The Potter’s Story

Christmas is for me a time of story … the Santa Claus story, the Christmas story, family stories … So this month I’m going to tell stories, very short stories, of people on the edges who don’t make it into the headlines, the ones that we don’t hear about … the unknown people.

THE POTTER’S STORY

Such a long time ago – I saw the couple after I rode out of town on my donkey, Jedediah. I had left mugs and bowls to be sold, bought new clay, household supplies for Beulah –

Where was I? Yes –late in the day, replete with wine and food shared with friends, half-dreaming as Jedediah plodded homeward, when I saw two shadows, thrown long towards me by the late afternoon sun.

As I came closer the girl reminded me of Beulah thirty years before, pregnant with our first: her back view thin yet obviously carrying as she walked beside the man.

Their silhouettes pulled me deeper into memory: Beulah as a young woman, as a mother … I was astray in days long gone, but as I came abreast of the couple I saw how close to term she was.  I pulled on the bridle.

“Jedediah, stop, stop!”

They looked up at me, and I knew what I must do.

“Up on Jedediah, young lady,” I said, climbing down, “he’s cantankerous on occasion, but he knows when to be gentle. You’re coming home with me.”

“There’s an inn further down the road,” the man said.

“Never mind that, your wife needs more than an inn right now.”

“We’d be grateful.”

The man helped her onto Jedediah’s back – she smiled down at him. Definitely a love-match. I was glad I had stopped.

As we walked he told me they were going
to Bethlehem for the census, which I’d
guessed as why else would they be on the road?

Yes, I took them home for the night
and Beulah fussed happily over the girl,
whose name I can’t remember, or the
man’s either; it’s so long ago.

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About Joanna M. Weston

Born in England, she is now living in Shawnigan Lake, BC. She is married to Robert, an accountant, and they have three sons, Andrew Jon Mark ... and two cats, Alice and Chaucer. Joanna has an MA from the University of British Columbia. She has published in numerous anthologies and in magazines in Canada, the US, UK, and New Zealand, such as Canadian Women's Studies, Convolvus, Endless Mountains Review, Grain, Green's Magazine, Prairie Fire, Spin, Wascana Review, CBC Gallery, and many more... Clarity House Press has published several of her chapbooks including: Berry and the Birthday Band (2010) One of These Little Ones (1987) – out of print Cuernavaca Diary (1990) – out of print Seasons (1993) – out of print Watch-night (2005) – out of print
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