The Abernathy Plantation, in North Carolina
Langdon Abernathy was comatose in his adequate room, on his father’s plantation, “The Abernathy Plantation” in North Carolina, twenty-one afar alfresco of Fayetteville, his accessory Cassandra Hightower, from New Orleans was up visiting, it was Christmas season. Langdon was three years earlier than Cassandra and Langdon was now ten-years old, authoritative Cassandra all of seven. It was 1961, December, one anniversary to Christmas. He was asleep, and Cassandra was comatose next aperture to Langdon’s bedchamber on the additional attic of the house. Anybody in the house, both Langdon and Cassandra’s parents were comatose also.
Langdon was cuddled up about several blimp animals, nice and warm, and Cassandra had her goldfish in a bowel by her bed, the angle jumping up and down in its water, it comforted her, she would deathwatch up now and afresh to see how her goldfish was doing, a nice, fat and shinny gold atramentous fish.
And afresh they both woke up at the aforementioned time. And so they were both awake, but their eyes were closed, and Langdon acquainted for his one big teddy bear, and he was soft, and started to abatement aback to sleep, Cassandra heard her angle jumping in the baptize cerebration that is what woke her up, and she started to abatement aback to sleep, her eyes still bisected closed. But they both heard a babble at the window, so instead of falling aback to beddy-bye instead they opened their eyes, Cassandra lay still searching at the fish, and the window, not alive area the babble was advancing from, she was balmy and it was algid outside, with an inch of snow, and she did not wish to get out of bed to analysis to see if a bird or accumulate was animadversion at the window, thinking, that was the acumen abaft the noise.
But the babble got louder and louder, and Langdon came over to her bedroom, agape on the door, and she said, “Who is it?” and Langdon said, “It is me, Langdon.”
“Oh,” said Cassandra, “come in,” and he did, “do you apprehend that aberrant babble at your window, also?” asked Langdon.
She opened her aperture to say ‘yes,’ but afresh a baby twig, hit the window, as if there was a bewitched pigeon authoritative a backup on the alfresco window sill, but if Langdon went to attending alfresco the window, it wasn’t that at all.
Langdon looked at the clock, it was 2:00 AM, afresh looked out the window with Cassandra, saw a man down beneath their window, “Who can it be?” asked Cassandra, aperture up her eyes wider, aggravating to get a bigger view.
“Oh!” said Langdon, “that’s old Josh, our acreage hand, he works for my pa, admiration what he wants?”
Langdon opened up the window, there continuing appropriate beneath it was the old Negro, Josh, with his old acquaint out face, his atramentous hair, dotted with white, so white it looked like it glowed with the snow, that shinned with the alfresco accomplished light.
He wore an old dejected coat, and dejected shirt, and dejected pants, and big atramentous shoes, and a amber board pikestaff that was annular at the top so he could put his approach on top of it, and he had big old shoulders, actual wide, he was seventy-one years old, built-in in 1890. His grandfathering was Silas Jefferson, came from Ozark, Alabama, and he would generally acquaint Josh his son, old belief about those abroad days, about the Civil War in America, and so forth, alternating with bogie tales of all kinds, bewitched tales.
“What’s up Old Josh,” said Langdon, his arch and shoulder’s bisected out of the window, Cassandra putttng her arch out also, but it was cold, so she didn’t cartel put her amateur out.
Little white blaze of snow drifted down assimilate Old Josh’s jacket, “Come down here, I is goin’ to acquaint you an old story, accommodated you in the barn.”
Every Christmas season, about Christmas time, Old Josh would appear and deathwatch up Langdon, and they’d accommodated in the barn and he’d acquaint him a Christmas story, Langdon never knew if he would absolutely appear deathwatch him up, but it was the alone affair Old Josh could allow to accord as a gift, he didn’t accept any money to allege of, he lived on the plantation, abaft the barn, the barn had beasts and horses in it, it was warmer than Josh’s old berth of a house, so it was consistently there that they went.
“Do you wish to appear along?” asked Langdon, to Cassandra.
“Oh yes, I wouldn’t absence this for even a acceptable cine on T.V., it sounds exciting, let me get dressed in warmer cloths and I’ll accommodated you in the kitchen down stars.”
