Kaitlyn’s Christmas: A Short Story

Kaitlyn’s Christmas

It’s Kaitlyn’s first post-college Christmas, and she is looking forward to spending it at her beloved Nana’s farm in rural Tennessee. For the first time, Kaitlyn can afford to buy Nana store-bought gifts from money earned from her first “real world” job. But Kaitlyn’s old car has different ideas and stalls out on the cold and snow Christmas Eve.

Will Santa bring Kaitlyn her own sweet Christmas surprise? Maybe a second shot at love?



Kaitlyn’s Christmas: A Short Story

By: Stephanie L. Robertson

Kaitlyn Ridgeway breathed on her cold hands. How she wished she had taken time to stop and buy winter gloves after she’d got off work that night.

It was Christmas Eve—the first Christmas that Kaitlyn had been able to afford store-bought presents to take home to Nana. For the past four years, Kaitlyn had struggled to pay herself through college without going into debt. Nana had always instilled a debt-free philosophy in the young woman, who had lived with her grandmother ever since her parents had died.

Now Kaitlyn lived in Nashville, Tennessee and worked at a publishing company as an editorial assistant.

Kaitlyn had imagined a glamourous post-college life for herself—living in a trendy Germantown studio apartment, listening to live bands with a cool group of friends and a special guy, meeting authors at quirky coffee shops….

What she got was a stiff reality check. Instead of her interesting little apartment with a reading nook, Kaitlyn rented an upstairs bedroom from Mrs. Reams—and Mrs. Reams’ chihuahua barked nonstop. It was not a very romantic existence, to say the least.

And now Kaitlyn would be the first to admit that she had suffered from selective hearing at her job interview last spring at the large publishing company where she currently worked. She had ignored some key words: filing, maintaining a database, and scheduling appointments. Instead, she’d only heard “potential for growth” and “point-of-contact for authors.” In addition, her editor was not a patient or pleasant person to work for.

Still, she was getting paid and hoped to move up in the company. So far, she hadn’t had much of a chance to meet new people.

At that moment, she was just happy to make it home to Nana’s farm in Loretto, Tennessee—population 1714. Loretto was southwest of Nashville, almost to the Alabama state line and two hours from Nashville.

Kaitlyn couldn’t wait to get home. She had carefully selected several gifts that Nana would love. For the first time, the gifts were store-bought instead of handmade.
Nana would be so proud!

Kaitlyn longed to get back to the farm to her beloved grandmother. Kaitlyn longed to love on Nana’s scraggly one-eyed Grizabella, who would lie close to Nana’s old easy chair and purr while Nana quilted.

Nana kept a motley coup of chickens, a few barn cats, and Henry, the old pony that Kaitlyn used to ride until her feet nearly reached the ground.
Now Kaitlyn was driving a beat-up Toyota Celica that leaked antifreeze. She would eventually have to buy a new car, but she could walk or ride her bike to work. At the same time, she couldn’t ride her bike to Nana’s.

Kaitlyn dreamed of owning a 1965 Mustang. She was thinking of this while sputtering along at only fifty-five miles per hour.

Then it began to snow.

“Now that is just great!” muttered Kaitlyn and turned on the wipers. Or should she say “wiper.” Only one worked.

She was literally in the middle of nowhere. Though she knew these roads like a human GPS, Kaitlyn wondered if the Celica could make it.
The car finally stalled out somewhere between “kin and kain’t” as Nana would say.

Kaitlyn let out a cry of frustration. There was nothing around for miles. Snow accumulated on the Celica’s windshield, and the darkness deepened.
“Maybe I can start it up again after I give it a little rest,” thought Kaitlyn. She wrapped her quilts around her tighter. It was cold. Seriously cold. She tried the ignition again.

Nothing.

Kaitlyn pulled her cell phone from her purse. She hated to call the police for help. But she had no choice, and she certainly didn’t want Nana driving in the snow.
Headlights shone over the next rise, and a vehicle came to a stop in front of Kaitlyn.

She began to dial 9-1-1 but stopped herself when she saw Santa Claus step from the vehicle.

She had to laugh at the situation.

She rolled her window down an inch or so.

“Ho, ho, ho! Do you need a charge?” called the Santa.

“I don’t think that’s going to help this beater out tonight. I think it’s dead.”

“Is that you, Kaitlyn Ridgeway?” asked Santa, after he approached her car.

Kaitlyn’s eyes registered disbelief. “Is that you—Santa?”

“No,” said Santa and pulled down his snowy white beard. “It’s Jeff Stanton—from Loretto High.”

