Friday, December 31, 2010

A Message For You :) (if you can find it)

Welcome back Friday Fictions Fans,
I know this is a little later than usual. I am quite sorry for any inconvenience, but I was rather busy. We had a good time with family this week and this morning we were packing things up from the camp were we stay to head back to Grandma's. I did get this poem written this morning, though I started thinking about it last night.

If you can find the message in this poem, leave a comment telling me what it is. If you didn't find it, don't read the comments unless you are giving up.:)

A New Year's Poem

Hope you enjoy these words of a sage
Last minute poems are becoming the rage.
Sup with the family, take time to sing,
Happiness comes like a bird on the wing.
Make your tea taste of sugar and spice.
Pack in your pocket a few grains of rice.
Every bear that you meet, just charm with a grin,
And your winter pleasures will just begin.
Although your brain is spinning, don't give up and quit.
Just eat a peppermint, find a chair and sit.
I told you I was scrambling to make this rhyme for you,
So read this presentation and find my message, too.

And the message is? . . .

Friday, December 24, 2010

Home For Christmas - Part 4

Good Morning Friday Fiction Fans, and a merry Christmas Eve to you!
Doesn't it seem as though it was just Christmas? And now, here it is again. I haven't written a thing this week. All my evenings were filled up, however, I do have the last part of the Friday story for you this morning. I hope you enjoy it.

Home for Christmas
Part 4
Last week . . .
It would be easier if she could just forget it all, but there was Annie. If she could be happy helping others, couldn’t she? Would it even be worth trying?

“Tomorrow is Christmas Eve!” The younger children kept up the merry shout as they pranced about the dining room awaiting the call for supper.
“Are you going to be here for Christmas?” one of them asked Robert who had just entered the room.
“I don’t know. It might depend on the snow.”
Davie ran to look out the window. “Aw,” he grumbled, “the snow’ll stop tonight and by tomorrow the trains’ll be goin’.”
“Is that bad?” Annie asked, carrying a large pot of soup in from the kitchen.
“Sure is, when we need another man ‘round here.”
Robert laughed. “Well, it’s nice to be wanted, but I think my family will be waiting for me.”
Susanna, who had come in with Annie, thought about that as she sat down. Soon the trains would leave again. Where would she go? Should she go back or go on to the city? She didn’t want to go back. Maybe she could stay here.
So busy was she with trying to figure out what to do that Aunt Lydia had to shake her arm to get her attention. She looked up startled.
“Are you planning on eating tonight?” Aunt Lydia smiled.
Susanna glanced around and noticed the empty bowls and then realized she hadn’t even begun. Turning pink she bent her head over her meal. Around her the laughter and talk continued. The longing to be a part of a family like this grew until she could scarcely keep back the tears. Why was she shut out from family and love? Deep in her heart she knew the truth. She was not shut out, but had chosen to ignore what had been offered her.

