Michael Biehn Archive

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Chris stood up and walked to the window. He just stood there and then stretched his arms. It had been a long night sitting at the jail but Vin would be here to relieve him in a few minutes. He could smell the coffee as it sat on the stove. He walked to the stove and poured himself a cup. He walked toward the door, opened it and then walked out on to the porch. He pulled out a chair from the table and sat down. He took a drink of the coffee and then sat the cup down.

Chris watched as the stores opened their doors. Mrs. Potter was busy setting out the different items for sale. He started to smile as a basket of brooms refused to stand for her. He turned his head to see Ezra standing at the swinging doors of the saloon. He was watching Inez as she swept the porch in front of the saloon.

He could hear his name being called as Billy came running down to the jail, his mother was right behind him, calling Billy's name. Chris could see the smile on Billy's face as he got closer to him. Chris stood up and moved to the edge of the table, so he could catch Billy as he ran to him.

"Chris, I'm going to my Grandpa's for Christmas. They live in this big house and Grandpa says he putting up a big Christmas tree, just for me, and I can help him decorate it."

"So how long will you be gone, Billy?" asked Chris.

"You have to ask mom, she knows everything."

"Do mom's really know everything?" Chris asked as he smiled at Mary.

"Billy thinks I do, but I'm not too sure about that," Mary replied.

"So when do you leave?"

"Tomorrow morning, that is if things are all right with the Judge."

"What's wrong with the Judge?"

"It's his wife, Evie. She hasn't been feeling too good and Orin's worried. The telegram came yesterday."

"Mom, we have to go. I know that Grandma Evie will be all right," stated Billy as he started to frown.

"Billy, can you go over to Mrs. Potters for me. I need you to buy some candy for me," Chris asked as he pulled a penny out of his pocket and gave it to Billy.

"I can do it, Chris."

Chris watched as Billy ran across the street to Mrs. Potters. He turned back to see a sad look on Mary's face. She had been reading a telegram from the Judge.

"What does the Judge have to say?"

"This came in while I was at the telegraph office sending one to the Judge. Evie is not getting better and her doctor wants to move her to the hospital in Denver for more tests. I don't know how I'm going to tell him that we may not be going."

"I'm sure that he'll understand when you tell him."

"All he has talked about is going to Grandma and Grandpa's for Christmas and the big tree that Orrin puts up every year. When his father died, it was Evie that suggested I let Billy go home with them. When he came home, he would talk about what Evie told him about his dad. He wants to see a Christmas tree that Evie would have waiting for him."

"We need a tree big enough for Billy. How many days do we have left?"

"There are six days left till Christmas."

"I thought that I heard someone talking about Christmas and a tree?"

"You did, Vin. Mary and Billy were going to Judge Travis's for Christmas, but the Judge's wife is sick. Now they aren't going and Billy will be upset," Chris replied.

"I know what you are thinking, Chris, and I think that we could do it. You just have to know where to look."

"Vin, we need to have more help. I'll go have a talk with the others and then we can meet back at the jail."

"We're going to need a wagon for this. I'll go the freight company and see if we can borrow one," stated Vin as he walked off towards the freight company.

Chris headed for the saloon. He could hear the boys talking as he stepped on the porch. As he got closer, he heard Buck talking about the newest love in his life while poor Ezra was complaining about losing in previous night's poker game.

Chris walked through the swinging doors and made his way to the table where the boys were sitting. Inez held up the coffee pot and a cup. Chris nodded his head, yes, and watched her as she walked to the table. She poured the coffee and then sat the coffee pot on the table and went back to the bar.

He grabbed a chair from the next table, turned it around and sat down resting his arms on the back of the chair. He picked up the cup and slowly took a drink. As he listened to them talking, he started to snicker to himself.

"I have been sitting here listening to all of you, but we have a problem and I need your help," Chris announced as he looked around the table.

"Chris, what's the problem?" asked Nathan.

"You all know that Mary and Billy were leaving this morning for Judge Travis's place for Christmas. Mary received a telegram from the Judge that his wife is very sick and her doctor is moving her to the hospital in Denver so they're not going now. Billy's going to be upset because he won't have a tree for Christmas so Vin and I are going up in the hills to look for one. Once we find one, we're going to need help getting it back."

"When do we leave, Chris?"

