December 19, 2009


"Merry Christmas Carol" Bernadette told her friend and co-worker of twenty years. It had never occurred to Bernadette to buy Carol a Christmas present, they'd been working together for so long that it was understood that it wasn't necessary.

"I was in the Toys R Us and he just fell off the shelf, right into my arms. I thought of you as soon as I saw him!" With all the grace and maturity one can muster upon the arrival of a gift, Carol opened the box.

"Max!" Carol exclaimed, hugging the sandy-brown Teddy Bear. She held him close as if to finally see a long lost friend.

"That's your name, Max."

Carol had worked at DOT for 20 years and was fast reaching retirement age. So it was time to begin preparations for her and her husband Sam's dream. One which may not have happened if not for a tragic event a couple of years earlier. Their 22-year-old daughter was killed by a drunk driver on a nearby highway. She and her friends had been very careful and responsible that night and had designated a driver for the night. Regardless of how careful they had been, the man driving the semi was not quite as responsible.

Because of the money they'd received in settlements, they could now afford they're dream to move to Oregon and own a traveling vacation home. The vacation home was to be 40' long sleeps 10 comfortably, had a shower and toilet, kitchen with a stove and refrigerator and all the basic luxury's of life. The home had been ordered and it was now time for Sam to drive to California to pick it up.

Sam had spent most of his working life as a truck driver. With an impeccable record of only one accident in 15 years of driving, and that accident was the result of a man running a red light and slamming into the side of his rig. Needless to say they decided to save a few thousand dollars and Sam would pick it up himself. He knew all the roads, shortcuts to take and dangerous spots to avoid.

Now regardless of how well a driver Sam was, or how careful he promised he would be, Carol was understandably uneasy. We had all grown accustomed to her uneasiness about driving any long distances. Before you left her house, you were sent off with adamant "BE CAREFUL!!!" It honestly worried her that you may not have heard her the first time so she always repeat it, even more adamant than the first time.

"Here take Max" she told him before he walked out the door "He'll protect you." Sam loved his wife dearly, and even though this was only to pacify her, he belted Max into the front seat and gave her a kiss goodbye.

Things went well for the next couple of weeks. Carol got lonely, so I went out to eat with her almost every night for a week, just so she didn't feel lonely. We invited her and her son over to watch movies so they'd forget how much they missed him. Every couple of days, Sam would call and give her a list of his expenses and then spend 15 minutes telling each other how much they missed and loved each other.

One Saturday afternoon, I had gone to my mother's house for the day. I had bought her an Internet unit and was busy showing her how it worked. The phone line was busy all day, so Carol could not get through. At about ten that night, we'd both decided to turn the machine off and give it a rest for the night. Within minutes, the phone rang.

"Lee, Sam's been in an accident." My heart sank. Suddenly, the memory came rushing back.

"Lee, Carol's been in an accident." was what she'd told me 3 years earlier. She'd woke me up at about 6 in the morning to tell me that she'd died before the ambulance even arrived. It was one of the worst days of my life. Carol Marie was my best friend. We held each other up when things got hard. I'll never forget seeing her later that morning, standing in the spot in front of my house where she used to park her car. She was just standing there, crying "my baby"!

This was not a memory flood. This was real stuff. Sam was on his way back from California and had hardly had the home for two days when a big storm hit the area that Sam was supposed to travel to get home. He decided to avoid the storm and take an alternate route, through Nevada. The road was in the middle of a desert with a 25-foot embankment to either side of him. The road was well known for it's high winds and had a reputation for blowing cars off the road as if they were made of paper. The road was not closed today, so this was the route he took.

Sam drove a semi for many years and was quite experienced in pulling the kind of load he had. Sam was an impeccable driver and what happened next was an act of God. A gust of wind came along and threw the Ford-Diesel and the 40-ft vacation home over the side and down the 25-ft embankment. Immediately, the home came unhitched from the truck. Sam, being belted in the end was OK with a broken hand and a couple of broken ribs.

Once all had landed, the propane tanks on the vacation home exploded immediately and the truck and home were ablaze instantly, and Sam had to crawl out a broken window for his life.

The insurance company paid for a bus ticket home (they'd offered him a plane ticket, but figured he'd had enough excitement for one lifetime) so Carol and I went down town to meet him. On the way home from the bus station, we were of course relieved that he was now home and safe. So it was then we began our barrage of questions.

We'd asked what you might have asked.

"What happened, did you see it burn, how long till help arrived..." Most of the answers he gave were to say in the least, forgettable and predictable. We merely asked as if it was the thing to do. No one really wanted to think about it. But I'd asked him what he was thinking as the truck was rolling down the hill.

He said once the truck landed, and he noticed that it was on fire, he'd written himself off for dead. At this point, now that his dream was going up in smoke, he'd figured that this was it. Only, in the process of the truck rolling and tumbling down the hill, Max landed on his lap.

It was this he said, that reminded him it was not the end. In my own mind, it was the bear that saved his life. The bear reminded him, in that critical instant, that he had a family that loved him, and he had moments to get out.

So, here we were, on our way home. Sam had left the house with so much. Forty thousand dollars worth of truck, and fifty-five thousands worth of vacation home. But walking back into his house, he came in a little bit poorer, wiser...maybe. But what was important was that he'd walked into the house with the same thing he left with: his life, his hat, and a Teddy Bear. And one thing extra, firsthand knowledge of the power of love.

