Hello and welcome to day 8 of The 12 Days of Christmas! Click here for more Christmas fun!
And now, we return to Germany for part five of Stille Nacht. Let’s see how our warring soldiers are getting along…
Part Five: Christmas Dinner
Marta took the pot from over the fire and placed it on the table. “Everyone have a seat!” Marta and Hilde sat on a bench together at the head of the table. Lars, Harold, and Stefan sat on one side of the table, Sarge, Adler, and Rudi on the other.
“Join me in prayer, please.”
The soldiers bowed their heads and Marta began to pray.
Rudi whispered, “We thank You, Lord, for bringing us together peacefully in this terrible war.”
Adler glanced at him, then closed his eyes once more as Rudi continued to translate Marta’s prayer. “Please bless this dinner and the little things that we have tonight. Help us to promise to be friendly to each other if at all possible, Lord. And let this terrible war end, so we can all go home very soon…”
Rudi’s voice cracked and he turned his face away. Adler stared hard at his plate as Rudi finished, “…In Jesus Holy Name I pray, Amen.”
No one spoke or made a move to dish out the food. Sarge glanced over at Lars in time to see him swipe at his eyes. Harold wasn’t even attempting to hide his feelings, though he remained quiet as ever. Sarge exhaled deeply as he felt moisture trailing down his own cheeks.
Hilde looked up at her mother. “Why are they crying?”
Stefan stood and stepped away from the table, fumbling in his pocket for a kerchief as he opened the door. When he returned, he mumbled, “Sure is cold outside,” hoping no one would notice his flushed face.
Adler cleared his throat as the food, at last, was passed around. “Um, Rudi, ask Harold who he’s got at home waiting for him, will ya?”
Rudi smiled and told Harold what Adler had said. Harold stared at Adler for a moment, stunned that he was talking to him. “I…um…my mother…and three sisters. I don’t know where Willi and Papa are. You?”
Adler nodded slowly, chewing a bite of bratwurst. “My wife and twins I haven’t met yet. A boy and girl.”
Rudi swallowed a bite of food before informing Harold of Adler’s answer.
Stefan looked up. “Twins? I’m a twin!” He clamped his hand over his mouth. His mother had told him never to mention that over the last few years. Why, he wasn’t sure.
Lars patted his shoulder. “No one will tell your secret, Stefan. We like you too much.”
“What’s the big deal with being a twin?” Sarge asked once the exchange had been translated.
Lars looked at Rudi and said something. Rudi grimaced. “We have a leader with some very strange curiosities. Hitler has had numerous tests done on twins…I don’t know the extent, but if one is a twin, they keep quiet about it.” He jerked his head toward Stefan. “He doesn’t know anything about that. I grew up with his older brother and I promised I’d sorta shield him.”
“Is there no end to that moron’s madness?” Adler muttered, taking another bite of soup.
Rudi lowered his head. “Perhaps, along with war, we should ban his name from conversation too.”
“I’m for that!” Sarge agreed.
Stefan began to cough again, his whole body shuddering. Marta stood and came to his side, offering him more water. “What’s wrong with him?” Adler asked.
“Lung infection,” Rudi replied. “We have no medicine for him.”
Adler winced as Stefan pressed a blood spotted handkerchief to his mouth. “How long has he been like that?”
“About a week now,” Rudi said as Stefan stepped away from the table. “I don’t know what to do for him.”
Adler glanced at Sarge, then stood and left the table. He rummaged through his pack. “Aha, here's where you’ve been hiding.” He pulled out a small glass bottle and held it over his head in triumph. In French, he asked Marta for a spoon.
Adler measured out a dose of the liquid in the bottle. Lars narrowed his eyes and glanced at Rudi. “What is that?” Rudi asked as Adler walked toward Stefan.
“It’s some medicine that I can’t pronounce, but I had a lung infection last month and this stuff helped. Some housewife in France gave it to me.”
Lars reached for the bottle and scanned the label. “Hmm!” He nodded and Adler helped Stefan somehow get the medicine down without spewing it everywhere.
Lars handed the bottle back to Adler. “No, y’all keep that,” Adler said, pushing the bottle back into Lars’ hands.
Rudi tried to translate. “What does y’all mean?”
“You all,” Sarge said with a laugh. “It’s a word from my part of the States. I guess I’m rubbing off on Adler.”
“Well, you’ve picked up a few things from me too,” Adler defended. “Like eating bagels for one, hmm!”
