Simon Smells A Song.(A Christmas Special)
Simon the Snowman stood still in Tony Portland’s garden while the family ran around chasing the snowflakes that fell from the grey foreboding sky. Simon could feel each flake as it landed on his cold, hard body, making him grow a tiny little amount each hour. The children had built him only a couple of days ago, when the first heavy falls had settled and the winter term at High Glenn School had ended. Tony had finished work early that day, as the snow had stopped him from travelling to several appointments. They were only complimentary calls to drop off gifts from his company to their customers so he didn’t mind too much. It meant he could indulge himself, playing with the kids and making snowmen, snow angels and even a snow donkey. Tony had loved building snowmen when he was their age and even remembered the look his creations had taken then: Two spheres with proper sausage shapes down the sides for arms and a smaller ball for the head. Tony thought the stick arms that the traditional Christmas card snowmen had was quite out of keeping with the rest of the body. He was a perfectionist even then, a twelve year old artist specialising in frozen rain.
Now, as a middle aged soap salesman with the usual 2.4 child family and suburban semi with a landscaped garden, he rarely got the chance to let loose with his creativity. Hours driving between calls left little scope for the imagination so he would picture the trucks that sped past as huge galloping beasts or the slow moving milk floats and tractors that held him up as lumbering slugs or tortoises. The towering skyscrapers made magnificent ivory castles where evil geniuses lay in wait, the motorway cafe a secret forest hideaway for him and his fellow travelling champions.
Tony had built Simon the Snowman a small igloo to stand beside him and told his offspring that he often saw the snowman slip inside when the light had faded and the moon lit the white glistening garden.
One morning, about a week after Simon had appeared, a Robin had started using the rim of his hat as a perch when he swooped into The Portland’s garden, looking for food for the brood back in the nest, hidden in a hedge just beyond the fence at the end of the lawn. Tony was a good snow designer, that was not in question, but Simon couldn’t help thinking that there must be something more functional to use as a nose. Carrots were traditional but everything smelt, well, quiet!
That was something no one not made of white cold snow knew. Everything may look like a human but the simple fact was, they didn’t function the same. Snow people heard and saw and smelt things the same as any person but not through the same organs.
When Simon smelt a beautiful perfume, like Mrs. Portland wore when she fed the birds, it was through his black coal eyes. If he saw the colours of the scarves the children wore, it was with his mouth made of little shiny pebbles.
But if, like today, a little song bird stopped by to sing a beautiful lullaby to him, it was that bright orange vegetable in the middle of his face which funnelled the sounds through to his heart. As carrots are quite thick and hard, this meant very little of the song made it through. Simon could see the bird and how its little head bobbed up and down as it trilled but he could barely make out the sounds clearly.
Simon was getting a touch depressed as the days passed and more birds would come and eat at the bird table Tony had put up for his wife. All those magnificent songs and he heard so little of them.
Then one morning, something changed.
Cherish, the little girl who helped build him all that time ago, ran into the garden all swathed in layers of woollen clothing, and threw open the door to the old wooden rabbit hutch that stood beneath the kitchen window. As she hurriedly shovelled the bedding out in a large bucket, her brother Archie took the water bottle from its mount and replaced it with a full bottle, emptied the remains from the little hopper that held the feed pellets for the rabbit and ran back into the house to fetch some fresh vegetables for the family pet.
Mrs. Portland came out with Archie shortly afterwards and started rummaging through a carrier bag for some cabbage leaves She stopped suddenly looking puzzled.
“You know, I am sure we picked up some carrots for Thumper last week Archie, but I can’t find any now!”
“Daddy gave Thumper a carrot the day before yesterday. He loves carrots Mummy!” Cherish whispered.
“What about the snowman’s carrot?” asked Archie, eyeing Simon eagerly?
“Simon won’t have a nose if you do that you silly!” laughed his sister.
Cary Portland laughed. “We have a lovely long wooden cone in the house, from the old building set your daddy had as a boy. If we use that for the snowman’s nose, Thumper can have his treat!”
So, when Tony came home that afternoon, he recognised a small part of his childhood sitting right in the middle of Simon’s face, proudly standing out making Simon a very handsome snowman indeed and bringing together two generations of his family, parents and children.
What Tony would never know though, was that his old wooden building brick was wonderful at conducting sound. Now, whenever the Robins, Starlings and Thrushes flew in to feast on old cake crumbs and suet, Simon heard a concerto of voices filling the heart of a happy old snowman.
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