I stood by the roadside near the old battlefield as the Winter wind whispered through empty branches. The wind spoke of days gone by when the soldiers left the battlefield to return to their loved ones. Candles were lit in every window and every hearth held a warm fire. The empty spots at tables were prepared with the best dinnerware in expectations of being filled. Families hoped as they prayed that they would soon hear the sound of boots on the doorstep. The baying of excited hounds harald coming of a favored son. His beard is now thick and unkept and obscures his face but his eyes look tenderly on those who he left behind. The exchange of embraces exceed the need for spoken words which are more often than not merely ceremony. The humble table of rough hewn lumber is adorned with handmade trimming but sports a feast of royal proportion. Yet even though he had not eaten in several days the soldier pauses to pray and bless both the meal and his family. There is nothing like being home for the holidays. Even if it took eight months of marching to get there. After the meal he removed his boots and placed them in box under the bed. They were marching boots and after today he wouldn’t need march anymore.
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