Davie’s prediction about the snow turned out to be true, for by daylight the snow had stopped and people were beginning to shovel their way out. Around mid afternoon the station master stopped by to inform Robert and Susanna that the trains would be leaving in an hour. A bustle followed this news, and soon Annie, Davie and several of the other children escorted their guests to the station where fond farewells ensued.
“Well, Miss Susanna,” Robert asked quietly when once they were alone, “are you still going to go on to the city?”
Susanna dropped her eyes. “I don’t know,” she whispered.
“Is anyone waiting for you there?”
She shook her head, not daring to trust her voice to speak.
“Then suppose you come home with me for Christmas.”
“But--” she began.
“No buts. I can invite guests to spend Christmas with me, can’t I?”
Susanna didn’t answer. She was fighting back tears. All the heartache she had tried to push aside since her father’s death seemed about to suffocate her.
Robert took the silence as acceptance and went at once to see about her ticket. A few minutes later he helped her on the train and took a seat beside her.
“You have no idea how delighted I am to be taking home a guest this year. I suppose that may surprise you, but you see, before the war, I was in college and each Christmas I always brought home a guest. It just wouldn’t seem right to come home without one.”
Susanna gave a small smile. Her conscious was bothering her. She should have told this man she had to go back to her aunt and uncle’s. But she didn’t want to go back, she argued. They didn’t want her either. Her companion’s continued talk fell on deaf ears as she sat lost in her troubled thoughts. At last the clicking of the wheels lulled her into slumber.
“Susanna,” a voice called and a hand gently shook her arm. “Wake up. We have to get off now.”
Only partially roused, Susanna stumbled after Robert into the bracing snowy night. Suddenly she was wide awake. Was this a dream? It couldn’t be real. She was back in the town she had started from. It couldn’t be. Yes, this was the closest town to her uncle’s!
“Come on, Susanna,” Robert beckoned. “Mr. Conrad will let us use his horse and sleigh.”
Slowly Susanna walked over, her eyes wide with a half scared look. “Where . . . where are we . . . going?”
“But where is it?” she persisted refusing to climb in the sleigh as she stared in the moon light at the young man.
“Why to Seth and Alice Smith’s home. I doubt they’re expecting us this late, but it will make it even more of a surprise, huh?”
Susanna shook her head. “I changed my mind. I don’t want to go.” She began to back away.
Robert reached out and grasped her hand. “Come on,” he urged.
Again she protested that she didn’t want to go and attempted to pull her hand away. But Robert was not to be turned from his purpose. Go with him she must and would. “You don’t understand,” at last wailed Susanna. “I . . . I ran away from there to . . . to go back to the city.” Her voice dropped. “I’m your cousin. They wouldn’t want me-- now.” the last word was barely audible even in the stillness of the winter night.
For a moment Robert stood still, then with a gentle arm about his cousin, he drew her towards the sleigh. “Susanna,” he began quietly, “I was quite sure you were my cousin when you first told me your name. Not to mention the fact that you look a whole lot like my mother.” Robert smiled. “And I know that no matter what you have done, the entire family will welcome you back with love. Did you notice how much love Aunt Lydia had for Annie?”
Susanna nodded, keeping her eyes on her snowy boots.
“That love is waiting for you at home if you will just accept it. Not only that love, but the love of a Heavenly Father is also waiting.” Robert paused and lifted Susanna into the sleigh, climbed in beside her and tucked the robes about them.
With a jingle of bells the sleigh was off across the snowy, moo lit fields. “Are you willing to let the love in?” the question was gently put.
Susanna’s chin quivered and a moment later she had buried her face in Robert’s coat and was sobbing out all the heartache and loneliness of the past months.
Robert let her cry for a few minutes and then began to talk softly, caressing her hair as he spoke.

By the time the Smith cabin was seen, Susanna had a smile on her face. True, it was a bit apprehensive, but she climbed down from the sleigh clinging to her cousin’s hand.
All was still about the house. Mr. Conrad drove away leaving Robert and Susanna standing before the front door. “Well,” Robert whispered pulling out his watch and looking at it in the moonlight, “shall we try to slip in unnoticed or shall we rouse the whole house? It is officially Christmas morning as of five seconds ago.”
“Wake them all up.” Susanna thought it might be easier to slip back in with the commotion Robert’s homecoming would bring.
As he started to turn the knob of the door he grinned. “I feel like a school boy about to commit a prank.” Then throwing open the door he shouted, “Merry Christmas, everyone! You’d best get down here before we open all the gifts ourselves! Mama! Come see what I brought you!”
That was all he could get in before a tumult of voices, pounding of feet and shouts and squeals filled the house. The next instant white night clad figures rushed pellmell into the dark room and surrounded the newcomer. Somehow, someone finally managed to light a lamp and great was the excitement over Robert’s return.
No one noticed Susanna standing alone by the door for several minutes. At last Aunt Alice caught a whisper from her returned boy. On seeing the forlorn figure, she made her way over and said softly as she held out her arms, “Susanna.”
That was all it took, and the next moment Susanna was wrapped in the loving arms that had so longed to hold her close. Many a tender word was murmured as the tears of both mingled.
“Susanna, this is the happiest Christmas of my life. We were so worried about you, and now you come home with Robert.”
“Let’s sing something!” David suggested, and soon the room rang with the wonderful strains of “Joy to the World.”
In the glow of a hastily built fire, Susanna looked about her. Everywhere she looked she saw joy, and love such as she had seen on the face of Annie. This was home. Her home.
“And wonders of His love, And wonders of His love.”
All around her the joyful Christmas song rang out. Never had it meant so much to her as it did this Christmas. She blinked back the rising tears and felt Robert looking at her. Raising her eyes, she met his with a smile. He had brought her home for Christmas.
The End
Did you like it?
I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas remembering our Saviour's birth!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Garlandsburg - Needleworks & Quilts

