Candy Canes And Toothpaste

Candy Canes And Toothpaste

Once upon a time...

Chapter 2

The Diddles

The Diddle children rushed down the stairs, one after the other. Nine-year-old James led the pack, followed by his sisters, Carmen and Elizabeth. The sound of their footsteps filled the house, and their voices echoed in the halls as they made their way into the kitchen for breakfast.

The children waltzed into the kitchen and were entranced by the delightful smell of their mother's cooking. They inhaled the pleasant aroma of eggs and bacon. Their mouths watered at the thought of chewing this blessing. After all, it was only on very rare occasions that they had such a meal.

Elizabeth's eyes wandered to her mother, who was still setting the table.

"Do you need any help, Mother?" the young lady asked, tucking her short blonde hair behind her ear. Her beautiful brown eyes gleamed with excitement.

Their mother, Carolyne Diddle, could not help but smile at the wonderful young lady her daughter was growing up to be. She wiped her sweaty face with the back of her hand, leaving charcoal stains on it. Wisps of her raven hair escaped from her bun and glued themselves onto her face. Her blue eyes moved to her two little ones by the stove.

"No dear. Just take your brother and sister with you to feed the chickens, and then wash up for breakfast. Understand?"

Elizabeth nodded, perhaps far more enthusiastically than she intended. James and Carmen giggled at how silly their older sibling looked.

"Are you really going to feed the chickens looking like that?" James snorted, adjusting the grey fedora his father had left him before leaving for the war.

"Where are your manners, James?" scolded Mrs. Diddle.

"Sorry, Mother." He took off his hat and held it up to his chest like any other little gentleman in their village would.

"Just go wash up. You can feed the chickens later."

"Let's go," he said, grabbing hold of his six year old sister's hand and leading her upstairs.

"I'll go as well," Elizabeth muttered, starting up the stairs.

"Elizabeth," her mother called out in a somewhat shaky voice.

The girl stopped half way, dreading the news her mother was about to announce. Carolyne's voice was always shaky when she had bad news to tell. Oh, how Elizabeth dreaded it.

"We need to talk," her mother told her.

Later that day, after the sun slowly set across the hillside, Mrs. Diddle bid good night to her children.

She stood over her son's bed, candlestick in hand. "Good night, love." She kissed his forehead and moved on to Elizabeth's bed.

"Sweet dreams," she said kissing her as she had with James.

"Mother, about our talk-"

"Not a word," she warned.

"I understand," she nodded, pulling the sheet over her head.

Mrs. Diddle let out an audible sigh as a way of regaining composure before making her way over to Carmen's bed by the window. She drew the curtains open, letting the moonlight illuminate the room.

She smiled at the sight of her little one. Locks of dark hair covered her pink cheeks, and her chubby little fingers held on to her teddy bear, Bunny, as if her life depended on it. Carmen looked a lot like her mother.

Although she didn't say much, her mother knew there was something special about her. If only she talked...

She put out the candle and placed it on the window frame. Rays of moonlight lit the room. She kissed her daughter's forehead. "Good night, my little one," she said, tucking her in. She watched as Carmen drifted off to sleep.

Mrs. Diddle turned and headed for the door.

"Mother, wait," she heard James call out.

She stopped and looked back at her blond headed boy. "Yes, dear?"

"I have a loose tooth."

She smiled. "Well, I guess we'll deal with that tomorrow morning."

And with that, she headed for her room for a well-deserved good night's rest.

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