was no snow this year.
He rose from his chair, got his jacket and wellies and went outdoors.

It was so quiet outside. Just the sea behind the dunes. The moon was shining from a clear dark sky.
A cow in the barn mewed, then it was quiet again.
The old farmer started to climb the dune and he thought of years ago. So maybe he was wrong that time. He shouldn’t have tried to force the lad to do what he didn’t want. But that was how it was in those days. Children listened to their parents, was he wrong to think his son would listen too?

But the boy wanted to go to sea. Not become a farmer. And now, years later, he knew the son had a point. But then… Had he himself not just lost his brother who was drowned? He was still wearing the black armband then!
Around the arm that hit his son that Christmas eve.

From the top of the dune he looked over the peaceful island, the dunes and the sea.
Where would his boy be now? Well, boy, he would have been forty now. Would he still be alive today?
He left that Christmas eve and he had never returned. Never they had heard from him.

On the bridge of the “Pythia” Hessel still shivered. The coffee couldn’t keep him warm. Was it really cold? He remembered that he had this strange sensation when he was young. A shiver. A feeling of bad things to happen. And then he would just know a cow would die, or lightning would strike , things like that. Odd, he had forgotten all about that shiver.
Maybe it had to do with the fact they were sailing here, so close to Terschelling, where he had lived on his parents farm until that Christmas eve such a long time ago.
There was the lighthouse. There were the dunes. And somewhere behind those dunes was the old farm, the horse and his parents. If still alive.

The old man was staring towards the sea, were he could see the light of a vessel far away. Why didn’t he just go home, inside, where it was warm.
Didn’t he hear the old horse now? What was wrong with that animal?
He turned round and entered the barn. The horse was restless, scraping his foot over the floor.
“What is the matter old boy? Huh?”

On board of the “Pythia” Hessel took over the stirring wheel from a mate and gave him his coffee.
It was strange, in the last years he must have sailed here several times, so close to the shore of his island, and he never thought about home till now. It had been a horrible fight, between him and his father. Over twenty years ago it had been and he had left and never returned to the island.
Maybe he was right then. He thought so, then. But now, he could see his fathers point of view too. So soon after the death of his father’s brother, he should have waited a bit with revealing his future plans.
And now he once again sailed by the island he used to live on.

He shivered.
All of the sudden he saw his mother, she was sleeping in her chair near the window. The candle on the windowpane flickering. The candle…
He uttered a cry.

The horse had calmed down a bit, the old eyes looked sadly at the farmer.
“So you are fine now, aren’t you old boy,” the farmer said. Just when he decided to take a look in the stable to see if the cows were okay, he could hear the telephone ring in the living room.
“Now why doesn’t she take that call?” he wondered. He forgot about the cows and hurried inside, into the living. There his wife stood in the room, a burning curtain was lying on the floor. She tried to kick out the flames. He helped her and they succeeded to put out the fire.
Still shaken she said: “I was asleep, you know, and then the phone rang. I woke up and I saw that the curtain was burning. I just tore it down to the floor. Just in time. If that phone hadn’t rang…”
“Maybe whomever it is, will call again,” her husband said.
“Whomever it was, he or she may have saved my life,” the old woman said. She put the fallen picture of her son Hessel back in its place and they both had a glass of wine to celebrate the good ending.

Hessel was still near the radio and waited. There was the voice of the operator.
“This is Scheveningen Radio again sir, I am sorry, they won’t answer the phone.”
He thanked her and stared out of the window again, over the sea. There was the lighthouse of Ameland, the next island. The shiver had gone.

Slowly the ship continued the voyage.

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Comments on: "Christmas" (16)

  1. Well Ina! You have certainly ended this blogging year with a “wow” from me!

    I remember the true story about the Christmas card which still amazes me reading it again! What a wonderful thing to happen, something you will never forget!

    And your fiction story is really good! I was gripped by it.

    Congratulations on the 20 novels to your Dutch publisher! You are a great writer and I am looking forward to reading a novel of yours in English??!!

    Sadly, yes, very negative things happened in the world this year; it will be ever thus. We can only “do our bit” to make it a kinder place. But we have no control over the many natural disasters, etc etc. i guess we need to concentrate on the good, and put all our energies into our own personal positives which you have certainly done this year despite all those health problems

    I wish you and your family a lovely Christmas celebration with all safely gathered in. And what a wonderful thing to look forward to, a new little life!!

    L&H ❤ xx

    • Hi Christine,

      thank you very much.

      Usually I have this feel of Christmas ‘ glow ‘ this time of year, but this year I don’t know… The Christmas spirit doesn’t want to come. I think it has something to do with the weather, there is a storm expected for Christmas day… But I am sure the right feeling will come in time 🙂

      Enjoy your days! 🙂 L&H ❤ xxx

  2. Prettige Kerstdagen, Ina

  3. David Eric Cummins said:

    I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, Ina. 🙂

  4. All the best to you and yours for the coming year Ina…it has been a wonderful year, full of beautiful poetry, so thank you for that.

  5. cynthia jobin said:

    All blessings of the season, Ina. Discovering you and your poetry was a bright spot in this now passing year, and I look forward to more in the new!

    • Hi dear Cynthia, thank you very much! It was very pleasant to read your poetry! Best wishes for the holidays !

  6. Hi, Ina – such a lovely, heart-felt post, real and yet full of magic and wonderful story-telling. I will be back to comment more and catch up on your postings, but wanted to let you know I am visiting and to wish you a blessed Holiday full of warmth and wonder! Love ya! XO ♥

    • Hi Diane, thank you very much, I know how busy it is these days! Have a good Christmas time and enjoy the snow if it is still there 🙂 Love ya too 🙂 ♥

  7. New year, new hope…always 🙂

  8. Wishing you and all your family the very best for Christmas and the New Year.

    The journey for both of us continues and I look forward to sharing part of it with you

    Arohanui
    David
    xxx

    • Thank you very much David. I hope you will have good holidays too!

      I am grateful to have your company 🙂 The journey will be so much nicer when partly shared 🙂

      Arohanui ♥

      xxx

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