Bobbie Jo Morrell is a mountain woman, poet, writer, leather crafter, rustic furniture builder, cat owner, technical writer, website designer. She says, “Colorado’s Front Range, with the smell of pine trees in the cool air of morning, is my home.” Her blog address:

___________________________________________________________________________________________Christmas Merry Christmas to All

Christmas time. When families get together, and love and joy and peace fill the air.

Uh huh.

I went back to Nebraska for the holidays with a strange sense of trepidation. It was my first Christmasafter signing up to follow Jesus, and I wasn’t sure what it would be like to be back in the old neighborhood.

Sure enough, I resumed my avoidant behavior of staying up late at night, reading, so as to sleep a lot during the day. But one night as I stared at the book in front of me, a thought arose to consciousness—that sense of God thing again.

You should tell your mom about your sexual abuse.

Oh, hell, no! She’d kill me for sure. I mean, she would be so angry at me. I couldn’t face that. What would be the point?

You should tell your mom about your sexual abuse.

Are You crazy? No, really, why would I do that? Dredge all that up with mom. And how would I bring up such a taboo topic? At the breakfast table?

“Oh, by the way, Mom, I was sexually abused in second grade. Would you pass the salt please?”

Right. Conversations about big topics like that were not done in my family. No way.

You should tell your mom about your sexual abuse.

Okay, how ’bout this? I’ll tell mom about my abuse, but you have to have her bring up the topic. I can’t just bring it up out of the blue.


I rolled over and went to sleep, confident that I had dodged a bullet. I mean, mom bring up the topic of sexual abuse of children? Never happen. Never.

In the morning after eggs and bacon I set about making the traditional “peppernuts” for Christmas.They are a kind of spicy cookie/candy thing that involves rolling a big lump of dough into lots of little tiny balls and baking them. I had just reached the rolling into balls stage of the procedure when I heard the Phil Donahue Show come on in the living room. The day’s topic was child sexual abuse.

Holy shit! I ducked my head down and kept rolling peppernuts, hoping that mom wouldn’t come into the kitchen. But presently she came sailing in through the dining room, speaking in an intense, angry voice. “If anyone did that to any of my kids, I’d kill them!”

Okay, God. You win.

With a heavy sigh I accepted my fate, and opened my mouth.

“Well, mom, I have something to tell you…”

I told her. Not in detail, just the bare fact of it happening. She sank, shocked, into a dining room chair. I continued to vigorously roll peppernuts while facing her across the peninsula of counter space that separated dining from kitchen. But I didn’t stop telling my story. I wanted to emphasize that I had turned all this over to God now, and he was working healing in my life—that the mere fact of being a victim was not the whole story by a long shot.

Suddenly she interrupted my nervous narrative to ask, darkly, “Who was it? Who did it?”

Great, she wanted to go kill him, I suppose. “Mom, that’s not really important right now…”

“Was it Pam’s brother?”

“No, mom…and it doesn’t matter because…”

“Was it Jack?”

“Well, yes, it was—but that’s not the main thing here. The main thing is that now Jesus is working to make me whole again…”

I don’t think she was listening. Maybe she was going over in her mind past interactions, responses,comments. Maybe she was thinking about how to rid the world of the pestilence that had done unspeakable things to her daughter. I don’t know.

The end of that conversation evades my memory. I know that the peppernuts got baked. I know that was the last time I ever made them. But something else odd began to happen. My mom suddenly became very touchy-feely-huggy. She was never that way before. I mean, the usual homecoming hug, or goodby hug. But now she was coming up to me at random times and giving me hugs and putting her hand on my shoulders and all kinds of affectionate behavior.

Was she saying she was sorry? Was she trying to make up for something? I had just shaken up her world pretty hard, after all. In any case, I kind of freaked out, kind of felt like a rogue vacuum cleaner was wandering around the house just waiting to latch onto me. What was that about? Wouldn’t I want extra affection from my mom? I didn’t know. But I trumped up some excuse and left several days earlier than I had intended, returning with a sigh of relief to the solitude of my tiny room in Ash House, and watched the eight-night-long PBS stage production of Nicholas Nickleby.

story by bobbie jo morrell, all rights reserved

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