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The Snowman Contest
2005 Christmas Short Story by RL Williams



“I have just what you need,” Santa said with a smile as he reached into his large red bag and presented young Marvin with a broom.

“Umm, thank you,” a confused Marvin said politely as he turned back towards his waiting mother.

“Mom, why did Santa give me this dumb old broom?” Marvin quizzed as they left the store, heading out into the sunny but cold afternoon.

“Hmmm,” mom paused a moment to think of something positive to say.

“Well, Marvin, we should be thankful for any gift we get. It’s the thought that counts,” mom replied as they walked down the street.

“Let’s hurry, we haven’t got much time.”

Soon they reached a previously abandoned lot with a large banner proclaiming ‘Snowman Contest’. They arrived just in time to enter the event. One of the judges was reading the rules to the dozen contestants.

Marvin and his mom staked out a section of snowy real estate between two other hopeful snowman builders.

“Ready, set, go!” the judge yelled.

“Marvin, scoop up some snow for the Snowman’s bottom section,” mom directed.

Before long they had a large round ball of snow for the bottom third of the snowman. Then they worked on the middle section.

“I’ve got an idea,” Marvin beamed, “let’s use this stupid old broom Santa gave me for the snowman’s arms.”

Mom agreed and stuck the broomstick gift through the middle section with the ends sticking out for the arms.

“Looks wonderful,” mom said with a large smile.

Marvin looked around at the other snowmen and disagreed.

“Mom, ours isn’t going to win. Look at those other snowmen. They really look good,” Marvin sighed.

“We’re not done yet. Ours will turn out great,” mom reassured.

They placed snow on top of the middle section, shaping it to form the head. A frayed black hat topped off the snowman. Marvin found a couple of hickory nuts and pushed them into the snowy head for eyes. Marvin’s mom took an old corncob pipe out of her coat pocket and handed it to Marvin who placed it where the snowman’s mouth should be.

“Finished!” mom said excitedly.

“It’s not good enough,” Marvin said, pointing to the other snowmen, which seemed perfect.

“Marvin, I think ours is great,” mom replied, “besides the important thing is …”

“Help!” a lady interrupted as she ran by, heading towards the judge’s table where several people had assembled.

“My little dog,” she paused to catch her breath, “oh my goodness, he fell in the pond over there. The water is freezing cold. I can’t reach him. Help me please.”

Several people ran over to the nearby pond. They saw the little dog trying to paddle back to shore to the out-stretched arms of a man on the edge of the pond. The cold water was quickly depleting the dog’s energy.

“I can’t quite reach him,” the would-be rescuer yelled. “Anyone got a rope or a big stick?”

Everyone looked around to no avail.

Without hesitation, Marvin ran back to his snowman and ripped the broomstick arms from his snowman. The snowman’s middle section fell apart and the head crashed to the ground.

Marvin, broomstick in-hand, ran back to the man who was kneeling at the edge of the pond.

“Here, can you use this?” Marvin said as he offered up his broom gift.

The man took the broom and used it to maneuver the small dog closer.

“Got it!” he yelled as he snatched the shivering and exhausted pooch from the water, immediately covering it with his coat.

“Thanks,” he said to Marvin, “we got him in time. I think the doggie is going to be OK.”

Everyone walked back to the contest area. They stopped and silently stared at the snowmen, all of fine form except for one. Marvin’s snowman had a smashed head lying on the ground and a severely damaged middle section.

“Our snowman is all messed up mom,” Marvin observed dejectedly.

“It’s OK,” mom said, hugging Marvin. “We will try again next year.”

After a few moments, one of the other contestants walked over to Marvin’s broken snowman, scooped up some snow, and began reforming the snowman’s middle section. Another contestant joined in, re-shaping the head. Within minutes, all the other contestants were working on Marvin’s snowman, creating a wonderful work of art.

When they finished, the three judges looked at all the snowmen and smiled. They nodded in agreement. It was obvious who had won this year’s contest.

Marvin looked at his mom and said, “Santa really did know what I needed.”


***

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

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