The Christmas Village

24 Dec

A Slice of Life

DiVoran Lites



 Every Christmas for years we set up a miniature village with lights shining from its windows. The buildings remind me of the seven years we lived in Westcliffe, Colorado a tiny town in the Wet Mountain Valley at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range.

The church in the set puts me in mind of the Lutheran Church established by German settlers in the 1800 hundreds.



The school was built in 1886. Now the historical society has turned it into a museum. Looking back I recall the pot-bellied stove that had to be fired up every school day from September to May when school let out. This was before consolidation so that only the children from town went there. We had first through sixth grade in the big room and seventh and eighth in an add-on at the back. Clinging to the bricks and shuffling to the end of the wall was a prime recess occupation along with swings and a merry-go-round. We also made up chase games we called cowboys and Indians. For a reward in school,we got to pull the bell rope so that the sound rang out over the whole valley.

I met my best friend Joan Piquette at school. She was a fine speller (it runs in her family), and the only child in the first grade. She sat in the first-grade row alone, but Mrs. Canda promoted her because Joanie already knew the first-grade work by osmosis. She seemed so small that in high winds my neighbor, Jeanine, and I held Joanie’s hands on the way home from school so she wouldn’t blow away.



From the box, I pull a ceramic train-station and small train and place it on the batting. We moved to Westcliffe to take over Min’s cafe, but after we lived there a while we also bought the old depot and turned it into a hotel/boarding house. We called it the White Cloud Motel. We moved into the upstairs but found the entire house yielded surprises: a large baggage room and a small cellar where you could breathe the scent of the earthen walls. In a first floor room, I found a hidden cash drawer. No cash. Off the kitchen, in the small bathroom ,my brother and I could climb out the window and slide down the metal roof. We’d climb back up and slide again to our heart’s content. Our parents were running the restaurant, so we had a great deal of freedom.


There was no crime in Westcliffe. This is my aunt and me in the remains of the old jail.

The mill in my lighted village puts me in mind of the Westcliffe Feed Store. What a looming mysterious place that was, a relic from days gone by. We weren’t allowed to go in it because of dangerous equipment, but we could peek through the dusty panes and wonder about the settlers who built it.



Our Christmas village contains two children riding a horse. My brother, David, is a natural-born horseman, but every time my bottom hit the saddle our oversized Shetland pony, Yankee, ran away to the corral. Dad advised me to hold the reins close to his neck with one hand. “That’s the way to show him who’s boss,” said Dad.

In the Christmas scene, children balance a snowman on a sled, reminding me of the one Dad bought and painted red. We sledded on every hill and ice-skated on a big pond outside of town. We built snowmen and on the way home from school some of us Westcliff kids soaked each other with snowballs.

One of the ceramic decorations is a small bridge which spans an imaginary stream. That becomes Grape Creek where Joanie and I stood and threw in the shells of the sunflower-seed we enjoyed, and watched them float on the current like tiny boats.

I never saw a real angel, but I placed one in the display because I like to think a guardian angel hovered over all of us. How else could I explain not falling off the roof when we slid down it, not falling off Yankee when he ran away, Dad and his friend Sweak Jeske walking down Pike’s Peak after Dad’s beloved Piper Cub crashed in a down-draft. And earlier Dad coming back from the Battle of the Bulge.

One day, when I was about eleven, I was reading Mother’s bible in my second story room, and looking up at the mountains through the window I came to this verse: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21. I made a decision then and there that I would seek treasures in heaven instead of earthly riches.

Bill and I pray that the child in you may find wonder and enjoyment in the coming year. We pray you will have peace from the Forgiver whose birthday we celebrate. We thank God for the angels that watch over us all. Merry Christmas and a joy-filled New Year.



Author, Poet and Artist

DiVoran has been writing for most of her life. Her first attempt at a story was when she was seven years old and her mother got a new typewriter. DiVoran got to use it and when her dad saw her writing he asked what she was writing about. DiVoran answered that she was writing the story of her life. Her dad’s only comment was, “Well, it’s going to be a very short story.” After most of a lifetime of writing and helping other writers, DiVoran finally launched her own dream which was to write a novel of her own. She now has her Florida Springs trilogy and her novel, a Christian Western Romance, Go West available on Amazon. When speaking about her road to publication, she gives thanks to the Lord for all the people who helped her grow and learn.  She says, “I could never have done it by myself, but when I got going everything fell beautifully into place, and I was glad I had started on my dream.”

2 Responses to “The Christmas Village”

  1. Onisha Ellis December 29, 2018 at 11:55 pm #

    I like how you tied your past to your choice of pieces for your Christmas village. I am so pleased you passed it on to us.


  2. GP Cox December 24, 2018 at 3:27 pm #


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