Instantly, a flood of memories rushed back to Kaitlyn’s first love from way back in 9th grade. The two had gotten along so well together, but they lost touch after Jeff’s family moved to Alabama.

“Jeff? What are you doing out here?” Kaitlyn smiled. Why hadn’t she thought to look him up on Facebook before?

“I’m heading to Florence to deliver some toys to the hospitalized kids at Helen Keller Hospital before going home to Mom and Dad’s. What about you?”

“Going home to Nana’s.”

“Well, I’m getting a little bit cold standing out here in the snow. Why don’t I give you a lift and we can call a tow for your car?”

Without hesitating, Kaitlyn opened her car door. She gave Santa Jeff an awkward embrace and together they transferred the presents and luggage from the Celica to Jeff’s car.

Unlike her own car, Jeff’s was warm as toast.

Kaitlyn held her hands up to the heating vent to defrost them.

Before driving away, Jeff looked up a towing service, but the only ones were several miles away and closed for Christmas.

Kaitlyn took a surreptitious glance at Jeff’s hand. No ring. She hoped the guy wasn’t in a relationship. She immediately felt embarrassed for thinking such a thing. Then, looking around at the vehicle’s interior, she asked, “Is this a 1965 Mustang?”

“How did you know?”

“Just thought it looked like one,” said Kaitlyn, who spent a great deal of time looking up the model on the Internet.

It seemed like the miles passed to soon before Jeff pulled his car into Nana’s driveway. Nana’s Christmas tree gleamed merry and bright from a front window in Nana’s cozy little farmhouse.

“Mind if I call you sometime?” asked Jeff, looking down at Kaitlyn’s left hand.

Kaitlyn said, “I’d like that. Just look me up on Facebook…you know my name, Santa.”

Jeff grinned. “Merry Christmas, Kaitlyn.”

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Top Ten Christmas Activities

What are your top ten Christmas activities?  I’m listing mine below  (in no particular order) and would love to hear from you!  Merry Christmas, and God bless us, everyone!

window_wreath_Christmas

Decorating the Christmas Tree and our whole house for Christmas.

I so enjoy home décor, period, but I get so much joy in pulling out meaningful ornaments and making my Christmas trees pretty.  I had planned to buy another tree for my dining room, but they were so expensive that I decided to wait for the after-Christmas sales.

Fortunately, my next-door-neighbors were tossing their tree because the lights weren’t working anymore.  They said I could have it, so I drug it across the street and put new lights on it.  I used only silver ornaments, while we used the other ornaments on our living room tree.  My “silver tree” is so beautiful–one of the prettiest I’ve ever had.  It lights up the whole dining room with it’s white lights and silver elegance.  (At least I think so!)

dish_foliage

Hearing my husband read the story of Jesus’s birth in Luke 2:1-20.

The story of Jesus’s birth is so beautiful.  The verses are like a balm in their rhythm and the hope they give us in our world.  I think people are more generous and kind at this time of year because so much is focused on our Lord, the Light of our complex world.

church_ornament

Baking Christmas goodies

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Grandmother Lindsey (who lived just across the pasture from us, when I was growing up in rural south Alabama) used to always make the best in sweet Christmas goodies.  My favorite were her date balls, fudge, and divinity.  When I was supposed to be practicing the piano, I’d go swipe a piece between songs.  But I think she knew about it! 😉

Shopping for Christmas gifts for everyone.

Carefully selecting Christmas gifts for everyone is a favorite hobby of mine.  I like to get the best gifts at the best prices and be a good steward of my cash.

Santas1_edited-1

Crafting hand-made presents for family and friends.  Being crafty in wrapping gifts.

I am in my element, my happy place, my zone when I’m making presents for family, friends, and Princess Buttercup’s teachers.  Furthermore, I like adding just a little bit of creativity when wrapping my gifts.  I’d better get on it, actually.  I’ve got only 2 weeks till show time!

Singing Christmas carols.

We went caroling last year.  I did that for the first time when I was in college and loved it!  I want to get a brave group to sing in our new (as of June 2016) neighborhood.  Any volunteers?

Spending time with family and friends.

Spending time with those I love makes Christmas a special time for bonding and building memories.  It’s the time of the year that Lefty takes time off of work, and Princess Buttercup and I love that!

Opening presents.

I’ve gotta be honest…opening presents is just plain fun!

silver_ornament

Silver snowflake, a gift from my friend Kibbers.

Attending all the parties and eating all the good food!

We southerners are known for our food.  It just wouldn’t be Christmas without the feasting.