"Vin's over at the freight company borrowing a wagon, so who ever wants to help, meet me at the jail in an hour," replied Chris as he drank the last of the coffee and then stood up and started for the door.

Once we have the tree, we will need to have things to put on it, he thought. He started across the street to Mrs. Potter's store. She would know, he thought. He opened the door and walked in. Mrs. Potter was waiting on a lady, so he looked around to see what he could put on a tree. A short time later, he heard her calling his name.

"Mr. Larabee, may I help you?"

"Yes, what do you put on a Christmas tree?"

"There are a lot of things but you have to make them. Why?"

"It's for Billy and the other children in town."

"I can start making decorations if you want me to and I'm sure some of the other ladies will be glad to help me. Who's going to find a tree?"

"The boys and me are going up into the hills to find one."

"I'll get the ladies together and we'll get started so everything will be ready when you get back, Mr. Larabee."

"Thank you, Mrs. Potter."

Chris turned and walked out of the store. He stood on the porch looking around. Where do we put this tree once we have it, thought Chris. He walked down the street till he was standing in front of Josiah's church. It would be the perfect place for one. He turned and walked back to the jail, where he saw Vin with a wagon. The others were all ready mounted and ready to go. He started to grab the reins of his horse when he heard Billy yelling his name. He handed the reins to Buck and started toward Billy.

"Hey, Chris, where are you going?"

"The boys and I have something to do. We'll be back in a day or so," Chris replied as he picked Billy up and carried him to the Clarion. Mary saw Chris through the window and opened the door. Chris stepped up on the porch and sat Billy down in a chair.

"Mary, we're going to be gone a day or so. We have something to do and then we'll be back."

Chris turned to see the boys coming down the street. He stepped off the porch and took the reins as Buck handed them to him. He mounted his horse and rode out of town toward the hills north of town. What he would do for one little boy, he thought as he shook his head as he rode off.

Mrs. Potter was looking through the boxes on the shelves. She was trying to find what she needed to make ornaments for a tree. I know that I have a box of ribbon pieces around here somewhere, she thought. She had been so busy looking that Gloria had not heard the door open.

"Is anyone here?" asked Mrs. Smith as she walked around the store.

"Harriet, I'm on the floor behind the counter," yelled Gloria as she continued to look through the boxes.

"What are you doing down there?"

"I'm looking for a box with ribbon in it."

"Gloria, I see a box on the top shelf and it says ribbons on the side."

"I don't remember putting it there," Gloria said as she stood behind the counter and dusted her dress off.

"If I may ask, why are you looking for a box of ribbons, Gloria?"

"Actually, I am looking for anything that I can use to make Christmas ornaments," she replied as she continued to look.

"Why do you need ornaments?"

"Chris and the boys left town this morning to find a tree for Billy. He and Mary were going to Judge Travis home for Christmas, but Billy's grandmother is sick, so now they aren't going. All Billy has done is talk about his grandmother's big tree."

"That's why you need them. I remember when I was a kid we made ornaments. There has to other ladies in town who remember making them too. I'll be back later Gloria with more help."

She stood at the door and watched as Harriet crossed the street. She could almost hear what Harriet was saying to each of the ladies she stopped. She wondered how Chris and the boys were doing. It was now midday and they had left early that morning. To find just the right tree, it would take a while. It would mean going into Colorado where they would find the big trees.

Chris and the boys had been riding forever it seemed. They still had not found the one that they wanted.

"Chris, the Colorado border is just ahead. We should be able to find one after that," stated Vin

"Hopefully we'll find one there. I never knew that there was this much of a problem just to find one."

Chris could hear the boys as they rode along, each one of them tried to describe Christmas as a kid. He shook his head as he rode on. After awhile, they crossed the border and he could see the foothills of the Rockies as they rode closer. He saw the different trees, but which one would work for a Christmas tree.

"How big of a tree do we need?" asked JD as he looked at all of the trees.

"Where are we going to put this tree?" asked Buck.

"The tree should be put up in the church for everyone to see," Josiah suggested.

"Josiah's right, then everyone can see it," Nathan agreed.

"What do you think Ezra? Should we put the tree in the church?" JD asked.

"I've never seen a tree in a saloon, so I would agree to the church."

"Hey, Chris, has Vin found one yet?" Buck yelled.

"Not yet, there's a stand of trees ahead. We're going to stop and look at them. There has to be one big enough there," Chris replied.

