Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Holiday Story, The Finale

If all good things must come to an end, then I guess this day was inevitable. Today I’m presenting the third and final installment of a project I’ve gotten very attached to. It’s a collaborative holiday story. I started the story, then some very talented writers each gifted me with a continuing segment. The idea was that we’d all impact the story but no one would control it. As sad as I am to see this effort end, I’m honored to have had so many bloggers come together to make this idea a reality and I’m immensely proud of what we’ve accomplished together.

If you haven’t read the story so far or need a reminder as to how it all started, click here before reading on:
A Holiday Story
A Holiday Story, Part Deux

Once again I’ve provided a link to the blogs of all who’ve participated. Every one of these blogs are well worth following.

On to The Finale:

 A Holiday Story | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

 Damon looked down at the key in his hands, turning it over as if the answers to all of his questions lay upon the other side of it. Memories flooded through his young mind at a rate that made it impossible for him to hold on to one thought for even a second before it flitted away to be replaced by an onslaught of others. His small hands trembled involuntarily as he held the precious key and let his eyes wander the outline of the shape of his passport to this magical, life altering adventure. The edges of Damon’s vision began to blur a fuzzy shade of blackness and a high pitched ringing in his ears distorted his thoughts even more. He shook his head as if the action would right his vision once more but it only served to disorient him further. “Damon!”  His Grammy shook the boy’s arm, causing him to drop the key and take a large startled breath.

He was so wrapped up in his thoughts that he had been holding his breath. He was so overwhelmed it felt like even taking a breath could dash away the hope that this key held.

The key tumbled to the soft red oriental rug beneath his feet but as it hit, a sprinkle of its magic was released in the jostle. The room instantly smelled of baking Sugar Cookies and warm Gingerbread fresh from the oven.

The ripple of energy was clearly felt by all in the room. It filled their hearts with a peaceful kind of joy and optimism with every breath that they took of the sugary air.

Crunch Cookies | www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #cookies
Crunch Cookies

Damon looked down at the key and asked, “What do you think will happen when I put the key there?”

His mother bent down and picked it up and handed it back to her son. “I believe. Your Grammy believed and it changed her life. She will have to tell you that story” his mother told him and winked at her mother. Grammy put her arm around her daughter’s waist and leaned into her for a hug. “Just believe, Damon”, Grammy urged.

The boy stood in front of the special letter and lifted the key above it, hesitating for a moment. His mother put a reassuring hand upon his back and Damon placed the key on the paper. A blinding light splayed out from where the key appeared to fall through the paper, enveloping the room and forcing them to close their eyes in response to the overpowering brightness. The boy reached for the hand of his mother and she grabbed for her mother’s hand instinctively as well. A warm wind that smelled strongly of peppermint grew in intensity around them and soon they could not tell if they were floating and the world was swirling around them or if they were actually traveling in a mint tornado to destinations unknown.

Karen of Baking In A Tornado

“Message received.”

Grammy’s simple statement snapped them all back into the reality of the moment. They were standing in the dim light of the fireplace, holding hands. Bethryn and her mother turned to Damon, who had a stunned look on his face.

“What . . .” Overwhelmed, Damon couldn’t finish his thought.

“Santa knows. He has your letter” Grammy began, but Bethryn cut her off “It’s very late, we’ve all had a long day, lets get some sleep. Tomorrow there will be stories to tell.”

“But how does Santa know the letter is mine?” Damon asked.

“Grammy’s quill and your key told Santa everything he needed to know” she answered simply. 

Hours later, Damon fast asleep and her mother in the guest room, Bethryn lay awake staring at the ceiling.

“I believe”, she thought. “Did I really say that? How long has it been since I believed?” Not since she lost her husband. Certainly not since it became clear that she was going to lose this house.

She hadn’t told her mother, who would jump in to help. She hadn’t told her son, couldn’t bear to tell him they had to leave. She and Wywren bought this big house expecting to have a large family. That was not going to happen. She kept this house for Damon, to give him the stability he needed, but she couldn’t any longer. And she wouldn’t let her mother bail her out either. She needed to stand on her own two feet. Finally. It was time. And though he didn’t know it, Damon had given her a precious gift tonight, a sign that he was ready to move on.

The next morning, as Grammy and Damon sat in the living room having the first of many discussions they’d be having for years to come about what had transpired the night before, and Bethryn was walking into the house with the paper, the phone rang.

“Good morning” said a voice Bethryn didn’t recognize, “this is Kamryn of the WorkForce Placement Agency. I know it’s holiday time but I was wondering, is this a good time to talk?”

“Yes, Kamryn, it’s fine.”

