Dashing Thorugh The SnowBy Margret VanOrden Maloney
"Dashing through the snow in a one-horse open sleigh" is more than a verse from a popular winter tune - I experienced it.
Our daughter lives in a small town on the Maine coast a short distance from the Owls Head Transportation Museum and its grounds include miles of trails through a thick spruce forest. My husband and I were at her home one December preparing to celebrate Christmas. I remember looking out her kitchen window watching lazy snowflakes make their way to the already covered ground when she flew into the house and announced, " Get your coats and bundle up --I have hitched Tasha to the sleigh and we are going to the museum." I knew she had been working with her horse and training her to "drive" but had no idea the lessons had been learned.
Sure enough, there just outside the barn pawing eagerly was Tasha and the antique wooden sleigh -- complete with a leather strap of bells. Much laughing accompanied our climbing aboard, tucking the heavy wool lap robes around our legs and within minutes off we went down the rural road to the Museum trails. It was surreal.
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A 4-inch base of soft snow and the falling flakes made the forest a perfect setting and it was impossible not to burst into song. You need not ask what song -- only one could escape our lips. It surely had been written for a moment such as this. Now whenever I hear the words "dashing through the snow" I mentally pull the lap robe a little tighter and feel snowflakes on my face.
The Red OrnamentBy Jacqueline Moffett
When I was a youngster, Mother and Dad trimmed the Christmas tree after we went to bed. It was a lovely surprise to wake and see the decorated tree. It gleamed with antique ornaments that were saved from year to year. Mother carefully wrapped them in tissue paper each January and stored these treasures in the attic.
Most of the gold- and silver- trimmed ornaments came from Germany. As years passed, some of these fragile decorations aged and disintegrated. New, mass-produced ornaments were added. The new and the old blended nicely and each Christmas the tree looked beautiful to me.
Traditionally, Dad placed a large, red ornament on a branch facing the window. Mother opened the Venetian blinds each morning to admit the winter sunshine and the rays of the sun reflected off this red ball.
When we were older, we shared in trimming the blue spruce tree. I was in charge of opening the boxes and removing the tissue paper. Sister checked to make sure each ornament had a wire hanger. Our brother, who was the tallest, trimmed the upper branches. We all helped to place the remaining ornaments on the tree, except for the special red one. Work completed, one of us would inquire, "Dad, are you ready to hang your ornament?"
Dad would lay down his pipe, rise from his easy chair and do the honors. The three of us gave a round of applause; our Christmas tree was now ready for viewing. The noise of the clapping brought Mother from the kitchen. Placing her arm around Dad's waist, she smiled, "Oh you children did a wonderful job; this is the best tree ever!"