It was a dark and stormy night. The fierce wind swirled relentlessly around the rustic oak cabin nestled in a lonely valley of the Smoky Mountains. By nightfall, snow drifts covered the three small windows of the one-room lodge built by the early pioneers of the Tennessee Valley.
Five-year-old twins Jeremiah and Johanna were huddled next to the fireplace, mesmerized by the crackling sounds of pine logs set ablaze and their brightly dancing embers. The warmth of the fire snuggled them in a cocoon of safety against the frightening storm.
It was Christmas Eve and the twins asked anxiously, “Will Santa be able to find us in this snowstorm?”
Vaguely aware of their austere lifestyle, they knew better than to ask for an impossible number of toys and had requested only two. Despite the storm, the night was filled with a sense of magic and anticipation that only young children can imagine.
Fortunately, their father was skilled in carpentry and carved a wooden harmonica for Jeremiah, and their mother knitted a doll for Johanna. They would have to make do. The past season was devastating to their crops, and they had exhausted their savings to buy food for the long winter ahead.
Notwithstanding their abject poverty and grueling lifestyle, the family was grateful for the one thing they all shared – health – as this was l9l9, and the unrelenting ravaging pandemic thus far had spared them.
Linda Ho–“Originally from New York I relocated to Florida and spent the next 30 years as a professional in the health care field. After retiring I signed up for a variety of OLLI classes. Since then I’ve enjoyed many of the diverse and interesting courses that OLLI offers ranging from politics and science to art and especially to writing. The Imaginative Writing Course connected me with Marilyn who invited me to join her “crew” of writers. It’s been an adventurous ride ever since!”