Stories, one of fun and the other of love

Short Funny Christmas Story 

Just before Christmas, an honest politician, a generous lawyer and Santa Claus got into the lift (elevator) at the Ritz Hotel in London. As the lift travelled from the 5th floor down to the ground level, one-by-one they noticed a £50 note lying on the lift’s floor.

Which one picked up the £50 note, and handed it in at reception?

Santa of course, the other two don’t actually exist!


Christmas is for love

Author unknown

Christmas is for love. It is for joy, for giving and sharing, for laughter, for reuniting with family and friends, for tinsel and brightly decorated packages. But mostly, Christmas is for love. I had not believed this until a small elf-like student with wide-eyed innocent eyes and soft rosy cheeks gave me a wondrous gift one Christmas.

Mark was an 11 year old orphan who lived with his aunt, a bitter middle aged woman greatly annoyed with the burden of caring for her dead sister’s son. She never failed to remind young Mark, if it hadn’t been for her generosity, he would be a vagrant, homeless waif. Still, with all the scolding and chilliness at home, he was a sweet and gentle child.

I had not noticed Mark particularly until he began staying after class each day (at the risk of arousing his aunt’s anger, I later found) to help me straighten up the room. We did this quietly and comfortably, not speaking much, but enjoying the solitude of that hour of the day. When we did talk, Mark spoke mostly of his mother. Though he was quite small when she died, he remembered a kind, gentle, loving woman, who always spent much time with him.

As Christmas drew near however, Mark failed to stay after school each day. I looked forward to his coming, and when the days passed and he continued to scamper hurriedly from the room after class, I stopped him one afternoon and asked why he no longer helped me in the room. I told him how I had missed him, and his large gray eyes lit up eagerly as he replied, “Did you really miss me?”

I explained how he had been my best helper. “I was making you a surprise,” he whispered confidentially. “It’s for Christmas.” With that, he became embarrassed and dashed from the room. He didn’t stay after school any more after that.

Finally came the last school day before Christmas. Mark crept slowly into the room late that afternoon with his hands concealing something behind his back. “I have your present,” he said timidly when I looked up. “I hope you like it.” He held out his hands, and there lying in his small palms was a tiny wooden box.

“Its beautiful, Mark. Is there something in it?” I asked opening the top to look inside. ”

“Oh you can’t see what’s in it,” He replied, “and you can’t touch it, or taste it or feel it, but mother always said it makes you feel good all the time, warm on cold nights, and safe when you’re all alone.”

I gazed into the empty box. “What is it Mark,” I asked gently, “that will make me feel so good?” “It’s love,” he whispered softly, “and mother always said it’s best when you give it away.” And he turned and quietly left the room.

So now I keep a small box crudely made of scraps of wood on the piano in my living room and only smile as inquiring friends raise quizzical eyebrows when I explain to them that there is love in it.

Yes, Christmas is for gaiety, mirth and song, for good and wondrous gifts. But mostly, Christmas is for love.

The “W” in Christmas                                                      
                                                                           
Last December, I vowed to make Christmas a calm and peaceful experience.   I had cut back on nonessential obligations – extensive card writing, endless baking, decorating, and even overspending. Yet still, I found myself exhausted, unable to appreciate the precious family moments, and of course, the true meaning of Christmas.       
     
My son, Nicholas, was in kindergarten that year. It was an exciting season for a six year old. For weeks, he’d been memorizing songs for his school’s “Winter Pageant.”  I didn’t have the heart to tell him I’d be working the night of the production. Unwilling to miss his shining moment, I spoke with his teacher.  She assured me there’d be a dress rehearsal the morning of the presentation.  All parents unable to attend that evening were welcome to come then.  Fortunately, Nicholas seemed happy with the compromise. 
                 
So, the morning of the dress rehearsal, I filed in ten minutes early,  found a spot on the cafeteria floor and sat down. Around the room, I saw  several other parents quietly scampering to their seats. As I waited, students were led into the room. Each class, accompanied by their teacher, sat cross-legged on the floor. Then, each group, one by one, rose to perform their song. Because the public school system had long stopped referring to the holiday as “Christmas,” I didn’t expect anything other than fun, commercial    entertainment – songs of reindeer, Santa Claus, snowflakes and good cheer.

So, when my son’s class rose to sing, “Christmas Love,” I was slightly taken aback by its bold title. Nicholas was aglow, as were all of his classmates, adorned in fuzzy mittens, red sweaters, and bright snowcaps upon their heads.  Those in the front row- center stage – held up large letters, one by one, to spell out the title of the song. As the class would sing “C is for Christmas,” a child would hold up the  letter C. Then, “H is for Happy,” and on and on, until each child holding up his portion had presented the complete message, “Christmas Love.” 

