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The Little's Christmas Tree Farm as told by Mary Little Christmas

The Little’s Christmas Tree Farm

A Faraway Mountain Christmas Story

 

 

A Christmas Day Postcard

& Noel Billet-doux

 

The Newest Little

Christmas story

 

 

 

Written From a Tale Told

by

Mary Little Christmas

 

 

by Grey Gheist

Reporter for The Yuletide News

 

 

 

The Little’s Christmas Tree Farm

A Faraway Mountain Christmas Story

 

 

As told by Mary Christmas

to Grey Gheist

 

 

The Faraway Mountain

Storybook Company

Founded 1990

 

 

The Little’s Christmas Tree Farm

“The Newest Little Christmas story”

 

Copyright 2015 by The Faraway Storybook Company

All rights reserved, including the reproduction

in whole or part in any form.

Shakespir Edition

First eBook edition December 1, 2015

 

 

This story was precisely calibrated and engineered

to set most all children to sleep and dreams

on Christmas Eve Night

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

 

Dear sleepyheads, slugabeds, and all good little girls and busy little boys who will be wishing on Christmas morning for their favorite toys. If you will get cozy, say perhaps by sitting next to a crackling, yellow, yule log fire or a glowing, red, electric Deluxe Lasko Heater, or maybe by snuggling down in a warm bed with wool cotton sheets and soft, fluffy downy pillows, I will tell you a story of Christmas you never heard before. In the entire history of Christmas this tale’s never been told. I would’ve shared it sooner but it wasn’t long ago that I heard it myself the first time and just now is the first chance I’ve had to tell it. Who am I? I’m Chief Reporter for The Yuletide News and this is the scoop that Mary Little Christmas, daughter of Bobby Horace Little and wife of Charles D. Christmas, gave to me of her father’s last, great Christmas.

If you need more particulars than that, I live on Faraway Mountain, where it’s ice cold, snows a lot and is as far north as any in their right mind would care to go. It snows so much on the Faraway that we are famous for breaking our own world record for snowfall. Another Christmas season has come to our mountain and the fact is known—at least by those who live here—that only perfect Christmas seasons are allowed. Christmas has been Faraway Mountain’s favorite time of year since long before the twenty-first century began. Faraway Mountain has, in fact, been an officially-named mountain on official maps since 1790. But Faraway Mountain is not the setting of this story. Marshmallow Mountain, which is some mountains over from the Faraway, is the backdrop of this tall tale. Let me tell you a little about Marshmallow Mountain.

Far longer than any of us have been alive, Marshmallow Mountain has been famous for being the birthplace of the Original American Christmas Tree. Somewhat like the North Pole, where most Christmas toys are made, Marshmallow Mountain is where most Christmas trees are grown. You could call Marshmallow Mountain the “North Pole” for Christmas Trees. The Christmas tree, being one of the great symbols of Christmas, makes Marshmallow Mountain, where all official and authorized American Christmas trees originate, one of the few indispensable places for the Christmas season. As you might guess, Marshmallow Mountain is a place devoted to Christmas.

Though it’s nearly always cold and snows quite a lot there, it’s not near as cold nor does it snow quite as much as on the Faraway. For those who might wonder about the name, no marshmallows grow on Marshmallow Mountain—but it does happen to be the most perfect kind of place to roast marshmallows—so that is how the name came to be, that, and the clouds that float over look like giant marshmallows and the snowdrifts look like giant clumps of marshmallows.

Marshmallow Mountain, like the Faraway, has been a named mountain on official maps since the first generation of American families arrived and set up shops and homes there in the late eighteenth century. The first families liked the place, for there is nothing not to like about it, so they stayed on and their sons and daughters stayed on and their families did the same and so here we are now, talking about it.

Most trees take years to mature, but on Marshmallow Mountain it only takes a year for a seed to grow into a full-size Christmas tree. The seeds are planted on Christmas Eve and then, sometime soon after the first of the year, they sprout and grow quickly through the months. By the first of November they are ready to be cut and shipped to homes all over the world.

Why Marshmallow Mountain is where the best Christmas trees grow is a mystery. Some think it’s the soil on Marshmallow Mountain, which is rich with the Christmas spirit that trees must possess if they are to become a Christmas tree. Others think it has to do with the snowfall. Whatever it is, there is certainly some kind of magic in the snow that falls on Marshmallow Mountain.

