Christina: a guest and friend of the other girls
Rachel: Christina's best friend
Amy: Rachel's younger sister
Table with chairs
Box of Christmas decorations
A homey living room
[Lights up music on Amy is happily investigating the contents of the Christmas decoration box. Music is blaring and she is singing along Enter Rachel and Christina]
Rachel: Hey, twerp! What do you think you're doing? You know the tradition. We always wait until the whole family's together to open the Christmas decoration box! [To Christina]'My mom is really big on family traditions at Christmas.
[Music gets louder]
Amy: 1 know, it's just that I saw the box sitting here and I got so excited I couldn't wait. [She investigates some more.]
Rachel: Could you turn that music down?
[Amy leaves to turn the music down and as she leaves, Rachel starts to look through the box. Christina is also drawn to the contents Music off.]
Rachel: My mom and her Christmas traditions!
Christina: My mom is always that way too, but. . . this year's kind of different.
Rachel: I'm sorry. I didn't mean to be insensitive!
Christina: It's OK. [She laughs as she pulls out a Santa Claus toilet seat cover.] What on earth is this?
[Amy reenters and joins them]
Amy: Hey, you guys, what about "tradition"?
Christina: What about this?
Rachel: Well, you put it on the toilet seat lid ...
Amy: And when you lift the lid, Santa covers his eyes! When I was little, I used to panic every time I had to go to the bathroom. I was so afraid that Santa would peek!
Rachel: You're such a little twerp!
Christina: [To Amy] Sandy was always like that! He always called me a little twerp! Big brothers are like that!
[Rachel and Amy look at each other uncomfortably and they hurriedly try to change the subject.]
Rachel: Let's see here . .. here are the stockings and the wreath....
Amy: Here's the ornament I made for you when I was in preschool! [She holds up a plastic lid with a picture glued to it.]
Rachel: She made them for the whole family. There's one for Dad, Mom, Michael, Grandpa Paterson, Grandma Paterson, Grandpa Vander Zee and Grandma Vander Zee. There's one for Snoopy and Frisco and Tina the cat. There's even one for Bosco the hamster and Flipper.... [She pulls out a plastic lid every time she mentions a name.]
Amy: Flipper was our goldfish—last year he died.
[Amy looks horrified at what she has just said]
Rachel: You're such a twerp!
Christina: It's OK, you guys. Pets die. People die. Sandy died. But it's great to have something to remember them by. [She holds up a plastic lid and laughs.] Even if it is a little tacky!
Rachel: [She pulls out a tablecloth.] That's why we started this tradition a couple of years ago. Every Christmas, my mom puts this tablecloth on the dining room table. Whenever a friend or relative stops over to visit, we ask him to write his name on the tablecloth.
Amy: You should see the shocked look on little kids' faces when Mom tells them to write on the tablecloth.
Rachel: Then later, Amy or I embroider the names so that we'll always remember the people who were our friends.
Christina: I remember doing that! My name should be here someplace. [They all look frantically]
Amy: Here it is! Right next to ...
Chris: Right next to Sandy's!
[Again, Rachel tries to change the subject]
Rachel: Here's the Christmas puzzle. [Theypick up the box.] We always set up the Christmas tree on the first Saturday night in December ...
Amy: It's a tradition!
Jan Boers has a speaking and drama ministry called Postscripts. She is a member of Sunshine Community Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Rachel: Then we start to work on the Christmas puzzle.
Amy: It has to be finished before we can open our presents.
Christina: That's like one of our family traditions! We always did a Christmas puzzle too. Except we always worked on it on Christmas Day. We never had any other relatives in town...
Amy: What a bummer!
Christina:So Dad and Mom and Sandy and I would always put the Christmas puzzle together. The same one every year. Two thousand pieces! When I was little, I always worried that one of the pieces would be missing. I remember that one Christmas Eve, I was so worried about it that I counted all the pieces. All 1,999! It took me hours.
Amy: You said it was a two-thousand-piece puzzle!
Christina: It was! Every year, Sandy hid one of the puzzle pieces. HE always had to be the one to place the last piece in the puzzle.
Amy: What a creep! Oops, I didn't mean he was a creep! I meant...
Rachel: Just shut up, twerp!
Christina: It was part of the tradition. Each year we would be just about to finish the puzzle and I'd notice that there weren t enough pieces to finish it. There was always one piece missing.
Mom would look under the box and say, "It must be here someplace."
Dad would say, "We'd better all start looking, This is a special puzzle. We can't have a piece missing."
We'd all pretend to search, and after about five minutes, Sandy would come running into the room with the piece held high and yell, "Ta da! Super Sandy to the rescue!"
Then we'd all gather round while Sandy put in the last piece.
Amy: So what will you do this year? With Sandy dead and all.
Christina: I'm not really sure. Before he left for college this fall, he gave me a big brother talk about watching out for Mom and Dad, behaving myself on dates, and working hard at school. Then he took me into his room and gave me this. [She pulls out a puzzle piece from her purse.]
Amy: What is it?
Christina: The last puzzle piece. When he gave it to me, I panicked! "Sandy, you'll be home for Christmas, won't you?
"Yea, twerp, I'll be home for Christmas!"
Two hours later, Dad got the call that Sandy had been killed on the Interstate. When Dad told me Sandy had died, I started to cry, "Dad, it can't be! Sandy promised me he'd be home for Christmas!"
Dad just hugged me close and said, "Sweetheart, Sandy is home for Christmas!"