The performance was going smoothly, until suddenly, we noticed her; a small, quiet, girl in the front row holding the letter “M” upside down –  totally unaware her letter “M” appeared as a “W”.  The audience of 1st through 6th graders snickered at this little one’s mistake. But she had no idea they were laughing at her, so she stood tall, proudly holding her “W”.  Although many teachers tried to shush the children, the laughter continued until the last letter was raised, and we all saw it together.  A hush came over the audience and eyes began to widen. In that instant, we understood the reason we were there, why we celebrated the holiday in the first place, why even in the chaos, there was a purpose for our  festivities. For when the last letter was held high, the message read loud and clear: 

C H R I S T   W A S   L O V E”  
  
And, I believe, He still is.





A farewell

“I’m going because I love her,” she said.

Once there with the corner of her eyes Saly looked at her Grandma, shyness portrayed in her innocent face. Her sight came upon a collage of memories set there to spark a smile on the faces of those that came to pay their respects and give support. She sighted and a smile followed as the flow of memories of fun and loving times she spend with her came to her young mind.

On a big couch Saly sat just to look at her in silence, “She’s sleeping?” asked a familiar voice. It was her little brother whom looked at her unaware of what was happening. Saly just gave a little smile. A familiar person came to sit by her, his hand on hers giving comfort.

“I’ll miss her,” he said to Saly.

“I’ll miss her too, Grandpa,” she answered sadly resting her head on his hand.

“I love you so much,” he told her and kissed her forehead, her curly brown hair flowing lightly on his arm.

She embraced him holding back the tears being strong for him, replied in a whisper, “I love you!”.

Holding each other hands minutes went by while they stared at the Lady that filled their lives with laughter, love and fun times. Talking amongst themselves they exchange words of love that can only be expressed not to say goodbye, but farewell. Strong pillars for a family worried for their well being for they lost a part of their hearts. Those concerned could breathe easily for Saly was going to be fine, she understood. Pride filled their aching hearts for she was more mature than they thought of her; a smile was painted in their faces every time they came upon her. All trying to take from her strength for she knew her Grandma will always live in her heart and will never be forgotten.

Saly kissed a small yellow note she wrote to her and said farewell, “You will always be in my heart”.

 

In loving memory of Norma I. Santiago, you will forever be in our hearts.



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Your words will always be with me

I know I owe you friends a little apology for my silence these past weeks. Thankfully I had pre-schedule some posts to have you entertained, of which I totally forgot and was surprise to see.

A dear love one passed away suddenly on the 18th; her parting took us by surprise. We’ll miss her, but will always remember her. My eyes tear up just to think that she will not be with us, but my heart rejoices thinking she is watching over us.

I know today is not Monday, I have not forgotten and I was going to do this yesterday, but Hurricane Earl decided to pay us a visit. Thankfully he just said hello from the distance and did not do much damage. So here it is, Mondays Quote on a cloudy and breezy Tuesday!

I’m sharing the words of a woman loved my many and taken from us too soon, but the times we had with her will last us a lifetime. This quote is taken from her last facebook status and summarizes her joyful life.

For you Norma, my dear mother-in-law, who loved this blog, enjoyed reading it and whom I will always remember and love. I will pass your words to your grandchildren who love you.

Enjoy life, love and live with passion. Memories will hold you thru bad times and there will always be a story to tell the grandkids.” –Norma I. Santiago Santiago.


 

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Sushine award

Sushine Award


My friend Clarisel from Bronx Latino has awarded Mink with the Sushine Award, which I’m proud to accept. This award “is awarded to bloggers whose positivity and creativity inspire others in the blogging world.” The Sunshine Award is given by bloggers to bloggers as a way to spread the bloggy love.

Well, I’m spreading that love with fellow bloggers whom I enjoy everyday!

First, this are the rules to follow for The Sunshine Award:

1. Put the award on your blog and/or within your post.

2. Pass the award on to 12 bloggers.

3. Link to the nominees within your post.

4. Let them know they received this award by commenting on their blog.

5. Share the love and the link to the person from whom you received the award.

This are the blogs I’ve given my bloggy love to:

Here there are, enjoy their blogs and share the love with your comments. Thanks again to my friend Clarisel for this honor.



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Between love and believes

A short story of love and betrayal, enjoy!  

   

 Staring out the large window of her bedroom, Sofia looked down on a beautiful garden with sadness in her heart.  Seventeen eighty-nine was a dangerous time, especially for ‘los hacendados’.  Many months ago, ‘la revolución’ was nothing more than a rumor circulated during conversations at every dining table in every corner of the city, but today it was a reality.  The rebels demanded better ways of living, and they blamed ‘el Presidente’ for not taking care of his people.  While homeless subjects died of starvation, they claimed the hacendados and ‘el Presidente’ draped themselves in custom-made jewelry and exquisite clothes.    

