Christmas day marks six months since I lost my close friend. June 25. She wrote the following story many years ago and, just before she went away, we talked about republishing it this holiday season. It is an honor and a privilege to bring you her story. I don’t know when it was written, but please enjoy it. She was a very special lady and I’m so proud to have known her…
THE FUR TOPPED BOOTS
By Doris Willman
[Here is a story I wrote when I was a member of an Amateur Writer’s Club…got 2nd prize, probably because I had all the judges in tears. lol] The Fur Topped Boots
Christmas was only two weeks away. As I sat by the window watching the snowflakes make their lazy descent to the ground, I was suddenly drawn into my past – to a girl of seven who was waiting for the arrival of Saint Nick. The memories came flooding back. I became that little girl again…
The snow was falling and I was thinking I could make a snowman if enough snow stayed on the ground. Snowball fights were lots of fun too, but my older brother always chucked his too hard. When I started crying, Mom would make us stop.
My dog, Patsy, was much more fun than Charlie, chasing and trying to catch the snowballs. When I went sledding, she would chase the sled and try to pull me off. If she succeeded, I would hug her and rub snow on her face.
I found Mom sitting at the kitchen table looking at the Eaton’s catalogue and writing things on a piece of paper. There was a worried look on her face, almost sad at times, as Christmas drew nearer. I heard her telling Dad that there just wasn’t enough money to go around. I had printed my name beside the fur-topped boots on page 32 and wondered if Mom would notice. She would be even sadder if she knew how much I really wanted those boots.
Patsy and I went outside to play in the fluffy white snow. I lay down to make an angel. Patsy tried to lick my face so I gave her a big push and she rolled over. She could make a dog angel.
When Dad came home from work, we went to the hen pen and I gathered eggs while Dad gave them clean water and wheat. I wondered which hen would be our Christmas dinner, and decided it would likely be an old one who didn’t lay eggs any more. As usual, Mom would say, “How can I cook this tough old thing?”, but it was always delicious with stuffing and cranberry jelly.
On Christmas Eve, I helped Mom put the pretty balls on the tree and decorate the house with red and green crepe paper chains. Some big parcels had arrived in the mail and I knew that they were filled with presents from my auntie Grace. I didn’t dare snoop in them because Mom would get mad at me.
Dad said, “Santa’s coming down the chimney tonight. You better get busy and write a letter to him.”
Well I sort of knew who Santa was, but in case I was wrong, I thought I’d better write that letter. The light from the kerosene lamp was poor but I pulled my paper close and wrote: “Dear Santa, bring me anything you want and bring something for my brother and mom and dad. Mom will leave you gingerbread and a cup of water. Love, Sarah” Then I put my letter inside of Dad’s big wool sock and set it by the tree.
That night, lying on the soft feather tick, I said a prayer to Santa. I didn’t figure God would mind. I asked Santa to try and bring me the black boots with the soft fur, which were on page 32 of the big catalogue, because I hated having cold feet. When I fell asleep, I dreamed of walking in the boots on top of big snow drifts.
On Christmas morning, Charlie and I raced to get our socks from under the tree. Reaching in, I pulled out a big red apple, a large orange and some nuts, but I loved the barley toys and ribbon candy best of all.
Next came the present opening. Dad found socks in his, while Mom had some nice smelling powder and a pretty handkerchief. Auntie Grace had given me some tinker toys and a pair of mittens. Charlie was happy when he opened up the plasticene.
I emptied the tinker toys out of the can and started to put them together.
Suddenly, Mom said, “Sarah, look. There’s a present still under the tree. You are the smallest, can you crawl under and get it?”
The present was wrapped in pretty red tissue paper with a big Santa Claus seal stuck to the front.
“Hey, Mom, it has Sarah printed on it!” I exclaimed.
“Well, open it up!”
I tore off the paper and opened the box. Inside were the fur-topped black boots. I took them out and rubbed the fur all over my face. They were as soft as I knew they would be.
I was so excited, I gave Mom a big hug and kiss, although I didn’t understand why she had tears in her eyes. I kissed Dad and Patsy, and I even kissed Charlie.
Suddenly, the oven timer sounded and brought me back to the present, but I will always remember that Christmas and the feel of the soft fur atop those little black boots.