Betsy's Bestest Christmas.
By Doreen Robinson.
Betsy woke with a start, lying still in the dim light, wondering what had wakened her, then she remembered, it was Christmas Morning.
"I wonder what Santa Claus has brought me," she thought excitedly, then calling out to her sister Gwen, who was still asleep in the other bed, she jumped out of bed and grabbing her Santa bag from the end of the bed she started pulling things out of it.
"Oh goodie!" she exclaimed. "A doll, just what I wanted, and a lovely tea-set, a book and lots of other things too,"
Looking up and seeing Gwen still in bed, Betsy called out, "Hurry up Gwen, get out of bed, come on, don't be such a slowpoke, "Come and see what Santa has brought me."
"You know it is Jesus's birthday today, don't you Betsy?" said Gwen as she got out of bed. "That is why we have Christmas Day."
"Yes," Betsy said. "I know, and I'm glad Jesus was born and I love Him, but now come see what I have.
Betsy tipped her bag up to see if there was anything left in it.
Gwen smiled at Betsy and suggested, "Lets just kneel down and thank God for Jesus."
They knelt side be side, and prayed silently for a couple of minutes, then Gwen prayed, "Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the present you gave us, your beloved Son, Jesus, who gave His life for us. Amen "
Gwen was almost ten and Santa no longer brought her presents.
Betsy jumped up and turning back to her pile of presents picked up the doll and started to sing to it.
Gwen moved to over to where Betsy was and picking up the book began reading it.
The two girls were silent for a while, Gwen reading the book and Betsy looking at the rest of her presents and eating some of the lollies, which had been in her bag.
Then as if by silent consent, both girls jumped up and ran into the bedroom next door, where their four-year old twin brothers slept, to see if they were awake.
The boys were still asleep, so Betsy pulled the sheets back shook them and said, "Come on sleepyheads, wake up and see what Santa has brought you."
Michael and Ben woke slowly then climbed out of bed, sleepily rubbing their eyes which nearly popped out of their heads, when they saw the bulging Santa bags.
The boys grabbed the bags and pulled out the big tip-trucks, one blue and one red, all their toys had to be the same, except for colour otherwise they would fight over them
After admiring the trucks for a few minutes they picked up the bags and tipped everything else out helter-skelter, onto the floor.
Finding some lollies, they started munching into them. "Yumm, yumm," mumbled Michael and Ben with their mouths full, "lubbely."
Just then the children's parents appeared in the doorway, smiling at their happy family. Betsy jumped up and grabbing her mother and father by their hands, said, "Merry Christmas, Mummy and Daddy, come and see what I got from Santa Claus."
The children's parents admired the boys' presents then went with the girls to see what Besty had received.
After admiring the doll and other things, Mrs Collins told the girls to get dressed for church .then went in to get the twins dressed.
When everybody was dressed they all left to go to the Christmas Morning Service.
When they arrived home from the service Mr Collins unlocked the front door and walking through to the living room called out, "Come on children, come and see what is under the Christmas tree."
Betsy and the two boys rushed through the door, nearly knocking their parents over in the process
Gwen followed in a more sedate manner, befitting a nearly ten year old.
The floor under the Christmas tree was covered with gaily-wrapped parcels, large and small a lovely sight to see.
The children soon made short work of unwrapping the parcels, with wrapping-paper flying in all directions, except for Gwen, that is, she liked to unwrap her parcels neatly, and keep the paper.
Betsy was thrilled with the lovely doll's pram, her mother and father gave her.
"Oh, thank you thank you, Mummy and Daddy, it's a lovely pram, just like a real one, my dolls will love it." Betsy bubbled happily.
The boys needed help to open their packages and when they saw the three-wheeled bikes they were thrilled, of course one was blue and one was red.
Gwen was quietly opening her package and when she saw what was in the box she let out a gasp. It was a computer.
"Oh! She exclaimed. "A computer."
Gwen was very good on computers.
Going up to her parents Gwen hugged them both said, "Thank you, Mummy, thank you Daddy. I love you."
"Me too" said Betsy.
"Me too," said the twins in unison.
The children handed out presents to their parents and were happy when they said they liked them.
When all the parcels had been opened and the presents examined and admired, Mum said, "Come on now, we have to clean up this mess, have some breakfast and get ready to go to Grandma and Grandpas' place."
Betsy hurried, because she loved going to her grandparents' farm, there was so much to see and do there.
"I wonder what they have for me," she thought, as she got dressed, "Grandma and Grandpa always have lovely surprises for us."
An hour later they were on their way, the station wagon was loaded to the hilt.
Each of the children were allowed take one of their own presents, and there were presents for
Gran, Grandpa, Aunty Mary, Uncle Colin and their cousins, who would also be there. There was also quite a bit of food that Mrs Collins had prepared to take with them, as she didn't like to leave all the cooking to her mother.
