The Afternoon Nap, Chapter 5 – A Cozy Warm Drink with a Toasty Sandwich

I know that the holidays have passed but I still need your help! I could not get these last few chapters to you for the holidays but since it is still winter, and we even have snow now, and I am still wearing my Grinch socks, I was hoping that I could share them with you and that you would not cringe.

For anyone who had been interested in this little book project of mine, I have 2 complete-ish chapters and then 2 that I am still drafting. I am interested in your feedback on how to improve the story and any comments that you have (aside from copyediting – that has not been done at this point beyond my own editing). I plan to add recipes, gift ideas and pictures too for a complete book when I ever get to that point.

Thank you…

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Chapter 5

I love going to holiday music concerts this time of year, so I really lucked out when a friend called last-minute and said that she had two box seats for a show the afternoon that she could not use. She asked if I wanted them and I happily accepted. I wasn’t sure that I would be able to find an available companion on such short notice, especially since the show was during the day, but I had no issue in going solo either.

A few phone calls proved that I was right, there was no one available to join me for the holiday music concert. Oh well, this was one show that I was not going to pass up so I hurried and got myself ready.

I managed to spruce myself up quite nicely considering that I had been in comfy clothes and very unadorned and I was pleased with the results. After getting directions to the concert hall, I hopped into my car and headed out for the show. It was a lovely afternoon for a show. The sky was gray and there were a few lightly falling snowflakes but the weather forecast was clear of any accumulation for the evening. That meant that I would not come out at the end of the show to find myself snowed in. There was just a dusting for effect or should I say “for show”.

I liked that.

Finding a parking spot proved to be relatively easy and I only had a short distance to walk to the concert hall. This was the first time that I was at this concert hall and it was a beautiful old hall that had been restored through the years and it was perfect for tonight’s holiday concert. I gazed around as I followed the directions to my seat based on my ticket seat number. My box seats were up in the balcony off to the side. Once seated, I noticed that there were three box seats on each side of the hall and they were separated from each other with thick red velour hanging curtains to the back and dark stained wood-paneled walls on each side. It was so lovely and I tried to imagine what it would have been like to watch a show here when the theatre had first opened up.

The box seats came with a lunch selection and I was quite pleased to see that a seasonal sandwich and warm drink were on the menu for today’s show. It was going to be delivered during intermission so I did not even need to leave my seat. How lovely! Unless I had to use the restroom. That thought made me decide that I had better head there before the show so that I did not miss a thing.

While walking to the restroom I smiled noticing all of the happy people walking around dressed in their fancy clothes for the afternoon holiday concert. Even the hosts and hostesses for the music hall were fun to look at since they were all decked out in seasonal attire. Santa hats, peppermint colors, angel wings, red Rudolph noses and many other costumes walked around. How fun! On my way back to my seat, I stopped quickly at the concession stand and bought a bag of roasted nuts. The smell made me do it and as I popped one into my mouth the taste took over my whole being. It was warm, toasty, buttery, spicy and sweet all in that one little nut, not that I stopped at eating just one nut.

Arriving back at my seat I settled in and the lights dimmed. It was so exciting! There’s something special about the hush coming over the crowd as the lights dim while you wait in anticipation for a show to start. Once the curtains parted the show started right off with a lively holiday tune that led into another. Then the conductor spoke for a few minutes and created the story line for the afternoon’s music. There was applause from the audience and the music began again.

It was such a lovely concert and I felt badly that my friend was unable to attend, but quite pleased that I had been available to take over. I would need to send a thank you note and definitely a package of these amazing nuts so at least she would not miss out on them. During intermission I would go grab a bag of nuts and also see if the performers were selling a CD of their holiday music. If so, I would pick up two, one for my friend and one for me.

The songs that they played combined a nice mix of classic holiday tunes with sing-a-longs. During one of the slower angelic songs I felt my eyes start to droop. It figured. I enjoyed my afternoon naps, especially now that I accepted that they would involve holiday magic and I really looked forward to them. In all of the rushing to get to the show I forgot that it was during my afternoon nap. I was missing it today but it was well worth it for this wonderful concert. It wasn’t long though and my eyelids became heavier and heavier. Soon, I was slouched down in my comfy oversized seat heading off on my afternoon nap adventure after all.

The last words I heard from the concert music were, “Come on, we’re going for a sleigh ride…”

The chilly night air was my first clue that I was no longer enjoying the holiday music concert. The next clue was completely unbelievable. I was sitting in a sleigh whizzing along above the sparkling snow-covered countryside with a full moon in front of me. Actually, the moon was in front of the reindeer that were in front of me. I was wondering if it was the sleigh from the cabin where I packaged up an arsenal of chili but I did not dare look over the side to see if it was a pale golden color sparkling in the night sky. I was quite happy, beyond happy actually, to think that I was getting this magical ride no matter what the sleigh looked like.

Obviously, I do not have to say that it was unlike anything that I had ever done before. As my afternoon nap adventures have continued I have wondered “why me?” and if anyone else has ever experienced these magical sleepy time glimpses into this holiday world. I never see anyone else, real or unreal.

Sitting here in a sleigh behind reindeer that were flying me across the most perfect landscape that I have ever seen under the cozy glow from the moonlight had me thinking that I did not care why I was picked to experience this and that I only hope that I am not the only one. I surely hoped that there were other believers in this unknown magic of the season that accompanied me on these journeys even if I never knew it. Words would never be able to describe how I felt and what I saw, even if I could tell someone about it.

The reindeer had jingle bells around their necks that made the most wonderful holiday rhythm as their legs pumped backed and forth effortlessly gliding us along. As I settled back in my seat and accepted that I was here and no matter what it was, it was worth experiencing to the fullest, I looked around me. As if my sleigh ride were not magical enough, I saw before me what looked like a vibrantly colored gingerbread village. There were bright white pillowy frosting borders on rooftops and multi-colored gum drops plopped in a row on top of the frosting. Red and white peppermint candies adorned the doorways along with sprinkles and sparkles. I was not sure if they were decorations that looked like candy or if they were really made of candy but it was wonderful!
Farther on there was the largest greenhouse that I have ever seen and it glowed from inside with seasonal colors of red, green, white, blue, gold and silver. I could only imagine how beautiful it must look inside. Beyond that, the view made me blink and squint. If someone were to ask me, and why would they because no one was here, I would say that it must be the North Pole. It was the most magical lighted scene that seemed to have no other explanation. I sat forward to get a closer look and then the sleigh veered away so I could no longer see that area. I felt disappointed but also a little relieved. If that was really what I thought it was, I did not want to know. There are just some things better left to the imagination.

Things were looking familiar to me now, which was a strange thought. But then I knew why. I saw the cabin below where I had made chili and then the cottage from my first nap-time visit. The reindeer circled and we started to descend. There was a clearing ahead and as we got closer to the ground I heard the most lovely music playing somewhere. It got louder as we landed and I saw before me the grove of trees that I had walked through outside of the cottage on my second visit. I figured that must be where the music was coming from and I was hoping to get a glimpse of the source this time.

The reindeer came to a halt and by their head movements I assumed that they were motioning for me to hop off so I did. The snow on the ground was light and fluffy and made me feel like a kid again as I shuffled my feet along kicking up snow. I did not really know where I was supposed to go so I looked back at the reindeer in the hopes that they just might be able to give me a clue. One reindeer caught my eye and pawed the ground. It nudged its head toward the left so I looked and saw a pathway through the trees. It looked like a thin path but lit enough to follow due to the stars that were out that evening. I started to walk that way but could not think of a reason to be heading off into the woods. I looked back at the reindeer and it shook its head as if to say “yes” so I kept walking. I was feeling very unsure of the whole thing but I decided to keep going and not look back in case I became annoying with my humanly disbelief governing my every move. I was not going to irritate my ride home, if that was even how I was getting home.

The air was chilly but calm and thick with winter magic. The peace and serenity inside me made me feel connected to another realm as I walked slowly breathing deeply of the pine scented air allowing the chilly nighttime air to fill my lungs. The moonlight sparkled over everything and all of my senses were alive. I could taste the season.

As usual, time escaped me so I had no idea how long I walked through the pines but it did not seem to be too long before I saw a silvery glow coming from around the next corner. The music still played and I was excited to think that I might see what was making that glow and I was hoping that it was where the music was coming from.

The pine trees parted into a clearing and before me was, once again, winter magic beyond words. There was the largest fluffiest warmest looking fleece pillow that I had ever seen and it seemed to beckon me to come and sit. It was bigger than a couch and looked like it could seat at least ten people, but tonight it appeared to be all mine. The music stopped, or at least I could not hear it anymore. I shuffled over to the pillow trying not to kick snow into it and gingerly sat down, but I sank right in. Boy, was it cozy and dreamlike.

