Thank you to everyone who submitted a story to the nonfiction portion of the Winter in the Bay writing contest. Here are two beautiful tales of love, as represented by what we wear on our hands, by Beth Newman and Suzanne Pelham.
It’s not too late for you to tell your story! Submit your fictional short story (maximum length 2,500 words) by March 15 at 11:59 p.m. to firstname.lastname@example.org to participate in the fiction contest. Or submit your nonfiction essay of 350 words or less or your fictional short story of 2,500 words or less anytime for sharing. We will post it here once all contest entries have been published. Let’s keep telling our stories of the Bay!
These Red Mittens
Seeing these beautiful red mittens strikes a chord with me.
My first thought was that you can’t get through a winter here without at least three pairs of mittens. I used four pairs recently just to shovel the driveway once.
My second thought was that a good friend made my husband a pair of bespoke mittens to keep his hands warm during his chemotherapy last year. She then gave my sister and me each a pair for Christmas. They were made with love and I feel it every time I put them on.
These red mittens also remind me of the loving care and support I have received from so many friends since my husband passed away last November. The red brings to mind hearts filled with love. The hand shape of the mittens represents my well-being and safety in the hands of my friends who have fed me both literally and emotionally for the last three months.
To read Jerry Walsh’s inspiration for “Ready to Go Outside,” visit the Winter in the Bay online gallery and click on the image of the sculpture.
A Ring Story
Christmastime, 1969, the first Christmas Chris and I shared as a couple.
At a time when my girlfriends were receiving proposals and engagement rings, I remember my proposal. Instead of the engagement ring I expected, I opened a gigantic black bag, and discovered an enormous teddy bear we named Elmer McGregor.
We moved on with our married life: university, work, life in France, the birth of our daughter and, more recently, of our beloved grandkids, Henry and Helen.
November, 2020, Christmas in the Bay celebration.
We were asked to provide a short video of a Christmas memory of long ago. Chris recounted the story of Elmer McGregor and the (non-existent) engagement ring. He turned to me and said, jokingly, “I don’t know if you ever got your engagement ring.”
I quipped back: “I know.”
Christmas Eve, 2020.
After a lovely dinner with our daughter and grandkids, we returned home, plugged in the tree lights, set a warm fire and lit several scented candles.
Following tradition, we opened our stockings and one gift. Little gifts were emptied out from our stockings: I was happy with the array of decaffeinated teas, a calendar of witty wisdom from female personalities and an assortment of dark chocolate truffles. Chris’ gifts included a Lee Valley measuring tape and another magnifying glass. (He often notes that instruction print gets smaller every year.)
A glass of red wine to end off the evening. Still wrapped was the single gift. We had each selected the gift the other would open. I examined mine: it was a generous-sized box. Initial opening revealed a small item wrapped in numerous layers of red tissue paper.
Then, I saw it: a slate blue fabric ribbon tied around a small, deep blue box. I felt a single tear slide down my cheek as I gingerly opened the box. Inside, I found the loveliest little diamond in a white gold setting.
Today, whenever I look at the ring, I see it as the reflection of a life enjoyed by two who embarked on a journey that would last a lifetime.
It was worth waiting for.
Suzanne Pelham chose Sue Belding’s “Pigeonholed” to illustrate her story, and she says it’s partly because she just loves this painting. To read Sue Belding’s inspiration for her work, visit the Winter in the Bay online gallery and click on the image of the painting.