Sunday, December 18, 2016

Christmas with Family (3 of 3) by Leanne Dyck

Based in the UK, Jolabokaflod Book Campaign seeks to support an Icelandic tradition--giving books on Christmas eve.

If you want to support this tradition, why not give the anthology In the Moment:  Real Life Stories of Hope & Inspiration. It's a collection of 27 stories by authors from Canada, the United States, Spain, China, Oman, and Australia. I'm proud that Christmas with Family was included in this fine book. Proceeds donated to Children's Wish. To order In the Moment, please email Gary Doi (

('it snowed again' LDyck Dec 13, 2016)

Summarizing the story so far:  Lead by my desire to celebrate Christmas with family, my husband has ignored the weatherman and BC Ferries' warnings and we are now on Salt Spring Island but... 


Christmas with Family (3 of 3)

“You see we made it,” I said, trying to be cheerful.

Byron fixed me with steel eyes. “The ferry was only half the battle. The other half is that steep hill.” He pointed with his chin.
“But…but you said we would try.”

“Yes, Leanne. I did.” By the way he said my name I knew he'd lost his Christmas cheer.

“You’re a good driver. I have faith in you.”

Byron did try. He cranked his neck to peer out the side window and turned the steering wheel. We started to slide. He cranked his neck the other way to peer out that window. We began to fishtail, he turned the steering wheel and kept us on the road, barely. Then he started the whole neck thing again. He looked like he was watching a tennis match. Over and over again, he tried, but the farthest he got was halfway up the hill.

I closed my eyes and visualized my three brothers pushing us up that hill. “This time you'll make it,” I heard them promise. But they weren't there; Bryon and I were alone. I forced back tears.

Byron yanked the gear shift into park and glared at me. “You got any more brilliant ideas?” He asked after driving backwards over that three-mile steep, curving hill. “We could be safe and warm in our apartment. But no you had to drag us all the way out here. And now… And now… It’s pitch black. We’re stuck in a blizzard. And we don’t know anyone who can help us. Happy?”

No, I wasn't happy. I'd gotten us into this mess; I had to get us out. I typed Susan's number into my cellphone.

“I’d go and get you myself but my Toyota doesn’t like snow. I’m afraid I’d only end up stranded too. Try a tow truck or a taxi?” She gave me the numbers. The tow truck driver’s voice mail message wished me a Merry Christmas. The taxi driver laughed in my ear. Byron was beginning to swear which I had to admit was justified.
Desperate, I phoned Susan again.

“Hitchhike,” she said.


“Ask for a ride. Someone will help you.”

By the tone of her voice, I knew she was serious. She wanted me to ask a complete stranger for help. Clearly, she hadn’t watched those horror movies. I had; I knew what would happen if I followed her advice—Byron and I would end up dead or worse.

What’s that noise? I looked over at Byron. Were his teeth chattering?

I have to do something. Now. But what? We’re a steep hill away from Susan, a hotel, a restaurant—almost everything. I looked across the street. Everything but that grocery store.

Three large trucks with snow tires were parked in front of the store.
“I’ll be right back.” I unclipped my seat belt.

“Wait. Where are you going?”

“To the grocery store.” I opened the door. “I’m going to ask for a ride.”

“What? You can’t. We don’t know any—

I closed the door on the rest of his sentence.

Large sleigh bells jingled as I opened and closed the door. The sound made me think of Christmas angels. I said a silent prayer, “Please, this has to work.”

I surveyed the store—not for groceries—for an angel. A few aisles away a woman was talking with a teenager who I thought must be her daughter. “Please, can you help? My cousin is expecting me for Christmas but my car won’t climb the hill.”

“Of course,” she said, “I'd be happy to.”

Just like that, our problem was solved. She made room in her truck for our luggage, my husband and me. She drove us right to my cousin’s door. There we had a very merry Christmas.

Next post:  Goodbye 2016
Published on Christmas Day (or a few days before) at approximately 5 PM PST this post is about you and me.
You:  what posts did you like the best?
Me:  what did I do ('writerly-wise') in 2016?
Comments, reflections, and... on the year that was.

Picture Books in Canada

Kids Can Press
'the largest Canadian-owned children's publisher'
Picture books 

Submission guidelines


Sharing my author journey...

Lessons learned from my largest writing project to date, a novel for young adults...
I was confused is it 
my husband and I sailed to Salt Spring Island
my husband and me sailed to Salt Spring Island
Until one of my first readers said, "Remove your husband--and which sounds better?"
my husband and I sailed to Salt Spring Island
my husband and me sailed to Salt Spring Island
Ah, okay, it's
my husband and I sailed to Salt Spring Island
makes sense