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Memoir

’Twas the Day Before Christmas

The calm of Christmas Eve.

IT’S THE DAY before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature is stirring, not even my dog, who lays on the couch passing gas and sawing logs.

It’s rainy out, a flash flood watch in effect, and a mild sixty degrees. My crow buddies have already stopped by for a visit snatching up drowned earthworms risen from the earth and caught in leaf debris while floating down the edges of the street curbs toward the drainage vent.

I whistled to Mr. Jones (the crow) and he flew up, on command as always, perching on the tree limb above me and I wished him a Merry Christmas. Yesterday, being trash pick-up day, I don’t always get to see him, as he and his iridescent feathered murder are on the go chasing the trash trucks from street to street rattling and cawing about as scraps drop onto the pavement.

This day always makes me feel a bit youthful in spirit. Despite being a grown man with kids of my own, the little boy in me still exists. The one who crammed into the backseat of my dad’s Blue Ford Maverick, venturing on Christmas Eve at 5 PM to Midway Baptist Church in Old Well, Virginia.

If you have never read it, you can read more about that at this link:

Following Christmas Eve service, we would head over to my Granny and Papa Pillow’s house to spend time and fill our bellies with my dad’s side of the family.

Stockings were always the big hit for the kids and fried oysters for the adults. That, and the old candy in glass jars on my grandmother’s coffee table in the living room. Her house was a curiosity to me then. The felt, colorful footprints glued to one of the walls nearest the downstairs bathroom. The upstairs attic, which served as the bedroom for my dad and uncles Jack and Rodney growing up. Their Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em robots and old baseball pennants.

The rain is falling harder now. Fat raindrops hit the roof. At first, rapid-fire thuds. Then, as my ears settle into their rhythm, a gentle ambience.

Downstairs, my wife knits while my kids make arts and crafts they are gifting to Santa upon his arrival in T-minus twelve hours.

Despite the weather, despite the anomaly that has been 2020, it’s peaceful today. The day before Christmas. I’ve even wrapped all my gifts (with my daughter’s help) and it’s not even 2:00 PM yet. New record for me.

Merry Christmas to you and your family. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Photo by Dan LeFebvre on Unsplash

By Jeffrey Pillow

Jeffrey Pillow is an American short story writer, memoirist, and poet. He is the author of The Lady Next Door. His writing has been published in Urge Magazine, The Nervous Breakdown, 16 Blocks, USA Today, Sports Illustrated, TheBody.com, New York Times, Washington Post, and Richmond Times-Dispatch.

He grew up in the small town of Phenix, Virginia, population: 200, and now lives in Charlottesville with his wife, two kids, and a dog named Mozzarella Cheese. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia where he was a Rainey Scholar. This is his blog.