The Big Timber Pioneer (Big Timber, Mont.) 1983-current, December 19, 2003, Image 10

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Page 10 — BIG TIMBER (MT) PIONEER — Week of December 19-25, 2003 A Far Cry The Story of a Happy Christmas By MAGLYN DUPREC (Copyright, 1908, by Short Story Publishing Co.) It had not been easy for John Wellington, Sr., to select his Christmas gifts this year, although fits old wife and one or two servants were all for whom he had to provide. It was Christmas eve. and he had been through bookstores, where handsomely bound volumes of story writers, philosophers and poets were displayed on every counter; through brilliantly lighted jewelry stores, where precious stones gleamed soft­ ly against backgrounds of rich vel­ vet; through the perfumed shop of (he florist, where delicate blossoms from famous greenhouses breathed forth a fragrance that gave the lie to the hitter wind and swirling snow outside. With each he had left a gen­ erous check, bul always with an unsatisfied feeling that he was pay­ ing for something he did not care to have. Finally, he had been lured into a shop whose windows displayed an attractive lot o f toys for small boys, and he had selected from its almost endless store of guns, wagons, won­ derful animals and ear-splitting “wind instruments.” a red tin horn, costing him only 25 cents. This had given him more satis­ faction than any purchase he had made for many times that amount. The other parcels he had ordered delivered, but this he had carried himself, as though it were something too precious to be trusted to other hands. It was this that he unwrapped before the big, old-fash­ ioned fireplace where his wife sat, as soon as he had come in from the storm-swept street. As he held it up where the red gleam of the firelight was caught on its rounded surface, a look of surprise swept over the gen­ tle old face near him. “Why. John, you never bought that! Surely they handed you some­ one else’s purchase.\ “No.” lie said, his face growing suddenly tender. “I bought it.\ His wife, with a woman’s quick instinct, divined the reason. She stepped nearer to him ar.d laying her hand on his arm. looked at him with pleading eyes, saying: “But why. Father?\ It was the first time she had called him father for a decade past, and there was a pitiful break in the old man’s voice as he replied: “I bought it for a memory, mother.” That was the first time in ten years he had called her mother, and at the sound of the name, she, too. gave way—gave way, womanlike, leaning her head on his arm, and sobbing out a grief that had silently stolen the roses from her checks and the light from her eyes as the years had gone by. The old man's ami went round her lover-fashion, while his hand gently stroked her soft white hair. “There, there, mother, dear. The boy’s not dead. I’ll find him for you, if I have to hunt the world over. I was to blame,” he said, with such infinite regret in his voice that the old wife reached up and drew his head down to her face and whis­ pered: \Don’t take it so, father. I know you thought you were doing the best for the boy when you sent him away to do or die on his own account, and somehow I feel tonight, as I have never fell before, that he may be found.” As she spoke, something in her tones made him feel that at last his wife had forgiven him entirely for the decision which, ten years before, had robbed her of her only child. Always before this he felt through all her gentle and kindly care for him, that tucked away somewhere in the silent recesses of her being there was just a little bitterness against him for the childless state he had brought upon her. But now that he, himself, had come to repent it, he knew beyond a doubt the last drop of that bitterness had been swallowed up in a grief grown sweet from being shared. He sat down in his great arm chair and looked up with misty eyes at his wife. “You're right, mother. I did think it best. I would rather have seen him dead than worthless, and I knew if he had worth, he would conquer himself, and rise without my aid. more of a man than with it.\ She put her arm around his neck and patted his cheek. “He has risen somewhere, father I know it. He could not be your son and fail,\ she said, the loyalty and love of a lifetime lighting her face with a soft radiance. He took up the tin horn from the table where he had laid it, and fondled it as if it were fraught with memories, instead of merely recall­ ing them. “It’s ten years since he left,” he said, “what a man he must be now— 3 1 tonight. But I was thinking, when 1 bought this, of the time when he was such a little yellow-haired toddler, and almost drove us wild with just such a horn as this at Christmas time.\ She took the horn from him, and looking dreamily at it, said: “We’ll keep this father; maybe Jack’s boy will some time make these old walls ring with it at Christmas time as he made them ring, himself, so many years ago.\ \God grant that he may!\ said the old man. “‘Do you remember, mother, how he used to come chasing down the street after me when I would start off to my work in the morning?