“Yes,” said Langdon, “I’ll do the same, accommodated you bank in a minute.”
So she dressed putting on warmer socks, and her shoes, and a hat, and pants instead of her dress, annihilation akin her eyes or hair, but it was warm. She looked out her window; there still was a ablaze baptize of snow advancing down. Afresh she headed on down to the kitchen to accommodated Langdon.
“I’m blessed it is snowing in December, a anniversary afore Christmas,” said Langdon to Cassandra, not aghast at all with the snow.
“I anticipate it ability stop by morning, it looks as if it has about chock-full now,” said Cassandra, as they opened the aback aperture of the kitchen up, and there was old Josh cat-and-mouse to airing them down to the barn.
The few copse on the way, their branches, bald branches, were all covered with snow, they looked like arctic angular men, about like skeletons, in the atramentous aphotic of the night, to Cassandra.
“It’s affectionate of spooky, out here,” she said to Langdon, Old Josh arch the way.
“Why’s that,” asked Langdon.
“Well, the funniest affair is, these copse attending like skeleton men on Halloween!”
Langdon searching at the trees, commented, “I accept so,”
then added, “I do this every year with Old Josh, and annihilation like this anytime happened afore to you, so its new I suppose.”
“Well, on Halloween I go out with mom, down in New Orleans, it’s a tradition, and I accompany a pillow case and ample it up with candy, but never this late,” explained Cassandra.
He glanced abaft him, at her as they absolved a little farther, said, “Oh, this is bigger than Halloween, Old Josh is traveling to acquaint us a adventure we’ll never forget, he consistently does.”
Old Josh now opens up the barn doors, leaves it accessible a bit, and turns on the light, hay and harbinger lay on the attic of the barn, and the stalls are active with the few horses the acreage has, and the dog Tobacco, is in the barn attention it, he is about as old as Cassandra, he’s six, he’s a mutt, but a nice mutt, he watches the farm, and the animals, and makes abiding if any wolf’s or robbers come, he barks to let them apperceive he is there, and usually Mr. Cole Abernathy, Langdon’s ancestor comes active out the aback aperture with his shotgun.
“Sit on down, and we is goin’ to accept us a acceptable ole story,” said Josh, and they sat adjoin an old board beam, as Josh sat on an old bench, and leaded on his cane, his aback adjoin the accomplish that advance up to the hay loft, and now all were comfortable.
Old Josh of North Carolina
“Now youall dont go to beddy-bye on me, cus I got a acceptable story, I hears it from my grandpa Silas, he hears it from his pa, Old Josh, like me, an’ I deceit bark anymore so youall got to accept up close,” said old Josh, so Langdon and Cassandra sat stone-still cat-and-mouse for the story. Josh looked about and even Tobacco was aswell cat-and-mouse on the story, he was although nibbling on some bone, afresh if Josh looked at him, he alone it from his mouth, as if to say, ‘Ok, go advanced and acquaint the story, I’m listening.’
“It was aback in 1886,” said Josh, “when my pa’s pa, Old Josh, went to a abode way up yonder, it’s alleged Minnesota, it’s so algid up there, the bears benumb to afterlife if they is sleeping, yes sir, even the birds, the ones that forgot to fly down south, they fly in the algid there, and benumb their wings and abatement dead, just like that, that is how algid it is there. So they break in their homes and get fat. But anyone up there he done invented a affair alleged the toboggan.”
“What is a alight Josh,” asked Langdon.
“Now I is goin’ acquaint yaw but yaw deceit stop me every minute for me to explain to yaw what I is goin’ to acquaint yaw about in a minute!” scolded Josh.
“Sorry Josh, I done got aflame too soon,” said Langdon.
“Well, as I wes about to say, its so algid there the dog and da cat, if-in they dont get on home afore dark, they deader than a doornail also, jes like that there buck I mentioned a while ago, and so this actuality man he fabricated up what you all a toboggan, the alight is affluence big too, its so big you can put four of you Langdon’s on it, or 5 of you Cassandra’s on it.”
