Winter, song birds have flown south
leaving a colorful wild bird feather among the rose
petals that were scattered with winter winds over-
leaping. Husband keeps the bird bath filled daily.
We had been somewhat perplexed as to why it
needed refilling at the end of each day until, upon
arriving home from the grocery, I observed eight
small sparrows splashing in the afternoon sun
warmed birdbath water. Not wanting to disturb
them I sat in the jeep and watched. In the spar-
rows exuberance they flung water several feet out
and over onto the sidewalk.
Our back yard is a bird sanctuary, of sorts. There
are doves, sparrows, and winter wrens . The
wrens eat eagerly while riding on seed filled mesh
bags that hang just outside the kitchen window
panes. There is also a Peregrine Falcon who drops
by occasionally to check out the doves. Husband
informs me that Falcons need to eat also.
Hmmmm I suppose so.
Thanksgiving and Christmas one season I think,
filling me with nostalgia - gentle memories. I
am reminded, of late, of long winter evenings
before T.V. when my sisters, parents and myself
sat around the kitchen table playing monopoly or
scrabble while sharing a freshly popped bowl of
corn. Simple times simple things. My sisters and
I talking late into the night while snuggled under
quilts in the big brass bed, wondering what gifts
we might find under the tree Christmas morning.
And was not the silence late Christmas Eve the
best of all as I listened for sleigh bells?
Mother really enjoyed holidays. However Christ-
mas was her favorite. The house was decorated
inside and out. As adults, my siblings, their fami-
lies and mine all gathered at my parents home
on Christmas eve. Driving up the long driveway,
my eyes were filled with the pine trees, dressed
in multicolored lights, reflecting off snow, causing
my heart to beat a little faster as the warmth of
the spirit of Christmas flooded my soul. And we all
knew that Love waited for us on the other side of
the front door - we were all coming Home.
May the warmth of the Christmas Spirit overtake
and flood your soul this Christmas season.
The sound of
the bell as
it leaves the bell
calling all to
(Karen Schafer lives in Grand Junction and writes
about life in Colorado)
The Reading Room 2016 December/January
Pg 5 - The Sunshine Express
Treasures From The Inbox
If you get email, you
get stuff. Sometimes
it is spam, sometimes
it is a true gem.
Here is one of those
gems worth sharing:
Angel went on last.
Every night till Christmas, all the lights were
Except the little Angel, that had long burned out
Then on Christmas morning, I arose before the
I had to have my coffee, to be at my very best.
I walked into the living room, my coffee cup in
And what I saw, so puzzled me, I could not
I just stood in silence, as, my eyes filled up with
The little angel was all aglow, that had been
dark for many years.
The Angels came to tell the shepherds, of the
Christ Child¡¯s birth.
And, Angels are still here with us, to guide us
here on earth.
The Angel on our Christmas tree, was made
in such a way.
That if the light inside burned out, you just
threw it away.
The light burned out when I was twelve, the
Angel would not shine.
But, Mom would not throw it away, she said it
looked just fine.
She loved that little Angel, that she put upon
She said it didn¡¯t need a light, for anyone to
Then I grew up, and I moved out to start my
And, I¡¯d go home at Christmas time, to help
her trim her tree.
My wife and children went with me, to mom¡¯s
house every year.
The house was filled with love and joy, as we
shared Christmas cheer.
The kids would always say to her, ¡°The Angel
is burned out.¡±
Then, she would smile and tell them, what
the Angel¡¯s all about.
She told another reason, for it¡¯s specialty.
Your daddy picked that Angel out, when he
was only three.
My mother passed away this year, early in the
And then I had the painful task, of going
through her things.
The beautiful old house she owned, was left
me in her will.
We moved back in the summertime, we feel
her in it still.
Early in December, we brought out our Christ-
I went up to the attic, just to see what I
I saw a cardboard box, with markings, ¡°Orna-
ments and stuff.¡±
And in it was the little Angel, that she had
loved so much.
I brought the cardboard box downstairs, and
showed the family.
Then they persuaded me to put the Angel on
We trimmed the tree that weekend, and we
talked of Christmas past.
Then when the tree was finally done, the
Last December, I vowed to make Christmas
a calm and peaceful experience. I cut back
on nonessential obligations - extensive card
writing, endless baking, decorating, and even
overspending. Yet still, I found myself exhaust-
ed, unable to appreciate the precious family
moments, and of course, the true meaning of
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¡¯. Because the public
school system had long stopped referring to the
holiday as Christmas, I didn¡¯t expect anything
A Christmas Mistake?
other than commercial en-
tertainment - songs of rein-
deer, Santa Claus, snow-
flakes and good cheer. So,
when my son¡¯s class rose
to sing, ¡°Christmas Love,¡± I
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 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 let-
ter C. Then, ¡®H is for Happy¡¯,
and so on, until each child
holding up his portion had
presented the complete
message, ¡®Christmas Love¡¯.
The performance went
smoothly, until a small girl
in the front row held the
letter ¡®M¡¯ upside down -
totally unaware her letter
appeared as a ¡®W¡¯.
A few kids and parents
giggled at her mistake, but
then a hush came over the
audience and in that instant
we understood the reason
why we celebrate the holi-
day in the first place.
For when the last letter
was held high, the message
read loud and clear:
¡°CHRIST WAS LOVE¡±.
Dime Store Angel
It was just a Christmas Angel, that my Mom put
on our tree.
She bought it at a five and dime, when I was only
Each year we¡¯d trim our Christmas tree, with
lights and ornaments.
Then Mom would always tell me, what the Angel