This will be the last of the Garlandsburg stories for this year. I hope to have new ones written for your enjoyment, next December.
Come back tomorrow for the last part of "Home For Christmas."


“Yes, Mrs. Stone, the quilt is ready. Let me go get it.” Miss Ann, owner of “Needleworks & Quilts” hurried to the back room. In a moment she returned.
“Oh, Ann,” Mrs. Stone exclaimed as she saw the fine, neat stitches in elaborate patterns over the quilt. “It is just beautiful! I have never seen such tiny stitches. Holly will just love this.” Gently she fingered the edge of the quilt. The different shades of greens with splashes of red and white here and there made the quilt a festive masterpiece. She knew her oldest daughter, who would be married Christmas night, would treasure this for years to come.

Her thoughts were interrupted. “It wouldn’t have looked so nice if you hadn’t done such a fine job of piecing it.”
Mrs. Stone laughed. “That was the hard part. I was so glad when Nicholas took Holly off to spend three weeks in New York with his family. Otherwise, I never could have gotten it finished.”
Miss Ann nodded. “With names like Nicholas and Holly, it is no wonder they chose Christmas day to get married. Are his folks in town yet?”
“Yes, they’re here. They were all at the pond when I went by. I would have had them stay with us, but you know how crowded it is at the bakery with five children. They are staying at the Grand Hotel, and since that is right next door, no one minded. As for the wedding day,” Mrs. Stone continued, eager to impart news, “what with Holly’s birthday coming the day after Christmas and Nicholas having his yesterday, I really don’t know that any other day would have suited either one. Of course I did mention that it might be more work, but Holly wants things simple. It hasn’t been any extra work at all. But I really must be going, Ann. I still have some work to do for dinner. Peter will be around with his cart to bring your order, and I’ll have him bring the quilt home. I don’t know if I could carry it and these other things. I won’t have to worry about Holly and Nicholas seeing it.”
“Where are they?” questioned Miss Ann as she carefully wrapped brown paper around the quilt and tied it with string.
“Oh, they went on a sleigh ride to the lighthouse. I’m sure they’ll only get back in time for supper and the Christmas Eve service. You know how much Crystal enjoys company. Poor dear, with Aaron gone this time of year, too.”
“They say his ship is due tomorrow,” put in the young woman.
“Is it now! I hadn’t heard. Well, that would make a real nice Christmas for all.” Mrs. Stone retied her bonnet, drew her gloves on and gathered her packages. “You aren’t going to spend Christmas alone, are you?”
“Oh no, I’ll be at the Manse.”
“Well, Merry Christmas, if I don’t get to talk to you tonight.”
“And to you.”
Mrs. Stone hurried out into the sparkling Christmas Eve snow.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Garlandsburg - Hearthstone Bakery

The air around the Hearthstone Bakery was filled with tantalizing smells of freshly baked breads, cakes, pies and other delectable, mouth-watering and enticing goods. Peter, the oldest son of Baker Stone, hoisted yet another sack of flour onto his broad shoulder and carried it out to the waiting cart. There were deliveries to be made before dark. After setting the sack in the cart, he paused to call “Merry Christmas!” to the approaching sleigh carrying the Reverend Goodman, his wife and daughter. Then, turning back to the warm bakery, Peter re-entered the shop.

“Here you are, Mrs. Johnston,” Mr. Stone was saying. “And Joel, are you going to carry this loaf of bread home?”

Young Joel nodded as he carefully held the large loaf handed to him.
“Thank you, Mr. Stone. Have a merry Christmas, oh, I almost forgot, your horse is ready whenever you want him.”
Mr. Stone thanked her, and she and Joel turned to leave.