It was only an hours drive to the farm, but it seemed like much longer to Betsy, who was a very energetic child, and did not like sitting still for long.
Hurry up Dad", she kept saying. "Aren't we ever going to get there, Gran and Grandpa will think we aren't coming?"
Eventually, Betsy jumped with excitement. "We're here, we're here" she cried. "There's the gate, and there's cousin Jeff opening it."
Betsy and the boys were fairly bouncing, with excitement by now.
"Keep still, children", said Mum, "you will have things all over the place."
The three younger children could barely contain their excitement as Dad drove the car through the gateway and up the hill to the house.
After shutting the gate, Jeff followed them up on his horse.
Jeff at thirteen, was the oldest of the four cousins, then came Jamie ten, Mark seven then Linda, who was the same age as the twins.
Aunty Elsie, who was Mums sister, and Uncle Colin, owned a farm, just along the road from the grandparents' farm.
As soon as the car pulled up beside the house, the children jumped out and ran up the steps onto the veranda, where their Grandfather was and threw themselves onto him.
"Whoa!" exclaimed Grandpa, "you'll knock me flat on my face," he walked to a sofa on the veranda and sat down.
"Now come on, a big hug and kiss from each of you" he said holding his arms out to them.
The children did as he said, almost smothering him with hugs and kisses, then turned to their grandmother, who was just walking out of the kitchen.
" Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, Gran," they shouted as they ran towards her,
taking turns to hug and kiss her.
Aunty Mary and Uncle Colin and the cousins came onto the veranda and everybody crowded around for a while, hugging and kissing and wishing each other Merry Christmas, then
While the men unloaded the wagon, and the women discussed the food, the eight children admired each others presents.
When everything had been unloaded from the station wagon, they all crowded into the big sitting room, where there were more presents under a beautiful big Christmas tree.
Once again the excitement of unwrapping presents began but Betsy began to be puzzled. "There's nothing here for me from Grandma and Grandpa," she thought, she looked at Gwen, and could see that she was looking puzzled too.
Betsy walked over to Gwen and was just about to speak, when Grandpa came over to them and with a twinkle in his eyes, he took the two girls by the hand, and saying, "Come on," led them into another room.
Betsy's eyes almost popped out of her head, there in front of them was the most beautiful doll sized set of furniture she had ever seen, it was comprised of, a wardrobe, dressing-table, cot, kitchen dresser, a table and two chairs, it was painted lemon with blue designs on it.
For Gwen there was a desk and chair, both the desk and chair were painted white with blue trimmings and the chair had a padded back and seat.
"Ooaah!" exclaimed Betsy, squeezing grandpa's hand.
A long sigh was all that escaped from Gwen.
Both girls were lost for words; they just stood and looked, eyes shining with tears of pleasure.
"What's the matter, what are you all looking at? "Jamie's voice shattered the silence, he walked further into the room to see what was going on. "Oh that stuff, that's for
girls, come on boys, lets go out and play with our trucks."
Later when the two girls had gone over every bit of the beautiful furniture, and admired the designs painted on them, Gran told them how Grandpa had worked all year to get them finished for Christmas, putting all his love for them, into the project
Grandpa broke in, "And your grandmother did all the painting, don't you think she is clever.
The two girls nodded in agreement, they thought both their grandparents were very clever
While the three women prepared the Christmas dinner, the men took the children for a walk to show them the baby animals.
There were three young calves, two litters of piglets and a litter of puppies.
The children patted the calves, listened to the piglets squealing and nursed the pups, which were six weeks old.
"Oh Daddy," pleaded Betsy, "Can we have one of the puppies, please, Daddy, please?"
"Oh yes! Daddy, please, please," beseeched the twins.
Gwen didn't say anything, she just looked at her father with big, pleading brown eyes.
"I don't know," said Dad, "they belong to Grandpa, you will have to ask him."
Four pairs of pleading eyes turned towards their grandfather.
"Pleeease Grandpa, can we?" Fours voices asked in unison.
"Well, that depends on your mother," said Grandpa, "We'll ask her when we go back to the house, and if she says okay, you can have one."
The children spent the next fifteen minutes choosing which puppy they would have if their mother said yes, then headed back to the house.
Bursting into the kitchen, the children all started talking at once, and could not be understood.
"Quiet, calm down!" exclaimed Mum, Grandma and Aunty Mary together.
"Now, Gwen," said Mum, "tell me what this is all about."
"Grandpa said we could have one of the puppies if it is all right with you," Gwen hurriedly explained.
"Please, please, can we Mum, can we keep one? " Betsy and the twins asked, with pleading voices.
Mum thought for a minute or two, while the children held their breath in expectation, then said, "Alright, if you promise to look after it properly."
With squeals of delight, Betsy and the twins, ran out to tell Grandpa that it was all right with Mum, they could have a puppy.
