The Screen Door Slams…

If you are a Jersey girl like me you might think I am fondly referencing Thunder Road, but no…I am feeling an ache for a time, not so long ago, when every morning I heard the screen door slam as two joyful, laughing little girls bounded into my house, in their pajamas, before their mother had even made their breakfast or had her coffee, to look for their Elf, Everbloom Woodsong. If you have small children or grandchildren you might have read a book called Elf on the Shelf. In the story, on Thanksgiving night the Elf arrives from the North Pole and the Elf goes back every night to advise Santa about the behavior of the children. Let me tell you, it is an extraordinarily effective tool for behavior modification. For a month, as the Elf returns to the North Pole on the night of Christmas Eve, to help Santa with all that work, and does not come back to your home until next Thanksgiving, the children are positively stiff with worry or fear if they misbehave in the presence of the Elf, at least my wee-ones were!

Two little girls, who live next door to me, who are the daughters of my daughter, and the lights of my life, got a book and an Elf on a cold Friday in 2010, named her Everbloom Woodsong, and for seven holiday seasons they blew through my door first thing every morning for a month to look for Everbloom…she only once forgot to “go back” to the North Pole and it was because of bad weather! Ha-ha! We found Everbloom hiding in a Fiesta ware pitcher once, over top the stove, we found her in the wine rack once pretending to be a bottle, we found her reading books, we found her hanging from the loft balcony railing, we found her on the sofa, under the table, sometimes in the bathroom! That Elf worked really hard to trick those girls but they always found her, and they then could go home and get on with their day!

The eighth holiday season, only one little girl came one morning after Thanksgiving, and then a few days later, and then a week went by…and I felt an ache, a pull, a pain really, feeling that this bit of childhood magic was one that had had its last days…so on a cold November day, before the 9th holiday season arrived, two little girls who live next door to me got a letter, a beautifully penned letter on white glittery paper, adorned with snowflakes and sparkles, from the North Pole, to Barnegat, NJ on planet Earth, that was from Everbloom…telling them that so many babies had been born since they met, and that she was really needed at the North Pole, and how they were older now and would surely understand, and that maybe, someday, when they were grown and if they were mothers themselves with their own wee ones, they might meet again one day…I saved that letter, framed it, and it is now a decoration and part of my holiday joy. I look at it every time I go up my stairs. It makes me smile and frown at the same time. I miss many things about my granddaughters little voices, their wee joy and wonder, their laughter, that they used to treat this house like an extension of their own, the way they came here and went back and forth so many times over the days of their lives, but more than anything, on a gray winter morning near Christmas, I miss the sound of the screen door slam…

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