I, Refugee - Warmth at Christmas
The merry bells keep ringing as the whole world prepares for the celebration of Christmas. Santa Clause, candy canes, stockings, elves, nativities, plays, and MUSIC fill the air with a wholesome spirit of love and giving. Christmas is the happiest time of year for billions of people whether they believe in the story of the virgin birth of Jesus or not. Goodwill flows from the scroogiest people during that time of year. It is as if God pulled the veil back just a little so heaven can smile on those who celebrate giving, since it is a very God-like thing to do, give. The warmth at Christmas time comes in many forms and from the most unexpected places. In the following true story, the warmth at Christmas was real and palpable from the heart to the skin and vice-versa.
Aromas of sugary treats and tangy tidbits hung lazily in the air tempting all to add the extra 10 pounds of joy to their waistlines. Gifts, goodies, and giving filled every aspect of life at that time. Amusement. Amity for all!— Rodric Anthony Johnson
Decorations cluttered the walls and living spaces showing the holiday spirit in the home. Christmas of 2016, December 9th, all of December is Christmas, was the date. Presents previously purchased already tucked away to place under the tree in anticipation of the 25th of December, bulged from their hiding places. Aromas of sugary treats and tangy tidbits hung lazily in the air tempting all to add the extra 10 pounds of joy to their waistlines. Gifts, goodies, and giving filled every aspect of life at that time.
Amusement. Amity for all! With a house of six children, Christmas cured quarreling, cursing, curt kidding--all in one swoop. Everyone wants presents from Santa. Santa was, of course, Mom and Dad. Who had time to think too closely about the semantics of the celebration of gift getting and giving? Not kids! Not even the adults. Seeing the kids so happy about how the season of Christmas developed warmed the hearts of each parent. With every heartwarming involving teens, there is a possibility of hurt as well.
I will bless you and your family, yea, your little ones; and the day cometh that they will believe and know the truth and be one with you— Jesus Christ D&C 31:2
Standing in the kitchen preparing a meal for his family while his wife was out doing more shopping, Rodric became immediately upset. Sariah, his second oldest daughter had dared to challenge him in the kitchen. At least that is what he thought.
Rodric told her to make cornbread for the family meal and it seemed to him that she was going about it the wrong way, purposefully.
"What are you doing, Sariah," he questioned the girl in an accusatory tone.
"What do you mean? I am making the cornbread like you said."
"What! Why are you doing it that way?"
"What do you mean? It's a Jiffy mix. All I gotta do is mix it together in a bowl."
Teacher mode was about to come out. Sariah was already in an irritable mood. This lecture was not about to bring brightness to her bitter emotions.
"You know good and well," continued Rodric, "that you don't mix it like that. Why would you put the eggs and milk in first? Why would you only mix one box at time? All you have to do is take all the boxes, mix them together with three eggs and one cup of milk and it will be fine."
Putting the remaining ingredients in the bowl, Sariah had a face twisted in consternation. Noticing this, Rodric decided to find out why she had an attitude.
"Now what are you upset about."
"Well, I don't like the fact that you are treating me like a child. I know how to make cornbread from the box.
"Excuuuse, me! You arrrre a child! That is the most insane thing you could say to me. You are a thirteen-year-old girl. What do you mean you are not a child?"
By this time smoke is coming out of his ears and incredulity is a fragrance fermenting in the air around them as tears topple into the batter of cornbread from Sariah's face.
"Dad, I did not mean it like that. I was..."
"It does not matter how you meant it. You have some nerve to say that to me. You are a child! If I tell you how to do something, you could at least have enough respect to listen and be quiet."
"Dad, you asked me what was wrong. I wasn't saying anything until you asked."
Two or three minutes of his dad-response to Sariah's comment went on as she stood in silence with tears falling from her face. Rodric had chosen that day to let the small things the children did blow up into a large bulging volcano of emotion erupting out for old and new offenses.
"Wow! So, now you are going to start crying," he continued unapologetically. "Ugh! just go to your room! You make me sick with all of the whining and crying every time I tell you something you don't want to hear! I'll cook the cornbread myself!"
Slamming the pots around a bit as Sariah runs off in tears to hide the fact that she would dare have an emotion about her dad barking at her, Rodric lets the irritation in his heart subside quickly. So, this is Christmas?
