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BY: GLEN DUDASIK
It was a bitter winter’s day but the mood inside the classroom was festive. Miss Adeline gathered up the children’s attention and announced to them that it was time to bow their heads for the afternoon prayer. First she had the kindergarten children say what they were thankful for, then by grade each took their turn until the older children completed theirs. Lastly the oldest boy in the senior class, Eldrich, stood and spoke to all “And in this Christmas season may you bless Miss Adeline.”
Miss Adeline was overcome with emotion. She was a young teacher only in her second year. Having come straight from St. Mary’s College then out to country side was quite an adjustment for her. She was an outsider to the vast farming community, but she knew her work and appreciated the hard toll many of the families went through just to get by. Work was scarce this time of year and many of the children covered what they could by sharing what little they had with one another.
As she dismissed them from class they passed her one by one, many giving hugs to their lovely modest teacher. As the last child left Miss Adeline stared out the window. she watched the wind whipping through the frail coats and hand-me-down boots of the children. She knew they were cold but you would never have known it from the joyous laughter and raucous snowball fights. They were happy, but Miss Adeline was fraught with the overwhelming sense of a melancholy spirit.
The children were her every moment, truth be told they were all she had, and to not see them for three weeks was dreadful. The cold of the winters ice was tolerable, but the deafening silence of her empty house was unbearable. She would get by though, she told herself, as she closed the school room and headed home.
Miss Adeline had a three mile walk through the mountain pass to the outbuilding she lived in. It was a small cabin deep in the thicket, high above the church in valley. The church bells below woke her each morning, greeting her with the vibrant song of a new day. Soon it would be Christmas she thought as she looked down at the people hanging the greens in the window. Christmas was not an easy time to be alone.
As you would expect the cabin wasn’t much to desire, with its dirt floors and wooden windows, but it was home and she was proud of it. It was her Grandaddy’s first, and then her Aunt and Uncles before her. They were all gone now and with no other relatives around it was only her. She did what she could to keep busy, writing her lessons, reading her bible and singing her hymns but when the sun went down so early as it did the nights were long and brutally cold. She kept her soul warm with the memories of family Christmas mornings long past, and her evening prayers. As she knelt beside her bed this moonlit evening she prayed out loud.
She prayed for each child in her classroom, their families, and then lastly – she asked to pray for herself.
“On humble knees I ask of thee dear Lord, and I know I ought not ask for anything for the gifts in my life are great, but please loving father in this Christmas season please send me love. Send someone to I can take long walks with, someone to share my quiet nights with. Someone who will be here for me every day and every night. Please dear Father help me trade the silence for laughter, and loneliness with love. Please dear Father it is all I ask, please dear Father….please…” and with that Miss Adeline fell deep asleep besides her bed.
The Church bells tolled loudly that next morning and Miss Adeline awoke to not only their sounds, but the sound of something else. It was muffled in the morning snow, a sound that was strange. She gathered herself up and listened intently. It was coming from outside and it was close. Miss Adeline slowly opened the door and in the glare of the morning sun she saw it. It was small, it was hungry, it was cold, and it was alone – but it gazed up at her with eyes that tried to greet her, but it as it took its steps it tumbled in the snow. Miss Adeline couldn’t help but smile at this tiny little one who had found its way to her humble little cabin. She brought the little life inside and for twenty two years they were inseparable. For on that snowy winter’s morn by the grace of God Miss Adeline had been given the gift of laughter, life, love, and a puppy.
For us Sunday night meant listening to the AM Dial. Relive your favorite old time stories straight from our collection!
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