It wasn't long before Vin stopped the wagon and jumped off. He started to walk around a tree, but shook his head no. He continued on looking at each one till he stopped in front of a tree that seemed to reach up to the sky. Vin walked back to the wagon and took the axe out and started back to the tree.

Chris and the others dismounted and started to follow Vin. When he stopped, they stood there looking at what seemed to be the perfect tree for a Christmas tree. Vin started to cut the tree down. They all took turns until the tree started to fall. Chris noticed that Ezra was right in the path of the falling tree. He tried to yell, but Ezra didn't hear him. They all ran to help Ezra who lay under the tree. Josiah and Buck lifted the tree while Nathan pulled him out from under it.

"Ezra, are you all right?" Nathan asked as he checked him over for any broken bones or other injuries.

"I do believe that tree fell on me," complained Ezra as he stood up and brushed his clothes off.

"He's all right if he's complaining," replied Chris.

"Ezra, here's your hat," JD said as he handed it to him.

"I need some help with this tree," yelled Vin.

They all walked to the wagon and helped to load the tree. Vin climbed back on to the wagon and started back toward town.

"Josiah, will the tree fit into the church?"

"Yes, it will," he replied, smiling at Chris.

Chris was thinking about what he had asked Mrs. Potter to do. He hoped that she had been successful in what she was doing. He could only wait and see her though. It was only a few days before Christmas and he could not wait to see the look on Billy's face.

Mrs. Potter could hear the sound of the door to the store as it opened. She stood up from behind the counter and dusted off her dress. It was Harriet Smith. She had come to let Gloria know how things were going. As she neared the counter, she noticed the ribbons with beads. The ribbon had been strung through the beads and then tied at the top as a bow.

"Gloria, who made these ornaments?"

"My children did. I found the beads in the back room. Charlie must have ordered them for someone, but they never came to get them."

"They are very nice and colorful."

"Let me see, first you fold the paper in half and then in half again."

"Gloria what are you trying to do?"

"I'm trying to make snowflakes just like I did when I was a kid."

"I remember making snowflakes too."

"You know Harriet when Chris asked me to do this, I wasn't too sure about it, but now I'm having fun that I haven't felt for a while."

"I know what you mean. It just didn't feel like Christmas and now it's like the whole town is trying to do things for that day. All the ladies I talked to couldn't wait to see what they could make for ornaments. I told them to bring them to the church tomorrow and we would decorate it then."

"That's fine, Harriet."

Gloria continued to fold the paper until she had as many as she wanted, then she started to cut the paper into shapes of snowflakes. She had been so busy that she had not heard James as he ran into the store.

"Ma, there's a wagon coming into town and it has the biggest tree that I have ever seen."

Gloria stepped out on the porch and watched as the wagon pulled up in front of the church. She just stood there as the townspeople started to walk toward the church.

Vin stopped the wagon and jumped down. He walked to the back of the wagon, looking at the size of the tree. He just shook his head and then started to wonder how they were going to get it in the church. Josiah walked up the steps and opened the doors to the church. Several of the townspeople started to walk to the church. They stood there watching as the boys tried to get the tree in the church.

"I have an idea that might work if you just listen to me," Ezra said.

"What's your idea, Ezra?"

"Why not turn the tree around and take the base of the tree in first?"

Chris and Vin just stood there and shook their heads. Chris and the boys picked up the tree and started up the steps and into the church. They laid the tree down while Josiah went and brought back some blocks of wood and hammer and nails. He took one of the long pieces and nailed it across the bottom of the trunk. He then nailed a piece of wood to each side of the tree.

Chris and the others picked up the tree and stood it up. They would wait till tomorrow to decorate it. The tree would then have time to relax and let its branches down. Chris stood there looking at the tree then turned and walked down the steps towards the street. He saw Mrs. Potter standing on the porch and wondered how she was doing with the ornaments. He walked up the stairs and into Mrs. Potter's store.

"Everything is almost ready for tomorrow. Mrs. Smith was here and heard about the tree and how you needed ornaments, so she talked to the other ladies in town and they all agreed to help."

"Thanks, Mrs. Potter, for your help."

Chris walked to the counter where some of the ornaments lay. He picked up an ornament that had been made with red ribbon and red and white beads. As he looked at each one of them, he smiled. Then he picked up a snowflake and looked at it, turning it over in his hand, he then laid it back down with the others.