Of course, Christmas consists of other things besides trees. It’s made of shiny tinsel and strings of electric lights, and ornaments of all size, shape and fashion. And being the season of joy and love, Christmas is made of many bright colors. Did you know they come up with at least one brand new color every Christmas season? I’ve heard it was a Christmas elf who thought up colors in the first place. But you need not be a genius elf to come up with a new color. You can make up your own anytime you make up your mind to do it. So Christmas is a world-wide celebration and made of many things, but Christmas trees, especially Marshmallow Mountain Christmas Trees, are the very best symbols and spirit of Christmas.

Christmas trees grow in three basic sizes: cottage & cabin small, chalet & bungalow medium and castle & mansion large. Bigger even than the castle & mansion large is the Rockefeller Center Tree, which is in its own category called NEW YORK CITY SIZE. As for colors, some are frosted blue, white, silver and other bright colors, but most are evergreen. The tree elves spray on the colored frost with special Christmas-tree-color spray. Some trees are fake, but you can tell those by a simple trick: the real ones smell real and the fakes ones smell like plastic.

It is not proper Marshmallow Mountain Christmas spirit to have anything less than a real evergreen tree and if you are found with a fake tree on Marshmallow Mountain . . . . Well, I don’t know what would happen. But since the merry citizens of Marshmallow Mountain are the makers of Christmas trees and would have no other kind but the real kind, I don’t expect that would ever happen there.

A real Christmas tree smells like a pine tree because Christmas trees are pine trees. But they’re not just any kind of pine tree. They are Special Christmas Evergreen Pines—the kind they make for Christmas—and near all of them come from special Marshmallow Mountain Christmas tree farms, where magic Christmas seeds are planted, as I’ve already said, every year on Christmas Eve.

As an aside (for particularly factual persons): Sometimes some places do not receive Christmas tree shipments from Marshmallow Mountain. As you know, Christmas season is the most hectic time of year for trains and delivery schedules and so it does occasionally occur that not all places receive Marshmallow Mountain Christmas trees.

Situations happen.

 

 

The First Tree

 

 

All Marshmallow Mountain Christmas trees descend from the first Christmas tree planted there long ago. Nobody knows who planted that first tree but legend is that it was a silver-bearded man who walked with a cane and wore a silver cloak and came from a place far up north. It is said he never left his hometown except once a year. But when he did leave he made up for being at home so much by going to all the places of the earth where there are merry, Christmas-spirited people.

Legend further tells he did all this in one hectic night of travel. If true, he must have been quick about it, so quick that nobody ever saw him. But then again, I don’t believe I know everything there is to know, so maybe there are some who have eyes quick enough to have caught a glimpse of very fast things. Point is, what is true for me may not be true for you. You might be able to spot this fellow with your magic, quick eye.

If you peek.

There are many facts about Christmas completely unknown by many who pride themselves on being factual persons. Like for instance, did you know that the entire Christmas season is shipped to all places every year? It’s true. Every November and December the Yuletide season is shipped all across the world, arriving by freight-train to every hamlet, town and city and every other named place; to every cottage and cabin, chalet and bungalow, castle and mansion—and since 1933—to Rockefeller Center. For a place to receive Christmas it is vital that it be named, for without a name there’s no way for the Director of Christmas Shipping to know where to send Christmas to.

 

The Setting Up

 

After the season is brought to the hamlet, town or city—always at night—and the festive things are put (while the factual persons are sleeping), in shop windows and such, then is when the real season begins, when everyone wakes and sees the season has arrived. Then the season finds itself in the hearts of the people. All this begins on the first day of November, when the very first string of lights are hung and the first notes of Harry Simeone’s “Little Drummer Boy” are heard and the shop windows are adorned with Sundblom’s world famous Coca-Cola painting of Santa. After this festive beginning the season snowballs and by Christmas Eve there is the real feeling of Christmas in the air and nearly the whole planet of men is made cheery and bright. All this happens from a little thing called Christmas spirit, which is in men all through the year but is not often shown, at least not like during Christmas. The final bow on the gift of Christmas is the charity in the hearts of men and the great gladness in the hearts of children.

It is true that Santa Claus brings the presents, that is North Pole fact, but the season itself, well, that comes by train. Railway locomotive. The Old Northern Bullet, the Claus & Kringle—the C&K line—which begins at the tip-top of the earth and flows down the North American continent, from Canada on into the lower forty-eights, where other train companies take it up and disperse the season to every named place far and wide. From port towns at the edge of the sea sail the Christmas-spirit ships, taking the season to nations all over the earth.

