A Gift for the Sheppards (2)

This is the second installment of a Christmas story I wrote awhile ago. 


The Third Monday Before Christmas

The next week, right on schedule, the Monday-morning-laundry-routine took place. It was the third Monday before Christmas. Nell’s eyes were fixed on the frozen winter scene outside their picture window as her hands expertly felt for and folded the week’s wash. Doris did her part by sorting through some old rags used for a variety of cleaning chores around the house.

“They just don’t act like ordinary people,” Nell stated bluntly while she laid out a pair of white cotton socks one on top of the other. “They’re so different!” Mindlessly, she rolled the socks together. She stretched the opening of the bottom sock so that it engulfed the rest of the sock roll, making a ball, then she tossed it into the basket.

“Did you see the way they decorated their house for the holidays?” Doris snorted in amusement.  

“What decorations?” the sarcasm in Nell’s voice dripped like the water trickling from the nylon stockings drying over the tub in the bathroom. “They just look like a bunch of rags hanging in the front window,” she giggled as she walked to the bedroom to deliver her load of clean clothes.

Doris peered through the frost painted the corners of the glass. “Ohhhh boooy… What’s this now?” she warbled. Nell dropped a ball of socks and scudded across the living room to see what Doris had discovered.

“What is it!? What is it!?” Nell insisted.

“Look at what they’ve done to their window rags,” Doris said pointing across the street at the neighbor’s decorations plastered to their front window.

“You mean the ‘green doughnut’?” Nell scoffed.

“Ya, just take a look.” Doris said. “You hafta see this.”

About a week ago, using scraps of cloth they had collected, the Davidsons had stuck a wide, flat green doughnut shaped wreath to their window. It filled up most of the large window which faced the Sheppards’ house. On it, they spaced four rectangular strips of cloth, three purple and one pink, each one extending from some point on the circle upward. They had placed one larger white strip of cloth in the middle of the circle.

“They added another one of those big yellowish splotches,” Doris observed with bewilderment, comparing today’s display with last week’s. “Looks like they’re sticking them right on the end of those purple strips.”

“They look like candles!” Nell said, leaning toward the window trying to get a better look at the neighbor’s odd window decor. “That’s it, I’ll bet! They’re candles!” she enthused. Last week there was only one of those things ‘lit,’ now there’s two.” She was so pleased with the revelation that she tried to make a joke. “Maybe, I should go over there and see if I might use one of them rag candles to light my cigarette….” The sisters laughed so hard that twenty minutes went by before they could finish folding their clothes.

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