CABB’s Winter

Challenge, 2022

DECEMBER HOLIDAYS

DECEMBER 20 ~ GO CAROLING DAY

Go Caroling Day

by Tunnel Writer

(Partly based on a true story.)

Catherine met the smiling children in Father’s library. They were all bundled up, and more than ready to go.

“Remember, stay with Catherine and don’t run off,” Father told the impatient children.

“I’m sure they will be on their best behavior,” Catherine said as she smiled brightly and hoisted the large box of gifts of cookies onto her hip. The box wasn’t heavy, but it was large and awkward. She couldn’t wait to get back to her apartment building where a wagon was waiting for the box.

“Now you listen to Catherine, and do everything she tells you,” Lena told her four-year-old as she fastened her little coat.

“I will, Momma,” she replied as her hat was put on.

“You stay by Catherine’s side and don’t leave her. Promise?” Lena asked nervously.

“She will be fine,” fourteen-year-old Samantha piped up as she took the little girl’s hand. “I’ll personally be responsible for her,” she continued, smiling sweetly at Lena.

“All right, children, we need to go,” Catherine announced.

Lena let out a nervous sigh and kissed her daughter’s forehead. “Hold onto Samantha’s hand and don’t let go. Have fun, Cat!”

Cathy giggled at her nickname. “Meow,” she replied back to her mother as she skipped off, holding Samantha’s hand.

Lena shook her head. Meowing was a new thing Cathy would do at the sound of her common nickname.

* * *

The children had a great time singing carols and passing out the cookies. It wasn’t until they reached the last stop that Catherine realized Cathy hadn’t handed out any cookies. This last stop was a nursing home, and they had plenty for all the residents. The children would sing in the hallway as one child would enter each room with a package of cookies, a warm smile, and a “Happy holidays!”

Catherine knelt down by Cathy. “Would you like to take these cookies into this room?” she asked the little girl.

Cathy shook her head no before whispering, “I’m afraid.”

Catherine smiled at the small child. “What if we go in together?” she asked, holding out her hand as she stood up.

Cathy nodded and took her hand. Timidly, they walked into the room. “You have a little visitor here who wishes to give you a gift,” Catherine said confidently as she gently nudged the child closer.

The lady in bed sat up and her whole face lit up at the sight of Cathy.

“Happy holidays!” Cathy whispered as she handed her the cookies.

The lady happily took the cookies, raised the girl’s hand to her lips, and kissed the back of her hand. “I have a great-granddaughter just your age, but I never see her. She lives in California. Thank you for visiting me today.”

Cathy smiled her best smile before leaving the room.

As they stepped out of the room, Cathy asked, “Catherine, will you go with me to the next room?”

“Of course I will.” She smiled back.

It was two hours later, all the cookies were delivered, and Catherine was counting the children before heading back. No matter how many times she counted, she was always one short.

“Who are we missing?” she asked in a panic.

The children looked around.

“Geoffrey isn’t here,” Zach announced.

“Samantha, keep an eye on the children while I search for him,” she said as she started hurrying down the hall.

The more halls she went down, the angrier she got. He KNOWS to stay with the group. Father is expecting us back soon, and he’ll worry.

As she rounded the corner, she froze, and her anger melted away as quickly as snow in a hot oven. There, kneeling by a woman in a wheelchair, was Geoffrey. They were in a deep conversation.

“Geoffrey, we have to go now,” Catherine gently said, placing her hand on his shoulder.

“I have to go now, Granny Smith. I’ll come by sometime soon and visit. I promise,” he said as he stood and placed his hat upon his head.

The teary-eyed woman looked up at him. “Thank…” was all she could get out before bursting into tears.

He walked backwards, and waved until they turned the corner.

“Do you mind telling me what that was about?”

“We were singing and I noticed she was crying. No one else noticed and walked right on by. I HAD to stop to talk to her. One of the songs we sang reminded her of her family, and she couldn’t stop crying.”

“Where’s her family?” Catherine asked, not sure if she wanted to hear the answer.

“They died. Years ago. I told her my parents died too. I then told her I don’t have a grandma and could she be mine? She smiled, Catherine! A real honest to goodness real smile!” he said with a huge smile of his own.

Catherine put her arm around the boy’s shoulder. “I’m proud of you. You’re a caring and compassionate boy. Don’t ever lose that. Now, we have to hurry home before Father sends out a search party.”

When the group reached Father’s library, Lena helped Cathy with her coat. “Did you have fun, Cat?”

“Meow,” she said as she nodded.

“There’s hot chocolate and warm gingerbread in the dining hall,” William bellowed to the children.

The cheers were deafening as they rushed to their refreshments.

Catherine casually walked up to William. “Hot chocolate? You’re just a big softy,” she said as she playfully punched his arm.

“No, the children are cold, and I’m not going to make batch after batch of chicken soup,” he said gruffly as he winked at her.

Catherine laughed as she followed the children to the dining hall.

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