Holly and Ivy
© Nicholas 2003
Chapter Six Holcomb Peabody Brasher
Before the ice is in the pools,
Before the skaters go,
Or any cheek at nightfall
Is tarnished by the snow,
Before the fields have finished,
Before the Christmas tree,
Wonder upon wonder
Will arrive to me!
Oh Momma! This was so much fun! I remember every box! I dash down cellar and start to bring them up. First one first you always laughed! Yes, it's here!
Room to room to room. Window to window to window. Place them; one two three, red green red, little big little, silver ties beside! Seven windows in the attic, not counting mine where the birds came to eat. Fifteen on the second floor, fourteen on the main floor.
Momma it was so fun to learn to count like this! And then the windows taught me how to add, the box taught me how to subtract! And multiply and division too! You made this so much fun. Thirty six windows all together, thirty six great big green ones, seventy two smaller red ones. I hoped there were still enough!
Yes, and forty more to spare! We could light them all night long. I ran and tied each curtain back, so careful as you showed me. I stopped a minute and tried to decide. You always checked them first, to make sure I hadn't been careless. I know, I'll just pretend I'm you and look and scold myself!
Not that you ever scolded me. You showed me where I made mistakes and helped learn to do it right. Geesh! I looked and looked and couldn't find anything I'd done wrong! Whoopee! Thanks Momma! You make me feel so special!
I dashed downstairs and found Pastor Davidson's special gift. The long and slender pretty shiny brass candle lighter gizmo. I lit it at the fire and started; bottom to the top. One Two Three, One Two Three! Soon the whole house glowed.
The candles made such shining lights. Such happy dancing shadows! I loved this day more than anything. This day when we first lit the house for Christmas. Thank you Momma. I know it will make him want to stay. Your friends would all start coming on the very next morning. I wonder if they'll come again? Oh Momma, I miss you so very much. I love you so very very very much, it hurts here now inside.
No! No time for tears! Another box! The second one comes next!
Yes crystal stars and long thin silver strings. You taught me how to make myself twice as tall by using the hook part of the gizmo. Oh goodness! I almost didn't need it! Put the hook just there, backwards like, then up and over the rod. Yes, soon the candles' light would dance inside the crystals and tomorrow the sun would fill the inside of the house with thousand thousand rainbows! I loved it when the sun would shine so bright and clear! Look even my attic window had some special crystals too. The birds never seemed afraid of them and I could wake to rainbows!
Box three! Silver silken ropes and silver balls and silver bells for out between the porch posts! Oh, I better go get my coat and boots! Hey! I'll make a bologna sandwich too! Yahoo! Momma this is so fun!
Grunt and groan and tug and reach. Geesh! I forgot how hard this was! Better get the little ladder.
Good that's much better now. Sorry Momma, they're a little crooked. I'll do it better next time.
I run down the drive and look back up at our Christmas Star: the house up on the hill. Oh Momma, it's so beautiful!
Hey! Another candy bar to celebrate! No candy canes, so guess I'll just make do.
Box four, the precious box. First I clear the table, hmmm, I think I'll use the other one. He might still want to put your book beside your chair. Yes, then careful careful, out into the entry. Okay, centered at the hall mirror. Right where everyone who comes can see it.
First the damask table cloth. Stars so small and fragile in the lace. Then one by one:
a cow, moo moo, hehe
an ox, lowww lowww
an ass, eyoww eyoww
a lamb, baa, baa
a horse, neigh neigh
a shepherd, no two, no three!
the manger and a crib
an angel and a star
and look! The wisemen from the East. I know they don't come 'til later. Maybe he will tell me when. I'll put them over here with the camels, still traveling a long long ways. I don't think we ever decided what a camel says, did we Momma?
And sweet sweet Baby Jesus. See? I put him just behind. The bells will tell me exactly when it's Christmas day.
See Momma! I was careful! Everything put out just right! I know you're with the angels now. I know you can see me here. Oh Momma, tell me that you love me? Please Momma? Please?
I'm crying Momma, crying because I miss you. Please help me Momma, please let me do what's right...
I hear the car, I hear the tires squeal, I hear the crash! Oh Momma! I have to help! I have to do what's right! I grab my coat and gloves and jump in boots and fly down to the road.
Oh, it's a mess! Goodness, glad it didn't go the other way, it'd be in the river! Oh No! It's him! The big black car. Oh please? Please? Let him be alright?
I run beside the car where the door is. The tree pretty much crunched the front. Geesh the windows are so black I can't see in. Wait, the door is coming open! He must be still alive! Yes the little light comes on, I see him there. He's moving a little bit, I better help him out.