Unloading at the train yards and bringing it in after midnight, the season, for each place, is set-up overnight. Since there are lots of places, no two places get set up at the very same time. They once used the special-class overnight-delivery reindeer for the job but have since modernized and now use ATV’S, Jeeps, snow-mobiles, Humvees, Land Rovers and other mechanized forms of transport. This work is the job of Santa’s special class of elves. Their official, overall title is Christmas Season Setter-Uppers, and among that one grand division are the many smaller divisions, such as Christmas Tree Lot Setter-Uppers, and so on. The elves who have been elfing the longest set up the Christmas tree lots, as it is the most specific and special of all Christmas-season jobs.

By the first of December all Christmas trees from Marshmallow Mountain have been shipped—with a tag sanctioned, approved and stamped by the Mayor of Marshmallow Mountain, which reads exactly like this:

 

Official & Authorized

Marshmallow Mountain Christmas Tree

 

If your tree doesn’t have that tag on it, with those exact words, you can rest assured it’s not an official & authorized Marshmallow Mountain Christmas Tree. But don’t worry, if you can’t find an official M.M.C.T. Lot, there are other places that sell Christmas trees, though I would never use any of them myself.

Either way, since America was founded the people of that great nation have acquired the greater portion of their Christmas trees from Marshmallow Mountain. As a matter of true Christmas fact, most all the great nations of the world have as well.

 

 

CHAPTER TWO

 

 

Way back in 1963, when he was just 25, a young man named Bobby Horace Little founded a Christmas tree farm on Marshmallow Mountain. His bride named it “The Little’s Marshmallow Mountain Christmas Tree Farm”. It had been even further way back, in 1950, when he was only 12, that his dream of owning and operating a Christmas tree farm began. The Christmas of 1950 had been a tough one for the Little family. Bobby’s father couldn’t afford presents for his children, not even a tree, so Bobby made a wish on that long ago Christmas Eve that one day he’d start his own Christmas tree farm and give his trees away for free to families who couldn’t buy them. Bobby Little, from a young age, wanted more than anything to spread the joy of Christmas to the world. After his wish, he slept, and when he woke on Christmas morning his gift was the happy belief that someday he would grow enough Christmas trees for all.

Bobby Horace Little, called “Mr. Little” by those who knew and loved him, planted his first Christmas tree seeds the day before Christmas in that long ago year of ’63. He waited all next spring for them to grow, but they never did. He figured he’d been sold bad seeds. No matter. There would be another Christmas season and he would plant again.

In ’64 he bought new seeds and planted those. And waited. And once again, no Christmas trees grew.

In ’65 he traveled all over the mountain and gathered seeds from each tree farmer and brought them back and planted them. And once again it happened: No Christmas trees grew on Mr. Little’s farm.

Mr. Little was exasperated. It had been three years and not a single Christmas tree had sprouted from the soil of his farm. Since no other sodbuster on Marshmallow Mountain had ever experienced this kind of tough luck, none knew how to help him. But he wouldn’t give up. He told Mrs. Little, (which is the official title he called his bride):

“I won’t give up, Mrs. Little. I will plant new seeds next year.”

Mrs. Little smiled, patted his shoulder, kissed his cheek and said,

“And you will grow the greatest Christmas trees Marshmallow Mountain has ever seen!”

So he planted again.

And again, no trees grew.

Mr. Little was becoming desperate, so he sent off for very special seeds from a Norwegian Christmas tree seed farm. The Norse, famous for their seed-making capacity and sympathetic to farmers who fall on hard times, had created a new breed of seed that was extreme cold-hardy and could be planted in any kind of soil or weather condition.

Unfortunately, Marshmallow Mountain Regulation was specific about buying foreign seeds: it was against it. For all factual persons I will state the law, which reads, to wit: In the constitution of 1870, by authority of the Marshmallow Mountain Convention, Article 256, Section 9, which established “The Institute and College of Marshmallow Mountain Tree Husbandry”, [being an institute created exclusively for the purpose of growing real, live evergreen Christmas trees]; the statute, ratified January 12, 1888, states expressly:

 

No other seeds but Marshmallow Mountain Seeds are to be used in the making

of Marshmallow Mountain Christmas Trees.

 

And it included an official postscript and exclamation to the law: (*Not even Norwegian seeds!)

 

But Mr. Little decided being on the chancy side of Marshmallow Mountain law, versus not growing trees, was a necessary and noble risk. The Norwegian seeds were double-guaranteed to grow so Mr. Little was double-sure they would. The day they arrived, via first-class airmail, he waited for the sun to set, and all Marshmallow Mountain citizens to be asleep, before he planted them. Then he waited. While he waited he watered and fertilized and did all he knew to make seedlings grow. When they did not sprout, he reasoned they were taking their time because they were extra-special seedlings, so he worked and waited some more. But his effort was in vain, for once again not a single Christmas tree grew on Mr. Little’s Christmas Tree Farm.