Lars looked at Adler as they all sat back down at the table. “Bagels? Rudi, ask this man if he is Jewish.”
Oh, dear! Sounds like trouble might be brewing! Tune in tomorrow to see what happens next!
And it’s day Seven of the 12DOC! Hard to believe it’s only 5 days until Christmas! We’re in the home stretch!
*And it’s day Seven of the 12DOC! Hard to believe it’s only 5 days until Christmas! We’re in the home stretch!
Today’s post is a bonus! You read the title right! I’m giving away five books! As you all know, last year I published my very first Christmas Novella, Coffee Shop Christmas. Five people will be the recipient of a pdf copy of this book, a little Christmas present 😉 How do you get a copy? Well…
The first five subscribers to contact me get a copy! This only lasts through today, so feel free to share with friends about this giveaway. And no sharing your pdf copy please. *UPDATE! All five of the books are gone! Thank you to everyone who contacted me! You all made my day!*
And now for a book review: Wind Chimes by Victoria Minks!
The Wind Chimes, and Other Christmas Stories: A Collection of Short Stories
Christmas is a day of forgiveness, love, God, and family, no matter where you live or when you lived. These stories will take you somewhere long ago, and yet much like today.
With a touch of humor and a family-loving gentleness, these stories carry all the hope of Christmas.
Wind Chimes-- Still bitter over a hurtful mistake a year ago, Martin Roebuck meets the despised doctor on Christmas Eve.
The Two Runaways-- Lost while running away from home, Albert Russell is taken in by an old man, who seems to also have past grievances.
On the Fourth Floor-- Though living on the same floor, George Nolan and Christin Rimmers overlook each other-- until a common challenge brings them together the night before Christmas Eve.
The Spinster-- Wanting to avoid Christmas loneliness, Milly Lambert finds herself in the cabin of an old woman who holds a wise secret.
The Broken Man-- Criminal Arch Fisher attempts to take advantage of a kindly old settler in the woods, but things go miserably awry.
Winifred's Adventure-- Elderly couple Amias and Winifred Hambly--eager for an uncommon life--discover a dying mother the day before Christmas.
I’m seeing a pattern here…I’ve mostly been reading Short Story collections when it comes to Christmas books! This was the first Self-Published book I ever read, and since I know Victoria personally, it makes the book so much sweeter! I’ve known Victoria for…hmmm…six years? Something like that. Anyway, most of our friendship has manifested itself over the internet, since she is a MK (Missionary Kid) in Japan. But regardless, her writing is amazing! This collection of short stories is perfect for Christmas and is one of my very favorites! Truly a cozy read!
Genre – Historical Fiction
Historical Accuracy – As far as I can remember, it was 100% accurate. The stories go back and forth between the U.S. and England. Most of the stories don’t pinpoint a specific year.
Content – I won’t make you sit through all my ravings over this book 😉 I love it so much (My favorite story is called “The Spinster”. 2nd is “The Broken Man”, but they are all so good!)
Favorite Scene – Probably the one where a guy in one of the stories is being helped after a bad fall. The boys who help him and the constant chatter/remarks about the situation are just adorable. Also, a character named Mrs. Bascom. *Sigh* I love her so much!
Overall – If you want a lovely collection of Christian Christmas stories that will warm the heart, buy this book!
You can find Victoria’s website here and her Amazon link here.
Don’t forget to enter my giveaway, then hop over to Stories by Firefly for more Christmas fun!
Merry Christmas and welcome back for part four of my WWII Christmas story. If you missed the previous parts, you can find them here, here and here 😊 Enjoy! (Also, click here for more Christmas fun!)
Part 4: Rudi, Walking Wounded
“Don’t let him touch Joey, Sarge!” Adler said, coming to stand between Joey and Rudi.
“Are you a doctor?” Sarge asked.
“No, but I do have some medical training,” Rudi replied. “I was wounded once. Walking wounded men help the doctors. Maybe I can help him somehow.”
Sarge pushed Adler out of the way. “Let him examine him. He can’t hurt Joey with us standing right here.”
Rudi sat on the edge of the bed and opened his pack of medical supplies. “He’s got sulfur packs,” Sarge said, very pleased.
Rudi smiled at Joey and patted him on the shoulder. “Got hurt up, did you? May I take a look?”
Joey looked up at Sarge. “It’s okay, Joey.”
Joey slowly nodded his head. Rudi smiled again and removed the bandage Marta had rigged up for him. “Let’s take a look at this…” Joey tensed, fighting the urge to push Rudi away.
