December’s Guest Storyteller, Sherri Matthews

Sherri

Sherri is a freelance writer, published in a variety of national magazines, websites, and anthologies.  She is writing her first book, a memoir, and regularly publishes articles, memoir bites, flash fiction and poetry on her blog.  Having lived in California for twenty years, she now lives with her hubby, daughter and two cats in the West Country of England, where she walks, gardens and takes endless photographs.

You can connect with Sherri at

Blogwww.sherrimatthewsblog.com
Facebook Page:  https://www.facebook.com/aviewfrommysummerhouse
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/sherri-matthews/60/798/aa3
Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/103859680232786469097/posts

Memoir Book Blurb: http://sherrimatthewsblog.com/memoir-book-blurb/ )

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Sarah says: Welcome to my blog, Sherri, and thank you so much for contributing a most poignant and seasonal piece of flash fiction. In Sherri’s words: “This is about a little girl’s discovery that she isn’t the only one in her family who is keeping secrets”.

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Chocolate Umbrella 

Emma knew magic because Daddy made magic and she never stopped believing. Such magic that only he could muster, especially for his little girl, every Christmas Eve.

But today, while Daddy paid for their shopping, she stared in disbelief at the box of chocolate umbrellas on the shelf at the supermarket. Her chocolate umbrellas, the ones that fell out of the sky every Christmas Eve because of her daddy’s magic. How could this be?

On the way home, Daddy took her to the pub. “Don’t tell Mummy,” he said, with a wink. While he propped up the bar, let out bursts of laughter, and slapped the backs of drinking friends, Emma sat out of sight in a quiet corner with a bag of crisps and a glass of cola to keep her amused.

As she sat alone, she remembered last Christmas Eve, how Daddy had regaled her with stories of mystical creatures, of elves and fairies and how her eyes had shone with the wonderment of it all.

She remembered the flush of her cheeks as the burning coal in the fireplace cast its orange glow and how, with the lights off, she had been mesmerised by the red-hot ash of Daddy’s cigarette as it danced and made patterns in the darkness.

Then she had gasped with surprise as she heard a rustle and something fell from the middle of the darkness, landing in her open hands. Always a chocolate umbrella, conjured up just for her.

“Let’s go day dreamer.” Pulled away with a start from her memories, Emma looked up at Daddy. “Don’t want to miss the magic,” he grinned.

She stood up, smiling faintly. “I’m excited,” she lied, as she took his hand. She knew now there was no such thing as magic and she felt sad, but she played along, not wanting to hurt Daddy’s feelings.

That night, as a chocolate umbrella landed in her hands, she giggled as before and hugged Daddy but she knew things were no longer the same. Then again, she already had an idea that things had changed, ever since last week when she had seen Mummy kissing a strange man while Daddy was out at the pub.

The man had worn a Christmas hat, but Emma knew he definitely wasn’t Santa Claus.

© Sherri Matthews 2014

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You can find the links to previous guest storyteller posts at https://sarahpotterwrites.com/guest-storytellers-2/

And guess what? Next month, it will be exactly one year since I started my monthly guest storyteller slot, but more about that in January! Meanwhile, a big thank you to my twelve brilliant guests for 2014 🙂

Author: Sarah Potter Writes

Sarah is a British eccentric who writes offbeat fiction, haiku and tanka poetry. She's into nature, gardening, and natural health. For her, sociability is something that happens in short bursts with long breathing spaces in between.

80 thoughts on “December’s Guest Storyteller, Sherri Matthews”

  1. Reblogged this on A View From My Summerhouse and commented:
    When the lovely and talented Sarah invited me to write a piece of flash fiction for her monthly Guest Storyteller feature, I was both honoured and absolutely delighted. Sarah is a speculative fiction, sci-fi, and fantasy author who also writes flash fiction, Haiku and tanka poetry (and some lovely photos too!) on her wonderful blog, one I greatly enjoy reading. I hope you will too, and also enjoy my guest story entitled ‘Chocolate Umbrella’, a seasonal story about a little girl’s discovery that she isn’t the only one in her family with a secret. Thank you so much Sarah, it has been a pleasure 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Thank you Sarah for featuring the lovely, Sherri! I adore that woman! 🙂 What a great story, Sherri. It was filled with joy, dreams, magic, discovery, disappointment and despair all tied in together to make for a wonderful treat. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sherri is lovely and I’ve become very fond of her in the relatively short time we’ve known each other through blogging. I knew she’d come up with a wonderful treat of a story, which was why I invited her to guest 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. That a heart-tugging story, Sherri. I feel so sorry for Emma and proud of her as well, for not wanting to hurt Daddy’s feelings. So much on the poor little girl’s shoulders. What a brave girl. An emotional roller-coaster of a story. I didn’t expect the added secret. Brilliant. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I thought it was so moving that, despite hurting inside herself, Emma put Daddy’s feelings first. As for the secret, Sherri, so cleverly slipped in at the end in an understated way that had such emotional impact on the reader.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This gently unfolding story of a young girl’s innocent belief in magic and her father really was told well, Sherri. I am saddened, as we always have reality come into our lives, for the girl’s loss of her belief in chocolate umbrellas, Mommy not kissing Santa (but another man) and her father’s taking her to a pub. Which made a fantastic, wishful story. This was a great addition to here, such a wonderful Storyteller you have featured in Sherri Matthews!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sherri is a wonderful storyteller 🙂

