Posts tagged ‘christmas story’

My Christmas Blog – Light and Dark

Light

Thinking of the light that sneaks in just in time
from a hidden source to save the grayish day,
like candles lit in darkened rooms
where mothers wait in vain
and stars at night in cloudless skies
guiding whom are lost,
or as a ray of sunshine
entering in a sudden, unexpected way
would lift you up with cheer,
lighten up your heart
to last you through the next, new year;
thinking of you,
I wish you that, and more.

Merry Christmas!

*

Short story:  The Lighthouse and the Candle

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 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 flikkering. 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 ringing 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 the 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 jerked it down to the floor. Just in time. If that phone hadn’t rang…”
“Maybe who ever 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.

translated by Ina, from orig. Dutch, written by Ina 1987, posted on this blog in December 2010

************************************************************************************
Dark Globe Award

I am very honoured because I am nominated and in the finals! for the Dark Globe Award 🙂 Everyone can vote!

http://thedarkglobe.wordpress.com/2011/12/20/the-inaugural-dark-globes-artist-awards-voting-has-begun/

😉

Advertisements

The Christmas Card (true story)

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. )

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?” 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 my cousin in Belgium.  She had asked about a house in the picture.  Something had been altered and she noticed.  I realized the pic must have been more than twenty years old.

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,” 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…

“O my god! It really is her!“ I exclaimed. We were astonished.  There she was,  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 picked this card this Christmas. But a very nice one!

This was the first posting on Inaweblogisback, I wrote this Jan. 1 2010 https://inaweblogisback.wordpress.com/2010/01/01/the-christmas-card-true-story/ The cards are still for sale! 🙂

The lighthouse and the candle

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 flikkering. 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.

translated by me, from orig. Dutch, written by me in 1986

The Christmas card (true story)

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. )

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?” 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 my cousin in Belgium.  She had asked about a house in the picture.  Something had been altered and she noticed.  I realized the pic must have been more than twenty years old.

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,” 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…

“O my god! It really is her!“ I exclaimed. We were astonished.  There she was,  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 picked this card this Christmas. But a very nice one!

This was the first posting on Inaweblogisback, I wrote this Jan. 1 2010 The cards are still for sale! 🙂

%d bloggers like this: