Thank you to everyone who submitted a story to the nonfiction portion of the Winter in the Bay writing contest. The judges for the adult and teen sections of the contest said both teen entries had much to commend them, so they awarded honourable mentions to these stories by Elisabeth Edwards and Jacqueline Petitpas.
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!
Christmas Birthdays Are Special
When my mom was growing up, everyone she knew said they would hate having a birthday on Christmas. They said they wouldn’t be able to have birthday parties, they would have birthday presents as their Christmas presents and they would feel like their birthday wasn’t really that special. So, when my parents found out I was going to be born around Christmas, they were a bit worried that I wouldn’t like having a Christmas birthday
Originally, I was supposed to be born on New Year’s Eve. However, I was early and I arrived into this world on Christmas Day, December 25th, 2003. For as long as I can remember, my birthday and Christmas together have been my favourite thing, the highlight of my every year!
Now the perks are, of course, that I love Christmas so much anyway, and in fact, I even start my own little personal preparation the day after Halloween. I can feel the joy and the magic already by then, so that I am already fully engaged in the Christmas spirit. My family is also quite religious, so I would say my favourite thing about having a Christmas birthday is that I get to share a birthday with Jesus Christ.
My parents have always committed to organizing a birthday party for me a month in advance, around November 25, to ensure that I have been able to enjoy a proper birthday celebration with my friends before the rush of Christmas preparations enveloped everyone’s schedules in December. On Christmas Day, there has always been birthday banners and balloons to greet me in the morning. I choose a special birthday cake each year to accompany our traditional Christmas plum pudding and my parents always held a separate family birthday celebration for me on Christmas evening, complete with presents wrapped in birthday wrapping paper.
My parents needn’t have been worried. For so many reasons, I would not trade my special day for any other, and I am grateful for everything my parents have always done to make it so special.
Elisabeth Edwards chose Philip Hodges “Into the Woods” to illustrate her Christmas birthday story. To read Philip Hodges’ inspiration for “Into the Woods,” visit the Winter in the Bay online gallery and click on the image of the painting.
A Shack in the Woods
A few years ago, I remember when my friends and I went into the forest during winter and looked for structures in the forest and explored them. There was a lot of torn down stuff, in particular, there was an old shack that was in the woods around a certain part of our property. Me and two friends went to see what was there. The snow fell softly onto the frozen earth and the frost grew over the plants around us.
We found the shack, it was old, or at least looked the part. The door was mostly off its hinges, one of the walls were missing, there was shattered glass on the ground. We decided to scavenge the building for stuff that we could maybe sell and found vintage snowshoes, they were broken in certain places, one of them was missing a piece of wood on the side and some of the rope was torn, unusable but still pretty cool.
One of my friends decided to go inside, the cabin was small and run down, the two of us that stayed outside could see almost everything inside due to the lack of a wall on one side. We told our friend who went in, to see if she could retrieve the painting that we had spotted, so she got the painting and came back out. After a bit of conversation, we decided that we could probably sell it, as it was in good condition. The painting was of a tall birch forest with a pastel blue sky. The friend of mine who found the painting took it home to her mother because she might know the value of the painting. We had put the painting aside and she went back inside the shack. We found a light bulb, some beer bottles, a doorknob, and a few other things of lesser value. After about an hour and a half of being outside, we went back to our own homes.
To this day, I’m not sure what happened to the painting. I’m pretty sure that my friends forgot about that strange day.
Jacqueline Petitpas says Sue Belding’s “Pigeonholed” reminds her of the deserted shack she and her friends found in the woods one winter day. 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.