“The cart is loaded, Father,” Peter announced straightening his baker’s hat and dusting his hands on his apron. Most lads his age would have scorned to wear an apron in the kitchen, much less be seen in one, but not Peter. It didn’t matter what others thought of him as long as he was doing his best to please his father.
Mr. Stone opened the oven door, and the spicy smell of cinnamon buns wafted across the kitchen and into the shop.
“Ah, now that is what I call a pleasant Christmas aroma!”
Peter turned. It was the postman with his hands full of mail.
“I’ll make a trade with you, Mr. Stone,” Postman Owen chuckled. “These letters for a hot bun.”
Peter grinned. It was a holiday tradition for his father and the postman to exchange freshly baked goods for the mail.
As the baker was taking one of the hot buns from the pan, he turned to his son. “Peter, run over to the carriage house and fetch Sugar. You should start on the deliveries a bit early so as to get home for supper.”
Peter nodded, taking off his hat and apron and dashing upstairs for his coat, scarf and cap. Coming into the shop once more, he suddenly paused and thrust his hand into his coat pocket.
“Pastry!” he exclaimed pulling out the family cat. “My coat is not the place to have your kittens.”
Mr. Stone laughed. “I don’t know what we’ll do with kittens. You wouldn’t be wanting one, Owen, would you?”
Postman Owen grinned. “If one was named Cinnamon Bun, I might.”
Peter joined in the laugh as he gently placed the cat on a burlap bag near the oven.
“Any thing else to add to my deliveries, Father?”
When the baker, already busy rolling out a pie crust, shook his head, Peter and the postman headed out into the frosty, Christmas Eve afternoon.
“So long, Peter,” Postman Owen called. “See you at the Christmas Eve service.”
Waving gayly, Peter headed down the cobblestone road to the carriage house.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Garlandsburg - Lighthouse & Cliff

I really was going to post this last evening, but I didn't. Sorry. Here it is now.

Clear on the other side of village, on the cliff overlooking the Atlantic ocean, stood the Garlandsburg lighthouse. For years it had stood there, its light warning of the rocky cliff below as well as welcoming home to the harbor those who had sailed the vast and seemingly endless waters. Now it stood proud and tall, festooned with its Christmas garlands, wreaths and ribbons. All seemed joyous, yet old Grandpa Donovan, as he was called by everyone, walked about sober and quiet. Grandpa Donovan had been the lighthouse keeper before most of the villagers had been around. Now that he was so old, most of the responsibility of the light fell on his son, Uriah, who along with his great-grandson, Lucas, kept the light burning.

Growing restless, Grandpa Donovan donned his yellow rain hat and coat and stepped out into the world of white. Candle, his dog followed. Towards the cliff the old man made his way, eyes gazing out to sea. Would the ship come for Christmas? When he reached the edge of the cliff, he began to carefully make his way down to what was left of an old pier at the bottom.

Here the spray from the waves dashing against the rocks fell in showers. “It’s a good thing I persuaded Crystal not to put my slicker away. You need one too, don’t you, Candle, old girl.” Grandpa Donovan stroked the head of his favorite companion. “I know, I know,” the old man went on talking to the dog. “You wonder why I’m down here. Well, sometimes a body can see a ship coming in when one is down on level with the waves.” A deep sigh came from him as he gazed at the empty expanse before him. “But, not today, Candle, not today.” Slowly the old man turned and with tired steps, made his way back up the cliff.

There he again paused and looked out over the waters. Would that ship come? Would Adam get home for Christmas? As he stood there, his mind drifted back many years ago to another ship which had also been due on Christmas.

The Magi, had been his brother Douglas’s ship. Douglas had loved the sea from a child and when he was taken aboard a vessel nearly ready to sail, Douglas begged to go along. Grandpa Donovan smiled in remembrance. His brother had gone on that ship and after that had been at sea more than on land. Douglas’s ship had been due to arrive no later than Christmas Day. However, Christmas came and went and no sign of the missing vessel. It wasn’t until two months later that it did finally come in battered and worn from the violent storms. The crew were exhausted, and Douglas, well, Douglas never fully recovered from the terrible strain and had died at sea only three months later.

