A Piece

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A piece, no longer than four minutes long, a Christmas piece, a poem, prose, story, how does one write a christmas story that is no longer than 4 minutes in length, as a boy, our christmas stories stretched for two weeks, one week for preparation, aroma filled houses enveloped the village, then a week of feasts, visits, music, all that filled the village, and laughter that never stopped, young lovers’ breaths mingled in the moonlight, allowed alone time for a short period, teased by children, echoing from house to house, “you got a boyfriend, you got a girlfriend, gonna tell kookum you kissed”, chased down, face washed with snow, “I won’t. I won’t, honest I won’t tell, let me go”, giggling, laughing, walking back home, holding hands with young lovers, just a small chaperone accompanying them, lifted onto his shoulders, looking up, counting starts, he wraps his arm around her, a whisper, “you gonna kiss her?”, dozing, he dreams of toys seen in the catalogue, “shh, nipa”, he drifts away, it never felt cold in the village between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

My father was wounded in Belgium in the 2nd world war, 1944, October, after spending time in the army hospital he was released, although he was not able to return home, he was billeted with a family in Scotland where he remained until the war was over. One summer, sometime in July, a box arrived, my mother left it on the table, it was addressed to my father, curious, we would look at all the stamps on that box, we looked on the globe, we knew where Scotland was but the name of the town we couldn’t find, we’d run in and out of the house waiting for our father, our curiosity hard to contain, all afternoon, “don’t touch, that’s for your dad, leave it alone”, finally he was home, he looked at the box, a little smile, opened it and out poured candies, all kinds of candies, we were in awe, we had never seen candies like this before, he gave us some to try, oh, so good, so different, “ekosi”, he said, “save some for later”, later he told us about the family he had stayed with, they had sent the package full of candies, Christmas candies, months late but still so good, he read the letter that came with the package, that evening he wrote a letter thanking the people that had sent the package, we all signed the letter. Every year for about six years, we’d get a package, our summer Christmas present from Scotland, a box filled with candy.