A beautiful holiday story in the tradition of Dylan Thomas’ A Child’s Christmas in Wales. In December of 1940, twelve-year-old Donnie Hall gets on a train from his comfortable Connecticut home to fulfill a dream: to spend Christmas with his grandparents on their farm on Eagle Pond in south central New Hampshire.
Once there, he settles into the routines he knows well from his summer visits: helping Gramps milk the cows, gathering eggs from the henhouse, chopping wood for the Glenwood in the kitchen. But some things had changed.
Winter milk was now picked up not by sleighs drawn by work horses on snow-packed roads, but by gasoline powered trucks. The fancy old red sleigh that had served the family so well was languishing, abandoned in a stall in the barn, and, not far from it, Old Riley, the loyal horse that had pulled that sleigh, and much else, for a quarter century. Donnie arrives on a Sunday and is due to leave on Thursday. But Wednesday night, the nor’easter blows in and the farm is buried in two feet of snow. The road is unplowed; the car is useless. Will Donnie make it to the station in time to catch the Peanut back to Boston?
But all this never happened. As a child, Donald Hall never did make it up to Eagle Pond for Christmas. But he knew all the stories from his mother and his grandparents. As he writes, “I knew all the people in this book. I remember how they talked.” And, now in his eighties, and having lived in that same house of his grandparents since 1975, he is in the perfect position to give himself “the thing I most wanted, a childhood Christmas at Eagle Pond.”