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Monday, December 2017 •• Friday • December 2325, • 2016

Stories Of Christmas On the following pages, you’ll find the winners of the

On the following pages, you’ll find the winners of the Brainerd Dispatch’s annual Stories of Christmas contest. Brainerd Dispatch’s Stories Christmas contest. There were threeannual categories: Kids,of Teens and Adults. There were three categories: Kids, Teens andare Adults. Weather drawings submitted by local elementary school children being used as accents to go along with winning stories. school children Weather drawings submitted bythe local elementary

are being used as accents to go along with the winning stories.

Thanks to all who took the time to submit their stories! Keep writing! Thanks toEnjoy all who took the to submit their stories. reading andtime Merry Christmas!

Enjoy reading and Merry Christmas!

ace 1 First PlChristmas On Watch Memories



Joseph Coalwell, Brainerd Edith Arnold for free. After the movie, Brainerd my two brothers and I each received a sack with The night was still as he gazed out across the a big red apple, handful As my mind wandered landscape. A light fog hung in the air with each of Christmas candy plus off to providing another summer breath, the only company he hoped for this a scoop of peanuts in passed by and quieter, Christmas Eve. Like a family member being received the shell. What a treat! easier days upon me, I for the party, each listless breath slowly dispersed Suddenly out of nowhere reminisced about my 55th into the night as another arrived in its place. Santa appeared on the class reunion as the holThe young soldier’s eyes traversed slowly as he caboose of the train. I was idays eagerly approached surveyed the bleak terrain. In the distance he spotted so glad to have our mothand the newspaper deada small child taking refuge under a tree, playing er find us three kids in line for Christmas stories peacefully with a doll. A peculiar sight in the eyes that sea of excited, happy was coming due. of anyone else. The blackness children. of the night began to I couldn’t wait to Remembering brought ease as blue and green lights adorning the small, yet get home to tell all about me to our humble home proud, pine illuminated the horizon. The child played in Baxter and the holidays the exciting movie, Santa alone, but was content in his solitude. orange Claus andThe check my sack were soon arriving. The glow of a small fire flickered brilliantly off of the out. business people arranged tinsel, gleefully shroudsoon of warmth it was time for alldancing the local childrenalong a Pretty that surrounded the boy. A soft breeze passed to cut our Christmas tree to see a special child’s through thethe branches the scents of in freshly down and put a pail of movie at theatre.carrying It baked ham andCome appleHome!” pie towards tower. was “Lassie sandthe to keep it fresh. Two The soldier inhaled deeply as he savored the aroma. Beyond the berm he could hear the faint ringing of bells. Gradually, the bells faded into joyful voices carrying familiar Christmas carols from afar. The chorus was pleasant, but distracting. This was his watch and his focus was on the boy. Would he be all right? The young soldier squinted intensely, trying to bring his vision into sharper focus. He watched as the child moved the small soldiers limbs around, testing the agility of his new gift. He could see that the child loved the soldier and beamed when he hugged it tightly. And as quickly Molly Wells as his breath time ofdispersed, the year. the night was still once more. Baxter, age 16 But why Dec. 25? The day was not only chosen many, many December 25. Here come years ago as the birthday the cookies. The stockings of Jesus, but also chostuffed with treasures. sen to coincide with the Presents shiny with wrapwinter solstice. Winter, ping payer spill from the with its cherished holibottom boughs of the days and blistering cold, evergreen, twinkling tree. means short days and The potpourri scent diflong nights. The roles are fuses through your house, reversed as the winter warming your soul. The solstice arrives, bringing snow sways down from longer days and shorter the frigid sky to the hard, nights. With the winter frozen ground and dusts solstice comes sun. With the streets like powdered sun comes light. If the sugar on fresh doughnuts. 25th of December was Christmas truly is the best appointed as the birthday

First Place teen

days later the tree was ready to decorate. Mother put the lights on. Now us kids could decorate. Finally the angel sat on top of the tree. Oh! How pretty she glowed with light behind her. The tree with lights plugged in appeared magical. Us kids argued to who was the best behaved and was sure Santa could see us. Pretty soon the day of waiting for Santa and being good were over. Before we knew it, Santa had arrived. And still today, the dolls sits next to my bed. She’s as real as the memories that are in my heart and

Sun Son of Jesus, it can only mean one thing. Jesus is light. May your soul shine bright with the light of Jesus this Christmas. This light brings hope. Peace. Joy. Go ahead and absorb the sweet cookie scent as it wafts around your home. Smile at the bountiful stockings and glistening gifts. Take in the icy snow and frosty cold. Always remember, though, what lies at the heart of it all. Always remember what makes Dec. 25 shine bright.

