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    « A Tower Among Giants | Main | My Thanksgiving Dinner... »


    Christmas day marks six months since I lost my close friend. June 25. She wrote the following story many years ago and, just before she went away, we talked about republishing it this holiday season. It is an honor and a privilege to bring you her story. I don’t know when it was written, but please enjoy it. She was a very special lady and I’m so proud to have known her…



    By Doris Willman

    [Here is a story I wrote when I was a member of an Amateur Writer’s Club…got 2nd prize, probably because I had all the judges in tears. lol] The Fur Topped Boots


    Christmas was only two weeks away. As I sat by the window watching the snowflakes make their lazy descent to the ground, I was suddenly drawn into my past - to a girl of seven who was waiting for the arrival of Saint Nick. The memories came flooding back. I became that little girl again…

    The snow was falling and I was thinking I could make a snowman if enough snow stayed on the ground. Snowball fights were lots of fun too, but my older brother always chucked his too hard. When I started crying, Mom would make us stop.

    My dog, Patsy, was much more fun than Charlie, chasing and trying to catch the snowballs. When I went sledding, she would chase the sled and try to pull me off. If she succeeded, I would hug her and rub snow on her face.

    I found Mom sitting at the kitchen table looking at the Eaton’s catalogue and writing things on a piece of paper. There was a worried look on her face, almost sad at times, as Christmas drew nearer. I heard her telling Dad that there just wasn’t enough money to go around. I had printed my name beside the fur-topped boots on page 32 and wondered if Mom would notice. She would be even sadder if she knew how much I really wanted those boots.

    Patsy and I went outside to play in the fluffy white snow. I lay down to make an angel. Patsy tried to lick my face so I gave her a big push and she rolled over. She could make a dog angel.

    When Dad came home from work, we went to the hen pen and I gathered eggs while Dad gave them clean water and wheat. I wondered which hen would be our Christmas dinner, and decided it would likely be an old one who didn’t lay eggs any more. As usual, Mom would say, “How can I cook this tough old thing?”, but it was always delicious with stuffing and cranberry jelly.

    On Christmas Eve, I helped Mom put the pretty balls on the tree and decorate the house with red and green crepe paper chains. Some big parcels had arrived in the mail and I knew that they were filled with presents from my auntie Grace. I didn’t dare snoop in them because Mom would get mad at me.

    Dad said, “Santa’s coming down the chimney tonight. You better get busy and write a letter to him.”

    Well I sort of knew who Santa was, but in case I was wrong, I thought I’d better write that letter. The light from the kerosene lamp was poor but I pulled my paper close and wrote: “Dear Santa, bring me anything you want and bring something for my brother and mom and dad. Mom will leave you gingerbread and a cup of water. Love, Sarah” Then I put my letter inside of Dad’s big wool sock and set it by the tree.

    That night, lying on the soft feather tick, I said a prayer to Santa. I didn’t figure God would mind. I asked Santa to try and bring me the black boots with the soft fur, which were on page 32 of the big catalogue, because I hated having cold feet. When I fell asleep, I dreamed of walking in the boots on top of big snow drifts.

    On Christmas morning, Charlie and I raced to get our socks from under the tree. Reaching in, I pulled out a big red apple, a large orange and some nuts, but I loved the barley toys and ribbon candy best of all.

    Next came the present opening. Dad found socks in his, while Mom had some nice smelling powder and a pretty handkerchief. Auntie Grace had given me some tinker toys and a pair of mittens. Charlie was happy when he opened up the plasticene.

    I emptied the tinker toys out of the can and started to put them together.

    Suddenly, Mom said, “Sarah, look. There’s a present still under the tree. You are the smallest, can you crawl under and get it?”

    The present was wrapped in pretty red tissue paper with a big Santa Claus seal stuck to the front.

    “Hey, Mom, it has Sarah printed on it!” I exclaimed.

    “Well, open it up!”

    I tore off the paper and opened the box. Inside were the fur-topped black boots. I took them out and rubbed the fur all over my face. They were as soft as I knew they would be.

    I was so excited, I gave Mom a big hug and kiss, although I didn’t understand why she had tears in her eyes. I kissed Dad and Patsy, and I even kissed Charlie.

    Suddenly, the oven timer sounded and brought me back to the present, but I will always remember that Christmas and the feel of the soft fur atop those little black boots.