In the land of Christmas trees, where they grow in great abundance—at least for every farmer but Mr. Little—tree farming consists of four easy steps:

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Plant the seeds.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Add time, water and sunlight.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Watch the trees grow.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. And in November. . . Cut and sell Christmas trees.

But on Mr. Little’s Farm Steps 3 and 4 never materialized. Because of his great knowledge on how-not-to-grow Christmas trees, Mr. Little became the joke of Marshmallow Mountain. One year they made so much fun of him he finally had enough and told Mrs. Little he’d never plant another seed, but Mrs. Little wouldn’t hear of it. She said,

“Pay no mind to those people. Don’t listen to a word they say. You just keep planting our Christmas tree seeds. One day they will grow.”

She said this one night after dinner. As she walked toward her room, she had looked back and repeated, with an adoring wink,

“I didn’t marry the kind of man who gives up.”

So he planted every year and the years added up. But it was no matter. Nothing ever grew. Not one single shoot of green tree, not even one single sprout. While the other farmers received awards and honors and money for their trees, Mr. Little only received disapproval and defamation. Every day in his mind ran words like these,

“Let’s face it, I’m a failure. No matter how hard I try I was born to lose, to be last place. I just wasn’t made to make it.”

But something deep inside him whispered that maybe all that wasn’t true. So he never gave up. He continued to plant his seeds with the belief that someday his seeds would grow into Christmas trees and his childhood dream would come true. Over nearly half a century’s time he planted one million seeds and from one million seeds, no Christmas tree ever grew.

Not one single tree.

 

 

CHAPTER THREE

 

 

Mr. Little was born on Christmas Day. On the eve of his seventy-fifth birthday he decided, without asking Mrs. Little for her opinion, that he’d plant no more Christmas tree seeds. His belief had stood a long test of time, but now he was without hope. He no more cared about his dream of a Christmas tree farm, by which to spread Christmas cheer. He’d grown old, but maybe his belief in dreams had grown even older.

As for Mrs. Little, she was still young at heart. And she had the most wonderful Christmas Eve tradition. She baked (and occasionally burned) the most delightfully-delicious Christmas-time pies. She made Christmas Lemon pie and Christmas Chocolate pie and Sock-it-to-me Christmas Raspberry pie and German Chocolate Christmas-joy pie and Strawberry Christmas-delight pie and Blue, Red & Green Christmas-season Pumpkin pie and Banana Christmas-spirit pie. Her most special of all pies was not really a pie, it was more a cake. She called it Mrs. Little’s Special Ingredient Yuletide pie-cake, which was filled to the brim with a toothsome deliciousness you would not believe. On pain of alteration I have pledged not to reveal its ingredients. Everybody knows all great Christmas pie-makers have their own special secret-ingredient Yuletide pie and Mrs. Little was no exception. There is only one single ingredient I can tell you this special pie-cake has in abundance:

It has lots of yule in it.

On Christmas Eve, Mr. Little went into town to buy some sugar and pie pans for his bride’s pie-making enterprise. As he stepped into The Sugar & Pie-Pan Shop, the owner, Ms. Coal-Sock, the town’s most intolerable busy-body gossip, inquired if he had any Christmas trees to sell. She knew he didn’t have any trees, but being a high-faluting business owner she considered it her duty to also be patronizing. Mr. Little politely informed the chin-wagging grinch how nothing had grown for him all year, and added he would not be planting anything next year.

Ms. Coal-Sock, being a smug, self-satisfied, factual kind of scrooge, but not totally without excitability, exclaimed,

“What! No planting next year?”

The very idea was preposterous. Mr. Little planting seeds and never growing trees had become a festive part of the Marshmallow Mountain Christmas Tradition—at least for most everybody but Mr. Little. He shook his head,

“I’m done. I don’t have the heart anymore to plant what will not grow. I will plant no more Christmas tree seeds.”

For maybe the first time in her life, Ms. Coal-Sock couldn’t think of something mean to say. She just stood with her mouth wide open as Mr. Little wished her a merry Christmas and walked outside.