The Mother of Jesus



Place teen

Molly Wells, Baxter

Dec. 25th is a date that comes every year and each year we follow the Christmastime rituals: decorate the tree, hang up the stockings, play in Weather drawing by Amber Fleischhacker of Mrs. the snow, bake cookies Meyer’s third-grade class at Harrison Elementary School. and watch jolly movies. These bring all of us that prayed the rosary every years. This year, I was feeling of merriment day during World War II. excited for Jesus to come. that only the holidays He then challenged us I can now look back can bring, but sometimes to pray the rosary every on that Christmas and we forget about the day during that Advent know that it was by true meaning of the to prepare for Christmas. far the most wonderful Christmas season: Jesus. My first thought was Christmas I’ve ever had. This wonderful holiday that I didn’t have enough By praying and preparing only occurs because he time to pray the entire your heart for the coming was born in a manger, rosary, every day. But of Jesus Christ, you will brought into the world by as the days went on and take on a whole new his mother, who was the my family and I gathered outlook of Christmas. As first tabernacle of Jesus in the living room each you gaze upon the tree, Christ. This is where my night, taking only 10 or or catch snowflakes on story begins … 15 minutes to pray, a your tongue, remember drawing by Jonas Klicker of Meyer’s classbegan at Harrison MyWeather family and I were waterfall ofMrs. peace slowlythird-grade the reason when Elementary School. sitting at mass last year, washed over me. I was the mother of Jesus around the beginning of excited for Christmas, brought him into the Advent. The priest told but not for the material world. Her name was us a story of a man who reasons I had been other Mary.

The season

Place adult

Edith Arnold (right) is pictured with her two brothers, Arthur and Steve, at Christmas time. Edith still has the doll she is holding in the picture. Submitted. mind. I thank you, Mother and Daddy, for making those memories come true.

Whether you have an old-fashioned or a new jingle bells Christmas, I hope your memories are

First Place kids

Bridget Wells, age 10 Baxter It was 10:37 on Christmas Eve. Lucy was lying in her bed waiting, listening, scheming. Click! She heard her dad shut off the lamp. All was silent. “Alright,” she whispered to herself. “This is the year, the year that I make everyone believe.” She slithered out of her covers and tiptoed down the stairs, looking to see if anyone was watching her. As she reached the end of the stairs she glanced out the window at all the Christmas lights. But, Natalie Smith, Baxter she noticed something odd. Way up above all the “Achoo!” other houses she spotted dear, lookHow a“Santa, blinking redyou light. like you’reshe sick,” said Then peculiar thought. Mrs. Claus. on her. it dawned “Ho, ho, ho! Could you



as happy as mine. Merry Christmas to all and may we celebrate the reason for the season.

Begging for Believers

Weather drawing by Kiera Warta of like Mrs.she Narlock's Lucy felt was going “It must be Rudolph!” she whispered class excitedly. cry. “Without believers second-grade at LowelltoElementary School.

She waited, listened and schemed. “How should I ask him?” she thought worriedly. “What if he doesn’t want to help?” Before she could think another thought she heard THUMP! THUMP! THUMP! get hot cocoa on me the some roof. Then suddenand shortbread cookies?” ly there he was. The real “Yes, deal! Hedear.” had just slid down Mrs. Claus walked her chimney. It wasinto Santa the kitchen. Claus! She couldn’t con“Ohher my!” she tain excitement! exclaimed. “Santa!”“Look she atshouted the time. It’s nearly 10 happily. “You’re real!” o’clock!” “Well of course I’m Santahe had overheard. real,” laughed. He“But, started worrying. how?” Lucy “Sweetie, could you said confused. “Nobody saddle upinthe reindeer?” believes you!” he “You said politely. still believe in me,” Mrs. replied Claus felt bad for Santa reassuringly. Santa. “That’s not enough,” “Nicholas, I’m so sorry,

