Catherine and Vincent's
                                                                                            Christmas in Connecticut!
                                                                                                     Sharon Holtz
This Christmas story is a sequel to my story "Holiday Anyone?"in which Catherine and Vincent went to the cabin for a summer Holiday.It was difficult convincing Father,but thanks to Peter's clarity and plan, in the end, Father went along too!So half the battle had already been fought when Catherine came up with a new idea!


Catherine,  and Vincent  were whiling  away the  Saturday  afternoon, going through  an  old trunk,where  Vincent  kept his  important  keepsakes, and childhood memories.As Catherine came across a framed photo, she breathlessly said, "I love this picture! It is a Currier and Ives isn't it?"Vincent stopped reading his childhood journal for a moment to see what picture it was Catherine was asking about. With a bittersweet smile, he dreamily answered, "Yes."


Catherine admired the winter scene, and sighed as she told Vincent, "This picture makes me home sick for the cabin. It is so beautiful there during the winter. A snowfall there transforms everything, making the world around you look so enchanting! The huge billowy flakes fall so silently, seemingly sound-proofing the world around you. And the icicles, the icicles look like diamonds and jewels as they hang suspended from the frozen tree limbs, glistening on a sunny, cold winter’s day."

Wanting to hear more, Vincent closed his journal, and intently asked, "Tell me more about your time
there during the winter Catherine.”

As Catherine thought back, she was swept up in another sweet childhood memory, as she thoughtfully relayed, "Well, when I  was young, we would spend a lot of weekends there. The lake would freeze 
over, and when the community would all gather, we would have these wonderful ice-skating parties.We would have music bellowing out of the speakers Dad had mounted on these huge poles outside the cabin, and during the Holidays, we would play Christmas songs. It was so fun skating to the music.”Tipping his head as he imagined Catherine’s father as a young man, Vincent asked, "So he was a good ice skater back then?”Catherine smiled as she replied, "Oh yes. My Dad was quite a skater in his younger days, he skated so beautifully, skating backwards, doing fancy spins. He would really put on a show, maybe showing off a bit if he knew Mom was watching."

She then softly laughed, as she recollected, "I can remember one particular time, watching Dad skate from afar, and I saw him discreetly look Mom's way, wanting to make sure he had the audience he 
hoped he had. And of course, he did.”Thoughtfully, Catherine continued, "I don't think I will ever forget the look of love my Mom had on 
her face as she watched him skate, never taking her eyes off Dad the whole time."

Caringly, Vincent observed, "They sound like they were very much in love.”

Dreamily, Catherine answered,  "They were.” She then continued to reminisce, by fondly saying, "Dad would build a campfire on the shore, and after hours of skating, we would sit around it, with our ankles aching, and our scarlet red noses beaming. We would have a big iron kettle of something cooking over the open fire, either chili or stew, we would make mountain pies, and toast marshmallows, Ahhh, I have so many beautiful memories of those days up at the cabin."

Catherine stopped short as she looked up and noticed tears had gathered in Vincent's eyes. Catherine touched Vincent arm, and with great concern asked, "Vincent what is it?"Vincent tipped his head as if he were listening to a far off voice, and answered, "Your description, it is just as I imagined it would be. Through the years, I have looked at that Lithograph, and would dream I was one of the skaters, holding onto my partner, with my scarf flowing in the wind."

Vincent with deep emotion continued, "As a boy I stayed behind as the others went above to skate. At least I could dream of it Catherine, I imagine it still."Catherine hugged Vincent tenderly and she softly said, "I'm sorry for going on and on."Vincent shook his head and said, "Don't be, your words took me there, and for a moment, I was one of the skaters around that fire."Catherine then asked, 
"Wasn't there ever a time you went above and skated with the others?"

Vincent said no, and then told her, "Every year Pascal, Devin, or some of the other children would find skates for me to try on, either in the trash, or from a donation bin, however, they never fit.”Catherine thought of the many disappointments Vincent has had to endure during his lifetime. Even the simple joy of skating on a frozen pond, was something he could only dream of.

