Nita Moore enjoys writing poetry, historical fiction and (now that she’s a grandmother), children’s stories. Professionally, she is owner of Nita Moore Massage Therapy for more than 20 years. Originally from Horicon, daughter Don and Jeanez Miescke, she now lives in Fond du Lac.
Publisher’s note: We are delighted to present for you a poem Old Angus Goes A’Courtin’ a wonderful story by Nita Moore. We will publish weekly installments each Wednesday until complete. Today please enjoy our final segment – part nine.
Old Angus Goes A’Courtin’
© Nita Moore 2019
Three months have passed since the harvest barbecue.
A cold northern wind gave wild geese their cue
To climb into the sky in their customary V’s
and row their great wings southward, honking brightly in the breeze.
Gus’s thoughts went with them, thinking of his son —
Ten years of separation, after all was said and done.
How he missed his family in the Port of Charleston!
Today he promised Grace he would find the perfect tree
So his house would look like Christmas, even without a family.
He’d harnessed up his golden mare to a logging sled
And lead her down the snowy path beyond red tool shed.
He’d grabbed his axe, a coil of rope, and a lightweight saw.
Down at the woods waved farmer Mac in bright orange coveralls.
Two weeks ago, they shot a buck in this conifer woods;
Mac drove the animal through the trees right to where he stood.
This season’s hunting weather had a wicked arctic snap
Which persuaded a certain hunter to let his beard grow back.
On Thanksgiving Day at Grace’s house, Grace felt his grizzled cheeks.
“Well, this should be the perfect length right about Christmas week.”
“A beard is handsome on a man, if he can keep it trimmed.”
This memory warmed him as he walked, and he discreetly grinned.
Back in town, Grace Miller’s house was smelling yummy sweet.
Grace and Anne and Penny were baking Christmas treats.
Shortbread wreaths and gingerbreads would get their icing soon
While Bing and Frank and Nat King Cole were crooning classic tunes.
“I’ll Be Home for Christmas”, and chestnuts on a fire,
Silver bells and jingle bells, and silent, holy night…
Grace was in her heaven, this cozy home domain.
Joy to the world, she sang… let there be peace again.
Penny cut out paper stars with her mother Anne.
Each star was labeled with a name and fixed upon a band.
“This is my very special hat, with all my names on top.
Today I’m Penny Princess, a name I like a lot.”
Extra “glitter-sparkles” in gold and green and red
Gave shine to this tiara on top of Penny’s head.
Richard came in from the porch where he’d been hanging lights,
“How ‘bout we go help Angus get that new tree set up right?”
And so with their excitement, they headed down the road
With food and decorations; it was a jolly load!
When Angus saw them coming, he broke into a smile.
“Thank heavens for the help, you guys! It sure has been a while
Since I made Christmas in this house. Can’t promise I won’t cry.”
He pointed to the boxes labeled “Christmas” by the tree.
“So many family memories — I need the courage to see…”
“Don’t worry, man, we’ll help you,” said Richard generously..
“Let’s set this spruce up nice and straight. You’ll be alright, you’ll see.”
Penny scampered forward, wearing her sparkly crown.
“Today I’m Penny Princess! Watch me spin around!”
Holding a silky tree skirt around her tiny waist,
Penny started dancing and twirling about in place.
The fabric waved around her like satin liquid light.
All eyes were on their Princess, a joyful, dazzling sight.
“Magic on you, Angus! And you and you and You!”
The tree and Dad got blessed this way, and even poor Ol’ Blue.
Strings of lights were tested, then put in place with care.
A cranberry-popcorn garland gave the tree a vintage flare.
Then one by one the treasures were lifted from the box
And hung by ribbons on the bows and arranged by the mantel clock.
Outside a treble tromping came up the stairs and stopped.
This set Ol’ Blue to barking, and then there came a knock!
“Who could it be, I wonder? Too soon for Santa Claus.”
Angus nudged aside his good old dog, only to take a pause.
All activity and laughter inside the house had stopped.
Even Blue stopped barking, and on the mat he flopped.
The door revealed a tall man with hair of brownish blond.
“Dad?” he said to Angus, and Angus answered, “Son!”
Then words were choked by long held tears, and muffled by embrace.
When Angus found his voice again, he said, “Harry, this is Grace.”
For there she stood beside them with a tearful smile.
“So good to meet you, Harry. Come in and stay awhile.”
“I have my family with me; they’re waiting by the car.”
When Brett came forward, Angus said, “My boy, how tall you are!”
Then followed Harry’s wife Suzanne and thirteen year old Kay.
The whole house party welcomed them in their merry way.
Mac brought in more firewood, and Grace served up the meal.
They all sat down and Angus said, “Please tell me this is real.”
He put a hand on Harry’s arm and Harry met his eye.
“Our visit may be hard to explain, but I can only try.”
“Our house has suffered damaged from a hurricane this fall,
And my job has challenges enough, practicing the law.
I have to say your letter, Dad, meant more than I can say.
It gave me hope that we could be a family one day.
So, we’re up here for Christmas, deciding what to do.
We’re wondering if the time is right to make a major move.”
And this is how the magic bud of love began to grow.
Scars were mended on a path where courage had been sown.
Grace and Angus celebrated the strange day that they met,
And every Christmas after that was the happiest Christmas yet.