\ “Yes, and how you would pick him up and carry him back to me,’’ she said. “And do you remember the time we came near losing him, the day he ran away to hunt you in the city?” “Who that saw you then could forget it, mother?\ and he took her hand in his and drew her down to the chair beside him. They sat hand in hand in the silence, given over to voiceless memories of the past, only the ticking of the old clock keeping an accompaniment to their dreams of other Christmas Eves. They were sitting thus an hour later when a servant opened the door and said, respectfully: “There is a telephone call for Mr. Wellington.” “‘Can’t you answer it, Mary,\ the old man asked, loath to leave his comfortable chair and dreams. “No. sir. It is especially for you. A long-distance call, I think.” \Who the deuce wants to talk to me from a distance.\ he said, as he rose and went to the telephone in the hall. \Hello who is this?” he asked, us he picked up the receiver. \Yes. this is John Wellington.\ \A party in Chicago wants to talk to you.” said the long-distance operator. \All right, put him up. Who in thunder do I know in Chicago.” he ejaculated to himself, pressing the receiver closer to his ear. A peculiar wailing sound was all he heard, and a puzzled expres­ sion crept over his face. “Talk u little louder. I can't understand a tiling you are saying.” and he listened more intently The wailing grew a little louder, but still it was nothing but an inarticulate wail, and for a r ----------- M e s v u f , Q i v U U m a d & J l & p f U f , New y b o a J E } DELLINGER & GALLAGHER, CPAs 932-6667 May You Be Filled With The Light A nd Love Of The Season M e w u f G i t / U d m a i , ! L o w r y F u n e r a l H o m e Larry Scholz, Donna Amaro QMsittag you att a CWondcbfjuQ m i l ÇWoiicÎag Season. Hooking ¡oumud io fiCMing you {o/i the Ofnern 2004 ! Twin Paper Creations StêpÂtmiÊ îfotmç ( OPEN9-12Dec.24& 31 CLOSED Dec. 25 & Jan. 1 ) Merry Christmas FROM ALL O F US! Santa declares a very happy holiday for all! W e join him in sending warm greetings to you. Stenberg's Construction & Plumbing Supply moment the old man looked thoroughly disgusted. \Confound it'\ he shouted at last “You sound exactly like a mewling infant I don’t know what you are saying.\ Then a man’s laugh was heard, followed by \A merry .Christmas, father. You know exactly what he sound like, hut you don't know what lie is saying.” and there was another laugh, ringing joyful, as in his boyhood days, and the old man knew he had found his own. “Jack. Jack, my hoy, is that you?” he shouied. staggered hy the unexpected joy of Ins sudden discovery. “None oilier, father, hut what you just heard was another Jack, the second Jack Wellington. Jr. He has jusi arrived, and his command of English is somewhat limited, but lie was doing his best to introduce him­ self. and invite you and grandma to Christmas dinner w'llh him. and—*’ \Oh. Jack. Jack, where have you been all these years’**' sobbed the old man. “Catch the Lake Shore Limited tonight, father, bring mother with you. and Fli tell you all about it when you get here You’ve got lime. You see. father. I’ve kept track of you and mother all along I wasn't going to let anything happen to the old folks, and—” there was a catch in his voice, “I’ve got the right kind of a report to make, father. Never fear that ” The old man could scarcely contain himself as he listened, press­ ing ihe receiver closer and closer to his ear. as though he feared some bit of the precious news might escape him. Then he shouied- \All right, son. we’re coining on the next train ’’ He left the receiver dangling on the wall, and started on a run to the room where his wife sat. shout­ ing as he went: “Mother, mother, it's Jack—our hoy. Gel ready, mother I’m going to have a cab here in 20 minutes to catch the tram for Chicago.\ She had risen with a wild look on her face, anil had started to question him, bul he shook his head, saying: “No. no. I'll explain later Not got time now. We’re going to spend Christmas with Jack and his boy.” He siancd for the ’plume again, and then dashed back, exclaiming. “Pack the tin horn if you don’t pack another thing Any child ihat can cry loud enough to he heard all (lie way from Chicago ought to have hrealh . enough lo blow dial horn.\ and be­ dashed again to the 'phone to order a cab. Reprinted from the December 24, 1908 issue o f the Big Timber Pioneer. a n d T h a n k You t o a ll o u r cu s tom e r s F r o m a l l th e em p loyee» a t th e BIG T IGA UJe w o u l d l i k e to- wish, every otte a Merry Christmas S- a-Happy New Ifearf From a l l o f us a t SHILOH RIFLE Manufacturing Co. 9 3 2 - 4 4 5 4 May the Christmas Season be a memorable and joyous time filled with blessings and-love for all. Thank You For Your B usiness T O M R O E a n d S O N C O N S T R U C T I O N TOM and CHIP and CREW

The Big Timber Pioneer (Big Timber, Mont.), 19 Dec. 2003, located at <>, image provided by MONTANA NEWSPAPERS, Montana Historical Society, Helena, Montana.