“You should have known I’d be over here by the snacks,” Finn said in a teasing voice. He rubbed his stomach. “They’ve got some mouthwatering treats, including my very own gingerbread cookies.”
Oliver rubbed his mittened hands together. “Ooh. I love gingerbread.”
“Hi, Finn. How are you?” Maggie greeted him with a warm smile.
“I’m good. Are you having fun?” he asked.
She nodded her head. “This is a wonderful holiday event. Everyone is so down-to-earth and welcoming. They really know how to make a person feel at home.”
“Are you here alone? Or...did Hank come with you?” Finn blurted out the question before he could reel himself in.
Maggie wrinkled her nose. “No, I didn’t come with Hank tonight. Oliver and I came together.”
“No?” he asked, as a feeling of relief swept over him. Thoughts of Hank being with Maggie had been gnawing at him. Suddenly, Finn felt on top of the world.
“Did you guys get a dogsled ride?”
ggie bit her lip. “No. I haven’t ridden on one since I was a kid.”
“So what? It’s like riding a bike. You’ll be fine.”
Maggie shook her head vehemently. “Nope. It’s not going to happen. I don’t need a broken ankle or a bruised hip if I fall off. Thank you very much. Those dogs go so fast.”
“Come on, Mags. I’ll ride with you and Oliver. I’ll even hold your hand and keep you from falling off if that’s what’s worrying you.” The image of them riding together made Finn feel like a kid all over again.
Maggie began to giggle. Finn loved seeing the way her eyes crinkled and the sides of her mouth twitched. He looked at Oliver, who was watching him watch Maggie. He had a glint in his eye and Finn had the strangest feeling wheels were turning in his six-year-old mind.
“Mom said she’ll ride the dogsled,” Oliver piped up. He was grinning from ear to ear.
Maggie held up her hand. “I said maybe. It wasn’t a promise, Oliver.”
“But, Mom, they’re only here for the winter carnival.” Oliver’s face fell. “They came all the way from Nome.”
“Oliver, I didn’t buy any tickets. And the line is really long,” Maggie said, pointing toward the team of huskies.
Finn didn’t know if this was becoming a habit, but he found himself wanting to make everything right with Oliver’s world. The kid had him wrapped around his little finger.
“Well, I just happen to have some pull with the person who brought the huskies to town.” He turned to Maggie as Oliver began hooting and hollering.
“How about it, Maggie? Let’s ride the dogsled for old times’ sake.”
* * *
Finn’s invitation to take a ride on the dogsleds made Maggie feel like the ten-year-old version of herself. If she closed her eyes, she could picture them being led by the pack of huskies with the wind whipping against their faces and snow gently falling all around them. It had been pure joy.
“I have a surprise for your mother.” Finn’s huge grin threatened to overtake his face.
“What is it?” Oliver asked, jumping up and down with excitement.
“Why don’t the two of you grab some hot chocolate? I’ll be right back.” Finn dashed off, leaving the two of them wondering what he was up to. Maggie walked to the concession stand with Oliver and bought two hot chocolates, as well as one of the reindeer cupcakes for Oliver. Before she knew it, Oliver had stuffed half of the cupcake in his mouth. He swigged it down with some gulps of hot chocolate. Maggie shook her head. She hoped Oliver wasn’t going to be on too much of a sugar high.
Live in the moment, she reminded herself. Tonight was special and she wasn’t going to ruin it by focusing too much on the sweets table. Her son was happier than she had seen him in well over a year. That in itself made Maggie feel like doing a jig.
Thank You for blessing us with this evening, Lord. For the fellowship and goodwill of this wonderful community. And thank You for bringing Finn back into my life and for allowing him to be a guiding light for Oliver. We are truly blessed.
By the time Oliver had finished the cupcake and hot chocolate, Finn was walking back toward them with Aidan at his side. He was holding a bunch of tickets in his hand. “It’s official. We have tickets for the dogsled.”