"If you write FOR a particular market or FOR a particular editor you will often miss the mark. But if you write because your fingers have danced across the keyboard, because a character has tapped you on the shoulder, because a story has settled in your heart, then even if you never sell it you have done the work you were meant to do. And sometime, dear readers, real magic happens." Jane Yolen

12/12/08

Fiction Fridays: "A Pinch of Love"

Welcome to my contribution to Fiction Fridays, hosted this week at Shirley's blog, Sunny Glade. Be sure to stop by there to read more great fiction--and feel free to post fiction on your blog and then link to Mr. Linky at the bottom of her post. All are welcome!
I wrote this story two years ago for a Christmas story contest. It was pretty interesting to look over it again and find how much my writing has improved since I wrote it. I made several changes/improvements for Friday Fiction, but it is still generally the same story. Hope you enjoy it, and that it helps you get in the mood for this season (if you aren't there already!)

A Pinch of Love

Was she ever tired. After a full day of watching six toddlers, Ashley was about ready to collapse.

If the weather had been nicer, it likely would have been a less exhausting, hectic day. Around noon, however, a huge snowstorm blew in, with harsh winds. This had been a day where everyone had to stay in the house and the two-year-olds definitely got restless. It was all she could to do keep the four of them from literally climbing the walls. Fortunately, the weather had cleared, and their parents had been able to get through to pick them up.

Ashley sighed. Unfortunately, her day wasn't over yet. The whole family was coming over tomorrow evening, for Christmas Eve dinner, and she had preparations to make. Cleaning, cooking, wrapping gifts: the list seemed endless. Preparing her house for fourteen visitors was not her idea of fun.
Whatever possessed me to offer to host Christmas Eve?
Ashley picked up the toys and put them back in their bins. She sighed. I wish Mom was still around. Her mother had always hosted this celebration, but with her untimely death in June, it seemed it was now her responsibility. None of her siblings had homes big enough to hold everyone, so she had offered hers.

I need to at least get into the Christmas mood.

Ashley went over to her stereo and found a station with Christmas music. She turned up the volume so she could hear it throughout the house.

She went into her bedroom and grabbed the presents she needed to wrap. They were modest, as it had been a tough year. Listening to the music, however, she smiled. She began to sing along to her all-time favorite carol, "The Little Drummer Boy."
These gifts came from my heart, regardless of how much I spent on them. Baby Jesus received precious, expensive, valuable gifts, but he smiled at a song, which cost nothing.
She finished up her wrapping and headed for the kitchen. The rest of the family was bringing much of the food. Her only responsibility was the pies. As she worked, she sighed.

I'm so tired of baking. I just made a Christmas dessert for a party last week, and now here I go again!

Begrudgingly, she worked on the pie filling as the oven preheated. Glancing over at the pecan pie recipe, she saw a note her mother had scribbled on the side.
Don't forget to glaze the pecans, and to toss in a pinch of love.
Ashley laughed. Only her mother would write something like that. When she'd made the pie last year, mom had come over and whispered to her the "error" in her pie-making ways. Ashley hadn't taken it very well, wallowing in self-pity when she found out--for a few minutes, anyway. Mom must have dug out the recipe at some point when she was visiting before she passed away and scribbled the note on the card.

Mom was definitely not a writer. Ashley had precious few examples of her handwriting. This recipe, she decided, would be a treasure for her forever. This could have been the last thing her mother had ever written. Ashley cradled it gently in her hand, then slid the card into her apron pocket. I'll put it in the scrapbook.

As she put the pie into the oven--pecans glazed and pinch of love added--preparations seemed somehow less daunting. Mother was definitely here helping her along, and she could tell it was going to be a merry, blessed Christmas.

**

Thanks for reading! Don't forget to stop by Shirley's blog for more great fiction.

Also--be sure to check out my 100th blog post contest. Just click on the button below for more information!

7 comments:

  1. Very nice. You warmed my heart today, sister, and made me think of my own dear mom.

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  2. Ooohh! What a neat, sweet story. Heartwarming, you captured this just right, JJ!

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  3. Very nicely done. I could use a few little reminder notes like that myself!

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  4. Lovely, Joanne! I like the note her mother made on her recipe card--a cherished item, definitely. I have to do more baking soon, too!

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  5. Very nice, and after receiving the stories my grandfather wrote, I could easily identify with the feelings of the MC.

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  6. That seems to be the ingredient I miss alot--that pinch of love. Thanks for that reminder, Jo!

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