Chris turned and walked out the door. He stood there for a few minutes till he saw Mary trying to hang something on the wall outside of the paper. He started walking down the street. He could see the sadness on her face as he came closer.

"How's Billy?" Chris asked.

"He's really unhappy. He has wanted to see Evie's tree ever since she's been writing to him."

"Mary, can you bring Billy down to the church on Christmas Eve? We have something for him," Chris asked.

"I'll try to get him to come, but I don't know if he will."

Chris shook his head and then turned and walked out the door, heading for the saloon. As he opened the doors, he could hear Buck already complaining about something. He could see Inez and Buck talking back and forth with Inez putting her finger into Buck's face. Then he heard Inez tell Buck to sit down and to go back to work. He walked to the table and sat down. He could see why they were having this talk.

"Inez, I can't do any more of these and keep sticking my fingers with that needle."

"Senor Buck, you have to do this for me. It is my contribution to the tree. If you do it and should happen to stick your finger then I'll just have to kiss it to make it feel better," smiled Inez as she walked back to the bar.

Chris sat there drinking his coffee and watching as Inez had them all stringing popcorn for the tree. He just sat there and smiled as he thought about what everyone was doing just so one little boy could have a Christmas tree. He soon realized there were also the other kids and he could not wait to see their faces when they saw this tree too.

Chris turned over in the bed and covered his eyes from the sun as it came through the window. He sat up on the edge of the bed feeling the pain of a hangover. How did I get this, all I had to drink was coffee, he thought. He stood up and walked to the window. He looked out to see Inez sweeping the porch in front of the saloon. He wondered what time it was. Chris walked to the table beside his bed and picked up the watch and opened it. It said 11:00 as it chimed.

He still did not understand how he could have a hangover. He'd worry about it later. He picked up the pitcher and poured some water in the basin and then splashed some water on his face. He grabbed a towel and dried his face. He laid the towel on the stand, then walked to the dresser and pulled out a clean shirt. As he buttoned the last one, he still wondered about last night. He picked up his gun belt and put it on and then grabbed his hat from the chair. He opened the door and started down the hallway to the stairs. He was halfway down when he heard his name and saw the Christmas tree that was standing in the Church. He continued on till he came to the door. He opened it and walked out on the porch.

Chris strolled off the porch and crossed the street to the saloon. He walked in and sat down at a table. Inez saw Chris and picked up the coffee pot and a cup and brought them to the table. She poured a cup and started back toward the bar. She felt his hand grab her arm.

"Leave the coffee, Inez. I'm going to need it this morning."

"Si, Senor," she replied as she sat the pot on the table.

He sat there watching her as she placed the yards of popcorn on the counter. This had to keep Buck busy all night he thought as he smiled at picturing Buck doing it. He was slowly drinking the coffee when he heard the sounds of footsteps coming from behind him.

"Do you think there's enough for both of us?" Nathan asked as he walked to the bar and picked up a cup and then sat down at the table.

"I think so," answered Chris as he poured some in the cup.

"How do you feel this morning?"

"I woke up with a hangover and all I was drinking was coffee," replied Chris with a frown on his face.

"I guess you don't remember what happened. Inez said that we should have something to drink at the church tonight, so Ezra came up with the idea of having eggnog and then Ezra said he had a recipe for it."

"So I take it that Ezra made it and if I'm not wrong, don't you put whiskey in it?"

"Yes, you do and with each batch, they convinced Ezra that he needed to add more whiskey."

"I remember someone giving me a cup of it, but I thought it was only one cup?"

"As soon as you'd empty a cup, they would pour more in it. Everyone was pretty well drunk."

"How did I wind up in my bed?"

"Josiah and Vin helped get you to your room. They were pretty much out of it. How you made it across the street is another story. All three of you were staggering as you crossed the street."

Chris just sat there and shook his head as he listened to Nathan. He turned as he heard the sounds of moaning and Buck's voice. Ezra was not too far behind and he was holding an ice bag on his head. He watched as they tried to make it to the table where he was sitting.

Inez brought more cups and another pot of coffee. Chris poured another cup and drank it down. He needed to meet with Mrs. Potter about decorating the tree. He watched Buck as he laid his head down on the table and started moaning.