While the reality of the rebels, that were mostly poor people, was not Sofia’s, she suffered for her loved one.  Fernando was his name, and, even though he was not of wealth as she was, he was a captain of ‘La guardia Presidencial’, which was a respectable title for a young man to achieve in the President’s army.  His position meant that she could see him now and then, for he was well respected among the rich families for his bravery in the line of duty.  Sofia met Fernando during a ball held in ‘Casa Blanca’, the luxurious palace of the President of la Republica.  They danced together all night, and it was, as Sofia called it, “love at first sight.”   

That night, Sofia was captivated by his sky blue eyes, which were enchanting and mysterious at the same time.  Of course, she didn’t waste any time to tell him, “You know, some say that a man who has those kinds of eyes has deep secrets inside his heart.”   

            Fernando, enchanted by her beauty, smiled and replied, “Do you think I have secrets?  I know everybody does.”   

            “Yours are different, for they require their secrecy.”   

            Fernando’s expression change immediately, he looked at Sofia seriously as if studying her with his gaze.  Sofia noticed this, and she quickly said, “Please, do not take this the wrong way.  I find your secrecy interesting.”   

            “Why is that?” he asked with curiosity, looking at her with sharp eyes.   

            “I intend to discover those secrets, and afterward I’ll make them my own,” Sofia responded playfully.   

            “You will not like my secrets,” he said seriously.   

            “Of that, I’ll be the judge.  For now, I would like to dance again.”   

            “As you wish,” Fernando said as kissed her hand.   

Seven months passed, since then they had kept seeing each other.  Sadly, two weeks ago, Fernando was called to duty to assist in some matters of ‘la revolución’.  His orders were to infiltrate the revolution as a spy.  He only came to Sofia to say farewell and spend the little time he had left by her side.  Ever since, Sofia had heard or received no news of him.  The revolution had started in the north of the country and was quickly spreading throughout the cities, getting nearer everyday to her home town.  News of death and massacres came to Sofia as she prepared to leave her home that afternoon, accompanied by her closest friends, to stay in her country residence.  The only thing keeping her there was that her father had not yet arrived, and she waited for him before departing.   

Sofia recalled the afternoon Fernando came to her to say his goodbyes.  It was a sunny and beautiful spring afternoon; still his departure was not what Sofia desired.  They talked of many things, even of the rebellion, which was not a preferred topic of Sofia.  But Fernando had brought it up that day.   

“What do you think of ‘la revolución’?” he asked in an odd way.   

 “My love, do not burden me with that.  I really do not wish to talk about it.  Everywhere you go everybody talks of the same thing.  When I go visit my friends, even my father burdens me with the same subject at dinner time.  I did not expect this from you too,” said Sofia with a weary voice.   

“Sofia is a reality of our times.  You should at least care,” Fernando said sounding disappointed.   

“Is not my reality and if you want to know what I think of it, I’ll tell you.  My thoughts on that issue are simple.  Things should stay as they are.  Everybody is happy that way, I know I am.  Still this ‘revolución’ will only bring death and sorrow.”   

“You think everyone is happy as you are, because you have everything a human being could have.  Outside these golden walls you live in, people are dying of starvation.  Their way of life is inhuman, and the president and ‘los hacendados’ do nothing to help them.  None of you care,” said Fernando upset.   

Sofia was confused with his words, as she could not believe what she was hearing from her lover.    

“You are a captain of the guards!  You should not talk in that manner.  Your duty is to the president and not the people.  The people serve their government and the president, who represents our glorious country.”   

Fernando stood up amazed with what Sofia said. He looked at her in an aggravated way and said irritated, “You have no idea of what goes beyond these walls, do you?”   

Perplexed Sofia replied, “Of course I do.  I am not an ignorant woman!  I…”   

But before she could finish, Fernando interrupted her raising his voice, “First, so you know, the people do not serve the president.  He is here to serve the people, and by that I mean he is a servant of this country.  Those poor people are the ones who work the land, who keep this country and its economy flowing.  The people, those who struggle everyday of their lives to survive, are tired and wish a better life.  They’re the ones who deserve my respect, and my duty is to them!  The government and the hacendados only care for their wealth and power.”   

Sofia stood up and began walking away with eyes full of tears.  Fernando closed his eyes realizing what he had done.  He was too harsh with his words; still she needed to understand what was happening.  The world was changing, and if she was to survive in it, Sofia needed to change too. He felted horrible, his heart divided.  She did ask him not to talked about it, but still he wanted to know what her thoughts where.  Fernando walked towards her, grabbed Sofia by her arm and pulled her towards him.  He gave her a hug and cried.   

“I am sorry to upset you.”   