there’s no Santa.” “And without Santa there’s no Christmas!” Santa was shocked. “We need to do something.” “We need to get to the TV studio. Fast!” They rushed to Santa’s sleigh and hopped in! The but I don’t think that reindeer knew were Christmas canthey go on thisin a hurry and shot into theI year! Achoo! Oh no! Now sky. landed front have They the flu!” Mrs.inClaus of thefeeling TV studio said, sick.and Lucy rushed The news“And inside. I don’t!” Santa caster was surprised. said happily. “I’ll make “I some need you to broadcast you coffee and pancake.” the news on every TV in That night, Santa made the world!” it Right to all the as children’s the cameras houses and you might be were rolling Santa hurried oneItofdidn’t them! take long for in. One yearworld later…to realize the whole “Achoo!” they were wrong. Santa is Here we go again! real.

Santa’s sick


Place kids

Weather drawing by Mia Ranweiler of Mrs. Smith’s first-grade class at St. Francis School.

Ho Ho Ho Weather drawing by Nevaeh Lindquist Cagle of Mrs. Narlock's second-grade class at Lowell Elementary School.

S2 Monday, December 25,

Second Place teen

The Christmas Adventure Laura Wells Baxter, age 13 One night Sarah was writing a letter to Santa. She had a good start on it when her mom came in and said, “It’s time for bed.” She tucked Sarah in and said, “Good night.” Sarah said, “Night.” Sarah suddenly woke up and realized everything was different. She heard a small, squeaky voice say, “Hello.” Sarah jumped. “Sorry, did I frighten you?” The voice squeaked. Sarah replied, “No, I thought I was the only one here.” The creature hopped on the bed and said, “Well now that you’re awake let’s go walk around.” Sarah realized it was an elf. The elf said, “My name is Herbert.” Sarah replied, “My name is Sarah.” Herbert

took Sarah’s hand and led her out the door, where Sarah saw a bunch of colorful lights and mounds of fluffy snow. They were in the North Pole! Herbert asked, “Would you like to see Santa’s workshop?” “I’d love to!” Sarah exclaimed. Once they reached the workshop Herbert opened the massive doors, Sarah had never seen such a magnificent place in her whole life. She looked over and saw the big man himself, Santa. He came over and asked, “What are you doing here?” Sarah answered, “I woke up here; Herbert brought me.” Santa said, “Well, it’s almost time to go; Sarah will you ride in my sleigh until we get to your house?” “Okay!” Sarah answered excitedly. Soon it was time to

say goodbye to Herbert. “Thanks for showing me around, it was fun.” Sarah said. Herbert replied, “No problem.” Sarah hugged the elf and hopped into Santa’s sleigh. They flew through the air. Santa dropped her down with a parachute, and yelled, “Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.” As she landed she woke up in her bed and began to think it was all a dream, but out of the corner of her eye she saw sleigh bells sitting on her chair. It wasn’t a dream, it was real.

Weather drawing by Jayne Wilhelm of Mrs. Meyer’s third-grade class at Harrison Elementary School.

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How Sweet It Is To Have Friends Like You We cannot thank you enough for making 2017 a successful year for us. Good folks like you remind us how lucky we are to be a part of this community.

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Monday, December 25, 2017 3

Second Place

Second Place



Our Favorite Family A Christmas Surprise Christmas Story Natalie Smith Baxter, age 9

The year was 1973, and I was a 30-year-old mother of six children. It was two weeks before Christmas, and our Christmas tree was a sparsely decorated 2-foot tree, which sat on an end table in our living room. My oldest son was 10 years old, and loved to wander down the alley to check out what our elderly neighbors were throwing away on garbage day.

We opened the box to also find a large package filled with ornaments, and an angel for the top. We assembled and decorated, and it was beautiful! I wondered if the neighbors knew that my son found treasures behind their garage, and if there were more angels present than the one that topped our tree. That tree was used for the next 20 years, and 44 years later, the story of our tree’s origin is our favorite family Christmas story.

Weather drawing by Courtney Franta of Mrs. Silgjord’s fourth-grade class at Harrison Elementary School.

Merry Christmas

PEACE ON EARTH The beauty of the winter season reminds us of how blessed we are in so many ways, including the friendship of neighbors like you.

