When summer was gone and the wind started to blow the leaves off the trees in ”Maggie’s garden”, mom started making tea for two in the afternoons. Maggie and mom would sit by the window in the kitchen and look out at the trees without leaves and at birds searching for comfort in the bushes.
They would tell each other stories of the day, and sometimes mom would tell about her afternoon walks in the woods, when she was still a little child living in the forests far up north.
These were happy hours; they were very close at these times.
By the end of November, the two of them started preparing for Christmas. There would be liveliness in the house from early December.
Mom’s parents always were the first to arrive at the big house. Mom would be at the station waiting for them to arrive, while Maggie would stand at the porch, tea and biscuits ready in the living room.
Granny would be the first to reach the stairs to embrace Maggie, and grandpa would walk by mom’s arm. His legs are not well. But he has the kindest smile. And they would walk into the house after a look over the garden with Maggie’s small wonders hidden in the flowers that were now sleeping in the ground, and in the trees – both high and low.
Soon all four of them would be talking, cooking and laughing at everything from a burnt cookie to granny and Maggie’s hide and seek game. And then the funny old neighbour would take a cup or two in the kitchen with grandpa. They could talk of the old days
and it was just so interesting for Maggie to peek around the door frame and look at them.
After a week or two uncle Ben would arrive. Maybe he would bring a friend from some foreign country he had recently visited. Uncle Ben’s visits were always exiting. He would bring something really special for Maggie to play with or use for her treasure box. And mom’s eyes would shine, because Ben was so special to her. They had shared many joyful hours playing around the house and woods, both here and in the other house.
Then just before Christmas aunt Jane and uncle Arthur and their two girls would come to stay until New Years Eve. They were all really good company and they would play games and tell stories. Granny would read for all of them and they sometimes would sing Christmas carols.
Maggie suddenly looked up at her mother and smiled: “We’ll be busy the next few days, mom! Let’s take a walk in the garden and see if the hedgehog is still in its nest.”