The temperature and light had dropped considerably while Mr. Little was in the store and so he bundled himself up against the cold night and climbed into his one-horse sleigh for the trip back home. As he wrapped his scarf around his neck he saw a tall, silver-bearded man wearing a long silver cloak and walking with a silver cane approach his buckboard. Everybody on Marshmallow Mountain knew Mr. Little and Mr. Little knew everybody and he was sure he’d never met this mysterious man before. He couldn’t make out his face, but from his stature he knew he had never seen him before, all this, and yet there was something vaguely familiar about him. The stranger handed him a drawstring sack made of silver velvet. Mr. Little looked inside the purse and saw it was filled with many silver seeds. The silver stranger said,

“Plant these seeds tonight and they will grow something for you.”

Mr. Little didn’t care to hear anything about planting seeds. He tried to hand them back.

“No thanks, Mister. I’m not interested.”

The silver-bearded stranger refused the bag and said,

“Just plant them. And believe.”

Mr. Little, a bit rattled, said,

“Like I told you, I don’t want them. I have no more desire to grow Christmas trees.”

The man laughed and said,

“Who said they are trees? Just plant them. And believe.”

“Okay, Stranger. Whatever you say. Now I must be getting home. I wish you a Merry Christmas. ”

As Mr. Little drove away the silver-bearded stranger raised his walking stick and waved it in the air. From the tip of his cane flew silver sparks which found their way, undetected by Mr. Little, into the silver velvet drawstring sack resting on his lap. The old man whispered,

“Merry Christmas to you, too, Bobby Horace Little. And don’t forget to believe.”

 

 

CHAPTER FOUR

 

 

At home, when Mr. Little threw the bag of seeds on the table where Mrs. Little was preparing pies, neither of them saw the little wisps of silver something escape from it. Mrs. Little asked what was in the bag.

“Oh, that’s just a bag of seeds I picked up at the store. The stranger who gave them to me said to plant them and something would grow. He thought he’d jest with the one farmer on this mountain who is unable to grow Christmas trees. Your husband has become famous the world over, Mrs. Little. People now come from far away just to mock the laughing-stock of Marshmallow Mountain.”

Mrs. Little shook her head and sadly went about her pie-baking. Later, after she’d finished her pies and was prepared for bed, she found Mr. Little holding the bag of silver seeds at the table. She wrapped her arms around his shoulders and said,

“For all these years you’ve never stopped believing you could get Christmas trees to grow and now, on the eve of Christmas, you lose your belief? What’s the difference this year to change your mind? You’ve worked and believed so long and now you give up?”

Mr. Little held his bride’s hands and said,

“I just can’t do it anymore. I’ve planted one million seeds over these last fifty years and not a single seed ever grew for me. Maybe it’s wiser to finally give up than to continue being a fool. Why believe in a dream that just cannot be.”

She brushed his white hair behind his ear and said,

“Why not? I think since you’ve tried this long it’d be foolish to quit now. And you’re wrong, Horace. It hasn’t been fifty years. You need to plant one more time to make fifty. What have you got to lose? I’m kind of fond of a certain man who never lost his belief. It was you who taught me that a dream may fail the man, but what good reason is there for the man to fail his dream?”

She kissed his forehead and spoke the foremost thought on her mind,

“I don’t know about you, but for me it doesn’t seem quite like Christmas without the great belief of Bobby Horace Little that Christmas trees will someday grow on his farm. The hardest part of a dream is the belief it takes to make it come true and of all the big dreamers I ever knew, you have been the biggest and greatest of them.”

She walked off, then stopped and added,

“Mr. Little, I would miss the dreamer in you, but I would love you all the same. I will always believe in you.”

After Mrs. Little retired to bed, Mr. Little sat and sipped awhile from a big cup of hot chocolate. He looked out of the frosted kitchen window at the moonlight covering his fallow field. The bag of silver seeds sat next to him on the counter.

“I could do it one more time,” he thought. “What harm would it be? I’ve failed forty-nine years in a row. I should make it an even fifty! And anyway, who knows what can happen. . . .”

A short spell before midnight he slipped on his gumboots and worn woolen coat and on his way out the door picked up the bag of silver seeds. Outside, he noticed the atmosphere was extra dry. Long experience had taught him that such parched air presaged a snow storm. He wetted his finger and stuck it in the air and calculated that the storm would be swooping in from the north within the hour. In a song that did not rhyme, he sang to himself:

“I hope I have enough time to plant these seeds, in neat little rows. . .”

As he planted, he shook his head, amused at himself, and sang some more,

“Planting silver seeds, in the same field where I’ve already planted one million others. . . .”

