Excerpt from Chlora’s Book of the Month Club: December
Copryight 2014 Ginger Henry Geyer
...It is Dec . 24, Chlora’s birthday...
There was a bright morning glare from
Chlora’s bedroom window. Could it be?
She looked outside and sure enough,
her favorite art supply had fallen overnight,
thick and white as a miracle.
There was a sudden pitter- pat of footie pajamas
down the hall. Brother was up
and bounded into her room.
He jumped onto the bed. She anticipated a
Happy Birthday but instead he was only excited about the snow.
The family would acknowledge her birthday
with a breakfast cake and song, but they always
saved the big celebration for her half birthday in June.
She did get to open up one birthday present,
which was the odd one under the tree
wrapped in aqua and yellow instead of red and green.
This was exciting, for she hoped it just might be
the item she adored from the window display
near Woolworth’s. She ripped into the package. It was!
She jerked the elegant fur stole out of the tissue paper
and slung it over her pajamas.
She stroked the two-toned fur and the satin lining
and strutted around the living room,
admiring herself in the big mirror.
Nobody had time to pay much attention
to a real birthday that landed on Christmas.
Ever since she could remember
her Dad had shared his birthday with her.
His was June 24th, so she got to have a party then.
This was an okay compromise.
With all the holiday falderal, no lady in her right mind
would prefer to have a baby on Christmas,
so Chlora figured she must’ve been an oops baby
like the one coming next door.
They rushed through the semi-birthday breakfast,
eager to get outside.
The snow might be fleeting, so she hurried
to memorialize it. She bundled up and
struggled with her stupid rubber boots.
One of the bootstraps broke, then another.
Chlora was now ineligible for the American Dream
which claims that God helps those who help themselves.
She grabbed the first pair of gloves she could find,
which were Dad’s rawhide work gloves, and
were way too big.
The snow wasn’t as thick as it looked from
the upstairs window.
There was barely enough to cover the ground,
a scarcity for sure; they should hoard it.
But if they colonized their neighbor’s yard
they could scoop up enough for a scrawny snowman.
Chlora ran out in the front yard.
The snow had defamiliarized the familiar,
sort of like art does.
The flowerbeds looked quilted by the snow,
and even the compost pile now looked nice.
Lots of kids were already outside, throwing snowballs.
Chlora knew she couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn,
especially with snowballs. They require quick packing
and an earnest follow-through,
or they’ll fall apart in the air,
like bits of your cold, cold heart disintegrating
into little white lies and falling at your feet.
The kids were laughing great gulps of cold air
and a couple of boys were peeing their names in the snow.
Obviously the kid named Ed beat the kid named Christopher.
Chlora was not so merry yet.
Nobody had wished her happy birthday.
She was jealous of baby Jesus for stealing her thunder.
Like a ritual, she solemnly laid down
and made a couple of snow angels
so all those deprived kids down in the tropics
could see what love can do
if they just spread their loving arms right out in space.
They should just pray harder
and they could get their
own snow and quit complaining.
The snowball fight had run out of steam
and now kids were trying to sled
on garbage can lids. Her little brother was
sliding around on a tray from Cape Cod,
hanging onto the handles for dear life.
There was a pile-up at the bottom of the
hill, which was really nothing but a berm,
but with snow on it, it would have to do.
Chlora decided to build a snowman all by herself.
She would roll huge snowballs that nobody could throw.
It took awhile, but she patted the thick white stuff
into a big ball and pushed it all over the yard,
collecting grass and dirt, aimed toward
the mailbox. The snowball creaked and groaned,
slowly groaned like God did
when creating the world.
Finally the snowball stood its ground
and refused to budge an inch.
The second snowball was impossibly heavy
and she realized people-making
was not a do-it-yourself project.
No, Frosty was not a self-made man.
However, her Dad had made a reclining snow
woman all by himself last year. She would have to
wait for help to give the snowman more balls.
With two snow cones, Chlora could give him
a sex change, but she wasn’t so sure about boobs.
Her Dad’s naked snow lady had pointy pink dots
on its chest, and it made her Mom so mad
that she kicked that snow lady and broke her own toe.
About then Dad came outside and admired Chlora’s labor
and helped her hoist the torso and head
onto the big bottom ball.
She went inside to look for the proper ingredients
for Frosty the Snowman accessories.
There were limp old carrots in the refrigerator.
A perfect nose.
Eyes, charcoal briquettes. Mouth?
Red wax lips from last Halloween would do.
Might as well throw in some other holiday
so she dug around in the decorations box.
For buttons, some lonely halves of plastic Easter eggs,
and why not a Fourth of July flag? And a Valentine heart.
