It was the morning after Thanksgiving in the Calendar Year house. Mother Year was moving about briskly in the kitchen, getting breakfast ready for the kids and putting away special dishes that they had used the day before. She smiled at the day old memories of pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes and family gossip.
Mother Year turned at the voice of her youngest child, Halloween, coming into the kitchen. She smiled warmly at the sight of his pillow-rumpled hair and sleep-puffed cheeks.
"Good morning, Halloween. Ready for breakfast?"
"Can I watch cartoons for a little while?" he asked.
"Sure," Mother said, as she clicked on the little television. "So, did you have fun yesterday? Isn't it nice to be able to sit back and enjoy a holiday once yours is done?"
"Yeah, it was OK, but my night was better. You know, more fun. Thanksgiving is boring, more for the grown-ups. I mean, who cares about food?" He yawned and thought of Halloween, and how much fun the family had had.
"Hey, yesterday was NOT boring," said a grumpy voice.
Halloween turned to see his brother Thanksgiving come into the kitchen. Taller and more mature, Thanksgiving was Mother Year's middle son.
"Thanksgiving, I can't believe you're up. You usually sleep in on Friday after your day," said Mother. She gave him some special attention, for the day after her children's holidays were more special than the actual day. It was a day to recap and discuss improvements for the following year.
"I know," he said, "but I'm not as tired as I usually am." He sat at the table and observed Halloween grinning at him.
"What?" said Thanksgiving. "What're you smiling about?"
"Why should you be tired? All you have to do is sit back while people stuff themselves silly," said Halloween.
"Mom, tell Halloween to stop teasing me, and tell him that I have just as hard a job as he does, even harder."
"It's true, Halloween," said Mother. "Think about it. Not everyone celebrates you, because as people grow older, they grow out of you. But everyone celebrates Thanksgiving. It's a huge responsibility."
"See? Told you," Thanksgiving said, and stuck his tongue out at Halloween.
"What are you two squawking about?"
They all turned to watch Christmas walk into the kitchen. Mother's oldest son strode in confidently, ready for the day. He was the oldest, the strongest, the one the other boys looked up to. He rumpled their hair, kissed Mother Year good morning, and opened the paper.
"What would you like for breakfast, Christmas? It's a big day, you'll need plenty of energy," said Mother, bustling around the kitchen. "How about some oatmeal to stick to your ribs?"
The Friday after Thanksgiving was Christmas' first unofficial day of his holiday. Even though it wasn't even December yet, he was still on call. It was called Black Friday, and over the years, had become the unofficial ushering in of the Christmas holiday.
Christmas frowned. His job was the most important in the family, his holiday a sacred, religious time. Somehow it had become a materialistic frenzy based on who got what for who. He didn't like it, and had consulted Father (Time) about the matter many years back. He was told to hold true to his beliefs, and no matter where he saw greed and avarice, to shine his light. It got tougher and tougher every year, but he did what he was told.
"Oatmeal is fine, Ma. Not really hungry, kinda stuffed myself yesterday. Thanks Thanks," he grinned, punching his brother Thanksgiving in the arm.
Not to be one-upped on attention from Christmas, Halloween asked Christmas the same question he asked him every year.
"Christmas, can I come to work with you today? Please? I won't get in the way, I just want to watch," said Halloween. Thanksgiving looked at their faces, ready to protest if Halloween was granted permission to accompany their oldest brother on his errands. It was against the rules, and neither of them had ever been allowed to go.
"Sorry, Hall. Can't do it. Once Halloween and Thanksgiving are done, I have to concentrate on reminding people what Christmas means. I can't do that with Halloween decorations and candy hanging around."
"Oh man," said Halloween. He slumped back down in his seat, and played dejectedly with his Cheerios.
Christmas got up, and kneeled in front of his brother.
"But I'll promise you this: the minute Christmas is done, you and I will do something really special together. Maybe a fishing trip. Sound good?"
"Can I go?" said a voice.
Mother Year turned and said,
"No, you may not, Easter. How about some eggs for breakfast?"