Home for the Holidays: A Change of Plans

Christmas Greetings
Christmas Greetings | Source

A Change of Plans


They were still begging him to go, tempting him with descriptions of the heated pool, the chef's popularity, and how they would all be turning off cells for the trip. "This is your last chance, Chase. Come with us!"

"Sounds like you'll have a great time at the resort. Thanks a lot for the invitation, really. It would be a neat trip, but I'm planning on going home for the holidays this year." He had tried to explain it to them several times in several ways.

Sondro understood and tried to help him tell the others that he was already set on the plans he had made with his family and friends back home, but they continued to question him anyway. "Why do you have to go home this year, Chase?" they pled.

"Well, I’m myself am surprised at how much I’m looking forward to it. Haven’t been there in years. I’m way overdue for a visit to the home place, and besides that, most of the family's going to be there this year."

"Oh, sure–of course," he explained after more questions. "I’ve seen my folks over the years. Took them on a cruise, and we’ve had other vacations, too. I met them at my brother’s house in August, and we went on to the beach together."

Family joy and holiday joy go hand in hand.
Family joy and holiday joy go hand in hand. | Source

More questions from the staff promoted another try at saying no tactfully. "Yes, we're in touch real regular. We all keep up with each other via the family grapevine, but, it’s just time–I need go home. Home for the holidays, and I'll be gone Thanksgiving right through Christmas. Not coming back until after New Year's."

They wanted to know what the big draw was. "It’ll be good food with good company–the best kinds of both, actually. Everyone's pitching in for the busy days so it won’t be too much for our folks. They shouldn't have to do a thing but visit with company at their age.

"I’m inclined to take a long stroll among the old orange trees that stand on the edge of the main grove. They’ve seen some big ‘canes–and a whole bunch of other stuff, I can tell you. The closer the time comes, the more I sense my own need. The sunshine soaking into my bones while I watch it glint off the bass pond–I can feel it now–and the fresh air, and the quiet, and the stillness. Actually, I can't wait."

Chase told them about how his childhood friends who used to run the groves and cow fields with him will show up to talk about days long gone by. Catching up on their latest news would include Friday night football with their own kids, and checking out their views on current events was important.

Thinking to end their pleas with, "Some of them will be there, anyway. Those who won’t be there, well, they’ll still be there. We lost them too soon, but their laughter still rings in the shadows. I’ll see their eyes again, searching the pastures as they planned their future. There's been a lot of changes and the place has a few bittersweet memories waiting on me."

He couldn't help but go on, "All the joys and heartaches of years past have to meld into a tapestry of stories for the newest kids to grow up on, otherwise they can't really grasp the lessons we learned. If they don't hear about them and then pass them on to their children, the stories will be lost to the future, just like the people they're about, and one day, that'll be all of us."

His eyes went soft as he tried to picture it all for them, "I can already see my cousins bantering and playing with each other’s kids while that vivid southern sun fades into radiant winter colors so brilliant it hurts. It's unbelievable–you really ought to see it sometime.

Embrace what the season offers!
Embrace what the season offers! | Source

"We’ll remember things long forgotten and we’ll say “I’ve missed you” over and over again. We'll promise not to let so much time go by before we see each other again, knowing all the while how impractical it is to bother to say it.

"Other relatives will drop by, fetching in their favorite pies to share, but their love and laughter are the priceless gifts they’ll bring for Chirstmas. We'll spend evenings lingering over rich desserts on the front porch because the weather’s perfect that time of year.

"Everyone will want to know how I make it up in this hard, cold city, and they will want to know when I’ll be moving back home. They'll shake their heads when I tell them I don’t know, but they’ll also hug me tight and tell me to be careful, meaning more than they might be willing to say.

"These practical people truly have some amazing solutions for the world’s problems. Their insight may seem limited, but it’s deep, like still waters on a spring-fed lake, and their ideas are worth hearing if we'll just take the time to listen.

"They understand a whole lot more than they get credit for, and I’ll be glad for some home-for-the-holidays time to wrap my brain around their perspectives again. I'll be primed for the New Year when I get back, so you'd better be ready!"

"So there's no changing your mind," they decided in unison.

"That's right. Yep, I’m going home for the holidays this year. Home for Thanksgiving with family and friends. Home to hug my dad and kiss my mom on Christmas morning.

"Home to my roots, and the wisdom that I once took for granted. Home to see my folks, maybe for the last time–who knows at their age. Home, to tell them I love them and to thank them.

"I do appreciate your invitation, though. It means a lot that you would include me. Hey–I didn’t mean to let my thoughts wander so. Are you okay?"

Some of their faces had changed as he had given his final explanation. Cell phones were lit up and reservations were being changed.

"What? You have a change of plans? Just like that? Oooh, I see. Yeah, it is important. Yes, you're right. It probably is a very good idea for you to go home for the holidays, too."


Stunning Look at a Holiday Village

Check out More Story Titles from this Home for the Holidays Series:


A few excerpts from short stories for Christmastime:

Perfect Traditions --Home for the Holidays, Number 7

Mom’s delight is to have her big get-together on New Year’s Day. She loves it that the whole clan has that to look forward to after Christmas has come and gone.

The Favor -- Home for the Holidays, Number 5

Son, there's something special about family. You can’t buy it, and you can’t replace it if you throw it away. Do you understand?

The Gift of a Lifetime -- Home for the Holidays, Number 3

Adam told her he had been listening to the children breathe as they slept. A snow-bound house full of children and grandchildren was just what he and Angie needed to give them the merry Christmas they wished for.

Christmas at the White House

The World was Changed that Night:

Plan to Make Christmas Tree Cupcakes for the Holidays:

More by this Author


What city could the traveler in "A Change of Plans" be from? 6 comments

thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden

No, I am afraid I dont know the name of the city! But I did enjoy your story and I could feel the warm and friendly atmosphere in that city, where ever it is:) It sound like a lovely place and your great writing describe how a really good holiday should be! It is a special feeling to go home!

Tina


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey Author

Thank you for letting me know you enjoyed the story, thougtforce. It means a great deal because this sort of writing has such a personal element to it.

I see I was not very clear in my question for the comments. I should have written, Can you tell what city the man in the story lives in? I changed that just before replying to your comment.

I'm glad you like the atmosphere in the city he was going back home to visit though. :) It is indeed a special feeling to go home.


bizzymom profile image

bizzymom 5 years ago from New York

Great short story. I can't wait to read part 2. The man lives in the north, but I don't know which city, perhaps New York or Chicago?


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey Author

Thanks much bizzymom. Each in this series is an individual story--very short, easy reads designed to be a thoughtful mental vacation.

I was wondering whether readers would get a feeling of where the man in this story might be from. D.C. was my thought, but with a story like this, of course, any reader can place him in the city of their choice! :) Does D.C. make sense to you?


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 4 years ago from Texas

Very nicely done. It had a nice homey feel to it. It reminded me of when my family used to get together for the holidays.


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    RTalloni1,398 Followers
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    Robertatalloni means creativity. Whether in writing, or in more typical art forms, artistry (and a bit of fun) must be part of the work.



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