“Christmas time again!” Harold thought. Walking to the shop, he noticed how mornings were darker, colder and greyer. “Winter” he sighed “always dark!” But then, he was not normally out of the house at this time of the morning. Today though was no ordinary day – it was 1 December!
“First things first,” he said to himself as he opened the shop. With the lights now on, he filled the kettle for some tea. “It is so cold,” he said with a shiver, as he poured the boiling water into the cup, watching the tea bag swirling. “Winter,” he thought “always cold!”
Sipping freshly brewed tea, he felt more cheery. “That’s better,” he said, smiling. “And where is my Maisy?” he asked loudly, as he stood from his chair, walking towards the storeroom. Once there, he started rummaging through some boxes.
“No, she is not here – where did I put Maisy last year? I always put her in this box,” he exclaimed looking into a blue box, which turned out to be empty. His eyes scanned the storeroom. He spotted more boxes on the shelves. One box was marked “For Xmas”, on a big yellow label. “Pretty obvious!” he said.
Harold was a man of habit. He had an order to his disorderly world that only he could fathom. “Therese, must have done this last year! It is not my style” he said. Therese had been helping him for a few days last year, during the Christmas sales.
Still searching, he opened the box with the yellow label. He took out small Christmas decorations, baubles, tinsels and a small well-worn Christmas bunting. “Well, this one can go across the front shop window,” he said.
He took every item out of the box, one by one until with a sigh of relief he saw Maisy at the bottom of the box. “There you are,” he said, “Were you trying to hide? Shy, are we? It is that time of the year Maisy,” he said as he pulled Maisy out of the box. Maisy was a small wooden reindeer – but she was no ordinary reindeer. She had spotty red antlers, looked as if she had lipstick on, so prominent were her lips, with big wide eyes, looking straight ahead. A small red bird, probably a robin, was perched on her back, just by her tail.
With Maisy under his arm, Harold walked towards the front shop window that he had cleared the night before. He stayed behind after closing only once a year on the last day of November – so that on 1 December he could start arranging his Christmas display.
He took Maisy from under his arm, placing her off-centre of the middle shelf, facing outward, towards the world. “There you are, Maisy. Your time to shine. It is Christmas time!” he said with a thrill in his voice. He sounded so excited, like a child. And he had always been so very happy at Christmas time – for the last 67 years!
Then he continued to busy himself. With all the boxes now in the front window, he took all decorations out, pausing in awe, admiring, inspecting, greeting each of them and remembering. Harold treated each item as a very dear old friend that he had not seen for ages. “Now, how long have we been friends for?” he whispered, as he took out a small scruffy soft toy bear. “Long time no see, little bear”.
Each item was handled gently and respectfully placed in its rightful place in the shop window. Harold was a man of habit; and this was one of those special ordinary habits – arranging the Christmas display. Soon, the buzz of the morning shoppers would start, with passers-by walking briskly, hastily in front of the shop window, as they always did. “Surely, they will have time to stop,” thought Harold.
He continued working in the front window – Maisy was watching him. And Harold knew.
[to be continued]
What is so special about Maisy? What do you think that Maisy will do?