Stefan edged closer to them, craning his neck to get a better look at the wound. Harold, keeping to the back of the group tried to get a look too. Rudi shook his head and glanced up at Sarge. “My assistants,” he teased. “Stefan, bring me a light.”
“Jawohl.” Stefan took the lamp Marta offered him and held it over Joey, his hands shaking.
“Harold, you hold it,” Rudi said. He took a closer look at Joey’s leg. “The cold has kept it from becoming infected. You are very lucky, Pvt. Fuller. You’ll be just fine with some good rest and nourishment. I’m going to put some sulfur powder on the wound and dress it properly. You just lie still and relax, alright?”
Joey nodded and bit his lip, bracing himself for more pain.
Rudi worked fast and before Joey knew it, he was bandaged up properly and the pain was beginning to ease off.
Marta was again working over the fire, adding a few more potatoes and mushrooms. “I have a few bratwurst, if you want them,” Lars offered, pulling the items from his food pack.
“I too,” Harold whispered, fishing out his own.
Sarge dug into his pack and pulled out a can of baked beans and a second of mystery meat. Adler opened his pack and scrounged around. He pulled out a wrapped item and placed it on the table. Hilde furrowed her brow and unwrapped the cloth. “Mama! The American brought stollen! He brought stollen! Oh, you are my favorite!” she said, jumping up to hug Adler.
Her affection startled Adler. Cautiously, he placed a hand on her shoulder. “I take it she likes that stuff?”
Marta nodded. “Stollen is a Christmas tradition here. Where did you get it?”
Adler shifted. “Found it.” The German soldiers exchanged glances but said nothing. They knew he had found it on a dead soldier. How many times had they, on the verge of starvation at times, taken from their own comrades in arms and the fallen enemy troops to stay alive?
“Never mind that,” Marta said, handing Adler a knife. “Would you mind slicing it up for us? You can put it on this plate.”
Adler nodded and sank the knife into the bread like loaf. Sarge and Lars helped Marta set on the table what seemed like every dish in the house. Adler glanced at Rudi, who was timing Joey’s pulse. “How’s it sound?”
Rudi shrugged. “It’s a little fast, but that’s to be expected. He’s had quite the excitement this evening.” Rudi tucked Joey’s hand back under the covers, stood and stretched. He looked Adler up and down. “You look sturdy. Are you a carpenter?”
Adler shook his head. Rudi arranged the stollen on the plate as Adler continued to cut the slices. “What do you do back home?”
“Nosey aren’t you?”
Rudi furrowed his brow. “What has my nose to do with anything?”
Adler looked up at Rudi and almost smiled. “You know, you’re sticking your nose into other people’s business.”
“Oh! Oh, that makes sense!” Rudi said with a laugh. “Nosey! I like that.”
Adler shook his head and finally smiled a little. “You still didn’t tell me what you do,” Rudi reminded.
“If you must know, I’m a pushcart produce salesman and that’s probably all I’ll ever be.”
“Why? In America, you can do anything! Why would you want to be a pushcart whatever it was you said?”
“Because I’m…because where I live, no one wants to hire me. Our country has been in a depression, remember?”
“America too?” Rudi asked, surprised. “I always thought Americans had everything. Now, it really seems silly for us to fight each other, since we’ve both just come out of depressions. I remember how bad it was where I lived. We saw people pushing barrows into town filled with marks just to buy a loaf of bread.”
Adler raised an eyebrow. “Well, ours wasn’t quite like that...”
Rudi lowered his voice and said, “Maybe that’s why so many of our people were fooled by Hitler. We were so tired of living like that, we wanted change…” Rudi sighed and shook his head. “We sure got it.”
Adler grunted. “Hope you’re real happy with it. But then, things will be changing again before too long.”
Rudi nodded, his face grave. “I believe you’re right.”
And that’s all for now! Hope you are enjoying the story so far. What do you think will happen next? Stay tuned! We still have four parts to go!
 Yes or Yes Sir
Merry Christmas and Welcome back to day 5 of the 12DOC! Today, I have part 3 of Stille Nacht! We left off with Little Hilde running to answer yet another knock at the door. (Click here for part 1 and part 2) Let’s jump back into the story and see what happens next…
Part Three: No Guns on Christmas
Before Marta could stop her, Hilde had bolted up from the table and dashed over to the door, swinging it open wide. Adler jumped to his feet as Hilde screamed and backed away.
