Quaker Christmas

The wind was howling as I was awakened by the shutter at the
window slapping the side of the house. A single eye peeked open and
I looked around a still darkened room. The chill in the air reminded
me of the weatherman’s prediction of “snow by morning.” My feet were
cold so I twisted them into the nap of the covers at my feet. It was
the very darkest part of the night. The part of the night that makes
one shiver when awakened even in the warmth of summer. I had heard
all the stories the night before as I sat with the rest of the
family at the table. I heard how this jolly old elf named Santa was
going to come sliding down the chimney and bring toys. Ha! I thought
as I reasoned the very idea of a great big fat guy slithering down
our chimney plopping right into our living room. The picture my mind
painted caused me to laugh out loud and yet I caught myself almost
believing it could happen.
A moment of silence was heard as nature caught it’s breath
to puff an even more furious and cold breath on our little house in
Minnesota. That last wind dislodged a limb from a nearby tree
sending it into the window next to me. I jumped with a start and by
this time both eyes were open and were gazing on the eerie shadows
made by all the Christmas lights in the street. I peeked through a
crack in the blinds and saw a blanket of white snow spread over
everything below. The Christmas lights on the house next door were
blinking a steady on and off and the plastic snowman across the
street at my friend Sherman’s house was turning side to side and
waving just like it had done for the past two weeks after his pop
had placed it ever so gently on the lawn. There was such a bright
reflection of lights from off the show. I noticed that the moon
overhead was full and the face in it looked cold and tired too. The
wind settled down. The calm took back over and sleep started
creeping up my legs into my head and eyes.
About the time both eyes were closed again and sleep was just moments away
there was a thump on the roof. My skin crawled and the feathers
around my neck stood straight up. This was a new and unnatural
sound. There were several more thumps just seconds behind and
overhead I heard the jingling of bells. Needless to say both eyes
were awake again only this time and I became aware that I was not
alone. I flew to the window and carefully pushed the curtains aside
just enough to peek outside. What I saw I couldn’t quite explain and
it frightened me and made me shiver. I could feel my eyes growing
larger and larger as I stood there gazing out the window. On the new
fallen snow I could see the shadows of something, no someone, on the
roof. I could not believe my eyes but I now tell you the
story.
From the rooftop I saw the shadow of a big guy with a big bag flung on
his back. He had eight, four legged horned creatures attached to a
seat like device with runners. It looked like the decorations on the
new green tree downstairs. He stepped out of the device and took a
few short steps, then disappeared down the chimney on our roof. I
was quite curious, so I pulled myself together and flew to the
banister outside the bedroom door where I perched, waiting for his
mysterious entrance. I was nervous about this whole thing, I wanted
to call “Mama” and wake her up but decided to investigate more
closely before alarming the household. It took but a moment for
gravity to act and I witnessed the grand entrance of this red clad
intruder into the room below just next to the Christmas tree. He
came down with a plop and soot from the chimney puffed out into the
room. “Mama’s gonna be mad”, I thought to myself. Once at the bottom
of the chimney the lights from inside the living room and from the
Christmas tree found their way to his face and I saw a big man with
a gentle face and a big smile and he was dressed all in warm red
fur, from his head to his foot. He had white on his face and head
and a twinkle in his eye. He brushed himself off and opened his bag
and quickly went to work.
He put his head way down inside that bag so far
that I thought he was going to fall inside. He pulled out a bright
red box with pretty strings and a bow on top and laid it way up
under the green tree with the blinking lights. He went back to the
bag many times and brought out many pretty boxes with strings and
bows all over them. He didn’t make much noise except for grunting
when he bent over into the bag, I think his pants were to tight. I
stood quietly, watching, waiting to see just what this was all
about. I was almost mesmerized at all the pretty things that he was
pulling from his bright red bag. The reflections of the Christmas
lights made them so pretty then all of a sudden it was over. He took
one last look into the bag and closed it tightly and started back
toward the chimney, then it happened. I guess I must have been
excited because this noise came from me like I had never before. It
was a loud GRRRR or something like that, anyway he stopped dead
still and slowly turned in my direction. I froze. I didn’t know what
to do. I just stood there watching. In slow motion he turned to look
right at me.
Stanley, is that you”, came a soft deep voice.
“Hello” I squawked back before I realized, how did he know my name?
I was too frightened to talk any more and I froze solid in my
tracks. “Stanley, Come here,” he beckoned to me as I quaked with
freight. I felt enough strength now to make my way to him. I was
frightened but somehow I knew he was good and things were going to
work out. “Stanley, you have been such a good Quaker bird this year.
I know your family loves you so much and that you love them too. I
have a very special present for you. You will find it in the morning
on the tree. Don’t be afraid. Don’t make a sound Now, go back
upstairs and go to sleep.” He scratched me on the head for a few
minutes, I preened his white face feathers for a moment and he
released me to fly back to my room. As I topped the stairs I looked
over my left wing and noticed him disappearing up the chimney. Then
I heard a thump on the roof.
Even though the room was chilly I landed on my cage with a warm feeling
in my heart. I had actually seen that “Santa” fellow my family spoke
of the night before. I couldn’t believe it, it was really him, and
he put all those pretty boxes with string and bows under the
blinking tree. As I thought on these wonderful things I heard what
sounded like bells and running feet on the roof. There was a big
swish then the sound of someone laughing and yelling commands. “He
he he he”, no, more like “Ho ho ho ho, Merry Christmas to all, and
to all a good night,” I heard as I caught a glimpse of his shadow
through the window as they all flew from the roof of the house. The
wind let out another cold breath and twigs and snow swirled outside
the window almost like a tornado. Then, once again, silence filled
the room. It seeped in like the milk in a rag after I have an
“accident” at the breakfast table. Mama tells me I have a lot of
accidents.
I perched there for a few minutes reflecting on
happenings of the most recent past. Those memories fresh in my mind
gave me such a warm feeling. “Who was this jolly old elf,” I asked
myself, as I pondered. “Why had he visited this house and departed
after leaving all those many pretty boxes with strings and bows?”
Most of all I wondered just how a person as plump as he could have
possible have made it through that chimney. I tried to fly through
it once and found escape impossible. As those thoughts swirled
through my head like the outside wind I felt a great weight on my
eyelids and succumbed once again to sleep. I knew I had nothing to
fear this night.
Hours passed before the fog began clearing from
my head, I know because I had the uncontrollable urge to stretch my
legs, they felt like lead. My knees were sore and my toes stiff. I
felt like I slept standing up, Grr! I guess I did sleep standing up.
I yawned then caught the scent of something quite nice in the air.
It was sweet yet light. It filled the air and was pleasant and nice,
unlike that coffee stuff Mama and Papa have every morning, ack! I
took one last stretch and flew to the bedroom door.


