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"DEcater 2-1-4-7: 1954 to 2014, where are you?"

"Can Nancy come over to play? Dad shoveled the walk and Mommy just baked big plates of apple cookies."

"Linda, you can come over here for a little while."

Holly was too tired from house decorating to feel like trussing her daughter up for a swaddled wobble through chill and wet to cross the street for company.

"Mom, can I go over there instead?" Into a noncommittal silence Lindy wailed, "pleeease."

"Missus McCullom, Linda will be there directly. But please don't feed her. Our family buffet is this evening at Brenda's."

"All right, Jane. They can dawdle around in the attic together while I finish up some wrapping and ribboning to deliver this weekend in Danbury."

"Yes, I've got to get ours all wrapped and taped and roped down to the post next week for Raleigh-Durham too."

Jane let coiled wires of the earphone back toward their polished port of cradling black on Queen Anne's maple hall table and pulled open its drawer for the lines of her holi-days list.

As Ted pulled their heavy maroon drapes of brocade linen-lined the clan stretching back to the aged wall of sailboat prints rowed onto open ocean etchings ooo-ed to applaud and see the gangly fresh-cut fir branched gingerly, drooping to meet each next bough with brightly shimmering metal globes frosted by powdered snow over glittering all-color sprinkles languishing in silvers of lingering tinsel over a homemade wrap quilted from leftovers savored of needle and thread kin and years ago. Freddie yelped as a close-cropped curly black tail squished under Ted's shoe on his way to plug light cords into the plane of the wall molding's lone socket.

"Sorry, little buddy," Ted muttered as he scoped out the sidewalk scene through their north dormer window with its sprays of prickly pine greens amid rugged sienna cones secured by fat red velvet bows and garnered together from nearby forest deeps to seat on hard-polished indoor woods for taunting birds camouflaged in the cold outside hand-mottled heirloom glass.

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text and graphics c. Jeannette Harris and A Country Rag, Inc. November 2014. Jonesborough, TN. All rights reserved.