Text Box:  Christmas Reunion in 2014
 A Story of Love, Hope and Survival
  The spring was cooler than previous years and the Snow Pack of the Rockies provided an abundant and refreshing supply of water alleviating the drought conditions of Southern Nevada so much so that the Water Authority and the Clark County Commission rescinded an order and the owners of fountains located at various shopping malls, service stations, and locals hang outs were granted permission to activate their dormant plumbing systems; few complied though as some were filled with rock and converted to desert landscaping upon entry of the original ordinance, others relegated to a state of disrepair neglected like the attached properties mainly local bars now since vacated after the implementation of the smoking ban. The few survivors though gushing water high in the air their life sustaining emissions coordinated to commence operation at precisely noon on the first day of summer the pristine displays drawing throngs of people, some curious, some seeking relief from the already searing heat but most seeking hope and reminiscing to a day when fountains and money flowed freely in Las Vegas.
  The heat abated in early August and fall arrived shortly thereafter a pronounced chill indicating the onset of the harvest. The smoke and aroma of wood fireplaces burning cedar, oak and walnut logs flavored the night air. Winter is upon us now with snow and heavy winds. Some parts of the city seem rather desolate the abandoned buildings and windows shattered the remnants of glass shards the only reminder of any previous habitation the buildings one after another after another succumbing to the elements occupied now not by homeless but rodents and feral cats who as predators control the flow of disease serving the dual purpose of pest control and primitive yet vigilant dominant species for miles around.
   Some sections of this once thriving city and county were evacuated to concentrate and fortify the base within a huge circle the population now numbering less than one half of its previous one million plus apex.
   The 215 serves as the outer perimeter of the safety zone the badlands beyond.  Checkpoints staffed by civilians now deputized as militia insure the safety of the local citizenry within. Pockets of residents continue to maintain their homes in areas adjacent but outside the perimeter forming their own CRF or citizen reaction forces.  Two of these areas nestled in the horse country of the northwest were named Steeple Chase One and Steeple Chase Two but now are referred to simply as PC1 and PC2 or protected camps 1 & 2.
    The security gates no longer function in these once magnificent but still pristine communities replaced instead with a lone sentry this night, his inhalation of a cigarette the pale orange ember a lone tell of his presence on this quiet cold shift. Most of the inhabitants of these communities save for the children have traveled the few miles up Tenaya to the local bar and grill simply referred to as the Lodge.  He checks his phone and realizes it’s almost midnight this Christmas Eve.  Out of the stillness a remote rumbling distracts him from a moment of thought and prayer. The sound intensifies and his back up radio cracks to life with the voice of his counterpart located in PC-2 two blocks retrenched from his post.  They agree to consolidate the forward position and a call is directed to interrupt the festivities up the hill and request an interception patrol.                                                                  
    The second sentry arrives just in time to view a convoy turning from Jones now approaching the middle school. The escort Hummer with dashboard attached blue flashing strobe piercing the darkness, a second command vehicle  with roof attached flat light package of alternating red, white and blue pulses indicates an officer on board. A large tractor trailer trails the first two in this convoy followed by two support vehicles, the last armor plated and each radiating blue pulsing strobes. The sudden whirring of two accelerating vehicles shifting through all five gears in a matter of seconds indicates the on the fly approach of the interceptors arriving side by side braking to a stop just shy of the entrance to Steeple Chase One.
  The watchmen lean on the gates and receive a squeaky reply as each one is dragged open. The worn steel joints rubbing against each other, lubricant and rubber moldings long gone, the screechy emissions now rivaling fingernail to chalkboard intensity and causing shivering of all present independent of the winter chill. The gates are secured with clove hitch knots using men’s silk ties; the convoy lighting now reflecting off a straw hat perched on the dashboard above the steering column of the first support cruiser.
  The two command vehicles and the now recognizable low riding Northern Van Lines Truck and heavy laden trailer turn into the entrance and proceed  right then left onto church steeple toward the back of this eighty home spread. The recovery vehicles enter through the exit turn left are trailed by the interceptors all vehicles now converging on a home at 6536 Water Crossing. The freightliner straddles the street directly in front of this residency its air brakes signaling her arrival. The support vehicles pull up just shy of the Christmas bow and wreath affixed to the front of this Peterbilt with a rebuilt C-7 Caterpillar engine.
   The darkness permeating the enclave retreats with a sudden and progressive illumination of the entire subdivision. Initially the interior lights from deep within the homes are switched on followed by downstairs, kitchen and porch lights then the flinging open of doors as the brightness spills out onto the snow crusted lawns. The view through random open double doors provides a glimpse of life from within of wall to wall furnishings some of lavish proportions to sofa sectionals serving two sets of masters; those that sit and those that claw the arm fabric, and other houses sparsely decorated with no furniture at all. The sudden scenic doll house view of their homes is of little concern to the occupants as husbands, wives, children and other residents many dressed in their pajamas, night wear or lingerie strategically covered with flannel or cotton robes the children in slippers some adorned with flapping duck or rabbit heads draw together outside the lucky home this early Christmas morn. Inside three little heads peek out almost is if on cue from three adjacent second floor windows.