Marta pulled the child away and stepped outside. Sarge narrowed his eyes as he pointed his pistol at the door. They could just make out rapid talking. A man’s voice rose as it said, “Americanas?!”
Sweat beaded on Adler’s forehead as he gripped his carbine. If there were Krauts out there, they weren’t coming in.
Outside, Marta spoke calmly with the ranking German soldier. He and his men had become separated from their unit and needed a place to stay the night.
Marta smiled. “You can not only find shelter here, but you will also get a hot meal. That is, if you will accept our guests.”
The young soldier eyed her. “Why wouldn’t we accept them?”
“Are they Americanas?” butted in a still younger soldier.
Marta nodded, keeping her face pleasant.
The clatter of cocked weapons filled the air. Marta frowned. “This is Christmas night, sirs, and there will be no shooting around here. I have a young daughter and I will not have her more frightened than she already is. Put your guns in the wood shed, then you may come in and we will all have a nice, nice Christmas, ja?”
“What? With Americanas?” objected the second soldier.
The leader paused for a moment. He glanced back at the shortest man in their unit, who was shivering uncontrollably. “Ja. We agree. To the shed, men.”
Marta hurried inside and turned to Sarge and Adler. “We have more stranded soldiers here to stay for Christmas. We will have quite the party, oui? But you must agree to lay your weapons aside. We will have no shooting here.”
“Not happening, lady!” Adler snapped. Sarge gripped his gun tightly. This was insane!
“We know you’ve got Nazis out there, Frau. We ain’t laying down our guns especially since we have a wounded man,” Sgt. Edwards said firmly.
Marta crossed her arms. “You are in my home and if you want the shelter of it, it will be on my terms. As you can see, they too have no weapons.”
Adler took a step back as four men clad in dark gray enter the house. He glanced at Sarge. “If we put down our weapons, they’ll rush us, Sarge.”
Joey groaned on the bed, struggling to wake up after a bout of unconsciousness. “Sarge? Sarge, what’s going on?” His eyes locked on the German soldiers, his mouth falling partway open. “Sarge!”
“We don’t have much of a choice,” Sarge whispered to Adler. He laid his pistol on the table. “Do what she says.”
Adler couldn’t believe his ears as Sarge went over to the bed to calm down Joey. “You’ve lost your mind!”
“Put down your weapons, Adler. That’s an order.”
One of the German soldiers stepped up in front of him and wrenched the weapon from his hands. “You know better than to disobey your superior, Yank.” He handed the pistol and the sergeant’s to Marta. Turning back to Adler, he said, “It’s Christmas. Can’t we all just forget the war for a little while?”
Adler backed away from him with a scowl. “Maybe you can, you hund. But some of us can’t.”
“Fair enough,” said the English-speaking German. He removed his helmet and said something to his leader. The leader shrugged and removed his own helmet. Their youngest recruit, a lad of sixteen, sat before the fireplace, rubbing his hands feverishly and coughing. The final soldier stood by the door, looking frightened over the whole situation. He said something to his leader, who simply patted him on the shoulder and unlatched the chin strap on his helmet.
Sarge rejoined the group around the table as Marta returned from putting the guns outside. Hilde grabbed hold of her skirt, eyes wide.
The leader stepped forward and addressed Sarge. “Guten Abend.”
“Uh, hello,” Sarge replied. Adler backed away as one of the soldiers held out his hand. “Don’t antagonize them,” Sarge whispered as he shook hands with the soldier instead. “It’s just for one night, Adler.”
Marta stepped forward. “Well, this brings back pleasant memories! I used to teach advanced mathematics classes and I had mostly boys.” She began to interpret what she had said to Sarge and Adler, but the English speaking German translated for her.
The leader smiled and looked at Marta. “Well then, shall we have roll call, Frau…I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your last name.”
“Engel. Frau Marta Engel. And ja, we should get to know one another. Why don’t we start? I’m Marta Engel,” she announced, raising her voice for all to hear. “And this is my daughter, Hilde.”
The leader faced the American soldiers. “Sgt. Lars Baumann.”
“I’m Cpl. Rudolph Meier,” the interpreter told them. “Most call me Rudi.”
The soldier by the door mumbled his name. Rudi grinned. “That’s Pvt. Harold Dietrich. He’s a little shy, even around his fellow soldiers.”
The leader turned to the lad, who had stood up from the fire place and taken off his over coat. “Tell them your name.”