As they spoke of other childhood memories, Vincent expressed how much he enjoyed the winter season, and of how as a boy, he couldn’t wait for night fall, when he could sneak out and have a walk 
about in the new fallen snow. As Catherine listened, her thoughts drifted, thinking how much Vincent would love the cabins snow covered landscape. And then it occurred to her, maybe it was time for 
another trip to the cabin!

And so, Catherine beamed at Vincent, as she schemed, "Why don't we all go to the cabin again? Maybe before Christmas, yes before Christmas would be best, when all the magic is in the air."Vincent looked downward, and after contemplating, he doubtfully said, "Before? We have many rich traditions we celebrate during the Christmastide."Catherine then suggested, "We could go for just a few days, maybe over the upcoming weekend? That way we would be back for Christmas Eve."

Vincent nodded as he rationalized, "Since the preparations are in place, perhaps there might be a way."Catherine spurred Vincent on by pleading, "Let's at least ask Father! The worse case scenario is he 
would suggest putting it off until after Christmas."As Jacob entered Vincent's chamber, he happened to over-hear Catherine’s last comment. And so he inquired, "Put what off until after Christmas?"

Vincent stood to welcome his Father, and Catherine stepped up too, as she told him, "I was just tellingVincent, it would be so wonderful to go to the cabin again before Christmas."

Jacob brought his hand to his chin and pondered the excursion, as he asked, "When would we go?"

Catherine smiled at Vincent, thinking Jacob’s question sounded promising, and said, "This weekend?We could be back on, Christmas Eve, if that would be all right."

Jacob looked to his exquisite son, and could see the excitement within his beautiful blue eyes. He then smiled as he asked him, "You would like to do this Vincent?"

Vincent felt like a child waiting for a Father's permission, but in truth, he was. Their relationship had evolved and improved so much since their last holiday, that Vincent would not want to do anything to
jeopardize their progress.

And so, softly he replied, "Very much Father."

Jacob with an uncustomary carefree demeanor shouted, "What are we waiting for? Let’s plan another trip to Connecticut!"

It took a couple of days for Catherine to make the arrangements, but everything fell right into place. She would have access to the cabin again, as her Father would be on his annual ice-fishing trip, with 
his brother Douglas. Peter would be able to go again, along with the same crew as before, Jacob of course, Pascal, Mary, Jamie and Mouse. But as word spread however, a few more were added to the 
roster, as Rebecca, and Laura would not be staying behind this time!

As the work day drew to a close, Catherine grew nervous, as her special gift for Vincent had not arrived yet. Thinking she better check on her order, she called the store, and asked the phone rep.,
"Could you track my package for me? I was expecting it a few days ago."

To which the sales-lady on the other end of the phone, informatively told her, the item had been back ordered, and the delivery date is now slated for Saturday!

Catherine earnestly said, "Oh no, that’s not possible! My order must come in sometime today!"

Calming herself, Catherine explained, "You see, I am going on vacation and I wanted to take the gift with me tonight, it is a gift for someone special, someone very special."

The sales-lady on the other end of the telephone commiserated with Catherine, but assured her there was nothing she could do!

Just as Catherine was about to give up, she wondered about the possibility of having the order delivered to the Post Office near the cabin! And so hopefully Catherine asked, "What if I change the
delivery address on my order? Could I have it delivered to where I am going!"

Feeling badly she didn’t think to offer that alternative herself, the sales-lady said, "Yes, we can! What a great idea!"

Gleefully Catherine said, "Wonderful we will do that then.” She then gave the change of address information, and thanked her profusely.

Imagine! She WOULD be able to give Vincent his special gift up at the cabin after all!

Catherine walked out of her office, and had the pleasure of riding down in the elevator with Joe.Always acting hopefully flirtatious with Catherine, Joe asked, "I’m gonna go check out Cheezza’s, the
new Pizza place around the corner, if you don’t have any plans, I thought you might want to tag along.After all its Friday night, time to live a little.”