    An elderly gentleman emerges from the command vehicle wearing an army blue Cavalry Stetson adorned with two crossed swords affixed just above the brim. He is immediately bear hugged by the presiding leader of this citizen reaction force and this Colonel Thomas Parker dry emits the locally immortalized phrase “I’m all shook up”.  Two Chow Chow’s jump from the back seat and out the front door to join their master and bark approval of his impression of Elvis Presley not because it is particularly good but for want of a dried chicken strip hidden with a cigar or two in his black fur lined bomber jacket.
   Colonel Parker a veteran of the American occupation of Northern China after World War II when his Marine Corps created a demilitarized zone between arriving Russians to the north and the warring Communists and Nationalists Chinese to the South. The Americans lifting the tarps on outgoing trains prevented the Russian army composed primarily of poor farming kids from shipping any equipment of military value back to the future U.S.S.R. but otherwise not interfering in the virtual wholesale looting by the Russians of Chinese factories.
   He as a retired Marine is chided about his new found Army look. He spryly suggest that it’s never too late to change occupations besides in the Army the rations are better. All gathered around laugh and then the doors to the home at the center of the commotion are opened and Christine emerges in jeans, flats,  a sweat shirt emblazoned with the words “Semper Fidelis” partially viewable through her untied heavy black robe.
   Christine Miracle often referred to as “Barbie” her proportions resembling quiet closely those of the universally recognized plastic doll collapses into the Colonels outstretched arms, his cane falling but retrieved before touching the driveway by a double shoulder holster packing female bodyguard.   Colonel Parker strokes Christine’s hair while holding her close, a bonding by and between father figure and daughter. He summons her: “Christine please come here, I have something for you”.
     Arm in arm they negotiate the drifting snow banks piled high against each of the three garage doors and down the sloped driveway to the moving van. The Colonel lifts his walking stick and taps the side loading doors.  The lead filled base of his cane thuds against the metal exterior which immediately opens from both sides; the perimeter of guards now assembled moves the entirety of the gathered neighborhood back a few paces to provide enough clearance for the doors to be folded back against the frame of the trailer.
    Two men one with a large fresh tree the other with supporting base jump off the platform and proceed into her home. Over their shoulders they exhale almost in unison “where do you want this ma’am”, Stunned at the site of such a gorgeous and large tree Chirstine replies:  “just behind the front door.”
   By this time the three little faces pressed against the windows have scurried down the stairs and outside running to their mommy. One youngster P.J. or little Peter Jamie falls flat into the snow and is instantly retrieved by his belt loops his savior an unshaven cigar chewing Marine gunnery sergeant who hoists P.J. high in the air twirling him a couple of times before he is lowered upright on his feet still cradling his black teddy bear “buddy” with man breasts, like his own, with one ear chewed off, the bear now sporting a snow toupee covering the thin strands of remaining head fabric all that remain from preventing its bare innards from being whisked away in the night breeze resulting in a flattening of buddy’s head and the alter ego of the little tyke P.J.; Rumors swirled throughout the neighborhood regarding the bear with boobs as part of B.B.T. or Bear Boob Therapy recommended for kids like P.J. caught acting out unhealthy oral fixations.  The Sergeant says:  “son you’re hanging onto that bear like a lawyer with his last paying client.” An eruption of laughter follows.
    Although hidden from view Christine belches out the letters P.J. from the back of the truck then peeks around the corner to eye him back into the house.
  Her other son little Luke waddles outside and also falls into the snow next to a spruce tree flailing and unable to recover he resembles a beach ball with arms.[1] Rubina or Ruby the Black Chow jumps over the drifts and pees on top of the snow pack melting it enough for his face to pop through the yellow mush. Ruby then instinctively drags him by his pant leg out from the whiteness. Ruby with Luke’s pants in her mouth motions back and forth pulling little Luke as his trousers drop down below his knees exposing his cookie monster underwear! He stands up shakes the dog and snow off, gains his composure and traction and retreats back into the house. Christine and all watching wait until he disappears from site and then burst out in laughter. Ruby howls with delight at her saving accomplishment and returns to her master’s side for a pat on the head and a chicken strip.
    Meanwhile a carnival barking voice can be heard as people cue in line on the far side of the trailer, “Trees to the right Turkeys to the left” “Did somebody say turkeys” can be heard from within Christine’s home as her sister Traci appears her frumpy sleepy look offset by her sleek black silk robe cut high up the leg and she adorned in heels runs to the truck pleading: “Did someone say Turkeys?”  “I want one” Everyone laughs again the merriment now reaching a fever pitch with mothers and fathers barking request and in some cases orders for their children to run home and bring the car or wagon to load some of these Yule blessings!
                   All rights reserved 2009 Copy Right Christmas 2009 UAG