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    Reader Comments (8)

    Thank you Dave that's a great story from your friend. I didn't know the lady but enjoyed her blog very,very much. She was indeed a great lady.

    December 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterTommy'sMom(Faith)

    Yes, she most certainly was, Tommy'sMom. What a pleasure it is seeing you! I hope all is well with you... and Tommy!

    Merry Christmas!!!

    December 21, 2015 | Registered CommenterDave Knechel

    Doris was my mother in law and a truly remarkable woman. I was proud to know her, honored to be married to her daughter, and was proud to call her Mum... She wrote a number of articles, stories and reviews, many of which can be found around the Internet. But her own life is the real story and perhaps one day, with the help of her remaining family, I may write that story, for those who did not know the real Doris and the life she endured though illness and handicap. She still managed to raise three daughters, care for her husband, run a home, a personal business and yet still found time for others, with a gentle word, a subtle, or some might say a pertinent life "adjustment", suggestion, or a damn good argument, to set them on the straight and narrow road, we call life.
    Miss you every day "Mum".....

    December 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCharles G M Stuart

    You were a very lucky man to have her in your life, Charles, and she truly was a very remarkable woman. You sure did say it right, too, about her pertinent life adjustments. She definitely told me a time or two what she thought!

    You did her a real service with your comment. I seriously hope you write that story about her. I, for one, would be most willing and happy to read it! Because I knew her, it's so easy to understand why you miss her so much. She was one of my closest friends and I value that friendship so very deeply.

    Thank you for your comment. You said so much in one paragraph and it really resonates. There wasn't a bit of "superfluous fluff" in it. That was her favorite two-word term of mine.

    December 22, 2015 | Registered CommenterDave Knechel

    Tommy passed 12/22/13. Annie came to me from a friend who passed that same year. She is also an senior and a beautiful lady.
    I've had cataract surgery on both eyes,see a Chiropractor,who is doing a great job with my back. I get around pretty good but use a cane if I need to walk any distance when I'm out. I'm always concerned about falling.
    Charles was indeed blessed to have Doris in his life and I too hope he writes her story. I'm pretty sure I once told her some things about my early years during her posts on Jodi's trial. I think Doris and I connected because I have a reputation for telling it like it is. Word around Publix office in Lakeland was "if you don't want to know,don't ask Faith".
    Sure hope your holidays were great and wish you and yours a Healthy and Happy New Year!

    December 26, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterTommy'sMom(Faith)

    I'm very sorry about Tommy, Faith. I had no idea. I lost my father in mid-2014 and Doris a year later, so I know what you have been going through.

    Yes, Charles was blessed. Doris's daughters were very much so, especially Bobbie (Roberta) because I knew how extremely close they were. Life goes on and the pain subsides, but it's still hard. I really miss Doris because we, too, were very close. I will have to go into her blog and read those comments. I really enjoyed her back and forth banter with me. I wish I would have paid more attention to the Jodi case because I would have contributed on her blog, but after Anthony and Zimmerman, I was pretty worn out. She used to ask me to cover it, but I said I can't because I'm not there. Now that I've been in the courtroom covering cases, I have to be IN the courtroom, not following it on TV or online. Oh well, she enjoyed it and saw it right to the end. She kept me posted all the time, too.

    My holidays were fine, thank you, and I hope yours were, too. I should stop in Lakeland sometime and see you. I pass through there on my way to Sarasota. In the meantime, take good care of your back, and keep in touch when you can. I'm still around, but not as active, obviously.

    January 8, 2016 | Registered CommenterDave Knechel

    This was just great to see and read- also her Son-In-Law's comment as well! Dang, she is missed! Miss our group interaction, and her's especially. Dave, is there a good time to call (or not?)- still have your number, if it hasn't changed. Maintaining ties is an important thing to do...

    February 25, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterKaren C.

    Hi, Karen! I can't believe my Snoopy - our Snoopy - has been gone 8 months already. Not a day goes by that I don't think about her and miss her. Doris's death took a giant chunk out of me, and I mean a huge one.

    I miss our interaction, too, and I like keeping in touch. Weezie and I still do that occasionally, but she and her husband stay pretty busy. If you still have my number, you can call me any time you want! I almost always have my cell phone with me. Please do that, and thank you. We had some fantastic times together during that trial, didn't we?

    February 26, 2016 | Registered CommenterDave Knechel

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