"Buck, are you going to be all right?" asked Chris as he stood up to leave.

"I will be after I have several cups of coffee."

He moaned as he sat there holding his head in his hands. Chris shook his head and started out the door to Mrs. Potter's store. He stepped up on the porch and started to open the door when he heard Billy's voice as he ran down the porch toward him. He bent down on one knee as he came closer.

"Chris, Mom says that we are going to make a tree for Grandma Evie and put it in the paper and send it to her."

"Billy, I need you to help me. We don't have much time left," Mary stated as she came close to Chris and Billy.

"Mary, could you and Billy come to the church about six? Josiah is doing something for Christmas and everyone is invited."

"We'll be there, Chris."

Chris walked into the store. Mrs. Potter was behind the counter putting the ornaments in a box. As she put the last one in, she picked up the lid and put it on.

"Everyone is ready Chris. We have to meet them at the church. Can you help me with the box?"

Chris picked up the box and started out the door with Mrs. Potter. As they walked down the street, he could hear Inez yelling at Buck that they had to go to the church. He turned to see Buck coming out of the saloon with Ezra and JD behind him. Inez came out last and closed the doors of the saloon behind her. She had put the closed sign on the door.

He saw several ladies as they entered the church. Josiah was standing at the top of the stairs. He looked at Josiah as he walked through the doors. He was trying to smile. He could feel the pain that Josiah felt. Chris walked to the front of the church and sat the box down with the others.

"Ladies, can I have your attention please?" Chris yelled.

"We know what to do, Mr. Larabee," Mrs. Potter replied.

"I know, but I have something I'd like to say. This tree was to cheer up Billy Travis. He and his mother were going to Judge Travis's for Christmas, but his Grandma Evie is sick. All Billy has talked about is the big tree that Evie would have. The other day we went and found a tree big enough to cheer him up, but now this tree is for everyone. I have watched as all of you ladies have made ornaments for this tree."

He watched as the ladies laid their ornaments on the table, each one of them different from the others. He walked over to the table and looked at them. Mrs. Hanson had made cookies with a hole in the cookie and ribbon tied into a bow. Joe the blacksmith had made some out of scraps of tin. He saw Buck carrying JD around on his shoulders as they wrapped the popcorn garland on the tree. Josiah was standing on a ladder hanging each one as it was handed to him. Nathan and Ezra were helping with the lower half of the tree. Soon they were done and as they all stood back and looked at the tree, they noticed that there was something missing. There was no angel for the top of the tree.

They all heard the door open and saw that it was Mrs. Lane. She kept saying she was sorry for being late, but what she was making had taken longer then she planned. She handed the box to Chris. He opened it to find a crocheted angel. Chris stood the angel on the table. Everyone looked at it. She explained that it took several coats of starch just so it would stand. Chris picked up the angel and walked to the tree. He climbed up the rungs until he could hand it to Josiah who put it on top of the tree.

As they finished decorating the tree, each one of them stepped back to look at it. There was sparkle from the tin ornaments as the sun hit them. Chris heard the ladies talking as they walked around it. They were all talking about the ornaments and how they looked on the tree.

"Ladies, I know that we could stand here all day and look at the tree, but we still have things to do before tonight," Josiah reminded as he walked toward one of the pews.

He took some of the candles out and placed them around the church. For Josiah, the night meant a lot to him. It would be the first time that there would be people in the church since he had been working on it. He had been thinking all morning about what he would say. Christmas and its meaning were part of his sermon. Now that the last of the ladies had left, he had to get ready and he wanted to look and make sure that everything was all right one last time. Josiah smiled as he looked at the church in all of its glory. He walked off to his room to get ready. He didn't have much time and he had a sermon all ready for tonight. He was trying to remember each line and he needed to light the candles just before the people would arrive.

Chris walked with Buck back to the saloon. He would have one more cup of coffee, and then he would walk to his room and get cleaned up. This was a special night for everyone including Billy getting his wish.

Chris stood on the porch of the boarding house. He was not used to wearing the vest or the string tie, but he could wear them for this one night. The townspeople were starting to walk toward the church. He saw Inez as she came out of the saloon. She looked so different all dressed up and then he saw Buck as he walked out and stood beside Inez. He had even shaved and was wearing a suit and tie. He held out his arm as he escorted Inez to the church.

