Cozy Heart

cozy heart hug

The theme for Charli Mills’ December 29th Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge, was to write a cozy story in 99 words (no more, no less).  I love that word – cozy.  It’s warmth, comfy, cuddly, safe, peace and joy all wrapped into one.  I could snuggle up with it and what do I get?  A cozy heart.

***

Jane’s eyes brimmed with tears.  She studied her palsied mother, reclining peacefully in the easy chair, staring into space.  It was as if Jane wasn’t even there. 

“Hi Mom,” she said reaching into her tote bag. “I brought you someone to keep you company while I’m not here.”

Jane gently placed a golden stuffed puppy on her mother’s lap and waited. 

Little by little her mom began to caress the toy and eventually held it very close.     

“Cozy heart,” her mom whispered. Jane gasped, recognizing the phrase her mother softly breathed each time she’d hugged her as a child. 

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Bells, a Cozy Blanket and Joy

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Do you feel the magic and wonder that’s in the air these days?  I’m convinced it started around the middle of November when the shops and city streets transformed my world into a festive landscape of evergreens, lights, baubles, garlands and candy canes.

Do you hear the jingle bells, sleigh bells, and church bells everywhere?  I do.  Each time I hear the chimes, they open up my heart strings to joy – joy that I am alive; joy that compels me to sing along to familiar carols on the radio. (I may be off key, but who cares.)  There’s joy that comes from curling up in a thick cozy blanket with a cup of hot chocolate and watching sentimental Christmas movies. There is joy in finding that perfect gift to give someone special: be it a gift of time, a gift of warmth, a gift of forgiveness.

There is the joy that comes from gratitude.

The holidays and the Christmas season are not about the trappings, although I did spend this past Sunday baking a mountain of gingerbread cookies.  The joy comes inevitably from the process: the singing of ‘Sleigh Bells’ while rolling the dough and inviting over a neighbour or friend the next day to help decorate the goodies.  And there is joy in eating the delectable tidbits and gifting them with others, be they strangers, family and friends.

It ‘tis the season and I wish you and your loved ones a magical one with silver bells that tinkle, lights that twinkle and special joys that comes from family and friends, close and afar.

***

Charli Mills’ December 1, 2016 Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction challenge was to write a story in 99 words (no more, no less) about someone or something not allowed.   She also said, “The greatest gift you can give is to allow another.”  I couldn’t imagine a year going by without the joy that Christmas and Santa bring and the Christmas bells that proclaim it.  So, in keeping with the Yuletide theme, here is my contribution.

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“Hey Gladys, they’re allowing the church bells to ring again this year.  How long has it been?” asked Jim, looking up from the newspaper, his reading glasses perched on the end of his nose.

“’Bout time this town got some Christmas spirit back,” said Gladys, wiping her hands on the dish towel.

“It says here that old St. Andrew’s is going to chime a different carol, three times a day until December twenty-fifth.”

“They should start with ‘Joy to the World’.  That’s what these bells will bring.”

“And will you be singing along with them?”

“Darn tooting I will.”

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