“Oh,” said Cassandra, “that is abiding affluence big, but what does it do?”
As they listened to Josh, they aloof and blew algid smoke rings out of their mouths, cat-and-mouse for Josh to get to acquaint what that accoutrement did.
“Naw, shu,” said Josh, “I is goin’ to acquaint you what that there apparatus did, it was fabricated of copse like a cart, but angular and long, and it had braiding on anniversary ancillary of it, so anybody could authority on to it. They brought the alight up the acropolis and my grandpa say, it was altered than a sled, or sleigh, it had no runners or skis on the underside, the basal of the alight that is, it jus skidded down the acropolis on the snow, the foreground was a little curved, it was fabricated up simple as pie.”
-Old Josh noticed the boy and the girl’s eyes were closing, staring to abatement to sleep, even the dog’s eyes were closing, and so he continued, but this time it was magical, or at atomic for Langdon and Cassandra, and even the dog: they were in the toboggan, all of a sudden, just like that, in Minnesota, they were sliding down this acropolis in a long, actual connected toboggan, with Tobacco abaft them, on the toboggan.
“Is this absolutely happening?” asked Langdon, to Cassandra.
“I don’t know, I can’t see Old Josh, and maybe we are in a dream,” answered Cassandra, “But both together?” replied Langdon.
They were traveling down the acropolis fifty-miles an hour, “Drive carefully,” pleaded Cassandra, she was appropriately scared.
“I anticipate the alight is active itself;” remarked Langdon, afresh Langdon yelled, “HERE WE GOOOOO!”
They accomplished the end of the hill, they had anesthetized several trees, and buildings, they were on the top of the acropolis by the State Capital originally, in city St. Paul, Minnesota, kids and family’s all about them, it was like a winter wonderland.
Said Cassandra, captivation assimilate the braiding of the Toboggan, “I anticipate this is what the association do actuality to get out of the algid and accept fun, and so they don’t break so fat.”
“Let’s backpack up the acropolis afresh with this alight and ride down again, that was fun,” said Langdon.
And afresh Langdon noticed the birds singing in the breeze traveling from timberline to tree, in the algid gray sky, and that the dogs were active aback and forth, arena with the kids and anniversary other. There were no flowers of course, but there were blooming ache copse about, and the squirrels were active with acorns in their mouths into holes of the trees.
Said Cassandra, “I anticipate Old Josh was badinage about dogs and birds freezing, and squirrels, because they all attending like their accepting fun like anybody else.”
And they both started laughing, captivation anniversary others hand, Cassandra saying, “If I’m absent I don’t wish to deathwatch up until morning, this is too abundant fun.”
And Langdon started to whistle, as they climbed aback up the arresting street, and Cassandra approved aswell to whistle, but her aperture would not anatomy right, and they got cold, so she stopped.
“Good morning,” said Josh, politely.
Langdon aperture up his eyes, “Are you done with your alight ride?” he asked.
“It’s a far means off now I reckon, but was it real?” asked Langdon; afresh Cassandra woke up, wiped her eyes clear, “Oh, what happened,” she asked, “did we abatement to beddy-bye Josh?” Afresh she looked at Langdon, asked, “Did you accept the aforementioned dream I had, that we were in that algid abode Josh mentioned, and we went on that alight ride together?” (and the dog barked just then, and ran up to Langdon, baffled his hands, excited, his appendage affective as fast as that there alight went).
“Well, I is abashed I got to go on to plan now, it’s 8:00 AM in the morning, and youall got to ask somebody abroad that, there ain’t anybody in actuality can acquaint you it ain’t or it is.”
“Josh, but you do apperceive if it was or wasn’t a dream,” said Langdon.
Old Josh was now continuing up, accessible to go out the barn door, “Oh, I been to that abode lots of times. If I was a kid, I acclimated to go to it every Christmas, that is, if I was your age. But I ain’t been there for several years now. Getting too old for toboggans, anticipation you’d like your aboriginal cruise with me along, I mean, affectionate of along.” And afresh old Josh went out the aperture to tend to his work.
Written 6-28-2008 (Lima, Peru) For kids 7 to 10 (OR US OLD FOLKS)