Adventure Christmas Inspirational

This story contains themes or mentions of suicide or self harm.

This story has some sensitive information regarding the handling of firearms, but it's not a violent story.

I remember that Christmas morning;

To use the old phrase, Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house nothing was stirring, not even a mouse. The stockings were hung all in a row in hopes that St. Nicholas would soon be there.

So not exactually that dramatic, since all of us were in our early twenties, we were aware of the fact that any presents left under the tree were put there by another family member or parents. My brothers and I were especially anxious this year because we were all attending local colleges, and in the next few years, we would go on to a finishing university once we had determined our course of study for our professional lives. My brothers, James and Alex were younger than me but all of us were busy with our schoolwork and other activities, all of us have a parttime job of sorts to help out with expenses for our parents. We were enjoying the Holiday break because we all had such hectic schedules it was nice to be out of school for a couple of weeks and reorganize our thoughts and priorities.

It was pitch black outside and cloudy so seeing when it was beginning to get daylight was a guessing game. Finally, faded light was coming through the curtain and I jumped up and ran down the hallway to the living room and the Christmas Tree.

What a sight, lights glistening, red, green, gold and blue paper on the packages around the tree, coffee brewing in the kitchen and the smell of apple cider and cinnamon all around the room. I sat down on a chair in front of the tree and soaked it all in before anyone else was up.

Then the fantasy was over as family members started filing down the hallway to the living room and the kitchen. Mom and Dad were drinking coffee, and my youngest brother, Alex was getting ancy so he started handing out packages to every one.

I noticed right away that my brothers and I had one special package from Mom and Dad, that were the same size, not same paper. Our tradition is to have one person at a time open all of their presents and then we go on to the next person and it always started with my youngest brother Alex. He’s not shy at all and immediately starts ripping into the presents. The present that my parents gave all of us ended up being a 22 magnum pistol along with a gift certificate for a concealed carry training course at the local shooting range.

After the presents were opened, we all ate breakfast and then went back to examine our presents.

My brothers and I asked our parents about the pistols, and they both said that since we all are taking some night classes or working some night hours, they just wanted us to have a level of protection that would give them a sense of calmness knowing that we were armed and could possibly protect ourselves should the need arise.

We were so excited about having pistols, that the next day when the stores were open, we went and bought gun belts with holsters and bullets. Lots and lots of bullets, each gun only shot 6 bullets at a time so we needed a lot of them.

We lived in a rural area of town so, we were allowed to have a little shooting range in our backyard. We started to look around the house, in the laundry room, in the garage and every where we might find a container or a sign, just anything that would able to be a target. Once we had a pretty large collection of targets, we started lining them up on the fence that we used for holding the targets.


Alex was so excited and couldn’t wait for all of us to get ready to shoot that he decided to go ahead and try a fast draw; and when we all turned to see what had happened, Alex was laying on the ground blood gushing from the lower part of his pant leg, and he had passed out.

Mom used her cell phone to call 911, then dropped down by Alex’s side and held his head. Dad went into the house to get a wet wash rag for Alex’s face. James and I were still in shock, I think; we hadn’t moved since we heard the shot.

The ambulance pulled into the driveway and people in medical scrub suits jumped out of the vehicle. They went to the back of the van and started pulling out bags and bags of bandages, syringes, gauze and then the gurney comes out.

When one of them ripped off Alex’s pant leg, the wound showed that a bullet went through his calf muscle, and lodged into the heel of his tennis shoe. His leg was bleeding profusely and the ambulance driver suggested that Alex could be better tended to at the hospital, plus the Dr. on call would be able to access whether an infection might spring up from the trauma to the shin area. Mom and Dad agreed that they could take him to the hospital, and they would follow right behind.

James and I were to stay at home, surely we had homework or we could watch a Christmas movie.

“Of course we will” I assured Mom, but down deep inside, I was really upset with Alex. He’s the baby of the family and these types of things had always happened as long as I can remember.

As soon as the ambulance left and Mom and Dad headed toward the hospital, James ran into the house and through his gun belt and the bullets on his bed, “You know that he did that on purpose, don’t you?”

“I mean not the shooting of his own leg, but he just had to get in the first shot, and I’m sick of him always being the attention of the whole event whatever it is that we try to do.”

“I know what you mean, now who knows when we will be able to practice. Mom and Dad won’t feel like it when they get home and they probably won’t want to watch us shoot tomorrow or the next day either.” I said.

“Well, I do have homework for my term paper so I’m going to make some popcorn and a coke and go to my room to study, if I don’t hear Mom and Dad come home, please interrupt me OK?” I asked.

“Ok, will do, I’m going to be watching the football game that’s on tonight.” James replied.

It was after midnight before Mom and Dad drove into the driveway and when they came into the house, both of them were crying. James was asleep on the couch, but he woke up quickly when they came in crying. He came running into my room and told me that they were home and something is wrong. “What’s wrong?” I asked.

“I don’t know, they both came in crying so I came to get you, I haven’t spoken with them yet.” James answered.

“Mom, Dad, what’s wrong?” I asked. “Is Alex OK? Why are you crying? Can I get you something? Come over to the table and sit down, I’ll get you some water and Kleenex, how about a glass of wine?”

Mom nodded her head in a yes answer and she pointed to the wine cooler.