Chris turned and started to walk down to the Clarion to get Billy and his mother. He saw Nathan and Vin walk by on their way, when he stopped and looked at Vin. He looked very different. He was wearing a new hat and a suit. He continued on till he was at the front door of the paper. He started to knock when Billy opened the door.

"Are you ready to go to church, Billy?" Chris asked as he picked him up and held him in his arms.

"Why do I have to go, Chris?" answered Billy with a sad face.

"Because it's Christmas Eve and everyone is going to the church to listen to Josiah talk about the meaning of Christmas. We need to put your coat on. It's become really cold since this afternoon."

"I guess I can say a prayer for Grandma Evie to get better."

"Mary, have you seen Vin? He looks so different wearing a suit. Do you know where it came from?"

"It's one of Steven's suits and so is the hat. He was talking earlier about not having any clothes to wear to church, so I told him to come back and I would see what I could find. The clothes really changed him."

"We should be going," Chris said as he opened the door for Mary.

More of the townspeople were going toward the church. This was a big change from last year when they first came here. As they walked closer, they could see the lights from the candles as they glowed against the dark of the night. Inside the church, Josiah had just lit the last candle as the people started to walk in. He stood at the pulpit watching them as they came down the aisle. There was a look of happiness as they looked at the tree and each other as they came in.

Chris entered the doors of the church. He couldn't believe what he was seeing. It looked so different at night with all of the candles lit. Chris looked at the tree. Someone had put some small candles on the tree and then lit them. It made the tree stand out and as the light hit the ornaments, they seemed to have a glow of their own.

Chris walked Mary and Billy down to the front of the church. He saw Mrs. Potter and Mrs. Smith and smiled as he passed them. He was watching the look on Billy's face as they came closer to the tree. Billy just stood there and looked up at the top of the tree. He started to smile and then turned to hug Chris.

"I love you, Chris," Billy said as he hugged Chris.

"I love you too, Billy," replied Chris as he stood there holding him.

Chris sat down in the front pew next to Mary. He felt a tap on his shoulder. It was Buck and Inez. Chris moved down some so that they could sit down. He turned around and saw that there were no seats left in the church. The side door opened and Josiah walked out and stepped up to the pulpit. He slowly turned to see all of the people who had come for this special night. It was to be his first since coming here and it meant a lot to him.

"Before I start, I would like to thank everyone for this night. The boys brought in the tree. The ladies made the ornaments and of course, Joe made the tin ones. This is a very special time for all of us. It's Christmas Eve. Yes it means the birth of Jesus tomorrow, but for some of us it holds another meaning."

"A year ago, no one knew if this town would still be here. It was a hard struggle for everyone. Some of you have lost loved ones in this time of hardship, but we are still here. That loss has made you stronger and in doing so, it has made this town stronger. A year ago seven lost souls rode into town and now those seven are as much a part of this town as you are. A year ago no one would have been willing to help his neighbor. Now everyone helps the other when it's needed."

"You all share a love for each other and that love is why we are here. This tree that is before you is here for that very reason. It stands before you showing how far this town has come in a year. All of you are responsible for it."

"A few days ago a little boy had his heart broken, because he was not going to his grandma's house for Christmas after all because she very sick. For months, she had written to him about how big her tree would be. So Billy, Chris and the rest of us, we searched and searched till we found this tree, and the ladies made the decorations, just so you could still have that big tree for Christmas."

Billy sat there looking at the tree and started to smile. He turned and hugged Chris around the neck.

"You did this for me?"

"Yes, Billy, because I never want to see you unhappy about anything."

"Wait till I write Grandma Evie about my tree, Mom."

As the town folks started to leave, they opened the doors to an even bigger surprise as they started down the steps of the church. It had started snowing while they were inside. They looked at each other as the soon started fall heavier.

"This is not normal is it?" asked Chris.

"We have been here six years and it's not common for it to snow here," replied Mrs. Potter.

"I guess he must have heard me for once when I asked him if it could snow here," comment Josiah as he smiled.

"Just wait till I write Grandma Evie and tell her that it snowed too," smiled Billy as he grabbed Chris by the neck and hugged him.

Chris stood there holding Billy as the snow fell on their faces. Chris smiled as he watched Billy trying to catch the snow. Chris laughed out loud as the snow hit them on the face. It was a feeling he would never forget.