By the Shores of Silver Lake Book Discussion--Merry Christmas
Laura quickly dressed and hurried downstairs to help Ma with breakfast, but Mrs. Boast was already there helping her. "Merry Christmas," they both said as Laura glanced at the Christmas table. Each table setting was placed as usual, but on the bottoms of the plates were packages of all different sizes. "You see Laura, we didn't hang our stockings last night," Ma said, "so we will take our presents off the table at breakfast."
Laura went back upstairs and told Mary and Carrie about the Christmas table. "We can't have presents," Mary worried. "There isn't anything for Mr. and Mrs Boast!"
"Ma will fix it," Laura answered. She then took Ma's present, hidden in Mary's box and held it behind her back as they headed downstairs. She quickly placed it on Ma's plate and noticed there was a little package on Mr. Boast's plate and another on Mrs. Boast's plate.
It wasn't long before the men came back into the house from doing the morning chores. They were all so happy in the warmth, full of good smells from the cooking and in the presence of good company. Mrs. Boast got to open her present first since she was company. In her package Laura recognized Ma's best Sunday handkerchief. Mrs. Boast was delighted. So was Mr. Boast; his present was the wrist-lets that Ma had knitted for Pa. Pa loved his socks and he admired the necktie Laura had made for him. Ma then unwrapped her apron and complimented the girls on their sewing and stitches. She was even more surprised when she found a new Sunday best handkerchief tucked away in it's pocket.
They then all admired Mary's bed shoes and Carrie loved her red, white, and blue mittens. Then Laura opened her package. Inside was an apron made out of the same calico as Ma's. Each didn't know the other was making an apron for the other and although Mary and Carrie helped make both of them they kept it their little secret. Then came the best part of all, Ma put the blue coat on Grace and pulled the swan's down hood over Grace's golden hair. She looked beautiful, but Ma took it off her right away as she didn't want Grace to be spoiled with all the attention. There was still one more package at each of the girl's plates. They quickly unwrapped them and found a pink cheesecloth bag full of Christmas candy, a present from the Boasts.
Christmas breakfast consisted of golden fried mush, hot biscuits, fried potatoes codfish gravy and a dish full of dried applesauce. After they were done eating, Pa and Mr. Boast went to get the bobsled, which was still stuck in the Big Slough. The girls cleaned up the house while the women washed the dishes and started preparing for dinner. With such good company the morning flew right by.
When the men returned with the bobsled, dinner was almost ready. They cleaned up and everybody took their places around the dinner table. The table once again looked beautiful. There was roasted rabbit, bread and onion stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, johnny cakes, hot biscuits and cucumber pickles. After their meal, Ma surprised everyone and brought a dried apple pie from the pantry.
When clean up was done, Laura and Mrs. Boast put on their outer gear and trudged through the snow to a tiny nearby house. Pa, Mr. and Mrs Boast, and Laura set all of the Boast's possessions inside and helped set up house. Then they all headed back to the surveyor's house for the remainder of the day. While the men played checkers Mrs. Boast had one more surprise. She made them all fresh popped corn. They all sat around eating and talking and laughing till chore time and supper time and the time Pa would play his fiddle.
"Every Christmas is better than the Christmas before," Laura thought. "I guess it must be because I'm growing up."