“Pvt. Stefan Graf.” He eyed the Americans wearily. “Will they tell us their names?”
Adler scowled as Sarge said, “I’m Sgt. Chad Edwards.” He turned to Adler and nodded.
“Adler, Micah T. Private and my serial number is-”
“What? Might as well get it over with! As soon as they get their rifles and lugers back, they’ll hogtie us and turn us over to the SS!”
Sarge groaned and rubbed his forehead. “Will you quit being such a jerk and just enjoy a Christmas truce when it’s handed to you?”
Rudi bit his lip. “I know it’s not going to be easy, but we can at least try to ignore our differences for one night, especially Christmas night. I for one am tired of all the fighting and will gladly take an opportunity to forget it!”
Adler shrugged and turned his back to the soldiers. Sarge shrugged. “We can give it a try. Don’t look like any of us has much of a choice. But let it be understood: tomorrow, when we get our weapons, we promise not to shoot at one another or take anyone prisoner.”
Rudi translated his ultimatum to Lars, who nodded and shook hands with Sarge. “Agreed.”
Joey began to moan again, thrashing about on the bed and begging for relief. Rudi looked over Sarge’s shoulder. “Who’s he?”
“Pvt. Joey Fuller. He was shot two days ago. He’s very weak.”
Rudi turned to his pack and said something to Lars, who nodded in agreement. “Here we are.” He pulled out a metal box with a German red cross on the lid. “May I take a look at him?”
Would you let an enemy combatant provide medical care for your wounded comrade? Find out what Sarge does next time. Don’t forget to stop by Stories by Firefly for more Christmas fun!
Hello, Merry Christmas and welcome back to Day 4 of the 12 Days of Christmas! Today…I do not have an installment of Stille Nacht…*looks guilty.” Today, I have a book review by a sweet author I’ve known about for a few years now, but am just know getting to know, Miss Rebekah Morris! We swapped books just recently and I am excited to give you my take on the book “Christmas Delays.” Let’s get to it!
Christmas Delays and other short storiesThree Christmas Stories from WWII
A doctor, called up for duty in the army, spends one more Christmas with his wife in an unexpected way after God’s Christmas delays strand them in a small house with another family.
Very mild weather might not feel like Christmas, but young, orphaned Peter and his older sister find the peace and love of the season with the Hampton family in spite of the sadness of war.
I’ll be Home for Christmas
Grandpa recounts the memories of his first Christmas away from home during WWII.
Such a warm, cozy read! There were three stories, each with a World War Two backdrop, which I loved so much! My favorite was Home for Christmas. *Tears* It was so sweet!
Historical Accuracy- There wasn’t a whole lot of historic detail, as far as war news and the like, but the setting was spot on and the whole story gave off a distinctly WWII atmosphere that I really enjoyed! So, yeah, I’d say it was accurate.
Content- Very clean! There was like two references to a young man carrying a girl, but she had gotten hurt and couldn’t walk. You figure out there is a possibility of a future relationship, but nothing too detailed or offensive about it. Really appreciated that! There is a reference to a few deaths (not detailed), a soldier being wounded (again, not detailed as far as violent or bloody. Just matter of fact, he got hurt), and a baby being born (no details).
Favorite Scene-I can’t say, because it would be a major spoiler, so I will go with my favorite story in this collection, which is Home for Christmas.
Overall- If you want a light, quick, cozy Christmas read, grab a copy of Christmas Delays!
Rebekah was kind enough to share a “Story behind the Story” with me about Peter’s Christmas! Here it is in her words...
I was sewing the binding on a large quilt I had just finished (it wasn’t even Thanksgiving yet), and my sister had the radio playing classical music. A song came on and after listening a moment I said, “Someone is calling Peter.”
My sister looked at me. “Huh?”
“The song. Someone is calling Peter! Who is he and why are they calling him? And who is calling him?” (My sister thought I was crazy.)
I was so intrigued by this that I started writing the story soon afterwards, and “Peter’s Christmas” came into being. Now I just wish I knew what the name of that song was. 🙂
If you hear someone calling "Peter" in the background of a Christmas song, be sure and let Rebekah know! Check out her blog here and purchase Christmas Delays here.
*I received a copy of Christmas Delays from the author in exchange for one of my books and a review. I was not required to give a positive review, but that wasn't hard!*
Don't forget to swing by Stories by Firefly for more Christmas fun! Tune in tomorrow for Part three of Stille Nacht!
Christian. American. Southern. Author.