Here is the first part of chapter 2 of Look for the Rainbows. This takes you back to Beth’s days as a child, to times she reminisced about in her deep grief (chapter 1). It seemed a little too long to post the entire chapter.
A Very Special Tree
I can’t wait till they get here!” Beth pirouetted around the kitchen in excited anticipation.
“Well, Beth, Grandma and Grandpa Irving won’t be here until next Friday night, and Grandma and Grandpa Worthington are coming sometime the day after. So you’ll just have to contain yourself. Christmas isn’t for another two weeks yet!” Her mother smiled at Beth’s enthusiasm as she thought, She’s so much like me when I was her age.
“Christmas is my most favorite time of the year!”
“Don’t I know it,” replied her mom. “We hear it repeated over and over all year. Just the other day, didn’t you remind us of that scraggly tree we got last Christmas all because your Dad waited too late to get one?”
Beth looked downcast for a moment until she glimpsed her mother’s lopsided grin and realized she was only teasing, not scolding her. She grinned back and continued her whirling.
“Be careful, Beth. You’ll get dizzy twirling around like that. Sometimes I think we should have enrolled you in ballet classes. Whenever you’re not drawing pictures you’re dancing around in circles. Look out! You nearly knocked that glass off the table.”
“Sorry. But it’s fun, and I’m happy.”
“That’s fine, but just be careful where you’re doing it. It won’t be so much fun if you break something.”
An only child with no cousins, aunts or uncles, Beth looked forward to the annual Christmas gathering every year. She and her parents visited with her grandparents at other times of the year, and Beth spent a couple of weeks with each of them in turn during summer vacation, but at Christmas everyone was together. Even at the young age of ten, she recognized the importance of family.
“When are we going to pick out the tree?”
“After dinner. Daddy will need a few minutes to rest after working all day, and to let his meal digest. Talking about rest… don’t you think you should sit down and be quiet for a while? What about homework—don’t you have some arithmetic to do yet?”
“Can’t I do it later?” A good student, Beth usually enjoyed schoolwork, but her excitement prevented her from settling her mind to addition and multiplication problems without a little push from her mother.
“If you don’t get it done by dinner, you won’t have time before bed to help decorate the tree. Which is it going to be?”
“Decorate the tree! I’ll go do my homework now.”
“Off you go, then.” Mrs. Worthington chuckled as she watched Beth take the stairs two at a time and disappear into her bedroom.
“Mom, it’s perfect.” Beth was breathing hard as she dashed into the house that evening.
“The tree, of course. It’s huge. I’m going to look so little beside it. How am I going to put the star on top?”
“Harold, I hope this tree will fit in the living room. How big is this thing anyway?”
“It’s only about seven feet. And don’t worry, Beth, I’ll help you get the star on top. We’ll do that first. That is, after I stand the tree up in here and make sure it’s well anchored. And get the lights strung.” He winked at Beth; she grinned back.
Finally the tree stood in place in its designated corner. It truly did dwarf the petite Beth. Had the tree been much taller, they would have had to chop off some of the trunk and lower branches.
“You really did pick a beauty this time, dear. Look how thick the branches are. Remember last year? The tree had more spaces than branches.”
“Don’t remind me, Marg. That’s why I wanted to go tonight before they get picked over. It did pay off, didn’t it? And this one didn’t cost any more than last year’s, so it was a bargain as well. OK, let’s get those decorations out.”
“The boxes are all in the den. I brought them up from the basement this afternoon. Beth, honey, help me bring them in here. Beth!”
“What world were you visiting just now? I asked if you would help me bring in the decorations.”
Beth giggled. “I’m not in another world—I’m still here.” She had been envisioning last year’s tree, scraggly, not nearly as tall. The contrast with this fragrant spruce with its lush foliage astonished her, even in its untrimmed state. She breathed deeply, savoring the fresh scent before responding. “OK, let’s go get them.” She was already halfway to the door. Her mother smiled as she followed at a slower pace. She sometimes found her daughter’s enthusiasm a little overwhelming.
They opened box after box to reveal tinsel, lights and colored balls, many of them dating back to Mrs. Worthington’s childhood. Mr. Worthington strung dozens of multicolored lights on the tree first, then stood Beth above him on the ladder so she could put the star in its exalted place at the top of the tree. Her dad held her tight so she had no fear of falling.
