Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Christmas Tree (10/09/08)
TITLE: A Tree for Ruby
By Lisa Cox
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When her parents had died it caused such an awful ache deep down in her belly like some horrible nightmare that wouldn’t stop. You know the one…where you are falling and falling but you never hit the ground. It wasn’t until she had moved into this here orphanage that she finally felt like she hit the bottom.
Now Ruby Jean had been named Ruby for a reason. At the age of ten she had an attitude as fiery red as her hair, with freckles to match. And with her she clutched a small bag that held all her belongings. How could someone fit their whole life into one small bag? But don’t you feel sorry none for her, because their ain’t a bag big enough to fit all the good memories she kept.
Her family had sure been poor enough, but that never stopped Ruby. This situation was almost more than a person could bear though. I remember she said, “Jack, I feel like I’ve done lost something, and no matter how hard I look, I know I won’t ever find it.” My heart broke for that poor youngin.
Well, try as I might, nothing I could do would cheer her up. She looked as sad as a pup that’s been chained up all day.
And to add to all her misery it was a time of the year that should have been cheerful, the Christmas season. A time for rejoicing, but how can you muster up joy when you’ve lost the two most important people in your life?
Christmas at Ruby Jean’s was sure special enough though, but not in the way you might know with lots of gifts and glitter. No, Christmas at Ruby’s was about plain old love. You know the kind with lots of hugs, singing, dancing and of course the baby Jesus.
Now where we live there ain’t no such thing as Christmas trees…desert sands can’t hold no pretty little firs, but Ruby swears up and down her ma and pa had a tree every year; one they picked out special. I had a mind to argue with that spunky gal, but times being what they were for her I kept my mouth shut, but you know I couldn’t help but wonder what kind of Christmas tree could Ruby have had?
Well, the orphanage was alive with all the fuss of merry making, but we must a made Ruby mad as fire when she came into the parlor and didn’t see no tree. She piped up and said, “Hey, where’s the dadblain tree?” We all tried to tell her, “Ruby there ain’t no trees in these parts, and you know it!” But by this time she had got my mind a flying and I wanted to see these trees Ruby was a boasting about, and maybe just maybe that would get Ruby back on her legs again toward living. So I spoke up, “Ruby Jean, you take us to these dadblain trees of yours and we’ll get one for you.” She didn’t hesitate and we were all out the door.
As we drove to the spot she brought us to, I really didn’t know what to think. I had been out this way before and never once seen a fir tree, only scraggly shrubs. But she had my dander up. Could there really be a fir tree out here?
As we all piled out Ruby ran around proudly pointing in every direction, “Well, here they be.” Now my eyes aren’t as good as they use to be, but I swear all I could see was a bunch of ugly little bushes! Now what I would have missed if I hadn’t been keen were Ruby’s smiling eyes. One small tear rolled down her cheek as she looked at me, “Aren’t they something?” Somehow seeing these little bushes was a memory from that bag of hers that was just enough to strengthen her sad little heart to somehow go on.
Well you can imagine what we did next. We picked us out one of those ugly little trees and brought it home with us and I have to tell you next to that smiling face of Ruby Jean, it was the prettiest sight I ever saw.
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