Three year old Joshua was awake and peering through the bars overlooking
the living room. Older sister Sarah was already downstairs. She was
snuggled on the couch all curled up holding “Teddy” her soft white
Polar Bear buddy she got last summer for her birthday from Aunt
Margaret. Sarah’s eyes were so big I could see the reflection of the
fire that was now burning so brightly in the fireplace. “Mama must
be in the kitchen cooking up something good”, I thought to myself as
I glided past Sarah toward the kitchen. Somewhere down the hall I
heard a big growl and recognized it as Papa getting out of bead.
Papa is such a grouch in the morning until he gets his coffee. I
soared past Sarah and Chester the old alley cat who now lives in the
house because he’s to old to be out in the cold, and I flew right
past the pretty green tree with strings and twinkle lights and into
the kitchen then landed on Mama’s shoulder. “Good morning Stanley”
she said, buttering a hot apple muffin”, “oh that’s the sweet
smell”, I thought.”How are you this fine Christmas morning? You’re
my sweet little Quaker bird”, she completed. I lowered my head for
the regular morning scratch. “It’s going to be short today my little
friend. It’s about time to open Christmas presents.” I cocked my
head and looked puzzled for a moment, then cuddled into Mama’s neck
and started to purr like I heard Chester do so many times when he
got a good scratchin’.


It wasn’t long before Mama buttered the last
apple muffin and stopped scratching. She reached over and gave me a
little nuzzle with her nose and a little kiss on the beak, I like
those kisses. “Kissies, kissies, smooch, smooch”, I said. Mama
picked up a handful of plates and started for the table so fast that
I had to flap my wings to stay on her shoulder. “Breakfast”, she
called out. I could hear the rhythm of Joshua’s little feet
pattering down the stairs. Sarah, still mesmerized by the fire,
didn’t want to get cold so she blinked once and cuddled even tighter
with “Teddy”. Chester, who is always hungry, stopped playing with
the strings on the tree and wondered into the kitchen ready to beg
for any sweet morsel of food that would be dropped by the flock. I
floated to my perch on the table and began crunching on one of the
fine Christmas nuts that Mama had put in my bowl. Papa was now
strolling into the kitchen, one eye open and his hair looked like
Mama had scratched it for hours, it was sticking out in al
directions. “Ack!”, I squawked. He looked so funny. Mama kept making
trips to the counter bringing goodies to the table. By this time
Joshua was up in his chair with the special table for me to sit on
and Chester was rolled up in his favorite spot on the rug between
Mama and the counter. “Sweetie, come to breakfast”, Mama called out
to Sarah. “Bring Teddy. It’s ok today. It’s Christmas”. Sarah began
stirring.