The trees started to sparkle and I saw that their twinkle lights were coming on all around me. Then the music started again but this time it did not surround me but came from in front of me. Somehow a beautiful golden stand appeared with various sized sparkly silver bells on it. It resembled the shape of a pine tree with larger bells on the bottom and the smallest bell on the top that glowed the brightest. The whole thing looked like it was floating above the ground. As a slight breeze came the bells started to play faintly and the lights on the trees twinkled rapidly as if to say that the show was starting. I felt like they were performing a concert just for me as I heard the faint sound of bells grow louder as they began to play a holiday tune.

I forgot about my manners and climbed backwards into the pillow with my snowy boots so that I was surrounded by the warm fleecy material. It was like the pillow was also a blanket because I could tuck myself right in. The clear chilly night air patted my cheeks while the rest of me was all snuggled up toasty warm. The bells played enchanting seasonal tunes that brought my spirit alive with pleasure and relaxed it with peace and serenity all at the same time. I loved this magical concert that was playing just for me and each song seemed to be more beautiful than the one before it. As the fifth song started, I looked up at the sky which was layered with stars. The lighted trees, the music playing and the starlit sky created one incredible scene.

I was completely immersed in this magical moment when I heard a bell sound that did not seem like it belonged to the bell concert playing in front of me. It reminded me of the jingle bells that the reindeer had worn and I wondered if they were coming to collect me. I wriggled my way from under the cozy fleece pillow that had been snuggling me the whole time and made my way to the edge of the fleece pillow. As I plucked myself out from under that blankety goodness I looked around for the reindeer and noticed that my neck felt really stiff. Then I saw that I was back sitting in the chair at the music hall, or more like slumped down in the chair. That would explain the stiff neck.

Strangely, I thought that I heard the jingle bell sound again but since I was back at the concert hall I knew that it was just my imagination. Then the red velour curtain parted and my lunch appeared, followed by my host who managed to get himself through the curtain with my tray full of goodies. He was short and stout and his eyes twinkled as he handed me my warm drink. Then he set my warm hearty sandwich that smelled delicious and some sort of holiday sweet treat on a small fold-out table next to me. I loved this time of year! I realized that I was quite hungry and decided that a winter trip via sleigh and reindeer could do that to you. I chuckled. Oh my, no one would ever believe this, I was not even sure that I believed it. Maybe this time it really was just a dream since I did not wake to any particular evidence awaiting me from my nap adventures like I had grown accustomed to.

As my host bent over to put down my tray, the jingle bell sound from his Santa hat made me catch my breath and I looked at him. It was the same jingle sound that I had heard only a few moments ago while riding on the sleigh with the reindeer. He said not a word, but turned his head to the side so the bell jingled again, then he winked at me with a smile. He held out his hand to shake mine, as he said, “Happy Holidays”. His hands were ice-cold. I sat there looking at him with wide eyes. He winked again and as he left through the curtain, I saw that he left snowy footprints behind. That snow could not have been from outside the concert hall even if we did get more snow than a dusting. It never would have stayed on his boots by the time he traversed all of the flooring in the concert hall to get here.

As the curtain closed behind him, I heard him chuckle…and then the jingle bells again. I was not sure who he was and if he had been on my snowy adventure because I had not seen anyone.
Then I saw that the sweet treat on my luncheon tray was a reindeer cookie and a mini-cake shaped like a bell.

I love winter holiday magic.

This had been the most magical holiday concert ever. But who was that jolly little man?
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Source of inspiration:

My wee ones provided the source for the music in this story. I was unsure how I wanted the music to be played so I asked them to think about a magical winter story with music that was playing outside. Where did they think that the music was coming from? My daughter said that it came from bells and my son said that they played when the wind blew on them. Since my preference is for anonymous seasonal magic, I loved the idea of the bells making music by a winter breeze. It also fit in nicely since I had already written an earlier chapter with that sound of music that seemed to be carried on the breeze.

Thanks muffins!

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Aaryne McEvoy
    Jan 06, 2015 @ 12:31:34

    Thank you…but you don’t count! You have to say that you love it 🙂

    Like

    Reply

  2. Elaine
    Jan 05, 2015 @ 20:41:51

    Love it!

    Like

    Reply

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