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After a number of trips home with old buckets, storage containers, cages, pictures and old dishes, I had told him, “No more!” On this particular Saturday, there was a knock on the back door. There stood my son, with a broad smile on his face, and a pleading request. “Mom, can I please bring one more thing home?” I looked at his small hand wrapped around the strap, which held together a large box. He had dragged that box for half a block, and inside was a 6-foot Christmas tree.

Lorma Gene “Cookie” Rohloff Pequot Lakes

Christmas Eve morning, She saw her mom and there was a big cage by started praising. “Thank her door. She careful- you so much!” Abby said. Ding! The doorbell sent ly peeked inside, and her “You’re welcome.” Her a loud ding through the dream gift was in there… mom replied. And from then on Abby house. “I’ll get it!” Abby “A dog!!!” Abby screamed. shouted to her mom. She grabbed the furry bun- had her dream gift. A dog Abby was always the first dle and rushed downstairs. named Eve! one to the door. But this time, there was an unexpected guest. When Abby answered, a tall, young man was standing by her family’s door. “Hello,” the man said. “I’m Richard Peterson from the Animal Rescue Society. I know it’s Christmas break, and I don’t want to bother you, but is your mother around?” That was when Abby started to get suspicious, so she lied and said, “Nope. Just me.” “OK,” The man answered. “Have her call me when she -” Richard was interrupted when Abby’s mom answered the door. “I’m sorry,” her mom said. “Sometimes my daughter can be a little suspicious!” “Oh, it’s okay.” Richard replied. Then the weirdest thing happened. First, Abby’s mom sent her up to her room. Next, her mom took a large object out of Richard’s hands. After that, her mom signed a piece of paper that Richard gave to her. And finally, Weather drawing by Evelyn Grace Marks from Mrs. her mom closed the door. Smith’s first-grade class at St. Francis School. At dinner that evening, Abby ate extra quick. When she was done, she ran up to her room and went straight to bed. Tomorrow was Christmas Eve! When Abby woke up Best wishes to our patrons, friends & neighbors

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S4 Monday, December 25,

Third Place kids

Baby Jesus is Born Clare Caughey Fort Ripley, age 6 The sand was blowing and Mary and Joseph were on their way to Bethlehem. When they arrived, all of the inns were full. So they had to stay in the animal stable on the

Christmas morning. All of the animals wanted to see baby Jesus. The shepherds who were in the fields watching their sheep saw a bright star, they wanted to know what was going on. First came the shepherds, then came the angels singing joy to the world. Next came the

donkeys, then came the cows. The puppies came next. The doves who were in the rafters were watching carefully. Then the roosters who were saying cock-a-doodle-doo. Then were the spiders who were paying no attention. Last were the sheep who loved the baby with care.

Weather drawing by Clare Caughey of Mrs. Smith’s first-grade class at St. Francis School.

Third Place adult

The Christmas Doll Janice Moore Pequot Lakes

Many years ago, growing up in a small town in southwestern Minnesota, one could always look forward to the tradition of the annual school Christmas program. Although the exact title of this particular program does not come to mind, the theme had to do with Christmas toys. I was chosen to be a doll because of being small and the person had to fit down inside a decorated cardboard box. My mom

lovingly and painstakingly sewed a dress for me out of pink and blue crepe paper, including ruffles and bows. It was beautiful. At one point in the program, I was to knock on the box and say, “Let me out, let me out - here I am.” When someone opened the box, I popped up with my arms in the air. As I did so, a staple in the box caught on my dress, tearing a hole. Although it tore at my heart, I don’t think anyone else noticed. When rehearsing for

the program, my teacher had told me that I could put my arms down after a while. On the night of the play, an appropriate time for putting them down never seemed to occur and I kept my arms in the air for the rest of the program. Oh, the joy of youth when one could do such a thing. Later someone told me that a little girl in the audience cried because she wanted to take me home. So, I would say my portrayal of a Christmas doll was convincing and a success!

Weather drawing by Kadence Donoso of Mrs. Meyer’s third-grade class at Harrison Elementary School.

Brainerd Elks Lodge #615 wishes everyone a very Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

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Stories of Christmas - 2017  

On the following pages, you’ll find the winners of the Brainerd Dispatch’s annual Stories of Christmas writing contest. There were three cat...

Stories of Christmas - 2017  

On the following pages, you’ll find the winners of the Brainerd Dispatch’s annual Stories of Christmas writing contest. There were three cat...