Jake and I were taking a nap on the couch one afternoon when Mommy woke us.
“Jake, Ruthie’s Sunday school class is here.”
I opened my eyes.
Mommy smiled at us. “Wake up, honey. They’re caroling.”
“Huh?” Jake yawned and rubbed his sleepy face.
“Come on in. Come on in, but don’t bring in all the cold air.” Daddy walked into the living room with a bunch of little kids and Ruthie.
They did look cold, and cute, with coats and hats and mittens.
“So what brings you all here today?” Daddy asked the group.
Ruthie giggled. “Daddy, we’re here to carol.”
“Carol?” Daddy asked. “Oh, well, that’s nice of you. Christmas caroling, huh?” Daddy shook his head. “Thanks for reminding me. I almost forgot it was Christmas time.”
Jake sat up and cuddled me on his lap. Mommy sat on the couch beside us.
“Well, go ahead and start then.” Daddy stood in front of the kids and nodded his head.
I noticed a couple of other grown-up people then, standing behind the kids. One of the ladies smiled. “Ready, guys?”
The children sang some of the Christmas songs I’d heard on the radio. Mommy reached over and held Jake’s hand. Jake smiled and rubbed my head with his other hand.
“Joy to the world.”
“Hark, the herald angels sing.”
“We wish you a merry Christmas.”
Their voices were loud and squeaky. I shook my head.
They finished singing and laughed and clapped.
“Well, thank you very much,” Daddy said, clapping. “You guys stay warm now. It’s cold out there.”
“Daddy,” Ruthie giggled and ran to him. “We’re supposed to have cookies and hot chocolate now.”
“Oh, we are?” Daddy turned around. “Did you know that, Mommy?”
Mommy stood up. “I did know that, yes.”
Ruthie helped Mommy bring out some of the cookies and candy they made, and Daddy went in the kitchen and brought out a tray with little cups of something sweet-smelling to drink.
Ruthie brought all the kids by to say hi to Jake. “Jake can’t get up to play with us,” she explained. “He broke his ankle.”
All the kids gathered around, patting Jake and touching his cast. “Can we sign your cast?” one little boy asked.
“Sure.” Jake grinned at him. “I’d like that. Ruthie, do you have some crayons or markers?”
Ruthie ran for crayons, then all the kids wrote their names or made a picture. Jake laughed and talked to them, and I was happy to see him having a fun time.
“Want some hot chocolate?” Mommy asked Jake, handing him one of the cups.
I leaned down from his shoulder where I sat and sniffed at the cup. It smelled nice. I leaned a little closer. It was warm.
“Hey, you sneak.” Jake laughed, nudging my face away from the cup. “You can’t have my hot chocolate.”
When all the other kids left, Ruthie came back and snuggled on the couch beside Jake. “Did you like our caroling?”
He hugged her. “You guys were great.”
They sat quiet for a minute, then Jake tickled Ruthie’s nose. “You know, bug, I’ve got a Christmas surprise for you.”
“You do?” She pulled away a little. “What is it?”
Jake poked her side. “It’s a surprise.”
Ruthie jumped off the couch. “Come on, Jake. Tell me.”
“Nope.” He shook his head. “Not until Christmas.”
“Where is it? Please?”
“I’ve got it in a good hiding place.”
Ruthie begged him for a long time, but Jake wouldn’t tell her anything else. Well, I knew all the hiding places in the house. And Ruthie was my best friend. I would have to help her look for it.