Monday, December 15, 2014

A Holiday Story, Part Deux

This is the second installment of a very special post I published two weeks ago. It’s a rolling holiday story. I started the story and then one by one some very talented bloggers took the reins and added a paragraph or so to move the story along. The idea was that we’d all impact but not control the story. I’m honored to have been gifted with the participation of so many friends. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished together.

If you haven’t read the first part of the story or need a reminder as to how it all started, click here before reading on: A Holiday Story.

Once again I’ve credited the author of each segment and linked to their blogs. I hope you’ll visit them all. They all have different personalities and writing styles, none of them ever disappoint.

A Holiday Story | | #MyGraphics

Picking up the story where we left off:

Damon’s eyes were big and shiny. “Is that MY key?” he asked in a hushed voice. His mother looked to her mother but she just sat with her head bowed.
“I do believe that is your key, Damon. It’s time that we start sharing our memories. Where would you like to begin?”
Damon sat quietly for a moment. Then he said “I remember Daddy’s hugs. He always had the best hugs of anyone. He would squeeze and squeeze me like he didn’t want to let go.”
Tears stung her eyes. She had to keep it together. “Yes” she said to him,”he always hugged me that way too.”
Damon asked “Can we write that in the letter to Santa?” 
“We sure can. What else would you like to put?”

Damon’s grandmother left the room and came back shortly with a quill feather pen, an old inkwell, and thick, beautiful, intricately decorated paper. 
“I’ve never seen paper or a pen like that before, Grammy! Are those for me so I can write my letter to Santa?” Damon asked gleefully while staring at the pen set.
His grandmother nodded and said “These are special instruments that have been in our family for many, many years. You will have to have your mother write the letter for you while you tell her what to say. You must not write with that pen yourself, do you understand?”
Damon agreed and noticed his mother and grandmother exchanging a look he had never seen before, it was a mixture of confusion, intensity and hope. Hope had not been on his mom’s face for a while, even though the overwhelming emotion confused him it also comforted him. Just as he was about to dictate his letter to his mom, the key, his key began to swing in her hands although she was not moving at all. The key began a slow circle movement, slowly and small at first, then faster and faster until it flew out of her hand and right into Damon’s. 
“I was not sure it would work, but it did” Damon’s mom excitedly whispered. A light that had been missing from her eyes for too long had returned along with a determined air. She smiled at her mom, picked up the quill, turned to her son and said “We must write the letter now”.

Candy Cane Shortbreads | | #recipe #bake
Candy Cane Shortbreads

 Jennifer of Outsmarted Mommy

Despite the fact that Damon was still so young and innocent he knew that he was about to experience something beyond special. He knew that there was something magical going on and he was not about to question the fact that they needed to write the letter this very moment. So he put his excitement and curiosity aside and began to think about what he wanted to say in this once in a lifetime letter. Before he began he squeezed the key as hard as he could and thought about how much he missed his father. 
“Mom, I’m ready. Are you?” She wasn’t sure that she was ever really going to be ready but she took a deep breath, looked at her mother then back at Damon and said “I sure am buddy.”
And so he began, “Dear Santa, I have a feeling you have been expecting this letter for quite some time. I think deep down I always knew that one day I would be writing to you about my father.” As he spoke those words, the key started to swing again but this time a beautiful golden glow started to fill the room. Damon’s grandmother looked at her daughter and said “I told you he had the gift”. A feeling of hope filled the room that had been missing for all too long.

Anna-May of Silence of the Mom

Damon looked at the two women who had always been there for him. His mother had sacrificed her own life for him after his father had passed away. She always put him first. There had been no boyfriends or dates and he could only remember a couple of times when his mother had done something for herself or had gone anywhere with friends without him. He knew how much she loved him, he could see it in her eyes every time she looked at him, and he loved her back every bit as much. Bet he also knew she needed more. All his friends had two parents. Not all of them were still married, but those who weren’t had moved on ad found new love and were happy again. As much as he missed his father, he wished his mother would find that happiness again.

It was all very confusing to Damon, as he didn’t yet understand love that wasn’t for a family member, and he DEFINITELY didn’t love any girls other than Grammy and his mom. He knew it was something that adults needed and he knew that his father would want his mom to be happy again. He could feel that in some way his dad was still with them. He wasn’t sure how, but he could just feel it. As he thought about it, the key started to glow even brighter as if to confirm what he was thinking.

Melissa of Home on Deranged

Damon began speaking again, although it really looked as if the quill was doing all the work for him. “You see, Santa, I love my dad. No matter how long he’s been gone, I still love him as much as the last time I saw him. But . . . I really love my mom too. She’s always been there with a smile or a hug or a sandwich, whatever I might need. But I’ve been thinking that maybe, just maybe, she needs more than just me. We need more to be a family.”

