“On the first day of Christmas, my true love sent to me

A partridge in a pear tree…”

The mailbox is rusted and the paint is peeling, curling up like a red maple leaf in Autumn. Kierra stands by, loyally awaiting the postman in the cold December morning. The snow has laid a fluffy white carpet in her front yard and she sees grumpy-looking snowmen in the neighbourhood.

Before long, old Mr Peter trudges up the road on his creaking bicycle, his thick red coat and his big bag of letters, making him look like a haphazardly-dressed Santa.

“Letter for you, Mrs Drake,” he announces.

“I haven’t found my glasses yet, Peter. Be a good soul and read it for me today, too?” she leads the way inside and Peter walks in as he has done the whole of last week.

Comfortably seated with a warm cup of tea and hot scones, Peter reads the seventh letter her son has written for her. She invites him for Christmas lunch when he’s done.

As he gets on to his bicycle, Kierra pushes her glasses up her nose and peers through the window pane at his retreating figure. Peter was widowed last Autumn, and Macy had once told Kierra lovingly that “Pete was a good-for-nothing sod who didn’t even know how to make his tea!”


Peter couldn’t help smiling, tears glistening in his eyes, as he cycled past the neighbourhood. When he had read the telegram from the Forces announcing the untimed death of her son while on duty, he had chosen not to reveal it to the old woman. Instead, he had written letters every night, promising her of his return soon.

After all, the true spirit of Christmas was to give and give, and not expecting anything in return.

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