Christmas Night in the Country

Russell Odell

I was fortunate to be born on a farm instead of a crowded city. In the country the snow stays white. In the city it soon gets dirty and loses its luster. It doesn't glitter even under bright street lights.

In the country when the moon is full and bright, the snow lying on the fields glistens like a field of diamonds. It's beautiful to behold. You stand and look at it in awe. The trees are all dressed in their snow suits and stand naked as winter's sentinels until it is time for them to put on their green dresses again.

If you stand real still and hold your breath, and listen intensely, you can actually hear the snow falling. It is a very quiet tinkling sound like no other sound you have ever heard. My mother used to tell me it is the angels whispering. What you are actually hearing is the snow crystals bumping into each other as they fall.

In the country the houses are further apart. It is nice coming down the road in your cutter behind your favorite horse to see the lights in the windows and smoke curling lazily skyward. You don't see that in the crowded cities. All you can hear is the muffled sound of the horse's feet in the snow and that too is a beautiful sound. Of course, if you have never heard it, you haven't the slightest idea of what I am talking about. They are sounds that have faded away in the vastness of time. Like the candles on the Christmas tree, they live in Christmas yesterdays.

In the country you had chores. You didn't sluff off. If you didn't get the wood chopped you didn't get supper because the stove was wood burning. . If you didn't split the logs the fireplace didn't burn. Christmas Eve and Christmas Night without a fireplace with glowing Yule logs is like a Christmas without a Christmas tree. When you went outside to the back-house you could smell the smoke of burning wood. My next door neighbor has a fireplace and many times I stand outside just to smell the smells of yesterday on the farm when I was a kid. With just a whiff or two I can go back in time 70 or 80 years and live for a moment or two in a Christmas memory lane.

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