“I have the resume you sent in, it’s been assigned to me. I’ve been going over it and our client list to see if we might have an opportunity for you. I have a possibility, I’d like to see what you think.”


“This position is a bit of a risk, I’ll tell you right upfront. It’s a start-up company, doing well but still very young and finding its way. I’ve met the owner, he’s committed to the business. I’ve placed a few people there and they’re genuinely happy with the work environment. You have no current work history but a solid background. I think this could be worth a conversation, but I won’t go ahead without your approval.”

Kamryn’s pause was met with silence, so she continued: “There’s something else you need to know. The company is nowhere near where you currently live. It would require relocation . . . but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. If you think this is a situation you would consider, the first step would be to set up a video chat for you with the owner. If that goes well, he’d fly you out for further discussion.” Kamryn hesitated, then finished with “is this something you’d like to pursue, something you need to think about, or is it just out of the question for you?”

Bethryn looked towards her son and her mother. Her son was lifting his cherished key and studying it in awe as it started, once more, to glow.

As Bethryn considered her response, she again felt a gentle warmth and detected the slightest hint of peppermint. 

“I believe” she started.

“You believe?” Kamryn asked.

“I believe I’d like you to set up that video chat” she answered.

“Good, I’ll get that done. Sometime in the next few days you can expect to hear from a Leon Atnas.”

12/1/15 UPDATE: One year later, this story continues. Read more here: A Holiday Story: Set In Motion.

It’s an honor for me to again thank all of the writers who crafted this Holiday Story:

Jenniy of Climaxed
Melissa of Home on Deranged
Anna-May of Silence of the Mom
Jennifer of Outsmarted Mommy
Shellybean of Follow me home
Michelle of Juicebox Confession
Sarah of The Momisodes
Tamara of Confessions of a part-time working mom
and me!
Robin of Someone Else's Genius, who wrote a complimentary post and made the key: A Key to Good Memories, A Letter From Santa

Wishing all of your personal stories have magical endings this holiday season.

Baking In A Tornado | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics
 Note: I previously published this recipe as a Guest Post called Sweets with a Side Dish of Humor on 12/27/12.

Crunch Cookies
 Printable Recipe
1 stick butter, softened
1 stick margarine, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups Cocoa Krispie cereal
1 cup mini chocolate chips
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cookie sheets.
*Beat butter, margarine, sugar, egg and vanilla for one minute.
*Mix in flour, baking soda and salt.
*Gently mix in the cereal and mini chocolate chips. Try not to break up the cereal.
*Gently roll into balls and put about 20 on a baking sheet. Press down slightly with the heel of your hand.
*Bake for 12 minutes.
*Let cool for one to two minutes on cookie sheet before removing.


  1. Oh! I just love this! Thank you so much for facilitating this amazing project. I am honored to have been a part of it.

    Leon Atnas. ❤️ So good.

    1. I'm so proud of every word of this story. And I'm glad you got the ending, wasn't sure anyone would!

  2. You know I love a good story, but I have to admit that I immediately went to the recipe and planned when I would make these cookies because they look so delicious, as does just about every recipe you post here. I am addicted to the recipe portion of your blog! then again, I do love a good story, so now i can go back and read it. but actually? I'm good with the recipe! LOL going to read now.

    1. So glad you like my recipes, but the star of this show is definitely the story. Hope you enjoy it!

  3. How fun! What a great project. And the cookies sound divine.

  4. PERFECT ending!!!!! Love it SO SO SO much!!!

    Leon Atnas. LOVE IT!!!! Too clever!!

  5. ♡ Leon Atnas! Ahhhh. I'm sad it's over! So amazing!

    1. I'm sad it's over too, I loved every minute of this project.

  6. A Christmas Miracle! Leon Atnas? So clever, Karen. Really. Loved every minute of this!

    1. Thank you, Robin. I loved your complimentary post also.

  7. Seriously with the cliffhanger?!?!

    Damn, you know some talented folks, present company excluded.

    1. Yes, I have some very talented friends. Present company INcluded.

  8. Just wanted to drop by and wish you and yours a happy and healthy holiday season!

    I'll take some of those cookies under my tree!

  9. Oh Karen. This was such a fun experience. You wrapped the story up beautifully. Once again, it was an honor to participate. Collaborating with such wonderful writers was a gift. Thank you, once again for coming up with an amazing project.
    <3 to you and yours, my friend.

    1. You know I don't like to do anything blogging without you. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  10. What a lovely ending. And cute name... ;-)

  11. Wow, new job, new city, taking her live into her hands, I love this ending!
    Thank you for this amazing project!

    1. Thanks for joining in. I loved doing it with all of you.


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