He noticed, as he set the seeds in the brown earth, that they gave off a tenuous silver glow. Before covering each seedling he wondered at it a moment, then he sang his belief, to be sure of it,

“I believe. . . .”

Just as he finished covering the last seed the snow began falling. He stood up straight, shivered at the cold, and trudged back inside. He set his worn, woolen coat on the coat rack, threw off his galoshes and kicked them under the bench, plodded to his bedroom and turned down the lamp’s light, threw on his pajama nightshirt, nestled deep inside the soft flannel covers and whispered sweet dreams to his bride. As he drifted off to sleep the fireplace’s embers cast a warm red glow over his exhausted face. With his last fading and dreamy thought of the day he mumbled one last time,

“I believe. . . .”

 

 

CHAPTER FIVE

 

 

It was after midnight on Marshmallow Mountain and the snow was falling in soft fluffy flakes. Christmas Eve had become Christmas day. And then is when the miraculous began to happen. As Marshmallow Mountain slept, the silver seeds from the silver stranger began to grow little silver shoots, popping right out of the snow-covered ground. But the shoots weren’t Christmas trees. They were something much different. They were snowmen—living, breathing, real live snowmen!

Mr. Little’s fallow field was no longer without life.

 

 

The Noel Billet-doux

 

What a story to share, though it was slow to begin,

When tiny silver seeds turned into little snowmen.

They shot up quick, and quicker they grew,

Transforming silver seeds from snow that flew.

The flakes were few at first, then faster they fell

And made from great belief a grand tale to tell.

As they turned from seeds into living snow-people,

The bell began wringing inside the Church steeple.

The piling snow added to them as it blew

What had been old was becoming something new!

There were snow-infants, made of one tiny snowball,

And mamas and papas, made of three snowballs tall.

Soon there were dozens upon dozens of them to be seen,

Snow-men, snow-women and snow-babes in bright sheen.

They shook themselves free of superfluous snow,

Drowsy and yawning in the chilly white glow.

Finally the snow settled and they all began to speak,

Big booms, loud laughs, and tiny little squeaks.

The demure Miss Silver Bells shook her shawl free of snow

And to the jolly Miss Holly sang a Silver hello.

Miss Holly grinned back a happy green tint,

As she spun about scented of holly green mint.

Miss Mistletoe danced next to Mr. Icicle Blue—

Who smacked her cheek with a kiss and a,

“How do you do!”

Now Mr. Top Hat, busy preening his look

Known by all as a man who dressed by the book

Shook out his dapper lid covered in snow,

And was much too engaged for a simple hello.

Until Miss Chanel, in her sequined dress, strolled by

So he tipped his top hat and winked with one eye.

Miss Wreath, Miss Ribbon and Mr. Light-string,

To spruce up the festival—began to fling—

Their laurels and garlands and wreaths galore,

And ribbons and stringed lights and so much more!

Rounding out this Christmas-time noel billet-doux,

The Green Tinsel’s, Red Tinsel’s and Blue Tinsel’s, too,

Complementing the holiday with Christmas-tide grace,

As they draped colored decorations all over the place.

Now last but not least there were these special two—

Mr. & Mrs. Arctic Shivers, and around them gifts grew.

They preside over every snowman party,

Making sure children’s smiles are yuletide hearty.

So after hellos and well-mets were spoken,

In this bright-lit field where belief was woken,

Mr. Arctic Shivers, who stood the most tall

Proudly proclaimed: “Merry Christmas to all!

Now we’ll rest a few hours, it’s been a mighty long trip,

For Mr. Little’s belief to overcome doubt’s grip.

Let’s get some shut eye, a few winks we’ll take

The children will soon rise, and merriment they’ll make.

There will be jewelry and dolls and shoes for the lasses

And trains and planes and loud drums and no classes.

Mother and daughter will hang on tired dad,

Who will soon wear another robe made in plaid.

There will be snow and trees decked with ornaments bright,

And stories to read on Christmas day’s night.

There will be crying and spying and flying reindeer,

And wondering and singing and lots of good cheer.

There will be baking and wrapping and merry scheming

And little kids sleeping, or so it will be seeming.

The snuggle-bugs warmed by the fireside glow,

Hanging on to hear a St. Nick story before they go.

But soon falling asleep from mother’s sweet care,

Hoping the Naughty List won’t have their names there.

Yet with one eye wide open, for one little peep,

Wishing to see Santa before falling asleep.”

Mr. Arctic Shivers concluded with a drowsy yawn

His final words were these: “We’ll wake them at dawn.”

So the snowmen fell to sleep under stars so bright

And the snow twinkled magic on this Christmas night.