I pull the door and it makes a terrible sound and almost falls open. He groans, I see some blood on his forehead, not a lot though, maybe he's all right. Oh geesh, how do I get this belt thingamajiggy off? And what's this big white pillow dohickey? I'm never seen that before when someone gets in a car? No wonder he crashed! How'd he drive with this thing all wrapped around the steering wheel? Geesh this powder is everywhere! There, stuff that back up and out of the way. Hmmmm, the belt goes up here and down there. Geesh, it's bolted to the car! Maybe on the other side. "Sorry mister, I have to reach across." I wonder if he can hear me. Hey, his eyes are opening, he kind of looked at me. Yahoo! There's a kind of buckle. Hey and a button! Yikes! The belt jumped back into the wall!
"Come on mister, can you get out?" He mumbles something, geesh his breath sure smells funny! Kind of sweet, but kind of sour too. Hehe, I wonder if I smell like bologna sandwich? "Come on. Try to move, I can't lift you mister, but I can help you to the house? Here, put this foot outside. Now come on, turn, that's right, good! Now stand up. Ouch! Oh sorry, watch your head! Come on, try again, it's too cold to stay down here!"
There, now he's getting up. Geesh, he's pretty heavy, I sure hope he can walk! "Come on, lean on me. A little way. Then it'll be warm and safe. Hey! I can make you tea!" Geesh I didn't try the stove, I wonder if it works?
"Come on, just a little farther!" Boy he sure isn't right. He's mumbling something about a star? And having to put it out. "No mister, no star here. Hey well kinda? Momma always called the house our Christmas Star! Real pretty isn't it? Come on, just up the porch now and in and by the fire! You'll feel better in a minute." Hehe, listen? He's walking up the stairs with out clomping! Now in the door, "Be careful of the crèche..."
"Come on, right in here. Here, lay down here on the settee. Let me get the afghan. What's that? Something about an elf? No, Santa hasn't come yet, geesh, I wonder if he will? Okay mister, you lay right there. I'll be right back, okay?"
I fly back to the road. I remember Momma went back that time too. She found the dolly for the little girl and it made her quit crying right away. Look, there's his flashlight. Not really like a dolly, but might be handy. Oh and there's the little silver whatchamacallit that he held up to his ear. If it's medicine I better take that. A kind of tiny suitcase too. Geesh not big enough for more than socks and underwear! Oh well, that's all I see, better get back up to the house.
Wow, the house sure is bright from here! I run up the drive and put the things over near Momma's chair. I shuck my coat and gloves and boots and put them on the stairs. I grab a washcloth and try to get it wet. Oh, no water! Wait, he brought some bottles! I grab one of the little ones. Ice too! Momma always held my head with a little ice! An icicle! Yeah! That'll do! I grab one off the back porch and run back to the sitting room. Oh no! Sorry Momma! I spilled the bird seed! I'll pick it all up later. I think he needs me now. I wet the cloth and dab at the blood up on his forehead.
Momma used to sometimes use a washcloth when I was sick. She'd rub my head real gentle like and I would feel so better. I loved it when she'd sit beside my bed and read me poems then. There, most of the powder stuff is gone and the blood too. Look! He's turning and looking at me!
"Green eyed elf....." he groans and then closes his eyes again. I know he's sleeping though, I see him breathing.
Boy, I hope he'll be alright? I hope I did okay and helped him right. I'll get the book and sit here and read him some poems, maybe it will make him better like it always did for me. Hey, there's a tag on his suitcase. Look, it says Ivan Bernard Peabody! Peabody! He has mine and Momma's name! Maybe that's why Momma asked him here. Oh oh, he's groaning again. I'll rinse the cloth and wipe his brow again and read to him. Maybe he can sleep.....
I run to the kitchen sink and use the whole bottle to get the powder and blood off the cloth. Oh man, I made a mess Momma, I promise, I'll clean it up! I kind of kick at the back door to try and get it shut. I'll fix it Momma! Just give me a minute more, he needs me! I wring the washcloth out and dash back to the study. I fold the icicle in it and set it on his brow like Momma did for me. I grab my pillow and the book and read from Emily. She sure knew some big, hard words sometimes and some poems are really sad. I'll read him the happy ones, the ones about the flowers and the bees.
The bee is not afraid of me,
I know the butterfly;
The pretty people in the woods
Receive me cordially.
The brooks laugh louder when I come,
The breezes madder play.
Wherefore, mine eyes, they silver mists?
Wherefore, O summer's day?
I love it in our woods. And all my friends are there! Wonder if the painter man will come back in the summer? Wonder if I helped right? Wonder if I sleep here, will it be okay? "Mister? Mr. Ivan? If you need something, just call me and I'll hear. My name is Holcomb, but Momma always called me Holly."
Wow, the rainbows sure are pretty! Oh, it's morning. "Mister Ivan! It's morning now. Are you okay?" Oh no! Someone's coming up the drive! "Mister Ivan? I have to go! Please wake up? I have to! Momma made me promise! We have a rule! Mister! Please? I have to!" I dash up to the attic window and look out. Oh! It's the sheriff's car!
This story is a work of fiction, any resemblance of the characters to actual persons living or dead is purely coincidence. Emily Dickinson's poetry is real. It is in the public domain. Comments should be addressed to Nicholas6996@hotmail.com.