Grandma came to the back door "Come on everyone, come and get washed for dinner."
They all washed then hurried out to the side veranda that was all beautifully decorated and where Dad and Uncle Colin had put two large tables together that were now covered with green tablecloths patterned with red flowers, and loaded with lots of food and other goodies.
When they were all sitting down and chattering away in excitement, Grandpa lifted his hand and 'shooshed' everybody,
"It's time to thank the Lord," he said, and everybody lowered their heads while Grandpa said grace.
"Now," said Grandma, "Tuck in everybody, enjoy yourselves but mind your manners."
It was a wonderful Christmas dinner, baked chicken and vegetables and lots of other things, a Christmas pudding, fruit salad and ice cream.
Then there were the nuts and lollies if you had room for them
When dinner was over the younger children were put down for a sleep.
After the women had finished packing up and washing the dirty dishes they retired to the sitting room and just sat back and relaxed, just like adults do on Christmas Day, and
The men stayed on the veranda, Grandpa lay back in a comfortable chair, and they started talking, but it wasn't long before Grandpa was asleep, so Dad and Uncle Colin went for a walk.
Gwen curled up in one of the big lounge chairs and began to read one of the books she had received for Christmas.
All this was a bit boring for Betsy and the three older boys, so Jeff suggested they go for a walk and see what fun they could find.
So Betsy, Jeff, Jamie and Mark headed off, with their mothers' instructions not to go too far and not to go near the creek, ringing in their ears.
Jeff went to the barn and got an old piece of roofing iron with the front turned up, like a sled, then they headed for a hill that they could slide down.
They spent a fun filled hour, sliding down this hill, sometimes going right under a barbwire fence, stopping just before reaching the edge of a high bank overlooking a road.
"Our parents would have a fit, if they saw us doing this" said Jamie, "They would say it was dangerous."
"That is what makes it so much more fun," laughed Jeff,
"anyway we have done it often before, and nobody has been hurt."
Once, while Betsy was waiting her turn, she spotted a baby rabbit and chased it and surprisingly,, caught it.
"I think I will take it home and keep it as a pet," she said," cuddling the furry bunny in her arms.
But Jeff said, "you can't keep rabbits as pets, I think you had better let it go."
Reluctantly, Betsy let the kitten go, and watched it scurry away, "I suppose it's mummy would have missed it anyway," she thought, " and after all it is Christmas Day."
"I think it is about time we went back to the house now," Jeff said.
On the way back to the house Jamie walked beside Betsy "Would you like a ride on my pony? She is very quiet, I got her for my last birthday."
"I would love a ride," said Betsy smiling then shouting, "I'll race you back," she turned and ran for the house.
When they got back to the house, they learned that it was nearly four o'clock.
Grandpa had gone to help his hired man milk the cows, and Aunty Mary and Uncle Colin had gone back to their place to milk the cows.
They would be back later for tea.
Jamie went to the stables to get 'Sheena', his pony; he saddled her, and brought her to the house and helped Betsy on.
Betsy, who was able to ride a little, took the pony for a canter, sticking close to the house paddock, where she could be watched, she was just about to go for another ride when Gwen and the twins came out and wanted a ride too.
Jamie climbed onto the pony and gave each of the twins a ride; then Gwen had a turn.
Betsy was just about to have another ride when their mother came to the door and called them in.
"You had better get washed children," she said, "Dad has loaded up the station wagon and as soon as your Aunty and Uncle get back we are going to have tea and go home."
Betsy looked at the loaded wagon and asked, "What about our furniture."
"Uncle Colin is going to bring it in his ute. next week," Mum answered.
It was just after eight o'clock when they arrived home.
Michael and Ben were sound asleep, Mum and Dad carried them inside, put their pyjamas on and put them into bed.
Betsy, carrying the new puppy, walked inside, and when Dad brought a box for the puppy to sleep in, turned to her father and said, "Dad, I think Noel would be a nice name for the puppy, don't you?"
Dad nodded in agreement, then taking the puppy, put it into the box, with and old slipper for comfort.
Dad turned and picked Betsy up and carried her into her bedroom, where she changed into her pyjamas and hopped into bed.
Did you enjoy yourselves today, girls?" Mum asked as she closed the window curtains.
"Oh yes Mum it was such a lovely day," Gwen answered as she jumped into bed.
Betsy, already curled up in bed sleepily agreed.
A really lovely day" Mum" agreed Betsy.
"Goodnight then, sleep tight," Mum bent over and kissed them both.
Dad came back in and kissed them goodnight.
Mum tucked them in.
"Goodnight Mum, goodnight Dad, I love you," said Gwen.
"Me too," murmured Betsy.
Dad switched the light off, as they left the room.
Betsy snuggled into bed, and whispered sleepily, "Thank you, Jesus for the bestest Christmas ever."