SouthernLivingChristmas2017

Smiling and saying, “Merry Christmas” to people I meet.
</h1>Like I said for my second activity on the list, people are so much friendlier around Christmas time.  True, traffic can be a nuisance.  And true, we’re southerners, and people from other places say that we’re friendly, anyway.  But I think people are kinder around Christmas because so many more are thinking of the Light of the world, Jesus Christ.

Pimentos for Christmas

Pimentos for Christmas

Each year around Christmas, I give my husband a picture wish list of what I want from Pimentos. My friend Teresa owns the unique little gift shop, located in Athens, Alabama.

Okay, Lefty, here’s my wish list! 🙂

Sold the Farm

Barn ornament
Ever heard the expression, “He sold the farm?” I think it means someone sold something way under value. As you all probably know by now, I’m from a farm in southwest Alabama. We didn’t have a red barn like this, but I can now if I get it for Christmas! (Hint, hint!) ;-p  Pimentos has a lot of these cotton ball stems in their store.  I find it very apropos for the little Athens store since several of my Athens relatives had to pick cotton for a living back in the 30’s and 40’s.

Charms, Glorious Charms

charms for bracelets

Pimentos has charms of all shapes and sizes. I especially like their pearls, since I’m a pearl girl.

charms for bracelets

This is only a small sample of Pimentos charms. They have charms of crosses, animals, hobbies, and letters. I think I got my niece a rhinestone initial one year.

charms for bracelets

charms for bracelets

And other Jewelry

costume jewelry
Cute stuff, right here!

Christmas Ornaments and Decor

Dog Ornaments and Decor

I couldn’t resist. I bought this little dog for Princess Buttercup and gave it to her yesterday.



lantern Ornaments and Decor

Just don’t leave the lantern in the barn!



chicken with hay bale Ornaments and Decor

Bock! Bock!



Ornaments and Decor


angel Ornaments and Decor

Elegant angel.



Rejoice Ornaments and Decor


reindeer Ornaments and Decor


These gold Christmas trees are so elegant. Arrange three together, add some cotton stems, and display with some twigs and pine cones from outside.  Oh, so pretty!

elegant Ornaments and Decor


elegant Ornaments and Decor


Ornaments and Decor


Ornaments and Decor

***
Note: I didn’t receive anything for promoting Pimentos in Athens, Alabama. I just hope you’ll stop by because Teresa is a sweet friend of mine, and I love her locally-owned store. If you had to choose, what is your favorite thing from the Pimentos pictures.

Getting Sweetgum House Gussied up for Christmas!

Hi everyone, I’m getting Sweetgum House gussied up for Christmas!  I went to photograph some local shops for a real estate blog I write for and ended up buying some stuff, myself.  The places that I shop sell unique items, which is definitely what I’m looking for.

Check out this sign!

shop local sign

I love to shop local because my parents also had a non-chain store back in south Alabama when I was growing up.  We used to sell all sorts of toys around Christmas, along with the usual stuff you find in one of those old general merchandise stores.  Our store was like the Olson’s store on “Little House on the Prairie.”  We sold groceries, bags of nails, cattle feed, salt blocks, clothes, tools…you name it.  It was a fun place to hang out in with all the customers coming in, the cash register dinging, and KL and Aunt Maybelle snapping opening the paper bags to load them up with goods.

I digress!

Like I said, I couldn’t resist this tin bucket from Jacklyn’s Keepsakes in Madison.  I heard or read that Joanna Gaines recommends 3-dimensional wall art. Well, this little bucket fit the bill. I’m going to get Lefty to hang it for me in the house, and I can swap out the berries for seasonal flowers as the year progresses.

tin bucket with decoration

My little tin bucket for flowers.

I’m determined to make my cookie-cutter, subdivision Sweetgum home into something charmingly farmhouse-ish.

Christmas decoration

Cotton Christmas from Jacklyn’s Keepsakes

 

Christmas balls decoration

I thought these little glass balls from Madison Station Antiques were so pretty.

Noble Passage Interiors has a ton of elegant Christmas decor like this beautiful Nativity scene. I’m definitely going back for some of their ornaments!

Sweet, Silent Night

Wait! Just one more thing…This, I found at Target (obviously not local) and posted on Instagram. My parents used to take us camping all the time, and I just love this vintage decoration that represents our camping life.

CrimsonCamper

So what about you? What’s your favorite decoration that makes your life around Christmas time a little bit jolly? I’d love to hear from you from all over the country! Do you have a Christmas theme to gussy up your home around Christmas?

Note:  I didn’t receive any compensation for posting about these retailers.