A whine from Candle roused Grandpa Donovan. “All right girl, we’ll go back inside where it is warmer, and smell the Christmas Eve dinner.”

Friday, December 17, 2010

Home for Christmas - Part 3

Good Morning Friday Fiction Fans,
I haven't been outside yet, but it looks rather cold. Still no snow. :( I keep hoping for even a dusting, but instead we have real dust. Everything is covered in dust in our yard because its been so dry and Dad raked the leaves. But I don't want snow today because this evening is our Christmas Open House. We should have over 70 people here! Wow! I'm sure it will be a crowded, crazy and confusing time yet, a lot of fun. We have to get the house ready today. Change the sewing room into the play room, the new room into a game room and pack closets with as much as possible. Should be interesting.

I really haven't written much this week, though I did get some other things done like the doll clothes I had to make. I also finished knitting Mom's first sock and started on the second one.:)

But, I know at least two of my readers are either reading this after the story, or are wishing I'd hurry up and get on with it.:) Okay, okay! Here is part three. Enjoy!

Part 3
Last Friday:
“I don’t have one,” Susanna replied in a small voice.
“Well, that ain’t my concern though I say it’s a shame to send a young girl like you off with no bag an’ baggage. And right before Christmas, too. Never mind though. Jest follow me close, the snow’s gettin’ deeper all the time.”

Into the world of white the two travelers went, following their guide. For Susanna, who had never seen a snow storm quite like this before, it was frightening, and she clung to her new companion’s hand. By the time they reached a house on the edge of town, Susanna could scarcely breathe, and Robert was in no better shape.

The station master rapped loudly on the door. Quickly it was flung open and a bright faced girl stood before them.
“Annie, I hope you an’ yer aunt can put these two up till the trains start runnin’ again.”
“I’m sure we can. Aunt Lydia!” the girl beckoned her snow covered visitors inside, taking the bag from station master.

As the door closed behind them, a tall, slim woman entered wiping her hands on her apron. “I wondered how those trains would get through in this weather,” she said cheerily. “We’ll find room for you, never fear.” As she talked she bustled about taking off the snow covered garments and settling Susanna and Robert in chairs before the fire. She quickly found out the names of her unexpected guests and continued her cheerful talk. “Annie, we’ll let Susanna sleep in with you seeing you have a larger bed, and do go air out the guest room for Robert. Be sure to light a fire, or no, get Davie to, in the grate to take the chill off.”

Susanna watched without a word as Annie hurried off with a smile to do her aunt’s bidding. “But then her papa is probably coming back,” she told herself. “I would have been cheerful if that were true for me.” Her conscious told her she hadn’t been cheerful since she first arrived, but she refused to listen.

Before long supper was served and everyone gathered around the table. Never had food looked or tasted so good before to Susanna. She realized with a start that she hadn’t eaten since early that morning. It was a merry table though no father or uncle was present. Robert was persuaded to take the head while Aunt Lydia sat at the foot. On each side children of all ages sat and talked, laughed and ate. The only silent one was Susanna.
When the meal was over and the dishes cleared away, One of the little ones brought out a large book and gave it to Aunt Lydia.
“Thank you, Son,” she smiled. Then turning to her guests she said, “We always have a bit of reading and prayer before we skip off to bed. I hope you both will join us.”
Robert expressed delight in staying, saying that it would remind him of home. Susanna would gladly have slipped away, but didn’t want to appear rude.
The prayer that followed the reading was simple. Susanna didn’t hear much of it, but one sentence stayed in her mind.
“Please bless both our guests with the joy of your birth this year.”

Once in bed with Annie, Susanna lay awake for some time. For the first time since she had left, she wondered what her aunt and uncle were doing. Were they worried about her? Had her cousin arrived? Perhaps she should have left them a note saying she was not coming back. It was too late now. She would wire them from the city. At last, Susanna’s eyes closed of their own, and she slept.

She was awakened quite early the following morning when Annie slipped out of bed into the freezing room and rapidly dressed.
“Where are you going?” Susanna queried sleepily.
“To get the kitchen fire started before Aunt Lydia gets up. Why don’t you stay in bed longer. The heat from the chimney will warm this room up before long.” With that, Annie slipped out of the door and down the narrow stairs.

