It was about 7 o'clock in the morning when I got out of bed. I was so excited.  It was my fifth Christmas. I was growing up.

I looked out of my bedroom window at the gray sky and saw that it was snowing. My Mom was right; she said it was going to be snowing on Christmas Day, and that we would have a White Christmas. 

It must be cold outside because my room was cold. Even though I had my new Red Doctor Denton Pajamas on, I was cold.  Then I felt the warmth that was coming up through the hot air wall register into my room, and I knew Dad had gotten up really early and put more coal on the furnace fire.  We would soon be warm.

My Mom and Dad were still sleeping when I started down the carpet covered stairs to the living room.  As I stepped down on to the third step, I suddenly felt a sharp pain in the big toe of my left foot. 

I stood up with a jump, looked down at my foot and saw a sewing needle sticking deep into my big toe.  

I did not yell because I did not want to wake up my Mom and Dad.  I knew Mom would feel really bad if she saw her sewing needle sticking out of my toe. 

I gritted my teeth as I pulled the needle out. That hurt. I quickly went into the bathroom and got a Band-Aid from the wall cabinet to put on my toe and stop the bleeding. 

Put my slipper back on my foot and continued my walk down the stairs.   

I was almost breathless when I got to the bottom of the stairs. I really wanted to see that Christmas platform.  Mom said, “Santa would put the Christmas platform up,” but I knew it would really be Dad. 

A few more steps and I could look through the parlor door into the living room and there it was. Covering almost half of the living room; five feet wide, 10 feet long, three feet high covered with a deep green cloth that fell to the floor around its edge. 

A big pine tree was standing on the surface in the back corner decorated with dozens of gold, blue, white, yellow, green, and red Christmas lights, strands, and strands of tinsel, and shimmering multicolored and multi-designed Christmas balls.

Near the tree, just under the ends of its long branches, three trains with Lionel engines were sitting on different tracks waiting to run.  

One engine was red, trimmed in black, and ready to pull a train of six green passenger cars.

The second engine, bright yellow, was set to pull a train that had eight red and two green boxcars, and a maroon caboose, while the third engine colored black was on the back track waiting to pull a train of 15 coal cars.  

I turned on the transformer for the passenger train, set the switch, and watched it slowly move around the lighted water-falls through the mountain tunnels, and as it passed the lighted houses on the mountainside I could see, through the windows of the parlor car, the green lamp shades glowing from the inside lights sitting on the tables.   Wow!  That was neat. 

In the valley, the houses were surrounded by parks with trees and stony paths that meandered past small ponds with ducks and swans, and people figures walking on the paths. 

There were also some dog and cat figures running around on the grassy lawns while dozens of lighted Victorian lamps anchored on top of black octagonal, tapered posts glowed their white light on this stunning Christmas scene. It was magical. 

Mom and Dad were still sleeping while I continued to look at the train tracks winding around the platform, and there on the edge of the village was the new train station that Mom and Dad had told me that Santa was sure to bring me this Christmas. 

It was a big yellow shingle ranch-style building with lots of divided lite windows, a big fieldstone chimney, and a big red-roofed cupola seated in the middle of the long black shingled roof.   What a beauty.  Now I would run all the trains.

Later that day I sneaked upstairs took off my slippers and put on my regular shoes. I took the Band-Aid off of my toe and the bleeding had stopped.  I hid the Band-Aid in one of my old shoes in my closet so Mom wouldn’t know what had happened. 

I had a great Christmas. I think I can say we all had a great and happy Christmas that year.  We were blessed. 

Years later I told Dad and Mom about the needle. They looked at each other then looked at me, said nothing, and just shook their heads. 

Dougherty writes from Stone Harbor.