Over the rumbling of the old motorcycle’s engine, a scream that sounded just like every little girl’s scream in every horror show I’d ever watched echoed through the forest. Uncle Ned always said they used the same little girl and the same scream in all those shows. He said it was a recording.
After the scream spent itself somewhere deep in the pines, the engine quieted and the old cycle slowed, bumping over ruts and crunching through bits of snow still hiding in the low places of the well-worn tracks of the forest trail.
From the looks of surprise and glee on Paula and our little sister Nell’s faces, I discerned the scream had come from yours truly and tried to hide behind the five-foot spruce that would be our “yard” tree this Christmas. The tree rode with me in the sidecar, and Nell rode on the buddy seat behind Paula.
Paula twisted the throttle, our rusty steed leapt forward, and we shot up the hill toward
the old farm house. As we bounced and crunched along, sliding this way and that, Paula and Nell howled joyful laughter, and that little girl scream bounced among the tall trees.
It isn’t the only Christmas memory I hold dear, but it’s the best one.