December 18, 2009


In line with the Christmas season, I have scheduled Christmas inspirational stories in all my three blogspot blogs here, Masterwordsmith@Writers.Inc. and masterwordsmith-unplugged every morning. Do visit the sites when you are free. I have also included children's Christmas stories to add variety to the posts. I will still put up jokes and socio-political posts as usual. This evening, I'd like to share with you a very touching tale which I posted last year.....Take care and have a lovely evening.

My father died in April of 1997 after a 10 year battle with Cancer. In September, of that year, my husband and I made our annual trek from Massachusetts to York, Maine for our wedding anniversary vacation. York, Maine is where I spent my summer vacations as a child with my family, into my teenage years. It is a very special place for us with so many wonderful memories and one of the places where I said goodbye to my Dad after his passing.

Well, my husband and I invited my mother to join us for a couple days knowing that this was a very special place for her as well. We all had a fun day of exploring around the rocks, looking for treasures from the sea; watching the tide ebb and flow; we re-visited some of the places we used to go to when I was a little girl and of course, we dined at a lovely restaurant in Perkins Cove, overlooking the ocean.

We returned back to the cottage after supper and to our delight the Nubble Lighthouse, was all aglow with white lights! And the Christmas tree inside the light-keepers house was aglow as well. This was an unusual occurence, as the Christmas lights don't usually get put on until after Thanksgiving for the Christmas holidays. I began thinking that this is a true sign of my Dad's presence with us. Here we were all together, enjoying a place which means so much to us and meant so very much to my Dad, and we were all being blessed with this beautiful gift of a Christmas light display in September!

I was just beaming with happiness at these warm thoughts! These lights were on again the following night after my Mom's departure back to Massachusetts.

The next day, I walked over to the Visitor's Station, and questioned this unusual occurence with the Hostess. She was unaware that the lights had been going on for those two nights and very sternly said to me that they shouldn't be on; that they don't usually go on until after Thanksgiving.

I told her that my husband and I had been going to Nubble Light, York, Maine, for the past 5 years in September, and we've never seen the lights displayed this early and that we certainly were enjoying this beautiful display. She insisted this was a mistake.

That very night, the lights went on as usual. My husband and I went out to dinner and when we returned, we noticed that the lights which had been gracing the lighthouse had been turned off!

Let this be a lesson to all of us, not to question the precious gifts from God! I certainly learned my lesson!

-Author Unknown-

December 17, 2009


In line with the Christmas season, I have scheduled Christmas inspirational stories in all my three blogspot blogs here, Masterwordsmith@Writers.Inc. and masterwordsmith-unplugged every morning. Do visit the sites when you are free. I have also included children's Christmas stories to add variety to the posts. I will still put up jokes and socio-political posts as usual. This evening, I'd like to share with you a very touching tale which I posted last year.....Take care and have a lovely evening.

There are many occurrences in our day to day lives that go unnoticed, but there is one which will remain clear in my mind for the rest of my life, and I would love to share it with you, as a Christmas story.

Throughout much of 1996 and 1997 I was forced to watch helplessly as Parkinson’s disease claimed my father. It is a horrible disease which strips its’ victims of their dignity, but not their will to live.

My father had not lived an easy life, but he never complained or tried to lay blame elsewhere. He was a warm and loving father and husband who would spend many hours of every day working on our farm, but each fall he loved to take a breather and enjoy his favorite sport, hunting. It was like he was totally transformed when hunting season opened. It was his holiday and you could see how much he loved to get out with some of his friends or my brothers for a few days away from the daily demands of farmlife. He was always happy if lady luck smiled on him and he were able to bring home a nice deer, but it was just the release that brought out that special something in him at that time of year.

Then as he got older and hunting became too hard for him he would spend hours going for drives in the evening just to see if he could catch a glimpse of some deer. He loved to sit and watch them graze and see if there may be a fawn appear with the doe.

Towards the end, he was confined to hospital for a long time and there were days when he would simply lay there looking out the window towards the hills, and you could see a tear trickle from his eye. I often thought that he must just be wishing he could be out there again, but it was not to be. He passed away on October 22, 1997, and just before he died he looked directly at me and with a final effort said, “I’ll see you.”

My father and I had always been especially close, and it was so hard for me to accept he was finally gone. The thought of getting life back to normal just didn’t seem possible. Then before we knew it, it was time to begin preparations for Christmas. That winter proved to be a harsh one and we were buried under mounds of snow. Time slipped away and when Christmas day arrived a storm made travel very difficult and we decided to stay home.

All day I kept busy with preparations, and by early afternoon the storm seemed to subside. Just before supper the sky cleared, the wind died down, and everything was so still.

Then, just as I was about to call everyone to sit in to the table, I looked out our big living room window. I was nearly blinded by the brilliance of the sunset on the fresh snow, but out of the corner of my eye I saw some movement. It was a beautiful whitetail doe, and she seemed to have her mind set or at least her eye set on something. She had her head held high, and she jumped the fence and plunged through the heavy snowdrifts heading directly towards the house. I called for everyone to come and see her. She didn’t stop until she was right up to the window. We all stood side by side at the window looking face to face at her only three feet away. Then she took a step to the right and it was like she was staring straight into my eyes. In that instant, and I do not know why, it was like my mind was bombarded with this intense image of my father saying “I’ll see you.”

We stood there in such close contact with this beautiful creature for several minutes, and then she just slowly turned and went back the way she had come.

No one will ever know why she paid us that special visit, but in my heart and in my mind I will never forget the impact it had on me, because I had been wishing all day that my Father were with us.

It will remain a cherished memory for me throughout my life, a wonderful Christmas gift.

Written by Maria Poncsak