Advent 2021 – December 19

December 19 – Aunt Margie and Uncle Art

As Ember moved to the back of the dias, no doubt to discuss something with Old Man Winter, Molly saw her Aunt Margie and Uncle Art were stepping up to the tree. Aunt Margie had run CrossWind Books since before Molly and her brother Nathan were born, while Uncle Art had run the farm he’d inherited from his father. Now, Molly wondered which of the numerous ornaments Aunt Margie had brought.

“I’ve lived here all my adult life,” Aunt Margie said, looking out over the crowd of her friends and neighbors. “I came as a young wife, and I was adopted by all of you, and I am so proud to be a part of this community.” She carefully pulled out a small bundle and began to unwrap it.

What is it? Schrodinger asked, but the grey fog was wrapping around he and Molly again. When the fog cleared, they were standing alone in the midst of white birches and evergreens during one of those picture-perfect snow storms that came once or twice every winter.

Or so it seemed at first. There were snowflakes falling, and that deadened both noise and made it hard to see.

Then Schrodinger nudged her leg. Look to your left.

Molly turned, and there was her Aunt Margie and Uncle Art. They were standing together, dressed in warm clothes, with mugs of something steaming in their hands, on the deck that her uncles and grandfather and cousins had built one summer before she was born. The deck looked very new, and there weren’t any streaks of white in her aunt’s hair, or laugh lines on her face. In fact, she looked hardly older than Molly.

“Do you think we’ll see them today?” Aunt Margie asked.

“We should,” Uncle Art said. “The boys and I heard them when we were taking the cows back to the shed last night, and the night before.” He slipped his free hand around her waist. “And once they do show…”

“If they show,” she said.

“When they show, it will be time to get the decorations out and start the holiday,” Uncle Art finished. 

What are they talking about? Schrodinger asked. What are they waiting for?

“Just watch,” Molly said. “You’ll see.”

And then, through the gently falling snow, there was movement. The snowy owl that winged its way out of the trees hooted gently as it swooped between the flakes, circling the house three times before it ghosted away. 

“They still wait for her,” Molly said, as the scene started to fade. “The decorations at their farm don’t come out until the Christmas owl is seen.”

Aunt Margie finished unwrapping the beautifully carved snowy owl and handed it to Jade. “This owl has greeted us every Christmas season,” she said. “When we see her after Thanksgiving, we know it’s time to celebrate. It’s one of our signs that everything is right with the world.”

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