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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Christmas Cards (11/06/08)

TITLE: Standing Reservations
By Catrina Bradley
11/12/08


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Rebecca polished the mantel until the mahoganyís patina glowed. In the center of the mantelís shelf she lovingly placed a clear glass statuette of the Holy family. The remainder of the mantel she left empty. It wouldnít stay bare long, though; this was the spot in their home reserved for Christmas cards.

Each December, she and Adam participated in the ritual exchange of greetings, and by Christmas day, cards bearing scenes of winterís wonders and declaring seasonís greetings would fill the long narrow space.

Her friend Jenn actually started the interchange on the day before Thanksgiving. Even if Terry & Jennís card wasnít the first they received, Rebecca and Adam knew it would be the one bearing Santa astride a motorcycle.

Motorcycle Santaís status as first received granted him a site at the forefront of the shelf, just as Terry & Jenn themselves owned a prominent spot in her heart. The two couples had met years ago, and, in the youth of their friendship, had spent acres of time laughing, crying, or just hanging out. Now they managed to get together only a handful of times a year, but Rebecca knew she could count on their Christmas card.

Coming in on Santaís exhaust would be a silly kitty card from Ed & Donna. Ed and Adam met in military school, and the four had navigated a decisive sector of their young lives together. Adam had also learned to navigate around Edís cat. A welcome reminder of their uncommon bond arrived every year along with the kitty card.

Rebecca had come from a big family, but they werenít close in the Brady Bunch kind of way. Their love, however, was undeniable. She could count on cards from her three sisters: a colorful nativity scene from Annette, a cutesy snowman from Sharla, and an understated elegant card from Kristy. Her brothersí cards came faithfully each year too. Each card from a family member enclosed pictures of Rebeccaís nieces and nephews and great-nieces and great-nephews.

Just as the Christmas cards have a special place in her home, each card on the mantelpiece represented someone with a special place in her heart. Every time she opened an envelope, a piece her heart was dusted and polished as she took its owner out of her memory again.

Rebecca positioned a crystal votive holder on either side of the figurine of Mary and Joseph adoring their Son, and stepped back for a last examination of the bare mantel. With expectant love shining in her eyes, she went out get the mail.


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This article has been read 806 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Marita Vandertogt11/14/08
Nice approach to the topic - gives the whole Christmas card exchange so much more meaning.
Joanne Sher 11/16/08
Lovely descriptions, and such beautiful language--almost lyrical. I could picture this so clearly. Just lovely.
Angela M. Baker-Bridge11/16/08
It was easy to relate to Rebeca and envision her polished mantel. Loved the title too!
Celeste Ammirata11/18/08
I love how she thought with love about her friends and family and the cards she cherished from them. Very nice.
Leigh MacKelvey11/18/08
I was impressed with the word choices in this piece. It was a simplistic story, but told so true and hoinestly. You have a gift of writing simply, freshly and truthfully. The reader always leaves the read with a special emotion.Loved it, Cat!
Leigh MacKelvey11/18/08
I was impressed with the word choices in this piece. It was a simplistic story, but told so true and hoinestly. You have a gift of writing simply, freshly and truthfully. The reader always leaves the read with a special emotion.Loved it, Cat!
Leigh MacKelvey11/18/08
I was impressed with the word choices in this piece. It was a simplistic story, but told so true and hoinestly. You have a gift of writing simply, freshly and truthfully. The reader always leaves the read with a special emotion.Loved it, Cat!
Leigh MacKelvey11/18/08
Well, so ... it deserved pushing the button 3 times!
Sorry about that.
Loren T. Lowery11/19/08
What I love about this piece is the purity of the heart revealed in the MC; esp by this line: "Just as the Christmas cards have a special place in her home, each card on the mantelpiece represented someone with a special place in her heart. Every time she opened an envelope, a piece her heart was dusted and polished as she took its owner out of her memory again." It makes the title, even that much clearer and poignant - and in way, convicting.
Betty Castleberry11/19/08
This makes me wish I was better about sending Christmas cards. Very good writing, and I loved the ending, too.