 

 

CHAPTER SIX

 

 

The next morning the Littles woke to the sound of laughing happiness. When they parted the drapes and looked out they saw the entire town capering in what had been their forlorn, fallow field but now was alive with singing carolers, playing children and. . . dare I say it? Living, moving, speaking snowmen, snow-women and snow-babes!

As Mr. Little scratched his head, he wondered aloud:

“What in creation?”

Before Mrs. Little could reply there was a jumbo-whopping knock at the door. They grabbed their plaid flannel robes—Mr. Little’s was blue and Mrs. Little’s was pink—and flung them on as they rushed down. When they opened the door, there stood none other than the Mayor of Marshmallow Mountain, who was jumbo-whopping in size and whose laugh was even larger. He did not even give Mr. Little time to say “Merry Christmas” before he grabbed him in a jumbo-whopping bear-hug then shook his hand and said,

“Horace, you have really done something! I always figured you were planning something special, but this? Real, living snowmen! How’d you manage it?”

Mr. Little, still flabber-gasped from the jumbo-whopping hug, and maybe also from the sight of living, talking and walking snowmen in his yard, stammered out,

“Well, uh. . . you see. . . uh. . . .”

Mrs. Little, unflappably imperturbabalated, calmly answered for him,

“It’s quite simple, Mr. Mayor. He believed.”

The Mayor shook Mr. Little’s hand again, clapped him warmly on the back and as he walked off, said,

“Well keep up the good work! That’s just what Marshmallow Mountain needs more of—BELIEVERS!”

The Littles walked outside. Mr. Little, as he took in the incredible scene, stood as motionless as a snowman—one, at least, who had not been brought to life by the magic of belief. You could say he was double-flabbergasted, triple-astonished and quadruple-surprised. You could even say he was palpably and flappably perturbabalated. As he stared on the scene in child-like wonder his bride took his red cheeks in her hands and kissed him directly on the lips. This was an action that, whenever it occurred, Mr. Little never gave any back-talk about. Then she said in the sweetest way, as if her voice was made of gumdrops, candy canes and peppermints,

“Happy birthday and Merry Christmas, Mr. Little.”

The entire town spent all day on the Little’s farm. There was singing and games and gifts exchanged and when twilight came they built great big bonfires and roasted marshmallows and drank hot cocoa—and made sure the snowmen didn’t get too close to melt. When it grew late they all reluctantly bid goodnight and Merry Christmas and walked to their warm homes, singing carols and making merry out of thin air.

 

Merry Christmas

 

In the final minutes of Christmas, Mr. Little stood on his porch, thinking on the bright wonders of the day. He saw the silver-bearded man standing at the top of the hill and so he hitched his giant Clydesdale “Budwinnia” to his one-horse sleigh and drove up. As he pulled alongside they spoke greetings. When the silver sage patted Budwinnia, the horse nudged him and neighed hello. Mr. Little asked the seed-giver how he had made the magic snowmen grow. The silver-bearded stranger replied,

“I didn’t make anything grow. Year after year, time after time, you set seeds in the earth, believing they would grow. Most would have quit long ago, but you never gave up! It was your belief that was the magic in the seed. Never giving up is always the key to making magical things happen. . . eventually.”

Then the silver-bearded stranger did a very strange thing. He pulled from his coat a Meerschaum pipe and when he struck a match to light it, Mr. Little saw that special one-of-a-kind twinkle in the stranger’s eyes for the first time.

And Bobby Horace Little froze. . .

He realized he’d known this face all his life! The silver-bearded seed-giver, seeing the recognition in Mr. Little’s eyes, winked and gave a big, jolly smile.

And then Santa laughed and that happy boom echoed over the mountains, from Marshmallow Mountain clear to the Faraway. As the echoes of Santa’s laughter faded away, he-who-was-a-stranger-no-more began transforming into soft, fluffy white snowflakes, and soon had disappeared into thin air.

It was a few moments until midnight.

Mr. Little’s eyes misted up, then he turned and looked downhill toward home, where all the snowmen, snow-women and snow-babes were also turning back into little snow crystals. Soon they, too, had vanished into thin air, that once-upon-a-year magic that is Christmas.

The last to go was Mr. Arctic Shiver and Mr. Little heard him happily cry out as he drifted over the mountain and floated out of sight—

“Goodbye, Mr. Little! Merry Christmas and Good night!”

