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Miracle of the Snow Mouse, Part 3

December 23, 2015
BY CHUCK CLEGG - Columnist , Wetzel Chronicle

It was Christmas Eve and in just a few hours Santa would return to New Martinsville. Once more the sound of the bell in the school tower with its clear tone sounding in the darkness would help Santa find his way into the valley. Along the Ohio River the small town waited.

The great hall in the school was filled with the many families of the town. Mothers and fathers were there for the tradition of the town's yearly playing and singing of the welcome song for Santa. Almost all of the children in town had a part in the annual play.

All day the clouds in the western sky had grown darker and heavier with the oncoming weather front. The change in the air temperature before the approaching storm was now pushing warm air across the valley that was covered in deep December snow.

The warm air crossing the cold snow created a heavy dense fog that soon covered the town entirely. It was like a great woolen blanket had been thrown over the small town of New Martinsville. So dense was the fog that night, the streetlights were little more than a soft glow from just a few feet away.

Delmar, standing at the window looking out, could not see the lights below in the town anywhere. He could only see the thick white fog that covered the town in silence. He was worried. Could Santa find the town with no lights to guide him down to the waiting community?

As he thought for a moment he remembered that Santa's reindeer could follow the sound of the bell to the large snow covered yard in front of the school.

It was nearing midnight and the annual play about Christmas was nearing its end. Soon the small children still dressed in their costumes would find their way off stage to sit in the audience and sing carols while waiting for the town's Christmas song to welcome Santa. This year, Mia would sing that song; the same song that for many years that had welcomed Santa to New Martinsville on Christmas Eve.

Delmar would ring the bell that on this night announced Christmas and welcomed Santa to their town nestled between the hills of the valley.

Ten feet above the stage on the right side was a large wooden beam that reached up to support the high ceiling over the great hall, an ideal place for a family of Snow Mice to sit quietly and watch the performance of the children on the stage below. Just above the lights, no one could see them in the darkness. It was the one night a year they could see and talk with Santa; they're oldest friend in the world.

Justin and his wife Willia sat holding hands and smiling at the wonderful performance of the children on the stage. Carter, Drew and Daniel, tired from the day's activities, had closed their eyes and fallen asleep. They covered their eyes with their large ears to prevent the bright lights below keeping them awake. But, before they fell asleep they made Abby promise to waken them the moment Santa arrived.

Cameron enjoyed the activities on the stage and would have liked to hear Mia sing her song, but this year curiosity made him want to see Delmar ring the Christmas bell.

He carefully balanced himself as he walked the large wooden beam up to a place where he could squeeze through a crack in the boards to see inside the bell tower.

It was cold inside and the night air was quiet. The heavy fog seemed to absorb all the sounds of the town just below. But, Cameron had made up his mind; he wanted to see Delmar ring the great bell to welcome Christmas.

As the holiday play came to an end, the last children dressed like wise men made their way into the crowd to find their waiting parents.

It was Mia's big moment. The moment she and the entire town had waited for all year was finally here. Time for her voice to welcome the arrival of Christmas and Santa to New Martinsville.

She could not see her father in the sixth row of the middle section. But, she knew he was there waiting and smiling as she prepared to sing. She also knew that part way through the song he would leave to ring the bell.

Finally, the Mayor nodded his head and said to the young girl, "It is time". Mia walked onto the stage raising her head as she looked into the dark rafters and smiled at Justin and his family, even though she could not see them above her, she knew they were there.

The room filled with people became silent as Mia walked onto the softly lit stage. The room now became so quiet; it was if Mia and her father were once again alone to practice her song.

As the young girl began to sing the town's special song the townspeople knew it was now Christmas Day. Her father felt proud as his young daughter was welcoming a day of joy and a time for families to be together for the holiday season.

When the time came, Delmar quietly left his seat and went to the waiting bell tower to pull the rope and help Santa find his way through the thick fog into the schoolyard.

As he had done many times before, he took a firm grip on the heavy rope and used his weight to pull the bell hanging high above and make it ring loud and true.

But, as he pulled the rope, to his astonishment, it broke free of the great silent bell and fell to the floor at his feet with a soft thud. No sound of the bell could now signal the way for Santa. The fog had closed in around the town, and now, no bell.

Something had to be done and done quickly or Santa would pass by the children of New Martinsville and no Christmas would come this year.

Peering through the crack in the boards Cameron had seen what had happened with the bell's rope. He could see that the small pin that held the rope had fallen out. It would take Delmar an hour to climb the tower and replace the ropes pin.

Cameron knew he was small, but if Delmar would hold him in his hands and make a wish for a Christmas miracle perhaps he could make it happen.

With abilities he never knew he had, Cameron climbed down the inside of the bell tower to where Delmar was preparing to repair the bell's fallen rope.

Looking up at Delmar, Cameron said, "Use my Christmas wish so that I may repair the bells rope."

"But you only have one wish in your entire life to grant. Are you sure this is the one?"

Cameron, without hesitation said, "Yes, it is time to give my gift to the town that is my home."

As Delmar gently picked Cameron up in his hands, he could sense the warm glow starting to come from the small white creature. It was as if every white hair was slowly being lit from within. His eyes twinkled like tiny blue stars.

After a few seconds, Cameron jumped down to the bell tower floor and put the heavy rope in his teeth then he began to climb the large wooden supports of the tower. Up, up, up he went as if the rope weighted nothing. Up, up ,up he went till he reached the very top of the tower next to the quiet bell. Cameron placed the ropes eye into the bells bracket and with his last bit of strength he pushed the pin into place and secured the rope.

Delmar looked up and saw he had completed his work in just a few minutes. Now, Delmar pulled the rope and the bell came to life welcoming the arrival of Christmas.

As the bell rang and its magic came to life the warm air that had brought the thick fog began to push the dense blanket away from the valley and across the hills. It was not long before the twinkle of stars could be seen in the clear night sky once again.

As Cameron looked out into the night he could now see Santa and knew he had not passed them by. Christmas was here. The song of Christmas and sound of the bell brought great joy and peace to our town. Cameron with his special magic had save the town's special night.

Many years have gone by and the old school has been torn down because it had fallen into disrepair. The bell that had hung in the tower and was used to announce Christmas, now sits quietly in the Commons area of the new school.

What of Justin and his Family? Well, it has been many years since anyone has seen the family of Snow Mice. But, perhaps if a warm winter fog would ever appear in the Ohio Valley again on Christmas Eve, I believe there still may be a little magic left in that old school bell. That is if we all believe and wish for one more gift of a Snow Mouse

Justin, Delmar and the staff of the Wetzel Chronicle wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, as we all look for the holiday magic Through the Lens.

 
 
 

 

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