Words that Burn
Why did I get so upset when she came into the kitchen to cook. Why am I being so cruel to my daughter, he asked himself continuing to prepare for dinner, Southern fried fish.
Remembering the things that made having a family so great, Rodric could not rest inside. An overwhelming sense of shame came to him as he thought of his daughter simply attempting to help with the cooking feeling like she had committed a terrible crime.
"You make me sick," played through his head as he resolved to apologize for being such a hot-tempered person and letting all the frustration he had bottled up from other children and incidents releasing it on her in such an abusive manner.
I will bless you and your family, yea, your little ones; and the day cometh that they will believe and know the truth and be one with you— Jesus Christ --D&C 31:2
Where there is Smoke
Leaving the oil on the stove to become hot enough to deep fry the multitude of fish, Dad went to Daughter with his proverbial hat in his hands to apologize for the awful way he responded to her.
Five minutes of 'I love you.' and 'I'm sorry." was interrupted by the oldest daughter, Naomi when she said. "I smell smoke."
Soon the chirping voices of two boys and another little girl, Mosiah, Ephraim and Miriam, sprang into song: "It's smoke everywhere. Is it a fire? Daddy, it's a fire."
Exiting the girls' bedroom, Rodric saw smoke. The smoke detectors were beeping and the kitchen was filled with a cloud. Navigating the cloud, Rodric noticed in the kitchen the stainless steel pot filled with oil was in flames, the sides fire-scorched creating smoke. Looking around for salt to put out the flames that were starting to climb to the overhead vent, Rodric remembered that the salt was gone due to the family trying to cut it out of their diet for high blood pressure concerns. All that was left was Mrs. Dash seasoning! Not helpful at the time.
Glancing around trying to figure out what to do as the flames began to rise and melt the venting system for the stove, Rodric screamed for the kids to leave the house.
Smother, came to his mind. Smother the fire with a blanket.
Rodric grabbed a bedspread from his room to smother the fire, which seemed to work for a split second. BOOM! The spread exploded in flames knocking Rodric to the floor semi-conscious. An eerie crying noise wailed through the house. Regaining consciousness, Rodric looked up at the microwave above the stove. Panic consumed him as the wailing sound grew louder and higher. It was the microwave! It was crying. While Rodric lay unconscious on the floor the flames had grown to encompass the kitchen to the point where it was a billowing mass of fire and blackness, bursting glasses, and cans.
And I Can't Get Up
Screaming children calling for their father, coughing and crying joined the wailing of the melting microwave. Breaking crackling sounds and flickering lights created seeds spouting in dread for Rodric as he tried to stand, but fell back to the floor each time, three in all.
Crawling to the living room on all fours, he saw Naomi and Sariah still in the house trying to get to him.
"Get out," he commanded them. "Save yourselves. I can't get up."
"No, Daddy," chirped the voice of the 11-year-old boy Mosiah trying to lift his dad from the ground.
"Go, Mosiah! Get out. I can't save myself if I am worried about you. Go!
Yelling to the top of his lungs, Mosiah screamed out of the house of hell with his younger siblings Ephraim and Miriam getting the attention of the neighbors. Meanwhile, Sariah was on he cell phone in hell-burning house coughing and arguing calling 911.
"Sariah, you and Naomi get out of here."
"No! I am not leaving you! Get up Dad," Sariah commands with a look of determination and defiance."Hello. Our house is on fire and my dad can't get up. he..."
Hopelessness fills Robric's soul as the flames grow hot, him still not able to rise from the floor. Naomi, cursing the situation, threw furniture out of Rodric's path tossing the Christmas tree away with a determination to make sure her father and sister exited with her.
So This is Christmas
Help came. A young man, Naomi and Sariah's best friend's older brother entered the house with his friend and helped Rodric from the house. Once outside, he stood with his children huddled around him crying as they watched the house go up in flames along with their merry Christmas. Earlier that year, I, Refugee - TheHero of My Life Story details how the family started an adventure in Utah that ended in stressful and near-death experiences. Christmas would be different this that year too. As I, Refuge - Good News Christmas
© 2018 Rodric Anthony