With a smile, Catherine replied, "Maybe another time Joe, I did hear it’s a great place though, so I hope you enjoy it.”  

Feeling a bit shot down, Joe suspiciously asked, "What, you have a date or somethin’?”

Catherine smiled as she answered, "You could call it that.”

The lawyer in Joe couldn't help but probe a bit, as he asked, "Is this a casual thing, or with someone special?"

Shyly, as Catherine thought of Vincent, she replied, "Yes, with someone special Joe."

Seeing the blush in Catherine's cheeks as she spoke of her date, Joe teasingly said, "Well, check it out!Radcliff is smitten!"

Feeling her face reddening by the second, Catherine was so thankful when they finally reached the ground floor! With an embarrassed smile, she simply thanked Joe for the invitation, and said she would
see him after the weekend.

Joe watched as she entered the cab, and thought to himself, "Why are all the good ones taken?” With that ponderous thought, he entered his own cab, and headed for Cheezza’s.

As Catherine entered her apartment, she hurriedly changed, and as she set her things by the door,Peter arrived, just like clockwork, and asked, "Well kiddo, are you ready for another expedition to the

Catherine took a deep breath, and said, "Yes, I can hardly wait!"

Peter kissed her on the forehead, and with a fatherly hug, said, "Times a wastin', let's hit the road!"

Peter and Catherine pulled the Van into the loading area, where they picked up the rest of the crew. As the headlights illuminated the darkened tunnel, there in the forefront stood Vincent, with satchel in
hand, looking so striking. Being first to greet Catherine, he stepped up to say, "Hello Catherine."

After saying hello in reply, she then excitedly said, "I thought today would never end. I am so excited about our trip." With a fondness, they shared a look, before Catherine went on to welcome Rebecca,  
and Laura, saying she was so happy they were able to come this time too. Jamie gave Catherine a high five, saying now that she, Pascal, and Mouse were veterans, they would be happy to help the rookies.Jacob, and Mary, both cheerfully greeted Catherine, and Peter, as they loaded up the van.

With Peter behind the wheel again, they were ready to head to Connecticut! As everyone settled in,Pascal could be heard telling Mouse, "Don't count on it Mouse! Just forget it. The odds are too great!"

In an irritated tone, Mouse replied, "You don't know! And I WILL count on it!"

Wondering what they were arguing about, Jacob asked, "What is the problem? You sound like a couple of outsiders bickering!"

Pascal, looking for some back up, explained, "Mouse is hoping to see Rocky again! I just don't want him to get his hopes up, so I told him he's probably long gone."

Peter backed Pascal up by saying, "Although they are territorial, the odds are pretty slim Mouse, but hey, stranger things have happened."

Satisfied with Peter's answer for now, Mouse sat hopeful, repeating, "Yep, stranger things have happened."

With a few miles under their belt, the excited chit chat died down a bit, when Mary mentioned she had food! As she dug into the basket to pass out the sandwiches William had made, Jacob disappointedly said, "I hadn't realized William prepared sandwiches for us. I was hoping Peter would treat us again at the quick-nourishment place, McDoogles."

Peter bellowed back to the seat behind him, where Jacob, and Mary sat, saying, "It is called McDonald's, and if you are a very good boy this week-end, maybe we'll stop on the way home!"

Jacob sarcastically scoffed, "Oh, Goody, Goody!" Mary looked at Jacob, and held back her chuckle, as she handed him his sandwich.

As Jacob took a bite of his Cheese, and onion sandwich, he raised a brow and said, "This is delicious, I do believe it is my good fortune we did not stop at McRonald's!"

Meanwhile, Mouse, who sat between Peter, and Pascal, pulled the onion out of his sandwich and tried to hand it to Pascal. Pascal a bit irritated said, "Mouse, I already have onion! You should just eat your sandwich the way William made it!"

Mouse pouted and turned to ask Peter, "Want more onion Peter?" Giving him a sideways glance, Peter opened his sandwich, and said, "Sure, plop it on there kid, I love onions!"

To be continued