Around the corner Mary scurried as the wind whipped her scarf out in front of her, coat fluttering to the gusting wind. Hurriedly into the store entrance she ducked. Getting out the wind and a brief moment to gather herself up and straighten out. The wind had knife blades in it, howling from the north, clouds building overhead blocking the sun.
Cold winds of the north had swept over the town making for a miserable time as Mary had to go shopping to get ready. Standing in the entry Mary looked up and down the street, seeing only a couple people out like her. The shop she had ducked into was closed but in the window was a display for the holidays. Mary stood there taking in the display.
A tree was decorated for an old fashioned Christmas, a homemade chain of red and green loops curled around the tree, cut out snowflakes dangled from the branches, pieces of tinsel scattered around and there were candles strung around the tree. The electric candles glittered reflecting off the tinsel, lighting the snowflakes. It was a simple but festive little tree. Mary stood there mesmerized by the scene. Below the tree were some presents and tucked on the edge was a rag doll. Mary stood frozen in time. Oblivious to the howling wind whipping cold waves into her nook Mary stood there.
Time was drifting back, memories flooded over her. Her mother had just walked in the door from outside. Asked Mary if she was ready, Mary nodded yes. She was wrapped up a heavy coat and hood with gloves and overshoes. Mary’s mom picked up the sack and out the door they went. It was cold that evening and as they walked over the snow it crunched and crackled. Ahead could be seen the yellow glow of the church entrance. Hurriedly they entered the church and walked to the tree and set down the sack they were carrying. Mom helped Mary take off her coat and cap.
Into the sack Mary dived, bringing out a string of colored paper that had been made in to a chain to be strung on to the tree. Next she pulled out a strand of popcorn. Mom helped her put up the decorations they had made the past week. Other people had been in there doing the same and soon the tree was covered with decorations and topped with a star.
Sitting in a pew with her mother they waited till the pastor came out and the people stood up and began singing carols. It was a joyous evening, the people singing. The candles were lit on the tree and lights in the church were extinguished. Mary stood on the pew, eyes wide at the scene of the tree.
Standing in the doorway, Mary shivered as another gust of wind knifed through the street. Looking at the tree brought out a love of a distant time. As a little girl her evenings had been spent making the decorations for the tree. Nothing but the candles were bought from the store and the gifts under the tree had been made by her mother. There in the window was the rag doll, just like the one her mother had made for her. A tear strolled down the cheek, a bitter sting of warmth. Slowly Mary walked out onto the sidewalk into the cold air, heading for the shops.