Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Holiday Round-Up

I want to put years about 18 years worth of annual Christmas stories for friends and family together in volumes, so this evening, while the main computer is actually up and running, I have rounded up Kevin, my trusty minion flash drive, and herded 23 holiday stories into his USBrain for transfer onto my new laptop where the magic of transforming them into three volumes of around 80,000 words apiece will take place.

Kelly's favorite remains A Major Production, about a brash New Yorker who lands at a playhouse in coastal Maine during the holiday season to produce their version of A Christmas Carol. He rubs all the locals the wrong way by making changes, treating the players and actors like cattle, disparaging the playhouse and everything associated with it. But when a blizzard strands him with the stage manager he begins to realize that the way of life in Maine isn't so bad after all. The fish out of water story ends happily for all, with Mr. New York City deciding he'd like to stay in Maine after all.

My personal favorite is still Rusty & Pepper: Christmas Mischief about the five rambunctious Riley children.  This story is based on a real event- brothers Rusty & Pepper moving the family Christmas tree to the porch roof while their mother was at work. Their mother was a nursing school friend of my mother's. Rusty grew up to be my 9th grade algebra teacher in the town where I grew up. The Riley family is pure fiction spun around that central memory of my mother telling us the story of the Christmas Tree on the Porch Roof when we were kids.

There are three Riley family Christmas stories. Many readers have loved Christmas 1951, about a young girl and her widowed mother who are helped by a kind man after a Christmas shopping excursion in the city after they miss their bus. Mother and daughter are both somewhat dispirited as Christmas approaches, but Mr. Granger changes all that with his kindness and generosity-and love.

There is a story called Bruce in which a man orders a fiberglass camel for a church living nativity and ends up with a real live camel he has to cope with.  In The Red Velvet Suit Santa's son, who will be taking over the 'family business' from his father who is ready to retire, travels to the magical tailor shop to have his own red velvet suit designed and sewn by tailor Jack Frost, only Frost has gone missing! The upcoming Santa falls for Frost's daughter and wants to make her his Mrs. Claus. She is the daughter of Mother Nature and Jack Frost.

I also have always liked The Winter Solstice Ball in which the events and marketing manager fights the board of directors and the ailing hotel owner's headstrong, snobbish son to try to revitalize the old resort hotel. In the end she wins him over and makes him see the value in preserving his family's history by keeping the resort vital into the future.

A man still heartsick at the tragic loss of his wife seeks solace in the remains of a burnt out church and has an experience that changes his life in The Window. He salvages the round window from the church. A woman involved in the constructing and opening of a battered women's shelter wants a unique inspirational window for the community hall in the new shelter. The man who plays their Santa Claus locates the salvage firm that has the window. She's suffered her own tragedies. The Window unites them when Christmas is celebrated in the new hall with it's salvaged white dove ascending window.

Christmas Eve in Hickory Falls finds a small community somewhat at a loss with the unexpected passing of their pastor at Christmas time. The diocese has not replaced him. The church caretaker opens the church as usual on Christmas Eve, not knowing what else to do as the townsfolk have always celebrated Christmas Eve Mass together there. Gradually, various townspeople drift in and by joining forces they open the church and create a Christmas service of their own in memory of their late pastor and all the Christmases they celebrated with him.

Paper Chains is set during the Depression. With the father gone in search of work, the mother having fallen ill, the children and Grandmother must keep the farm running and make a Christmas out of nothing much. With help from various community members and their own gritty determination to have a Christmas they find a way to celebrate the holiday together as a family.

There are a lot more...that's just a sampling...sketchy as it is!

Kelly was just down here to remind me that I haven't written my annual Christmas story yet, nor my annual Halloween story (-ies)- uh, I've been busy. My Christmas story is usually written in panic mode about a week before Christmas when many people are penning their annual Christmas Letters to their family and friends. I prefer to send a story because, really, who cares what my family and I have done all year. Especially when it all boils down to work, work, work and one week of vacation! Doesn't make for interesting reading (even when there are two writers in the family!!)

Off to transfer the holiday stories to the new notebook- it's an HP Stream Notebook. It's BLUE!

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