Intersection Column | The Yellow Box Christmas Present
by Regina Jennings
Picking out the perfect Christmas gift isn’t easy. Do you surprise them, taking a chance that it could be something they don’t want or don’t need? Do you ask them for suggestions, hoping that you can find what they request?
I was an easy child to buy for because I loved books, and at eight years old, I had a package from my grandparents that looked promising. Breathlessly, I tore away the wrapping paper to uncover a yellow box of books.
I wasn’t disappointed until I heard the fateful words: “Those are Miss Laura’s books.”
My shoulders slumped. The box slipped out of my hands and thudded against my knee hard enough to leave a bruise. Why? Because Miss Laura had been my great-grandpa’s neighbor, and I’d heard stories about her all my life.
Miss Laura’s husband was crippled, and Grandpa Lindsay had helped them when a storm blew the trees over. Miss Laura wrote books and sometimes spoke to ladies’ groups. Miss Laura was buried in the same cemetery in Mansfield, Missouri, as Grandpa Lindsay. My dad even remembered meeting Miss Laura.
But I didn’t remember Miss Laura. It was too long ago. All I remembered were their boring stories about how they’d known her. Did they really expect me to read her books? And Old Miss Laura hadn’t written just one book, but nine books.
I couldn’t imagine the torturous hours it would take to make it through all those pages filled with stories about an elderly woman, but everyone looked so excited, that I knew there was no getting out of it.
And I’m glad I went along. Nothing prepared me for the little girl I met on the first page. This Laura was nothing like the white-headed lady whose picture was pasted inside each cover. This Laura had adventures, she was energetic, and she was always in trouble—just like me. I read those books straight through, and then I sat down and started reading the first one again; but this time I read it aloud to my little sister.
Going through the books gave me another way to appreciate my grandparents. Although they hadn’t been covered-wagon pioneers, they’d grown up in an era and a region where many of the homesteading ways were still in use. Now I had questions that they were especially suited to answer. Taffy pull? Making butter? Butchering a pig? Watching their eyes light up as they dusted off long-neglected memories was more fun than decorating the tree.
And that was perhaps the best gift to come out of that yellow box of Little House books. It was an understanding of how stories can bind years and generations. As unbelievable as it seemed, my grandparents had once been children themselves, and just like Miss Laura Ingalls Wilder, they had stories to tell about when they were children, or young adults, or new parents. Because of those books, I was ready to listen. And not just listen, but to share similar stories.
I like to think that the spunky, ornery girl I met at eight years old grew up with me, and now sparks of Laura appear in various characters throughout my books. Maybe she’s hunting buffalo in Indian Territory, or she’s a Civil War nurse, or she’s an interloper in a mine and discovers a crystal cave. Whatever the plot, you can be sure that it was written with the love of history and a good story that I discovered beneath my grandparents’ Christmas tree.
About the Author
Award-winning author Regina Jennings is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University with a degree in English and a minor in history. When not writing funny stories, she’s living a comedy of errors with her long-suffering husband and four challenging children. Her newest release, Proposing Mischief, is full of mischief and at least one proposal. You can find Regina at www.reginajennings.com, Facebook or Twitter.
Left to rue her mistakes, Maisie Kentworth keeps busy exploring the idle mine at the edge of their property, where she discovers a great treasure. Boone Bragg also discovers two surprises. One is a spitfire farm girl who’s trespassing with a pickax, and the other is the amazing crystal cavern that she’s discovered. With part of the cavern on Kentworth land, Boone makes Maisie a proposal that he hopes will solve all of their problems.
Did You Know?
Dachshunds are natural-born diggers. We’ve always had at least one dachshund in our family, and I can tell you from experience, there’s no way to keep a doxie from digging. Dachshunds were bred to burrow and hunt badgers. They are fearless little dogs! Here are a few other dachshund facts for you—in case this subject ever comes up in Jeopardy.
- Dachshunds, which are the smallest members of the AKC Hound group, have several nicknames, such as: wiener dogs, weenies, low riders, hot dogs, sausage dogs, doxies, dashies, and badger hounds.
- Dachshunds are one of the most loyal breeds. They are so loyal, in fact, they can become clingy and suffer separation anxiety when separated from their owners.
- Many famous folks have owned and loved dachshunds, including Queen Victoria, John F. Kennedy, Andy Warhol, Doris Day, and Pablo Picasso.
I may not be super famous, but you can add me to the above list of doxie lovers. Whether or not you love dachshunds as much as I do, we can all learn three key things from them—be a digger and dig into God’s Word, be fearless and go after your goals, and be loyal to God and your calling.
Why I LOVE My Local Christian Bookstore
“I love the ambiance in my local Christian bookstore. One of the employees does graphic design as a hobby, and she creates works of beauty that tie history to the products. Going there is a sensory experience.”