“There. Put me down now so I can look.” Safely back on the floor, Beth stared in awe at the tree. The star had become an almost sacred part of the Christmas decorations. It had been handed down from Beth’s great-grandmother whose father had carved it from pine and painted it when she was still a child. “It looks prettier than last year.” Her dad made a face at her, and she wrinkled her nose back at him.
“Do you think it’s straight?” Her dad was just teasing her, but she did not catch on.
“What, the tree?”
“No, I meant the star. Isn’t it a little crooked?”
Beth looked up at the treetop, then deliberately placed her hands on her hips and turned a quizzical look on her father.
“Your dad is only teasing you, honey.”
Beth made a face at her dad before breaking out into a giggle, then turned again to admire the star. When she had satisfied herself that it was, indeed, perfectly straight, Beth joined her mother in untangling yards of silvery tinsel before they endeavoured to loop it evenly over the branches. This presented no small difficulty on the higher boughs. Gradually every part of the tree began to sparkle with the reflection of lights on tinsel. Mrs. Worthington carefully removed gold, red, green and silver balls from their storage containers. She and Beth lovingly placed them on the branches until the tree became a blaze of rainbow color.
“Tell me about the special ornaments, Mom.”
“Well, that one we bought the year you were born—baby’s first Christmas. And that pink one—up there,” Mrs. Worthington pointed her finger, “was given to you by your Grandma Irving when you were five. I’m sure you remember that.”
“Yeah, I remember, but I like you to tell about them.” Beth sat cross-legged on the floor scanning the different shiny balls. “That one was yours when you were little, wasn’t it?”
“Yes, there used to be half a dozen like that, but the rest have been broken over the years. That’s why it’s so special. And that Santa ornament hung on our tree as far back as I can recollect. It’s a miracle it hasn’t been broken. And those two plastic ones on the bottom branches, they belonged to Grandma and Grandpa Worthington. Your Dad could tell you more about them than I can.”
“Yes,” Harold said wistfully, “I remember the year we got those. They came in a box of twelve, each one different. There was a bell, a Santa, a gingerbread man, and, of course the star and the sleigh there on the tree. I can’t remember now what the others were, but it was always a special time when we put them on the tree. Just like now.”
“I wish I could have seen the others, Daddy. They must have been nice, too. I specially like the sleigh. Mom, don’t they remind you of the cookie cutters we always use to make the shortbread?”
“Yes, I hadn’t thought about it before, but they do look rather like them. But, don’t you think we had better stop reminiscing and get back to decorating this tree? What’s next to go on?”
“Let’s throw the icicles! That’s the most fun of all.”
Mom, Dad and child stood around the tree and tossed hundreds of shiny silver icicles all over it. Beth had them in her hair and all over her clothes. They made faces when they saw the mess on the floor. Mr. Worthington grabbed the camera and snapped some pictures.
“Mom, there’s an icicle hanging on your ear.” They laughed until the tears rolled down their cheeks.
“OK, let’s pick up as much as possible off the floor and put it where it belongs—on the tree. I don’t want to waste it when I vacuum later. And I certainly don’t want it tracked all over the house.”
So the three of them gathered the stray icicles. In the process, Beth knocked a red glass ball off one of the lower branches. As it hit the floor, it shattered. Upset, she bent to pick up the pieces. Without warning, a small fragment of fine glass pierced her finger. She let out a cry, and a tear escaped as she watched the blood ooze out around the crimson sliver and drip onto the floor.
“Ouch! It stings.” she moaned as her mother dabbed the cut with iodine before putting a small bandage over it.
Thank you so much for taking time to stop by and read. I hope you enjoyed your time. I would really appreciate it if you would leave a comment in the box below. I enjoy interacting my readers. And if you have not read chapter one, please click here. If you are interested in how this book came into being, click here to read about The Story Behind the Story. Also, please check out my Author Page on Amazon. If you are not already following, please take a moment or two to click on the “Follow” button at the top to receive e-mail notifications of new posts. And please feel free to share on your social media.
Have a wonderful week filled with God’s blessings.