Sybil Bruncheon's "Christmases Past!".... Prudholme's Falls, Kansas... The Home of Gaston Cruller:

       The home of Gaston Cruller. Gaston was born blind but had a wide circle of friends at the university where he taught Comparative Anthropological Historiography in a Geo-Literal Matrix...101. His colleagues felt that he always missed out on the immense beauty of the Christmas tradition because of his handicap and so they decided to surprise him by putting up a Christmas tree fully decorated and lit with tapers by the time he got home from evening classes.... His best friend, Ricardo Farabont, professor of Romance Linguistics & Limericks had invited everyone over...There was Phillip Coffey from the Archaeology of Housewares Department, his fiancee, Miss Gwedolyn Linkeny from Advanced Calculus & Cuisine, Dr. Klaybourne Fench of the Department of Particle (and Larger Pieces) Physics, and Edith Shmedski of the Doctoral Program of Home Ec. What a charming circle of loyal and loving friends they were, and more were expected within the hour.... 

      Sadly, one Christmas, while all of them went to the kitchen to begin assembling the refreshments and buffet supper to be served, Gaston wandered away to enjoy the tree with the only senses left to him.... smell, taste, hearing, and touch. While plucking various branches of the fresh evergreen to smell, and possibly eat, he accidentally ignited one of the nice angels in the branches that promptly plummeted down to “Bethlehem” and into the middle of the stable in the creche below... within seconds, most of the barnyard animals were incinerated along with two of the wise men (possibly Melchior and Balthazar according to investigators later.) The innkeeper and his wife were also badly burned along with various villagers who had come to see what was happening in the stable. The villagers were indeed “sore afraid”! 

     Fortunately, Mary, Joseph, and the Blessed Savior were thrown completely clear when the barn exploded.... two camels were lost, an ox and lamb, a small drummer boy, neighbouring hovels and cottages...all lost. ….Indeed, if Edith Smedski hadn't run in with a seltzer bottle, all of Bethlehem and the Holy Star itself might have been consumed! (Thankfully, her father had been a clown!) The place smelled of charred wood with a hint of myrrh, Elmer’s glue, and papier-mâché. Gaston was miraculously uninjured although the lime green plaid cravat he always insisted on wearing with his tangerine polka-dot waistcoat and purple elephant suspenders was singed beyond repair. His friends used it all as an excuse to buy him a new wardrobe to THEIR specifications.... and they decided a menorah might be a better choice for the next year... Oh, how wrong they were.....

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