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Home for the Holidays: A Change of Plans
A Change of Plans
Snow was falling amiably through the streetlights' rays outside the window, and the building had grown much quieter over the last hour. Who knew this latest request would take so much time? Who promised it would be done before the weekend?
They were not as close to finishing as they hoped to be by then. If the weather changed too soon their flights might be delayed. Seemed like the the whole earth must be shaking with the wind and they were working fast to get out of its way.
Organizing the information Elise had gathered and adding Senator Chase Adley's comments as Tad refined the input was taking the entire staff's last hours of the week. Getting it right was just as important to them as getting it done in time.
The lot of them were still begging him to go with them, tempting him with descriptions of the heated pool, the chef's popularity, and how they would all be turning cells off for the duration of their trip. "This is your last chance, Chase. Come with us!"
"Sounds like you'll have a great time at the resort," as he turned from his computer screen. "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 over in as many ways as he could.
Sondro understood and continued trying 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 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 about his family. "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."
More questions from the staff caused him to give 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 orange-speckeled groves and cow-filled 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 whole 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 around, playing with each other’s kids, and waiting on that vivid southern sun to fade into radiant winter colors so brilliant it hurts. It's unbelievable–you really ought to see it sometime.
"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 put the words together.
"Other relatives will drop by, fetching in their favorite homemade 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 to what they're really saying.
"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."
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.
Stunning Look at a Holiday Village
Christmas at the White House
More Home for the Holidays Stories Are Available:
- Christmas Music of John Rutter
Words like talented must be preceded with breathtakingly in order to do justice to John Rutter's Christmas music.
- Keeping Your Holiday Job: Merry Christmas or Not?
Sharing the traditional phrase "Merry Christmas" on the job can be an interesting experience. Such a simple greeting said with kind sincerity can provoke a whirlwind. What do you think about this true situation?
- Coconut Water Apple Cider Fizz: A Drink for Appetizers
Coconut water and sparkling apple cider combine to make a special drink for that holiday meal you want everyone to enjoy. Don't miss the polenta appetizer!