The doorbell rang. It was George, his arms full of packages. Henry was with him. “Merry Christmas” George said.
“Well, George, Henry? Merry Christmas.” John said. “Come in, come in.”
Minnie gave them each a hug and John took their coats.
“I’ll just put these under the tree.” George said.
Minnie went to the kitchen to baste the chicken. What could she give Henry? ‘Lord, help me.’
‘Socks.’ She had bought a pack of six pair of wonderful wooly socks for John, but hadn’t put them in his stocking because they didn’t fit—in the stocking that is.
She went upstairs to wrap the perfume for Treasa and the socks for Henry while the men visited in the front room.
The door bell rang just as Minnie was coming back down the stairs. It was Bill with a beautiful blonde woman. She looked Scandinavian. Treasa and Minnie and John shook hands. “Welcome,” Minnie said.
Bill brought in a box of gifts to be tucked under the tree. Minnie gave him the two gifts she had just wrapped. “Put these under as well.”
A little later John happened to look out the window. “Here comes your sister.”
George and Bill ran to the door. They locked it and waved through the glass. “Come in,” Bill called.
Mary tried the handle. She laughed. Mary knew how to deal with her brothers; she simply waited for her father to come to the rescue, which he did immediately. “Mary, don’t pay attention to those boys.”
“I never do,” Mary said.
“Now that we’re all here,” Minnie said. “What shall we do first? Open presents, or have dinner?”
They decided they were old enough to wait for the presents. “Dinner will be ready in about half an hour then, but I could use some help.”
Minnie retreated to the kitchen. Hershal was at the stove stirring the gravy. “Hershal!”
Mary was right behind her. “Pardon, Mom.”
Minnie looked from Mary to Hershal and back. They both smiled at Minnie.
“What’s hershal?” Mary said.
“It’s a word I picked up in the hospital. It means angel. I could use an angel right now. And Mary you are an angel.” She gave her daughter a quick hug.
Hershal grinned as he continued to stir the gravy.