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   Iona Morrison      I have asked three of my author friends to share a holiday tradition, or a Christmas memory with you. Over the next few weeks I want to introduce you these special ladies. Judith Sterling will be sharing this week. The links to her books and where you can find her online will follow her wonderful, unique Christmas memory. I want to thank her for sharing this story with us and welcome her to my blog.


 I live in Salem, Massachusetts.  I love Halloween and all things autumn, but winter holds just as much magic for me and my family.  The snow.  The holiday lights.  The smell of cookies…varied, copious cookies just waiting to be devoured.  And most nights in December, the clang of a bell heralds the presence of the Ghost of Christmas Present standing on the sidewalk outside.  He’s part of the Salem Trolley’s “A Christmas Carol” tour, and he always makes me smile.

            We love the Dickens classic in our house.  My husband Dan reads A Christmas Carol to our twin boys, Connor and Geoffrey, at bedtime, and we watch every film version cable TV affords.  The story holds so much optimism and light, both of which we can all agree the world is in desperate need.  If a man like Ebenezer Scrooge can find redemption, there’s hope for us all.

            When Salem’s Ghost of Christmas Present appears in his flowing robe and holly-wreath headpiece, the city seems a little kinder.  The magic of childhood rushes back to me, and I’m filled with the giving spirit.  I want to feed the hungry, hug the friendless, and do whatever I can to protect those with little or no voice.

            Call me corny, Pollyanna, or any other name you like.  I see your point.  But I still believe in love and humanity.  And I’m grateful for the ability each one of us has to make the world a better place.  As an author, I hope my stories do just that, and while we’re speaking of spirits, I’d like to share one story in particular.

            Christmastime always makes me think of my maternal grandfather, Poppy.  He loved the holidays and died just before Thanksgiving in 2007.  My twins were three at the time and only got to meet him once…while he was alive, that is.

            In mid-December of that year, Dan and I took them to my parents’ house in Florida for the weekend.  Twice during our visit, the boys’ gazes shot to my mom’s side at the same time.

            Both of them looked, but it was Geoffrey who spoke.  “Poppy,” he said, pointing.

            Each time, Mom nodded but said nothing.  The boys confirmed what she already sensed.

            Later that day, she, Dan, and I were talking by the pool.  The boys played close by.

            Geoffrey piped up, and his voice was adamant.  “No, no, Poppy.  Light on.”  He glanced to his side while his hands fiddled with a SpiderMan action figure.  “No light off, Poppy.  Light ON.”

            Dan gaped at him.  “Did he just say what I think he said?”

            Mom turned.  “What?”

            “I think he was talking to Poppy,” I said.

            Wide-eyed, Geoffrey’s gaze traveled up to a point about nine feet high, right beside the pool.  “Poppy, why are you flying?”

            Mom raised her eyebrows.  “Now I heard that!”

            Needless to say, the event made her weekend.

            On our return home, Geoffrey scampered into the house, then halted in front of our Christmas tree, whose lights were off.  He grinned.  “Hi, Poppy!”

            A minute later—by which time Geoffrey ignored the tree—Connor ran into the house.  He stopped and stared at the same spot his twin had.

            With a smile, he pointed to it.  “Poppy!”

            I felt my grandfather’s presence, strong as could be.  It was a reminder that those we’ve loved and lost are never far away.

            Wishing you and yours a joyous holiday season!



Her buy links are the following:

Flight of the Raven

Soul of the Wolf

The Cauldron Stirred

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