Mom’s crying slowed down a little bit after wiping her face with a cool clean damp wash rag and finally she said “Alex is ok, but the bullet went through the bone in his leg, so tomorrow they will operate to mend his bone, then keep him for another day to make sure it’s healing, he should be home in a day or two. We are crying because we were on our way to the hospital so quickly that we didn’t see the next door neighbor’s dog in the road and we ran over it. We couldn’t deal with it right at that moment so called the neighbors when we reached the hospital and they just knew that we had done it on purpose. The dog has died with in the last hour and they are mad at us, mad enough to put their house on the market and they want to move back to where their family and grandkids live, I think’s it’s somewhere over in the Midwest, like Ohio, Missouri or Indianna.”

“I don’t know why it hit me so hard that I started to cry, and then when I started Dad started to cry, he’s never been able to see me crying without him crying also. I think it must have been all of the excitement and worry that goes along with an injury that makes ones emotions just be hanging out there waiting to be hurt enough to cry”

“Anyway, we will try to talk to the neighbors tomorrow, why would they think that we would run over Mitsy on purpose? We’ve always been able to get along with her, and she likes us, she comes over sometimes just to lay on our porch in the sun, since her owners’ porch doesn’t have a space in the sun. Not sure what that’s all about.”

The next day everyone was able to get a little bit of sleep and when we got up, there was already a message from the hospital on the answering machine. Please call us at the nursing station when you get this message, so Mom called the hospital, and after being transferred to 5 different people, she finally was speaking to the Dr. that was attending Alex.

“Hello, Dr. Miller, how’s our patient this morning?”

“Well, Mrs. Burns, the wound is a little more serious than we had first analyzed, it has actually torn the bone into two pieces and the muscle is completely ripped away, it appears that Alex will need to use a cane or some sort of support to walk for awhile maybe even the rest of his life if we cannot put the bone and muscle back together correctly enough so that he can use it as it should be. We need for you and Mr. Burns to come to the hospital to sign consent forms so we can schedule the surgery.”

“Ok, Dr. we will be there shortly.” Mom responded.

After Mom and Dad returned to the hospital and signed the forms, the surgery was scheduled for the next day and then Alex was told the news of him needing to use a cane or a walker for a long period of time, he is 22 years old, he was very active in sports, hunting and fishing, and this is not going to work for him.

James and I felt bad about making the statements that we did about Alex, they were things that we wouldn’t wish on somebody much less Alex. The surgery was successful, Alex was home in 4 days with a lot of different types of equipment Grandpa or Grandma had moved in with us. Alex became an immediate invalid, Mom had given him a bell to ring in case he needed anything, and James and I were to listen for it in case Mom and Dad were not able to get to him.

Well, when Mom and Dad both went to work, it was James and I to take care of him, and he started being really helpless, he needed assistance for practically everything that he did. He was supposed to be getting up and trying to help himself, but NOOOOOOOOOO. He didn’t feel comfortable getting up unless Mom and Dad were close by, so he wouldn’t get up at all until they came home.

James and I were exasperated because we still had jobs to go to, and homework from our classes to do over the Holiday weeks, so we would just get settled down to read or research and “Ding, Ding, Ding” Alex’s bell would be ringing.

When it was time to return to our schools dorm rooms, Alex wasn’t allowed to go to his school, so Mom and Dad would be taking him to school every day, and picking him up at end of day.

So when spring break came around, James and I came home to take a break from school, and we were surprised to see Alex’s non-progress.

He was in the same state as we had seen him at the Holiday’s, so what was going on? Mom said that the wound was infected and very painful, if it doesn’t start clearing up the Dr. will need to cut off part of his leg, to right above the place where the bullet entered the leg.

After four months, Alex’s leg wasn’t any better and the day came for the Dr. to do surgery to amputate the leg up to the middle of his calf muscle and hopefully this time the wound will heal and Alex can start working on his plan to figure out how to operate for the rest of his life without part of a leg.

Things changed drastically around our house, Mom and Dad had become the caregivers for Alex, instead of working everyday, they went into semi-retired mode to alternate taking care of him.

James and I went on to graduate and apply for jobs within our chosen professions. We took turns going home for a week at a time every few weeks, to give Mom and Dad an opportunity to have a break from caregiving. James and I also, went through the class for concealed carry of weapons and we were carrying our pistols. Surprisingly enough, Alex, didn’t want anything to do with his pistols and didn’t want to be around us if we were going to be practicing with ours.

He decided to pursue a career in self-defense, and safe handling of weapons for the government.

If Mom and Dad had known what was going to happen, I’m sure they might have re thought their idea of giving us guns for Christmas, but at least Alex took his position and ran with it as far as he could go.

April 07, 2022 18:22

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Dora Acosta
17:13 Apr 20, 2022

Hi Parshalla, thank you for sharing your story! It had some great moments of dialogue and action/events. I had a creative writing professor tell me once to read my stories out loud several time after I've written them. Each time I stubbled on words or sentences while reading, I should go back and work on editing my language and word usage. That advice has been very helpful to me as a writer. I would offer the same advice to you. Keep writing. I look forward to reading more of your work :)


Parshalla Wood
19:19 May 03, 2022

Oh my goodness Dora, Thank you so much for taking the time to read my story, and I so appreciate your comment, I will be sure to do what your professor suggested, oh course, it makes total sense. I appreciate you sharing it with me. Again, Thank you, Parshalla


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