Stories of Christmas: Adult Division, 3rd Place

Several stories were submitted this year for the Brainerd Dispatch’s 31st annual Stories of Christmas contest.

Snow Day

“Wake up! Wake up!” the impatient little clock demands, as a clumsy hand searches for the snooze button. The howl of a frigid wind concedes rare permission to rest a moment longer. In-step, the hypnotic aroma of freshly brewed pot beckons the senses. The auto-start timer on the brewer serves to remind that technology is a mixed blessing. Indeed, the clocks are working together towards your quickening on this snowy morning.

Taunting the wind behind a pane of frosty glass you attempt to coax the sun out, offering a toast with a hand-painted ceramic mug. “Best Parent Ever” it reads in squiggly gold fingerpaint. A little boy drags himself to your side, blanky in tow.

“Can we stay home today?” he pleads, rubbing one sleepy eye with the sleeve of a red flannel pajama.

“But what about work and school?” you question, searching deep for the answer.

With sudden epiphany the disheveled little boy exclaims, “Your work could be to teach me today!”


Surely such an astute child can afford a day away from school.

Between spoonfuls of cinnamon spiced oatmeal from a shared kettle you learn how to make snickerdoodles, perfecting the art of burnt bottoms. The sun arrives late over the treetops, chasing the nippy wind away in an apologetic gesture. A freshly rolled snowman is quickly partitioned into ammunition for an impromptu snowball fight. Merriment triumphs, as last year’s Christmas puppy bounds after snowballs dissolving into a sea of white. The large, medium and small snow angels remind you of how much your little family has grown and how much more it could grow.

“Wake up!” the persistent little clock demands, with all the haste of a passing dream.

“Wake up and live!”

Joseph Coalwell


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