      I think it’s always hard for parents to achieve a balance between magic and reality in a small child’s life. One of my friends told her children from the beginning that there wasn’t a Father Christmas, as she didn’t want to teach them that lies were okay. The trouble was, that these children upset a few of their contemporaries at nursery and primary school by passing on this fact about the jovial present-bearer in red. I just used to say to my children “Let’s play the Father Christmas game!”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was only having this discussion with hubby over the weekend Sarah, about this very subject. I like your ‘Father Christmas game’, what a great idea. My children always questioned me about the jolly fellow in red, my daughter says she never believed because one of her brothers told her there were no such thing when she was quite young and my boys just couldn’t get past the logic in their minds to see how this man could possibly do the things we said he could. Still, in the end, we all played along with the ‘game’ even though we didn’t call it as such. I can well imagine your friends children’s contemporaries being less than impressed…I wonder what their parents thought, yikes!! And all we want is for our children is to be happy… 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I know that both of children have grown up adoring the fantasy genre, but they are both exceedingly realistic people, too, so obviously all the games involving imaginary unicorns, monsters, and mythological creatures in general, don’t seem to have done them any harm!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Hi Robin, thank you so much for coming over to Sarah’s blog and leaving your lovely comment. Your insight and feedback is always a pleasure to read, I am moved and humbled by your kind words. I hoped it wouldn’t be too sad a read for the season but it is reality for most of us I think, that moment we can remember only too well when our innocent belief in magic disappears and we realise that our parents are only human after all. Some are younger than others when this happens. I like to think though that Emma will be alright… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Sherri, what a thought-provoking (and emotion-provoking) story! It sort of plays off the moment when a child learns there is no such thing as santa, but turns darker. Wow, very impressive.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As always, I thank you so much for the read Luanne, and for your feedback which encourages me greatly. It is fascinating to me in the writing of flash fiction how the story can change. In this story, the ending came as I wrote on, different to the original one but it felt right. Quite different to writing memoir for obvious reasons 😉

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  6. Thank you for spotlighting one of my favorite bloggers, Sarah. Sherri is a bright light for every person whose life she touches. Although she’s working on her memoir, she has a true gift for fiction writing.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Bless you Sarah, and as with Jill, I would say that your light burns brightly in the support and encouragement you give me and so many others…I am incredibly grateful, I really am 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Ahh Jill, wow, your encouragement and support means the world, goodness, I don’t know what else to say other than a huge thank you as always for the read…and the bright light you shine on me 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. bravo Sherri – I really liked the holiday connection as “tis the season right now. A little sad too – and I hate divorce, but I know it has to be sometimes. Anyhow, you really gave us a believable feel for the way the children are astute and in tune with what’s up, but still so innocent and maybe not fully aware – I dunno, but it was believable and enjoyed it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Y for coming over to Sarah’s blog for the read, I’m glad you enjoyed the story even with the tinge of sadness. Children don’t miss much do they? Always love your feedback… 🙂

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    1. Thanks so much IT for coming over to Sarah’s blog for the read. I’m glad you enjoyed the magic, even though sometimes it isn’t always what it seems to be…

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      1. I find bed is the best place for reading my fellow bloggers’ words. On my day off I can often be found in bed at random hours reading away and trying not to spill coffee on myself.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Pat! So lovely to see you here over at Sarah’s wonderful blog and I’m so glad you enjoyed this flash! Thank you so much as always for your wonderful encouragement 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. They were the best Sarah – those tiny closed chocolate umbrellas wrapped in bright colours with little plastic handles and we used to get them around Christmas time (maybe Easter too – can’t remember) 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Thrilled you enjoyed this flash Yolanda, thank you so much! And yes, we used to have chocolate umbrellas every Christmas too as children, just as you describe in your reply to Sarah 🙂 When we lived in the States my mum used to go to great lengths to find them to bring them over for my children and even now she will get excited and say “Guess what I found!”. I need to ask her where she finds them as they are definitely not an easy find!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Ahh…it is always good to know that something we write elicits an emotional response, even if not necessarily a happy one, but I like to think that Emma looked back on her days when she believed in the magic of her chocolate umbrellas as happy ones 🙂 Thank you so much Irene, as always, for the read and for sharing your own heartfelt thoughts.

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    1. Oh Charli, I am thrilled you enjoyed it, thank you so much, and always for your amazing ongoing support of my writing. You are a shining star ⭐

      Like

  9. Once again I’m late to the table. I’ve had this post open for weeks trying to find a moment to read. It was well worth the wait. The truth children learn is so hard. But better to learn young. Wonderful story Sherri. I will catch up in the coming weeks. Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday.

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    1. Never too late to the table! The beauty of blogs is that you can dip into them when you have time, like a book. I’m glad you got to read Sherri’s wonderful story, which has proved immensely popular with everyone.

      Like

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