Dear Rosa –
I’m a sucker for the romantic tale – the one where the boy gets the girl- so I hope you don’t mind if I let my imagination take a ride and paint the picture of your first Christmas as husband and wife. Merry Christmas, Rosa. You are missed.
She’d risen early Christmas eve to see to the chores and finish the gift she hoped to give to Henry. The tiny apartment they’d rented above the Drinkwine’s barn did little to afford privacy, so Rosa had made due the best she could, stealing moments throughout the fall to work on that gift. Her new husband – she smiled- Mr. Henry Blair needed a sweater -one to keep him warm as he labored outside.
She stole a glance out the window while her knitting needles clicked away. Still snowing, beautiful and drifting and each branch was lined with white. Her candle flickered from a breeze that crept through the cracks, bringing the smell of winter inside. Fresh, clean air- she inhaled- though cold, but the wood stove chased the chill away.
Snow is always so silent, she thought, it’s a like a dream watching those tiny flakes drift down from a pewter sky…
Her knitting continued, as did the smile as she thought of their next Christmas together. There’d be three then when she birthed this babe sometime in July. Busy hands paused and rubbed a belly just beginning to show.
Mary Julia, if it’s to be a girl and Frankie, if a boy.
Henry didn’t know of this yet. She’d kept the secret for two months.
It could wait for one more day.
The off-white wool was soft, spun by her sister-in-law from the shearing they’d done mid-summer. She’d taken on extra to barter for that yarn- chores and baking and cleaning, but it was worth it. The sweater, knit with cables and worked in a traditional Scottish pattern, would keep Henry through the long winter ahead.
The candle flickered again and Rosa sighed. Her Henry and no one worked harder than that man. He’d be a good provider, a faithful husband. Thank God he didn’t take to the drink like so many of her kin.
She heard the door open, footsteps and the stamping off the snow, as Henry climbed the stairs and hurried to stash the knitting. She’d finish the last sleeve later, between the baking and the dinner they’d share with her family. Christmas morning he would unwrap that singular present stashed beneath their simple tree and there amidst the happiness she would give him another gift.
Rosa would tell him of the child.
Mary Julia Blair, my grandmother, was born June 7, 1893.