Breakfast was wonderful. I ate a little of Mama’s
apple muffin then a piece of Sara’s orange. Papa always gave me a
bite of his cereal and a drink of his milk. Joshua’s special table,
and the fact that he is always messier than me, provides the most
wonderful place to sit and eat. Even though there is always a pile
of cereal on the table I love to eat off of his spoon and make him
giggle. Chester faithfully sits below and ever so often I drop him
treats. Breakfast with the flock is a wonderful time.


With breakfast over Mama said, “Time to open presents.” Sarah jumped down
from the table so fast that she almost forgot Teddy. Papa wondered
over and poured some more hot stuff in his cup with the picture of a
red parrot on the side and Mama picked Joshua up out of the chair
and wiped the extra cereal off so Chester could munch a few more
morsels. I decided it was time for a little head scratchin’ and flew
over to Papa’s shoulder. “Hello Stanley”, he said as he took a sip
of hot stuff. “Need some scratchin’? You’re such a sweet little
green bird,” he added and off to the living room he walked with his
little buddy on his shoulder.


The presents were neatly and lovingly spread under the tree. Each one was wrapped with colorful paper and tied
with red, green or gold string and a big bow was stuck on the top in
just the right place. Mama and Sarah and Teddy were curled up on
couch. Joshua sat on the floor in front of the tree while Papa and I
stood next to the tall green tree. Papa always laughed when he tried
to put me on the tree. I didn’t like that sticky green stuff on the
tree. It tickled my feet and I would always squawk and flap until I
got back over to Papa’s shoulder. “Birds are supposed to like
trees,” he always told me, but I don’t particularly like them
myself.


One by one, but in quite a flurry, Papa brought
all the boxes from under the tree and the bows were peeled off and
all the pretty string was untied and the paper was torn from them
revealing marvelous things. Joshua sat playing with his new cars and
an airplane. I went down and grabbed the bright blue one and took it
to the couch to chew on. Teddy got a new playmate, Sarah called him
Gramps, everyone thought he looked like Mama’s Papa. Gramps was a
brown fluffy dog with a big black nose and real fluffy ears. I flew
over to chew on his ear, tasted pretty good. Papa opened a package
that held a long black box with soft chewy buttons, he said that he
could now watch the football games better. I can’t wait until I can
taste those buttons. Mama opened a little box and pulled shiny
dangly things from it. She held them up to her ears. I think she
liked them because her eyes sparkled as much as they did. I flew
over to Mama’s shoulder and started to taste the bright dangly
things. “No Stanley”! She hollered. I knew hat that meant. Chester
even got a few new things, new cat food and a flee collar. I didn’t
like to taste his stuff because it’s yucky. I even got a red and
green package with strings and a bow. I pulled the string and found
a new bag of “cheetos” and a new ceramic water dish for the kitchen.
I pulled a bright yellow cheeto from the bag and offered it to Mama.
She must have like them a lot because she made a funny face when she
bit it.


In a while the noise and bustle was over and
everyone was excited yet tired. I perched on top of Papa’s shoulder
and looked out over the living room. There were stacks of pretty
colored paper and strings everywhere. Mama was stuffing the bows in
a plastic bag next to her chair. Joshua was still playing with his
new cars even though he had a bright new bicycle standing close by.
Sarah, Teddy and Gramps were playing dress-up with all her new
clothes. Chester had long ago ventured back into the kitchen to eat.
As I sat there I wondered if this was all there is to Christmas?


Right then I looked up at the angel sitting on top of the tree. I saw a
small light beaming from her face leading straight to the nativity
scene on the table in the corner. It highlighted the face of the
infant in the manger. I laughed a little because I remember Papa
telling the Christmas story to Sarah and Joshua and Teddy and
Chester and me just the night before. He made funny sounds like
sheep and cows as he told the story of Mary and Joseph and baby
Jesus and of God coming to earth as a man to die for our sins. He
told me that Jesus even loves birds, well Papa said good birds. It
was a wonderful story about love and flying angels and wise men
bringing presents to baby Jesus. Right then I got so excited that I
jumped onto the coffee table and squawked “Merry Christmas! Merry
Christmas”! I finally saw the present that Santa had left me on the
tree, it was the angel. Papa extended his finger and I found my way
to his shoulder and looked out over all that I love so much. Papa
said “Good bird, Stanley you’re such a sweet little buddy”. He
petted me as I stuck my head under his warm chin.


I felt warm sleep creeping up my legs as Papa scratched my head, and as I
stood there purring, like Chester does, but just before the sleep
reached my head I thought, “I sure hope they get this place cleaned
up before Grandma and Gramps get here for Christmas
dinner.”

 

From
Stanley, Scooter, Skippy, Max, Sarah, Popcorn, and all the friends
of QuakerVille.com