 

 

A Faraway Mountain

Christmas Season Postcard

 

 

I followed the wandering path of serendipity to discover this story. A year ago, on the first of December, my girl and I unexpectedly found ourselves on the Coast Starlight, a seventy-five ton Superliner passenger train. We’d been driving back home when, twenty-five miles into Oregon, my goose-neck trailer sprung a leak. We stayed one night at an antiquated Holiday Inn then decided not to wait any longer for repairs. We had to get back up north to the most beautiful place on earth, among those countless millions of acres of alpine forests along the Pacific Northwest rim. The Cascades were calling, where mountain trails and hidden vales are dressed in evergreen trees. It was Christmastime in Cascadia. And we had to get as far away from Santa Ana as possible, a place were it is illegal for a person to swim on dry land. Who in their right mind would make that illegal? So we hopped the Starlight in a place that calls itself the City of Sunshine.

We had journeyed the day before down into southern California to fetch “Belle”, a 1946 Ford pick-up truck. She is a faded rose-colored vintage knockout replete with the patina of nearly seventy years. As for how I came to meet Belle, that happened after a bottle of thirty-year-old Scotch, a cashier’s check and the acting on a life-long dream. I believe the farmer was happier about the Scotch than the check. I knew Belle was the one when I learned she’d been a single-farm vehicle for generations, most all her parts were original, and as the farmer related,

“She’s been sittin’ up awhile, but she runs in drive. I use those terms lightly; more the drive than the run.”

Her two back tires were square and her flywheel was sketchy, but all told she was about perfect for what I needed her for, which was one single purpose: to drive out in the woods, find the perfect Christmas tree, and transport it back home in my old 1946 Ford antique pick-up. To me—besides the Official Marshmallow Mountain tree—a 1940’s era Ford pick-up truck best symbolizes Christmas. I suppose my grandfather had something to do with all that. The thing I liked most about Belle is that in all her seventy years she’d never gone further than town and that, no more than a few dozen times. She was a home-girl at heart. First day she knew me she went further north than she ever had.

So we were piggy-backing her home on a goose-neck trailer when the hydraulics sprung that leak. We left Belle and the diesel in good hands at a place called Happy Camp and hopped the Midnight Express at Klamath Falls. As we took our seats in the Parlour Car I noticed across the aisle a man and his wife. The lady was the personification of a Christmas Day postcard. From the tips of her polished feet to the ends of her braided crown she was alive, and holding court with all present.

As the train left the depot I sat back, kept my mouth shut, and was spellbound the entire trip. Being a reporter, I knew a scoop when I heard one. The yuletide tune of her voice and the lyrics of her speech were the vocalizing of a noel billet-doux. She was Christmas. Her name, come to find out, was Mary Christmas. She expressed such glowing pictures that all listening in found it easy to convert her words into the images of the season. Mary Little Christmas, daughter of Bobby Little and wife of Charles Christmas, had been well named.

Upon arriving home I began the work of retrieving Belle. I’d already decided I would write the story Mrs. Christmas had told that night, but I sat on the tale for nearly a year before putting it to paper. When I finally got to work her spoken photo plates came to mind as if I’d just heard them. Her father had journeyed onward and she was going back home for one last goodbye. But as you now know, this was no sad tale. There was only jubilation in her memory of him—and perhaps some bit of make-believe, too. But isn’t this always true, of daughters who love their fathers?

It was sixty-three years for Farmer Little to dream and fifty years to plant seeds. All that, for one day of meaning, miracle and magic. I wonder if this year the silver beard’s seeds will grow some magic for someone who has never stopped believing?

As for Belle, in the year since, and after a few fixes, she has become my go-to-one-horse-open sleigh. And we’ll soon dash again through the snow, over the fields we’ll go, laughing all the way.

 

Grey Gheist/December 1, 2015


The Little's Christmas Tree Farm as told by Mary Little Christmas

Bobby Little's dream was his own Christmas tree farm on Marshmallow Mountain, famous the world over for being the place of the Original Christmas Tree and where all Official & Authorized Christmas trees are grown. But for Mr. Little, no trees will grow. One Christmas Eve, after a lifetime of failure, he finally gives up. And then a silver-bearded stranger comes to town with a mysterious bag of silver seeds by which to grow, if not trees, something else . . . . If Mr. Little will believe. The Little's Christmas Tree Farm is an inspiring, heart-warming family Christmas story.

  • ISBN: 9781311142719
  • Author: Christopher F. Mills
  • Published: 2015-12-02 12:05:34
  • Words: 6969
The Little's Christmas Tree Farm as told by Mary Little Christmas The Little's Christmas Tree Farm as told by Mary Little Christmas