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121516_SWB_DIGITAL EDITION

26 x December 15, 2016 -

26 x December 15, 2016 - January 4, 2017 x www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com CONTINUED FROM PAGE 25 to pour from the sky, and she was freezing from the inside out. “Tell you what,” he said with a smile. “You can come stay at our house tonight. My wife, Ella, would love to have a visitor stay with us!” “I couldn’t impose upon you like that,” she said. “Nonsense!” he exclaimed, as he pried the bag from her little hand and placed it in the carriage. They drove for about 15 minutes, until they reached a quaint little cottage on the north side of town. Snow covered the gabled rooftop like melted marshmallows. When she walked in the front door, she saw a fabulous spruce tree decorated with popcorn, candy canes and pine cones. She was astounded by how breathtaking it was. That night, after an extraordinary meal and amazing conversation with these two kindhearted souls, she fell fast alseep in the cozy bed they had arranged for her. In the morning, she awoke to the smell of freshly brewed coffee. She got dressed and made her way down the tiny stairs. While descending the stairs, she heard familiar laughter. When she entered the kitchen, she was greeted by the elderly couple. “Good morning, Rosalyn,” they said. “We’d like you to meet our son.” The young man turned around. It was him, the kind stranger from the train ... Child Winner Scarecrow’s Christmas by Porter MacCabe Saddlebrooke Once upon a time there was a scarecrow. A farmer had put up the scarecrow for harvest, but he forgot about it. The scarecrow had a sack head, sweater and jacket. He also had a pair of jeans with patched knees. One night there was a strong windstorm. During the storm, the metal arrow from the farmer’s weather vane flew off the house and shot into the scarecrow’s neck. The next night, a bolt of lightning hit the metal rod and brought the scarecrow to life. Then, with a straw-stuffed body, the scarecrow set out to live in the wild. The scarecrow was bored in the wild. He was just sitting alone in a cave with only a rock to call his friend. After a few weeks, he heard a bang! He hurried outside where he found a turkey that was being shot at. He ran and grabbed the turkey, and then ran away. He soon had run at least a mile, so he put down the turkey and asked, “Why do they hunt you down like that?” “Because,” the turkey said, “it’s Thanksgiving, and they think eating turkey is better than beef jerky. You have shown me an act of great bravery and kindness. I thank you!” With that, the turkey ran back to the forest, and the scarecrow ran back to his cave. Almost one month later, the bored scarecrow heard a noise, so he went to check it out. He found a man who had just chopped down a tree. He was marching away with the tree, happily singing songs. The scarecrow saw this and said to himself, “This is outrageous! How dare he chop down a tree and sing so merrily! I shall follow him, or as scarecrows say, stalk him like we stalk crows, for I shall find the purpose for killing that tree.” A few minutes later, the scarecrow found the man inside a house. He looked through a window and saw the man and his family joyously decorating the tree. Then the youngest child put a star atop the tree and smiled. “What’s this?” the scarecrow asked. “They are hanging mistletoe, and putting strings of lights and a star on the tree. What is this? He turned to leave and hit a pole. “Ouch!” he exclaimed, while reading a banner on the pole. “Merry Christmas? Christmas? Then I shall celebrate it, too!” The next day, he gathered lights, mistletoe, an ax and a star. Then he chopped down a tree, and put the lights and star on it. He then put up more lights and plugged the lights into a solar panel to make the lights and star shine. Afterward, he put up the mistletoe and rested. He awoke Christmas morning. There were a box and card underneath the tree. The card read, Dear Scarecrow, Christmas is about joy and happiness with friends and family. Cherish it. From Santa Claus. He opened the box. Inside it was a book called Christmas Carols. He opened the book and sang a song. Hearing the song, the turkey, a bear, two squirrels, two hawks, a blue bird and a partridge in a pear tree soon came. “Come and sing with me, friends,” Scarecrow said. And so the animals sang and helped to make a feast. I should know, because I am

the scarecrow who celebrates Christmas. I live in a cave. Bigfoot is my friend and so are all the animals of the forest. Life has never been happier! Honorable Mention A Magical Combination by Savanna Schenk Keene’s Pointe Christmas isn’t just another day in December. Christmas is a season that is celebrated continuously throughout the entire month. To me, Christmas is one of the most important holidays. It brings together friends and family. The elements of Christmas cheer can be seen in stores, heard in songs and seen on the faces of happy children. The beautiful energy is felt in our hearts as we carry out family traditions, give gifts and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Generally speaking, most families have traditions they uphold each year during the holidays. Families of different backgrounds enjoy foods that are unique to their culture. People enjoy decorating their homes and yards to express their Christmas spirit. Other traditions may include activities like caroling, making www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com x December 15, 2016 - January 4, 2017 x 27 Christmas cookies or building gingerbread houses. Still, others enjoy traveling to see friends and family in other parts of the country or world. Nobody denies that receiving a gift is a wonderful feeling. However, giving a gift can be even more rewarding. Taking time to think of others will definitely improve their day, as well as yours. Making or buying gifts for those we love makes them feel special. In addition to giving gifts to people we know, Christmas is also about sharing with those who are less fortunate. We should always remember how blessed we are and how important it is to share those blessings with others. Most importantly to me, Jesus is the reason for the season. The spirit of Christmas underlying all other traditions comes from the gift of Jesus’ love. His love allows me to generously spread cheer, hope, purpose and good will to all. Above all, Christmas is the magical combination of family traditions, delicious food, joyful music, gift-giving and charitable sharing, all wrapped up in the gift of Jesus’ love. Even though the world consists of many different people, we are connected spiritually. Christmas is so much more than Dec. 25. It is a time, season, holiday and spectacular series of events. It is the ultimate promise of hope, a reason for joy, and the love that unites us all. Honorable Mention The Carriage Ride by Emily McCarron Belmere It was a frigid day in winter. The streets of England were cold and windy. Cassandra Wentworth was grateful that she was in her warm, comfortable carriage instead of outside. She was riding home after having tea with her friend, Abigail Thompson. As the carriage was nearing Cassandra’s house, she saw a woman and children out on the street. They looked hungry and cold. Cassandra remembered something her mother had told her. When Cassandra was little she had asked why some people didn’t have homes and food. Her mother told her that some people were less fortunate than Cassandra, and everyone couldn’t always afford those things. Cassandra’s mother told her that she should always help the less fortunate. She told Cassandra that if she made a few people happier, she could make the world happier. Cassandra told the driver to stop. The driver stopped the carriage, and Cassandra stepped outside. Gathering up her courage, she walked over to the woman and said, “Hello, would you like to go on a carriage ride?” The woman was hesitant and confused at first, but when one of her children said, “Mama, can we go?” she agreed. Once comfortably seated in the carriage, Cassandra told the driver to take the carriage around the streets for a short time. During that time, Cassandra and the lady, whose name was Charlotte, made cheerful conversation. Charlotte repeatedly said how happy she was that Cassandra had offered to give her and her children — Thomas, Mary and Rose — a carriage ride. Charlotte said that it was enough kindness to last them a lifetime. Cassandra thought about what she had done and how happy she had made Charlotte and her family. Cassandra wanted to do more for them. CONTINUED ON PAGE 28