The quaint little village of Helmsdale had witnessed nature’s fury and stood still like an admonished child draped by a blanket of guilty snow. The cold draft snuggled through the crevices and seeped into the somber dwellings made cozy by the warmth of love.
‘Richard! Come here my child.’
Grandpa’s excited voice made Richard rush towards him. Anne scampered behind. Though just two years older than Richard, the twelve-year-old was mature beyond her years.
‘Grandpa! You are beaming! What’s the matter?’ Anne asked.
‘Anne! Richard! I finally received my state pension just before Christmas, tell me children, what is it that you want as a present?’
Richard and Anne exchanged glances full of adoration. The day of Christmas would mark their parent’s death anniversary and the beginning of never ending troubles for their grandfather. He tried his best to make ends meet; worked extra hours at eateries and saved every penny to give them a comfortable life.
‘Grandpa, I’m a big girl. I don’t believe in Santa’s gift.’
‘Neither do I. I’m ten. I don’t play with toys.’
‘There shall be no discussion. We shall be off to the fair tomorrow and make this Christmas as special as it can be.’
The icy winds of Scottish county loses the battle of hatred to the warmth of bucolic farmlands. The warmth oozes life from the frigid snow, which meanders as little rills. Grandpa, Richard, and Anne dressed in their best made their way to the fair along these racing rivulets.
Festive air welcomed them. Their kiddish desire leapt up at the sight of rides and goodies but soon died as the realisation of their shallow pockets dawned in.
‘Anne, look at that pink coloured scarf. You shall look as pretty as your mother.’
‘No grandpa, I prefer the black woolen one. Scotland’s winters are tough on me.’
‘Black? But pink would suit you better, my darling.’
‘Please Grandpa,’ she implored.
‘If that’s what makes you happy.’ Grandpa paid for the apparel and moved forward, mentally calculating the amount left.
‘Richard, look at that cricket bat, doesn’t it look like the one you left at London? Oh! How you loved cricket. Let’s buy this, my lad.’
‘No Grandpa, I don’t like cricket any longer. I prefer practising my golf strokes in these open farmlands. Can I please buy this wooden golf lookalike for practice.’
‘Richard, this isn’t a real golf club…. This is…’
‘Grandpa! This is what I want as my Christmas gift.’ He declared.
‘Oh ok… it’s tough to reason out with the younger generation.’ Grandpa relented.
All three walked back to celebrate the Christmas in their humble abode.
The midnight tolling bells announced the arrival of Christmas. The old grandfather sat by the fireplace wrapped in a black woolen shawl, with a walking stick by his side, eyes brimming with tears of gratitude and the grown-up children sitting by his feet.
He wanted to be their Santa, but they outdid him that Christmas. He hoped to win next time…do you too?
Photo credits: unsplash