One Dark December
Author's note: This book for me was a joy to write as I got to know a special little girl named Stephanie and... Show full author's note »
In Flanders FieldsSaturday, November 17th, 1917
Nothing of much importance is happening, but I just realized that Christmas is no more than a month away! Oh, I remember last year when it was Christmas Eve the whole lot of us went out into the woods and Father chopped down the perfect Christmas tree! We brought it home on our sled and when we walked in the door Mother had hot cocoa waiting for us! I also remember the year before that. It was the year Hugh went off to War and we went around the town and knocked on every door and sang Christmas carols. I also love going to church on Christmas Eve and listening to the minister tell the story of how Jesus was born. And, how the whole congregation would sing Joy to the World and the church would be filled with the flickering glow of candles. And how we would hear the snow outside and the wind whistle and how we would all go to sleep and wake up in the morning and open presents. The memories, the memories!
Sunday, November 18th, 1917
Well, dear friend, it seems like the whole house has a cold! Everyone is going around sneezing and coughing. Pray to the Lord that I do not get too sick, or out will come the mustard plasters! Uh oh, I just heard a shriek from down stairs. I will be right back! Mother is calling me.
One hour later
Remember when Emily Belle filled the bottle of cod liver oil bottle with tea? Well, Mother found out and poor Emily Belle got yelled at! Mother called in Father and told him the situation. He looked down at Emily Belle and said, ‘Sweetie did you fill the bottle of cod liver oil with tea?’ Poor girl. She nodded and then much to our surprise, Father burst out laughing. As they say, ‘laughter is contagious’, and we all started laughing along, even Mother, who had looked like she could have strangled some one! Father picked Emily Belle up and gave her a big kiss. ‘Thank you Emily Belle, you have made my day’. And so it was, but Mother made Emily Belle and Father go into town and pick up a bottle. So Emily Belle’s plan had not worked – too bad.
Monday, November 19th, 1917
Everything is fine and dandy! I officially introduced Alexis to Abby and after school we all went down to the creek! We walked to my house and Mother said that they could stay for supper! So they did and we had a wonderful time! After that we walked up to Abby’s house and saw the baby. Oh, dear friend, she is so cute! She is just learning to sit up and she has the cutest little face – it could melt the devil! Then we went to Alexis’s house to drop her off and her mother said next weekend Abby and I could sleep over! We would sleep in her room and make supper. I am so glad I have such great friends. Charlie and Susannah are acting sneaky about something. I tried to find out but the little rug rats would not open their mouths.
Well, now I know what those two are up to. They sure are rug rats (no pun intended), but they swore me to secrecy. They are keeping a pet rat! Yes, a PET RAT. They found him in the cellar and it is now living in a cardboard box up in Charlie’s room. I tell you, Mother and Father ought to find out soon for Cassie keeps barking at their bedroom door. I am pretty sure I will tell Aaron, despite my promise not to tell anyone.
Tuesday, November 20th, 1917
After school today, when Susannah and I walked in the door, Mother was crying. My heart just about stopped. I started thinking about all the bad things that could have happened to Hugh. Luckily it was not Hugh. It was a poem Mother saw in the paper and it was so beautiful it made her cry. It made Susannah and I cry too after she read it to us. It sure is beautiful. I have it memorized already. I will jot it down here.
In Flanders Fields
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
between the crosses, row on row,
that mark our place; and in the sky
the larks, still bravely singing, fly
scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
we lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
the torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
we shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
We are having a concert at school in a few days and we each get to recite a poem of our choice. I think I will recite this one.