He must have a Christmassy knit scarf, but she
made a medical decision and skipped the corncob pipe—
There wasn’t a snowball’s chance in Hell
that smoking would not contribute to melt down
a or at least global warming.
She needed some dried apricots for ears,
but there weren’t any, so instead she grabbed old earphones.
There sure was no magic hat
around, so a gold paper plate
for New Year’s Eve would have to do the trick.
She stuck it in the snowman’s head like a halo
or maybe a gold-plated Mormon.
Chlora hummed the Frosty the Snowman song,
but the only lyrics she could remember were at the beginning
and the end:
Frosty the Snowman had to hurry on his way,
But he waved good-bye, saying Don’t you cry,
I’ll be back again someday. Thumpety thump thump…
Thumpety thump thump…
So Frosty was gonna come again, like Jesus.
Christmas was the first coming,
and Chlora wasn’t sure
we really needed another one.
Jesus’ first coming was so peaceful,
with the nice animals and angels and all,
but apparently that didn’t work
because he would have to come a second time,
and it wasn’t gonna be pretty.
So did that mean the first time was a fluke or what?
She rummaged through her art book for a picture
of the Second Coming and taped it onto the
back of the gold paper plate.
She twisted Frosty's twig arms to pose just like Jesus
in the picture, waving an American flag
and signaling peace at the same time, like he wanted
to get elected or something.
Snowmen do send mixed signals.
Maybe he would accelerate the rapture by
starting an unnecessary war in Middle East.
Fine. Bring ‘em on. They could start the
next cold war with her stockpile of snowballs,
hidden like weapons of mass destruction.
She better get back outside or ole Frosty might run off
and Chlora did not want to be the child left behind,
like in those awful Left Behind books about the rapture.
Where did all that rapture stuff come from?
She couldn’t find it anywhere in the Bible.
The coming of Christ was supposed to be hopeful,
why did it sound so dreadful? Who was
that rough beast slouching towards
Bethlehem to be born again?
Jesus on a big white horse,
bloody and ready to do battle
had no relationship to Jesus on the meek little donkey
in and out of Bethlehem and Jerusalem…
what happened in between?
All those embarrassments prompted by
the book of Revelation
were enough to make you into a card- carrying member
of the Church Alumni Association.
Next time around God would have to invent a form
that futuristic people could really get.
The next incarnation of God really should be a girl.
Chlora ran back outside and dressed up Frosty.
She gladly gave him her ugly boots
with the broken bootstraps.
His would be the first boots on the ground.
If he went off thumping into town at least
he would leave some tracks,
like Big Foot the Abdominal Snowman.
The boots would be helpful when he came back
to kick butt like the second-chance Jesus.
A black belt in Karate might be useful in case he
got led into places he didn’t want to go
She wrapped a vinyl belt around his big middle
and told him to belt it out as much as he wanted,
as long as he didn’t get hit below the belt.
The snowman looked like a freak of nature,
but then, Jesus was one too.
It had been a long day of hard work and
the irrepressible snowman showed signs of melting.
He probably wanted to die with his boots on.
Somebody better fix this quick.
Chlora’s savior complex was stirred up.
Maybe she could borrow a refrigerated truck,
go therefore into all nations,
collecting snow people
out of front yards, and save them for science,
frozen solid like Mr. Walt Disney.
For he’s a jolly good fellow,
Freeze a jolly good fellow
Freeze a jolly good fellow
That nobody can deny!
Everyone would think the rapture had snatched
them away for a bodily resurrection.
Meanwhile Chlora could
hide out in her cool trailer and do research.
But she knew the idea was doomed.
She couldn’t create out of nothing; it’d take a
village and a lot of winters to build a better snowman.
Chlora would compromise, and just decapitate Frosty
and put his head in the freezer. Since he was already
A Man for All Seasons like the good martyr
Sir Thomas More, he would expect this.
She was sure that a loving God would understand.
Jesus himself said about his re-incarnation
that he’d fasten his belt
and have the faithful sit down to eat
and he would come and serve them.
And that all this would be a big surprise,
so you better be ready.
Ready for what? To be served?
Frosty needed one more item.
Chlora ran in the living room and got a
sterling silver serving tray out of Mom’s breakfront.
She wedged it between the snowman’s shoulder
and his stick arm. He looked like a right proper
waiter now, a true servant who would hand
her everything she needed on a silver platter.
The snowman gave her the cold shoulder
and just stood there.
Making snow people is hard work, as God well knew.
He didn’t take a day off for nothing.
She needed a Sabbath after all this.
Chlora took a last look at her flaky snowman
and pronounced him good
even if he was rather cold-blooded.
By now she’d almost frozen her twott off.
It was naptime.
He’ll be back again someday.
Thumpety thump thump.