“Special Delivery” by Susan Page Davis

Steam Train

Benjy traveled on a steam train.

Hello from Susan Page Davis! I love Christmas and Christmas stories, and it’s a special honor to have a story in A Cup of Christmas Cheer again this year. I’ll take you back once more to New England, a hundred years ago.

The setting:
“Special Delivery” takes place in Maine, in December 1913.

Benjy’s aunt and uncle can’t afford to buy a ticket at a window like this.

The story:
Benjy’s aunt and uncle can’t afford a train ticket to send him to Bangor to spend Christmas with his grandparents and sisters. But Benjy sees a sign for the new Parcel Post service and asks why he can’t ride for the lower rate. His weight is low enough, but the railroad postman is uneasy. What will his boss say if he sees Benjy in the mail car with stamps stuck to his jacket?

The inspiration:
My grandfather was a rural mail carrier. In his younger days, he spent some time working on a railroad post office car, much like the one I describe in “Special Delivery.” I didn’t trust my memory on the details of things Grandpa told me, so I had to research the railroad post office cars, to see how they worked. If you’d like, you can watch a video of a mail hook snatching a full pouch of letters by clicking this link.

Benjy rides in a mail car similar to this one.

The takeaway:
I hope readers will catch the Christmas spirit from reading this story. For everyone who has longed to be home for the holidays or helped someone else have a better Christmas, this story is for you.

Christmas traditions:
My family used to have a Cheap Skate Award. When we five children married and began to gather each year at my parents’ home with our children along, we had quite a crowd. No one could afford to buy gifts for everyone. My generation—the ten of us, counting spouses—had a gifting competition. We drew names. Whoever could buy best gift for the least amount of money won the prize. The judge was my father, who also created the trophy: an antique ice skate (the kind that clamped onto the bottom of a boot) adorned with festive greenery. This was the Cheap Skate. The winner got to keep and display it for the next year.

Your turn:
Have you ever been a cheapskate in your gifting? What’s the best gift you were able to give someone for a small outlay of cash?

My giveaway!

Virgin & Child StampChristmas Cheer Volume 3

So that you can send more Christmas Cheer this year,
I’m giving away a book of 20 Virgin & Child Christmas stamps and a copy of
A Cup of Christmas Cheer, Volume Three: Heartwarming Tales of Christmas Past,
containing my story, “Special Delivery.”

Click this link to be taken to the Rafflecopter drawing.
Once there, follow the directions to enter.

The drawing for this giveaway will be held Nov. 17.

Congratulations to Vera G., winner of the giveaway.

For your protection, do not include personal information in a comment.

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Check out our Giveaways page to learn about our other fun giveaways.

(Note: If comments aren’t visible below the post, click the green circle under the post date.)

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Susan Page DavisThe storyteller:

Susan Page Davis is the author of more than 50 novels and novellas in the historical romance, mystery, and suspense genres. She is the mother of six and grandmother of nine. A Maine native, she now lives in western Kentucky with her husband, Jim. Visit her website at: www.susanpagedavis.com

Click on train images to go to the source files in Wikimedia Commons.



18 thoughts on ““Special Delivery” by Susan Page Davis

  1. Susan, I really enjoyed your story. It was fun seeing how Benjy’s Christmas trip worked out.

    I’ve given some inexpensive gifts over the years. Since I shop all year long, I’m able to find bargains. I love finding just the right item for someone at a low price. I get the joy of giving a present sure to please for a price that pleases me.

  2. When my children were young, money was very tight and there was almost nothing for extras. So during the year Iwould buy fabric when it was really cheap. At Christmas I made pajamas, bathrobes, stuffed animals, and one year a set of Raggedy Ann & Andy dolls.

  3. Such an awesome post and I can’t wait to read your story. I didn’t know about the catching the mail on the fly and enjoyed seeing the video. What a great family tradition of the Cheap Skate award! I’m not sure what my “cheapest” gift that I ever gave but I’m a pretty good bargain shopper!

    • Carla, since you live in Maine, I’m sure you’re familiar with the saying “Use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without.” Mainers are very frugal! Having the Cheap Skate Award took a lot of pressure off when holiday shopping. Glad you enjoyed the train video!

  4. Love the story behind the story, Susan! Can’t wait to read it! Yes, we are cheap, too. And yet not very good at the homemade variety of gifts. But we make up for it by finding deals on gifts to give and being sure to tell the recipient, too, because it adds to the joy of it knowing it was a find!

  5. Yes I have, but I didn’t feel it was cheap. I gifted a gift I had received. I knew they liked this kind of item & I had no use for it,. We gift venison to a retired Veteran every year. He can’t hunt but loves to eat it. That is most heart warming gift of each Christmas holiday 🙂

  6. I’m loving all these behind-the-scenes tidbits of how our stories came to be! What a fun idea to turn a person into parcel post, Susan!

    As far as cheapskate gifts, our youth group used to do white elephant exchanges, so the gifts weren’t always “nice,” but we always got good laughs out of them. 🙂

  7. I love the idea of the best for the least
    Wish we had done that back when my husband’s siblings were all getting married with children and we were drawing names.
    Off the top of my head I can think of a free gift. Church ladies Christmas is usually white elephant exchange. I don’t like the idea of gifting something really blah. So I usually shop at thrift stores or clearance sections. But last year there was a BOGO for Liz Curtis Higgs ‘Women of Christmas ‘. So that became my gift. Not sure if I paired it with a bookstore journal or discount store type.

  8. One year when I was a kid, I made a “magazine” for my grandfather. It had construction paper covers and inside I wrote different poems and stories I found about Christmas. It wasn’t much but apparently he really liked it. I found it between the pages of his bible when he died. I still have it to this day.

  9. One of the best gift I gave for a small amount of cash was a Christmas wall decoration I found at the dollar store. You see my sister absolutely loves Christmas and ever since we were kids we had a Santa Claus on our dining room wall during the Holday seasons. Unfortunately, the decoration was starting to get old and it wasn’t pretty because it was in bad condition. I had seached everywhere to buy a new one and finally, last Christmas, I found the exact same decoration at the dollar store. I was able to buy my sister a new one and she was SO happy when she opened her gift. 🙂

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