Sofia crying said softly, “You should be.  You’re behaving as if you are not yourself.” Pushing him away from her, in a matter that their eyes met, she continued, “Here in front of me is another man that I know nothing of.  Your expressions, your way of speech, even your eyes where lighted when you were speaking.  Like it was something that was part of you!  This rebellion brings only separation and is affecting everything in its path.  Even us!  Is tearing us apart, we had never argued before.”    

She paused trying to restrain herself then she continued with anger in her voice, “I hate them! I hate everything and everyone that has something to do with it. Look what it has done to us. It has created a void in our relation that was perfect in every sense of the word.” Sofia covered her face with her hands and cried desperately. Fernando looked at her with sadness, but evidently he was upset. He wanted to cry; instead he kissed her forehead and whispered, “I have to go.” With out looking at her, Fernando walked away.

Sofia fell to the ground crying inconsolable. Her heart was being taking away by emotions she could not comprehend. She looked at Fernando one last time as he slowly disappeared in the distant gate. Sofia felt a desire to run to him and kissed his soft lips and begged him not to go. But something inside her kept her from doing that. Maybe it was her pride or that she lacked the strength to do it.

After that episode Sofia cried for days angry with herself, for their departure was not what she wanted. Wishing, many times, she could go back to that day so she might have a chance to say a proper good-bye to her love.

Sofia came out of her room saying good-bye to the garden that had been witness of her growing love and sorrow for Fernando. It was almost three o’clock and Sofia’s friends were waiting for her in the garden gazebo for some afternoon coffee. As Sofia entered the gazebo she smiled to cover the sadness she felt.

“¡Buenas tardes, señoritas!” Sofia said sitting down.

“¡Buenas tardes!” Josefina and Erica answered at the same time.

The ladies ate and drank their coffee in silence; they where too nervous to talk and desperate to live the city for their own well being. Josefina and Erica noticed the sadness in Sofia’s eyes. Erica looked at Josefina and opened her eyes widely making a nod with her head. Josefina understood Erica’s signal and said to Sofia trying to cheer her up, “Please, cheer up. I know what worries you more is that you haven’t heard from Fernando. But believe me you will hear from him soon, you’ll see. Everything is going to work for the best and this rebellion will soon pass.”

“I know. Thank you so much for being here with me,” Sofia replied smiling back at them and holding their hands.

A scream was heard from inside the house and servants came running out towards the garden. Men with guns dressed like rebels came behind them shooting. The three women got up nervously; Sofia stood in front of them. The revolution had reached her home and the rebels were invading it.

One of them had her father, he was bleeding and full of bruises. The rebel threw him at Sofia’s feet. She kneel down to help him, nevertheless the rebel grabbed her by the arm and scream at her telling her to get up. She replied that her father needed a doctor, but he pushed her back.

A tall man came in, dressed in the same fashion. He had a beard and a hat covered his eyes. The rebel called him ‘Capitan’ and asked him what they should do with the women and servants. Josefina and Erica shouted desperately. Sofia grabbed their hands trying to relax them, still they were too scared.

“Take this two and the men and put them standing in front of the wall.”

The women screamed loudly. Sofia tried to help them, but another rebel grabbed her by the shoulders and she was unable to assist her friends. The Capitan approached Sofia and looked at her. As she looked at him she noticed that his gaze was very familiar. Her heart jumped inside as she felt fainted. Sofia knew well those sky blue eyes that looked at her with anger, yet at the same time with love. He looked different with a beard; it made him looked crude, especially in the manner he was dressed. She had never seen him that way before.

The rebel holding Sofia walked away at his command.

“There is no place for mercy or forgiveness for those that believe and are part of this revolution,” the Captain said to her seriously.

“No,” she said breathing deeply. A tear came rolling down her cheek, which she rapidly dried.

“There’s only hate then?”

“Yes,” she whispered with a broken heart.

The Captain opened his mouth as if he was going to say something, but no words came out. He step closer to her and enraged said, “Then I must do what I have to. Know that I only do it, because I love the rebellion more and hate those who are against it.”

With a soft voice, Sofia replied, “You can only hate what you have loved before, for there is no room for hate without love.”

Her words left him speechless. Then he closed his eyes and turned his back on her. He said to one of the rebels, “Put her with the others.”

The rebel pushed Sofia towards the wall placing her between her father that was being held by Josefina, for he could hardly stand, and Erica. Four rebels with guns kneel in front of them. The Capitan stood behind the line of men commanding them to prepare their rifles. Erica began singing and Josefina followed. Her voice was sweet, but full of sadness for she knew her end was near. Sofia gave a last look at the Capitan who looked at her seriously, yet in his eyes there was sadness. He touched the shoulder of one of the rebels and he shot.

Sofia felt the round bullet enter her chest as her body slowly slipped down the wall. Everything gradually became darker, while she heard the singing of her friends fading away.

___________________________________________