His mom was amazed at how quickly the words scratched onto the old paper, but she was speechless at the sentiment they expressed. As Grammy eyed the glowing key, she quietly said “Damon, I think Santa might be paying very close attention to what you are putting in this letter, right this very minute. Let’s not waste this chance. Keep going.”

Joy of  Evil Joy Speaks

“I’m not sure what my new family should look like, but my mom has so much love for me I know she could love more kids. And I’d love a brother to play football with and games and ride bikes with. If there’s a dad out there without a mom like my mom is without a dad, maybe you could help them find each other.”

As Damon’s mother wrote his words her heart swelled. It warmed her heart to hear Damon knew of her endless love for him. She decided right then and there . . .
Jenniy of Climaxed

. . . she was going to open her heart to whatever mysteries this key was going to unlock. She had always been skeptical of her mother’s stories about receiving this key herself as a child and how it changed her world. In her heart she had doubted that the woman who had loved her more than anything else, and expected that if the time came to pass the key to Damon, it would be more of a psychological comfort than an actual tool of magic. The idea of a real Christmas miracle handed down in families through generations in the form of a golden key given by St. Nick himself . . . well, who wouldn’t be a little unsure of it, right?

Looking at Damon tonight, seeing the love in his heart that made that key glow and move, she knew that things would be different. She wasn’t sure how or when, but something would happen to take away the pain she felt every time she saw her son standing on the back porch holding the baseball glove his dad gave him and staring out into the distance, every time he begged not to have to go to school when it was time for Father’s Day lunches, and every time he would turn to her with one little eyebrow arched looking so much like his dad that she found herself breathless. Something would finally take away this loving boy’s obvious pain from losing his father. The two of them had always been close, maybe closer now more than ever, but there was no denying that he had always been a daddy’s boy. 
“Mom . . . did you hear me?”

She snapped back to reality with a shake of her head. “I’m sorry, baby. I was lost in La-La Land again.”

He rolled his eyes a bit. He was used to it. She spent a lot of time there wrapped up in memories of her husband. Sometimes those memories and this amazing child of hers were all that kept her going.

“It’s okay. All I said was that’s it. I’m ready to close the letter and send it to Santa now.”

The quill felt almost as if it were gliding across the paper on its own as she added the last few words Damon Dictated to her: “I believe, Santa. Sincerely, Damon Myers.” But when she got to his name, the quill stopped completely. No matter what she did, it wouldn’t budge.

Grammy piped up this time, “It doesn’t need a signature, dear, not from the quill anyway . . .” Then she looked at Damon and said, “take your key in your hand and place it on the letter where your name would go.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ To continue reading, click on the link below ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
A Holiday Story, The Finale 

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Candy Cane Shortbreads
Printable Recipe
Ingredients (makes about 30):
2 sticks of butter, softened
3/4 tsp peppermint extract
red food coloring
1 cup powdered sugar
2 cups flour
8 oz white chocolate chips or white candy melts
5 ounces Peppermint candies (about 30 candies), crushed
OPT: You can skip the food coloring in the dough and use green candy melts instead of the white
*Cream the butter with the extract and food coloring. Mix in the powdered sugar until just incorporated, then the flour. Roll into a log, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.
*Make the second dough exactly the same as the first except add red food coloring to the butter and extract. Roll this red dough into a log, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate also.
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover cookie sheets with parchment paper.
*Remove cookie dough from fridge and cut into ¼ inch slices.
*Place onto cookie sheets and bake for approximately 10 - 12 minutes, until they just barely start to brown.
*Remove from cookie sheet and allow cookies to cool completely.
*Melt the white chocolate chips or white candy melts in microwave until completely smooth when mixed. Dip (or paint with a pastry brush) one side of each cookie into the white chocolate and immediately sprinkle with crushed candies. Place on parchment paper in fridge to set.


  1. SO SWEET!!!!! Tears, tears and more tears!!!!!!

    So glad my rough start didn't mess the rest of it up!! LOL

    1. Your start was perfect. Every word of this story is perfect.

  2. This is fabulous! I love the direction it has taken. The magic is certainly there!

    1. I couldn't agree with you more. I'm so grateful to you all.

  3. Oh, Karen. I love, love, love it! So many talented writers. It turned out beautifully. I can't wait to read the finale <3

  4. Many thanks for this recipe .... which I plan to make this week, and for this entertaining story! Can't wait for the finale!

  5. This just truly fabulous! I cannot wait for the ending. Everbody did an amazing job.

    1. Amazing that so many people are involved, yet the story flows.

  6. I cannot wait to read the rest. I can't believe how wonderful this story is turning out to be. I am loving it.

  7. Seriously? I have to wait a week or more for the finale? How can I stand it! I know how much work this is to organize, and it's so fun to read. Thanks!

    1. So glad you're enjoying it. Can't wait to post the ending.

  8. All I want is a pot of coffee and a tray of those shortbreads right now!

    Great story writing by each person here.

    1. Well, if you bake some today you could have some tomorrow morning . . .


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