Fred Miller is a California writer. Over fifty of his storiesand poems have appeared in publications around theworld in the past ten years. Many may be found on hisblog: https://pookah1943.wordpress.com
Over quaint covered bridges, passed frost-covered sentinels in salute to soft drifting snows, gentle Jethro knows the way to the cottage of the widow who awaits us with wassail spiced with cheer. In fireside rockers, yuletides of yore rife with promise weave quilts full of color and tastes ne’er forgotten. From us comes a goose, from her apple butter and oats for my friend. We share recent sadness and bow our farewells. Afloat across blankets now brilliant with light, his ears cocked and ready, Jethro makes haste toward a farm where festive hearts full of joy will appear. Under stars steadfast and lasting, my musings turn to memories of morns with my love under stain glass windows where pledges were made, where her gentle soul now rests and awaits. Jethro opts to pause and snorts at the gate. Are we early? Rosy-cheeked folk stand gathered in song at the windows. Shared comforts and voices rise together. A whiff of spice, a taste of tarts, shared hugs, fickle time drifts away. Reminiscences remain warm as sassy winds nip my cheeks, my friend’s nose soon shiny with snow. At home fresh oats and cozy blankets await him. A waning fire lingers in a house full yet empty. Precious moments remain fleeting, a cherished oneness now a memory. Christmas morn yields new light and a day filled with promise. In reflections I sense a presence amid a Christmas wish shared forever from my heart.
Concealed in stealth and tucked away, where could you be, you pesky little imp? You are close, your buzz, ‘tis quite distinct. Yet fleeting you seem, your image a smidgen in dawn’s uncharted light. Could this ruse you employ foreshadow an omen for us all? Ah-ha. Perched on spiney haunches in bold defiance you wait, your sensors at the ready. And you dare to stare me down? Would you nick a piddling of my prized portion, this life-sustaining ooze? Ouch! Of course, you would, you knee-nettling knave. Take that! Morning breaks as beams of grace spin ‘round in soft spring breezes. Glad song on wing fills shimmering skies above. Aglow, all nature rises to … Ouch! Take that! And that! I’m on to you, you feisty pint-sized villain, upsetting the goodness of this hour. In clandestine shadows you bounce about in taunting, jaunty jigs. Come hither, let’s talk and explore your errant ways. My skin is salty, my blood quite thin, ‘tis tasteless, my fleeting friend. Consider new vistas and breathtaking venues beyond. Your scrawny carcass I fear will soon appear. Covered in salve and spray, for you I’m ready. Like the CCC saved by DDT, a mask I’ll gladly don. Sweet silence? Am I rid of him at last? Ah… Ouch! He’s back. Will no one rid me of this riling rogue? Ha! I’ll feed you fast to rats, and geckos, and ants lest you sup’ once more on me. In my fist an ax awaits, rolled paper in the other. Come by, sly fellow, come swiftly toward my alluring smile. A banquet I’ll prepare and together we’ll share. Will you abide by me anew? Is your presence in fact providential? I wonder. No doubt you’d find immense delight in my premature demise. Yet to the funny farm I’ll soon repair. Suddenly, you appear. How omniscient you are. Take that! And that! Ha! Netting guards my tender cheeks. My hands, my fingers hid’ deep in quilted gloves. Resign. Retreat. Covered to perfection, prepared for all, I’ll soon prevail. Ouch! My ankles. Full of pluck and spite, please come back, clever little buddy. Do show yourself and hear me out. The day will come when they take me away. And you? Oh, in deep sorrow you’ll sob. How could you now laugh in silly fits? I share such sadness that long will linger. His house he burned to cinders, his car’s a sizzling crisp, they’ll muse. His eyes intent count non-existing stars on end. He whistles songs of soldiers ne’er to return. And in a fog he sits chanting, “Free, ah yes, forever free, I know I’m free for… Ouch!”