Christmas with the Clifts – Postcard Prose #5


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What do you think of this post card! It’s cute isn’t It.

Love
Carla + Bill


I mean…I guess it’s cute…

“Sally, give me that!”

Mrs. Clift snatched the postcard out of Sally’s hand saying, “You know better than to read mail addressed to me and your father!”

Sally shrugged with a sigh. “Mom, it’s just a postcard from Aunt Carla and Uncle Bill, it’s no big deal. And it’s really not that important; the front of the postcard isn’t that cute.”

Mrs. Clift glanced at the front of the postcard after reading the message, and scrunched up her nose. “I mean…’cute’ probably isn’t the best word to use. But I’m still going to keep it for my collection!”

As her mother turned and walked up the steps, Sally turned back to her algebra homework sitting on the table. But instead of getting back to solving the problems, she simply stared at the wall. She wished her parents would have let her go to Napa, California, to see her Aunt Carla and Uncle Bill for a week before their entire family got together for Christmas day. But because her grades at the end of the semester weren’t too great, Sally’s mom hired a tutor to help her during her Christmas break, much to the dismay of Sally, who had planned to do more hanging out with her friends than studying.

Sally twirled a curly piece of her dark brown hair around her finger, imagining what Napa Valley would look like at this time of year. She found it so unfair that her parents would keep her back home here in Florida when she had the chance to go to California for the first time in her life. Her brother, Nathan, had already been several times, which made Sally’s whole situation all the more unfair.

“Sally, you need to finish your homework before dinner, I need your help setting up the guest bedrooms!” Mrs. Clift yelled from upstairs.

With a sigh, she picked up her pencil to continue her math problems when Nathan burst through the back kitchen door.

“They say!” he yelled, “that it may snow here in Florida on Christmas Day!”

Sally scoffed. “Riiiight, Nathan, and I’m a total Einstein, who doesn’t need any help with her homework, which is why I’m not sitting here in our kitchen in Florida; I’m actually traveling the hills of Napa Valley in California with Aunt Carla and Uncle Bill. I’m simply a figment of your imagination.”

Nathan chuckled and walked further into the kitchen, reaching his hand out to ruffle Sally’s hair. She tried leaning out of his reach, but his arms were way too long to evade. Her hair had suffered much under his hand.

“Still a little upset you couldn’t go, eh, lil sis?” he taunted, his palm roughly rubbing the top of her head.

“Okay, okay, Nathan, quit!” Sally exclaimed, “what’s this you’re saying about snow?”

Before he could explain, Mr. Clift came through the same kitchen door, several bags in his hands. “Wonderful of you to help, Nathan, thank you,” he said sarcastically, setting the bags onto the kitchen floor.

Nathan winced. “Oops. Sorry, Dad. I was just so excited to tell Mom and Sal about the snow!”

“What snow?” Mrs. Clift asked as she entered the kitchen. She glanced at Sally’s almost empty problem sheet, and said, “Sally, please, honey, finish at least half of that sheet, I need your help upstairs!”

“While we were at the store, there were a couple of these old guys saying that they were positive there would be snow this year here!” Nathan explained, “I mean, I wasn’t willing to believe them, but after I questioned them about it, I found out that one of them used to be a meteorologist, and he said that he’s been studying the weather patterns of the past couple of weeks, and he’s sure that it’s all going to lead to snow on Christmas day!”

Sally looked at her brother in disbelief. It wasn’t that she didn’t believe Nathan’s story; she just didn’t believe that Nathan could believe some old guy at the store, claiming to be a meteorologist.

“Nathan, honey, you can’t believe everything you hear,” Mrs. Clift said, echoing Sally’s suspicions, “I mean, I couldn’t tell you the last time the state of Florida has seen snow…do you know, dear?”

Mr. Clift had been putting away the groceries during the conversation, and paused to turn around and answer his wife. “No, dear, I’m not sure. However, I can tell you that I know for a fact now that Aunt Heather and Uncle Keith will be staying with us. And not only that…they’ll be arriving tomorrow.”

Mrs. Clift made a small hop toward the stairs, saying, “Sally, forget your algebra, I need you to help me now. I’m not at all ready for anybody to be in our house just yet!”

Happy to be saved from algebra problems, but less than thrilled to be helping setup guest rooms, Sally got out of her chair, and followed her mother up the stairs toward one of the many guest bedrooms they had in the house.

The only reason Sally’s family held Christmas at their house was because it contained four guest bedrooms along with enough rooms for each person in the Clift family to have their own room. When the Clift children were younger, they always enjoyed to see their aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents all in the same vicinity. It brought out so much of the family personality, having everyone there together.

There was Aunt Carla and Uncle Bill, who didn’t have any children; Aunt Heather and Uncle Keith and their three kids: Francine, Oliver, and Wally, each among the same age as Nathan and Sally (they were the closest cousins they had); Aunt Barb and her twin sons, who just turned thirteen; and Grandma and Grandpa Clift. So many different personalities under one roof makes for one crazy holiday, and for the first several times the family was together, there was more joy than stress.

But as the years went by, and all of the Clift children got older, Sally’s mother had a tougher time catering to everyone’s needs. She felt like she was running a hotel rather than her own home during the two weeks of Christmas break, always trying to make sure everyone was comfortable, and never really taking time to rest.

Sally didn’t mind seeing her cousins, except they always wanted to play the same old games they had played when they were younger, attempting to keep the old traditions alive. It was sort of endearing to Sally, but she was internally struggling with trying to break away from the things that defined her as a child, and the things that defined her as a young woman, entering into her last years of high school.

“The fitted sheets are in the second hallway closet, Sal,” Mrs. Clift said, walking into one of the guest bedrooms, “grab them for me, will you, I’ve got to get these pillows covered!”

As Sally walked toward the closet, she thought she could hear a car pulling into the driveway. She looked out of the hallway window to see a dark green van parked right behind her bright white Honda Civic. Uh-oh…

“Uhh, Mom?” Sally yelled toward the guest bedroom, “they’re here.”

Mrs. Clift dashed to the bedroom doorway, eyes as wide as saucers. “Who’s here??”

Before Sally could answer, Mrs. Clift quickly went to the window, and watched as Aunt Heather, Uncle Keith, and their three kids hop out of the green van. Uncle Keith headed toward the trunk to pull out their luggage, while Aunt Heather and the kids made their way to the front door.

As the doorbell rang, Mrs. Clift’s heart seemed to stop. She stood frozen at the window, Sally looking at her concernedly.

“Mom?”

Instead of answering, Mrs. Clift quickly moved to the guest bedroom and barked, “Sally. Help me, get this, done!”

 

💙 Mishy 🦋

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