Christmas In Alabama (A holiday tale)

byronthelonelychristmastree_bookcoverThe following is a fictional tale I wrote bout seven years ago as an entry to a local newspaper contest. I didn’t win but I enjoyed writing it. if some of the words seem weird it’s because we had to find a way to work them into the story. This is my first of seven other stories I wrote annually and they will be followed up with a new installment on Christmas day. I hope you enjoy them.

Christmas In Alabama

Hi My name is Pete. There I was, in Birmingham, getting ready to spend my Christmas break from VA Tech. While I love Christmas and spending it with my family, I hoped to have been spending it in Richmond, VA where we lived until recently.

Six months ago my father lost his job. Fortunately he finally found a new one but it meant having to move here. While I was happy he found a new job, having to move to Alabama was a real bummer for my sister and me.

When I arrived home from College the house was already decorated. There was a wreath on the front door and the tree was decorated. The problem was they were both imitations. Prior to this year we always had real ones.

I had been looking forward to spending my vacation with my buddies snowboarding at Bryce Resort. Now I was going to have to miss out on all of the fun and the prospect of having to spend three weeks in Alabama was unfathomable. If we had to relocate then why not at someplace fun like Jacksonville, FL? If we had moved there at least I could have gone surfing or visited some of the theme parks in Orlando where we could ride the roller coasters.

Four days before Christmas I was sitting around watching TV with my sister’s new puppy named Frosty, a bribe from my parents to help ease the pain of the move. Bored to tears, I watched an old Sesame Street movie. In it Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy were skiing. Seeing this I screamed “Why skiing of all things? This makes me even more depressed”.

That was the last straw. I packed my gear, grabbed some ginger bread cookies for the road and threw them into the back of my old Pontaic Sunbird. Before leaving I left my parents a note saying, “I’m sorry to leave but I can’t take this anymore. I’m going to drive up to Bryce for a few days but promise to be back home by Christmas. Love Pete”.

When I got back out to the car I remembered I had forgotten to replace the badly worn tires. It was a blessing they had made it home in the first place. While I knew this trip would be pushing it I figured that as long as it didn’t snow I should be OK.

The trip up was uneventful and I arrived at Bryce early the next morning. After my arrival I called home. My folks were more than a bit miffed but gave me some slack as they understood what I was going through. They did however make me promise once again to be home by Christmas.

Though tired, I enjoyed my day of snowboarding with my friends. That night a Ska band was scheduled to play at the lodge but they couldn’t make it. Instead a local Kazoo band replaced them. We were bummed at first but after a few spiked nog’s we all had a great time.

About noon the next day it started to snow. At first I was unconcerned as the conditions were awesome but later in the day when I heard they were expecting about twelve inches of the stuff I started to worry. Remembering my promise to my parents I decided to leave. I loaded up the car , said my farewells and headed out never giving a second thought to my tires.

Things went along pretty well until I was approaching Roanoke. By that time the snow was getting heavy and I started to lose traction. When I finally made it to the next rest stop I pulled in with a dead cell phone and figured this was where I was going to be spending my Christmas.

I was about to give up when a semi with Alabama plates pulled in next to me. To my surprise the driver was an attractive young woman about my age. I was so flabbergasted I barely got out the words, “Where are you headed?” “Birmingham” she replied with a smile.

After relaying my dilemma she agreed to give me a lift. After thanking her I ran to my car, grabbed all of my gear, left the keys on the seat for anyone who wanted the old wreck and hopped into her cab. When I turned to stow my gear I noticed some pretty disturbing bumper stickers on the back window. One said “NRA Forever” and another said, “How do I like Yankees…deep Fried”. At that point I started to wonder what on earth I had gotten myself into. While she looked innocent enough I wondered if she wasn’t some kind of serial killer.

The young woman named Casey, seemingly reading my mind, started laughing then said, “Don’t worry this isn’t my rig. My father is sick and he asked me to make this run for him. Believe me, this isn’t the way I wanted to spend my college break either.

I felt badly about pre-judging Casey and apologized. Instead of chastising me, Casey said, “Heck, if the situation was reversed I would have thought the same thing. Now let’s get rolling”… She then paused before adding, “But before we do we need to settle on your payment”. I looked at Casey and dejectedly said, “I’m sorry but I don’t have much money on me. I guess I’ll have to pass on the ride”.

Casey laughed as she replied, “No silly, your money isn’t good here”. “Then what kind of payment are we talking about”, I asked. Casey smiled, pointed to some mistletoe hanging above us and said, “Just a kiss”. Relieved, I planted a tender kiss on her lips and instantly a connection was made between us.

We crept along in silence through the snowy,  forbidding, white knuckle night. Around daybreak the conditions improved and we stopped for breakfast. By that time we were both starved to death so we stuffed our faces on eggs, bacon, toast and grits. The remainder of the trip flew by as we shared our life stories, dreams and aspirations. During the process we became friends and much more.

We ended up pulling up to my house around midnight, Christmas eve and found the lights on and my family still waiting up for me. As I turned to thank Casey our eyes met and I unexpectedly found myself saying, “I think I love you Casey”. I instantly worried that I had been way too impulsive. To my delight, Casey kissed me and said, “I think I love you too!” What better present could anyone ever hope to get in their stocking?

I then asked Casey to come in and meet my family. I introduced her with:, “Hi family, this is Casey the girl I hope to marry some day”. This surprised my family but after spending that evening and much of the time we had left before returning to school they came to love her too.

As I walked her back to her rig later that Christmas eve we kissed again and as we did so it started to snow once more. As I headed back to the house I thought to myself, “maybe spending  Christmas in Alabama won’t be so bad after all”.

I hope you enjoyed my story and I hope you have a great thanksgiving and I will look forward to having you back for my next Christmas story installment.

Aloha, Paul


About authorpaulhayden

Author, artist, screenwriter, environmentalist. husband, father, surfer, surfing instructor, volunteer.
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