The next morning, after a restless night's sleep, thinking about Christmas, I woke up to a cold crisp morning. After getting dressed, the smell of bacon and pancakes drew me into the warm kitchen. The others were already awake and moving around inside the house.
"Hey, sleepy-head," smiled Grandda. "I was beginning to think you might sleep the day away. We got things to do today, boy!"
"What? What are we going to do today?"
"Oh, you'll see. I was jist gettin' ready to send Les here in to shake you awake. Now let's set down here and have some of this good breakfast your Ma and sister, Martha Rose, made for us."
Pretty soon, everyone was seated around the kitchen table in that big old farmhouse, bowing their head for the blessing. Grandda asked me to return thanks that morning. I felt honored.
"Heavenly Father, thank you for our food, and thank you for sending Jesus to save us. Amen."
We proceeded then to dig in to that good breakfast. I was still wondering what Grandda had in mind for us to do.
As soon as breakfast was over, and the dishes were on their way to being done, Grandda and Ma went into the bedroom to see to Grandma again that morning. Apparently, they had already been in there once, as their conversation led me to believe.
When Grandda came back out, he told all of us to get our coats on, that we were going out.
"First we have to feed the chickens, gather their eggs, and then take food to the pigs down in the pig lot."
Now, I know I hadn't mentioned the pigs yet, but that was something Grandda had taken care of everyday. He felt like we needed to know about everything on the farm, since we were going to be living here for some time.
In the back part of the barn were some horse stalls. He kept his mules that he plowed the ground with in the lot behind the barn. We hadn't been around there much yet, because, quite honestly, they were huge and I was afraid of them. Grandda took us around there to show them to us, and cautioned us to stay away from them for the time being. There was a big fence around that part of the barn and the lot they were turned out into to run around.
"Do they have names, Grandda?" Lester wanted to know.
"Yep, they are named Jim and Jack. I plow up the ground every spring with them, and then I disc it. They work hard for me, so I take very good care of them. Might be, I'll let you ride one of them some time this summer. Would you like that, boy?"
Les' eyes grew big and round. "I don't know, Grandda, I'd be awful afraid of falling off and getting stepped on."
"Oh, I'd hold you on, son, and not let you fall off. We'll see."
Les looked somewhat dubious and yet I could see his excitement building in anticipation.
"Now, what is it you have planned for us to do, Grandda?" asked Rosie. "It's getting cold out here and I don't know how much longer I want to stay outside running around over this place."
Leave it to our Rosie to put in a negative note. She was more like the person she was named for than just a little bit.
"Well, Missy," remarked Grandda, "if you want to miss out on the fun, you can jist head on back into the house, but I thought this would be something you would enjoy helping us to bring home."
Her curiosity got the better of her and she grudgingly agreed to go along with the rest of us. Grandda took us about a half mile across the farmland to a stand of fir trees. He was carrying his crosscut saw. Realization came at once to me.
"We're going to get a Christmas tree, ain't we, Grandda?"
"Yeah, Zeb, we are."
Then the question flashed through my mind, "How would we get the tree back?"
(To be continued)