What a varied and amazing group of entries I received. Thank you all for sharing your memories. The stories were touching, funny, charming, sad…and wonderful. Through your stories, I feel I know you as more than fellow writers. Now you are friends.
Three judges read all the stories–without consulting or comparing their choices–and this evening I received the scores. When the totals were in, the first place winner was only a few points higher than two second place winners who were tied. Such talent, and all three deserve a prize!
The first place winner will receive a $25 gift card to her choice of Starbuck’s or Amazon. The two second place winners will each receive a $10 gift card.
And now–drum roll, please!–the winners:
FIRST PLACE: “Christmas With Mom”
by Leslie Hobson of King, Ontario
It’s that smell that brings it all back. Some heady combination of pine tree, cinnamon candles and cookies. The feeling in my stomach of anticipation so strong that I can’t sleep. I sneak from my bed and watch her sitting by the Christmas tree–its multi-colored lights and the crackling fire are the only lights in the room. She hums a carol softly to herself and I feel warm and safe as I tiptoe back to my bed.
This Christmas, she’s in a locked ward and ther memories are lost. Sometimes she doesn’t know me–but I remember her.
SECOND PLACE (TIE): “Gingerbread”
by Jaime Norwood of Anthony, Kansas
Gumdrop shingles. Candy cane siding. Frosted orange slice shutters. Cobblestone hard candies of various colors. Someone’s been eating all the chocolate fence posts, and I know who! I caught her wide-eyed on Christmas Eve with cherry cream filling on her lips and a guilty little smile. She breaks off the prized peppermint patty chimney all covered in icing, and hands it to me with a wink.
It’s a sneaky little secrt my grandmother and I share one delightful Christmas Day.
SECOND PLACE (TIE): “Christmas With Mom”
by Mary Zalmanek of Monument, Colorado
We knew that Christmas 2004 would be my dad’s last. I could see the fears on my mom’s face, in her gentle attentiveness to him, in their sweet conversations. I bought birthday and other special occassion cards that would be sent in the future from him to my mom, his children and grandchildren. He signed them before he died in March.
I mailed a Christmas card from my dad to my mom in December. A few days later, my mom called. “Last night I dreamed your dad said he had a message for me, and today I got his card.”
With special thanks to all the writers who entered stories, to the judges who gave each entry careful consideration, and to author Jaye W. Manus, who loves good writing and supporting writers. She will be posting the winners on her fiction blog.