Susanna couldn’t go back to sleep. Why would this girl, who appeared to be about her own age, get up so early just to light a fire for her aunt? Why didn’t the aunt do it? And why was Annie there in the first place? Susanna could hear the wind howling and whistling around the house, and she shivered. Never had she heard a wind like this. It scared her.

All that day the winds blew the snow around in swirling gusts causing visibility to be only a few inches. Inside the little house, all was snug and cheerful. Aunt Lydia bustled here and there for the comforts of her guests as well as in preparation for Christmas. Annie seemed to be always at work. All the children were kept busy, the older ones over lessons and chores indoors while the younger ones played and helped when they could. Everywhere the excitement of Christmas was to be felt.

In an armchair by the large, cheery fire, Robert had been established in the morning, having been told that what he needed was rest and some good food. He didn’t complain but amused himself by telling stories to the young ones or talking to Aunt Lydia, Annie and Davie. He tried talking with Susanna, but she had pulled into her shell and hardly said anything. Her eyes and ears were open, however, and she noticed many things which puzzled her.

That night when Susanna and Annie were in their room, Susanna ventured a few questions.
“Why are you living here?”
Annie smiled. “Because Aunt Lydia is my only living relative besides Uncle Joe, but he’s away at war.”
“When did your parents die?”
“My mother when I was only three and Papa--” For a moment Annie was silent, her face turned away. When at last she looked back at Susanna, there were tears in her eyes, yet she smiled and her voice was soft. “Papa was killed in France two months ago.”
“Yours too.” That was all Susanna said until they were in bed and the only sound was the storm outside. Then in a voice scarce above a whisper she asked, “Have you always lived here in the country?”
Laughing a little, Annie replied, “No, I’m from Chicago, but now I love this place.”
“Why? Because I have the love of my aunt and cousins and,” she added more quietly, “God had a reason for me coming. I sometimes think it was to help Aunt Lydia. But then maybe it is for something else.
“Don’t you ever want to go back?”
“I wouldn’t have any place to go. Besides, I love it here.”
“But all the work they make you do!” Susanna protested.
Annie turned in bed to face her guest in the dark. “When I lived in the city, I only thought of myself, and when I came out here, it was hard. But I am so much happier here where I can work with my hands and help others. Aunt Lydia has been like the mother I don’t remember. And especially at this time of year. When I think that Jesus left all the glories of heaven to be born in a barn and then grow up working, only to die on the cross for me, how can I complain about a few chores?”
Susanna ventured no answer. This was new ground for her. Enjoy working? Enjoy serving others? In all her life she had only thought of her and enjoyed being miserable when things didn’t go her way. Yet here was Annie, full of life and happiness, yes, and even joy, and she was in nearly the same situation as herself. For a long time she lay still, pondering it all. Would she really be happy back in the city? Could she be happy back in that dreadful house with her aunt and uncle and all those cousins? Even knowing her papa wasn’t coming home and her cousin was? No, she couldn’t be happy. Not ever again. Yet, something inside of her kept whispering that she was not being truthful.

It was still snowing when Susanna climbed out of bed the following morning. As she slipped into her cold clothes, her thoughts turned once more to the unsettling ones of the previous nights. It would be easier if she could just forget it all, but there was Annie. If she could be happy helping others, couldn’t she? Would it even be worth trying?

Last part next Friday. Don't miss it!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Garlandsburg Christmas Eve - Boathouse

Barnacle Bill, as everyone called him, was busy at his boat house. He whistled a merry Christmas tune as he worked on a boat out in front. Tomorrow he would take the entire day off to enjoy the holiday, but today, ah, today he would work. The shouts of fresh young voices caused him to look up. His twin sons, Brandon and Brian were having a snowball fight. It seemed as though Brian was losing for he dodged around the corner with his brother right at his heels. Barnacle Bill paused. The boat could wait a little longer. Quietly he packed a dozen snow balls and then waited for his sons. Soon they were back. Brian had the upper hand now and was pursuing Brandon. With sure aim, the boat maker let fly his ammunition. The sudden onslaught caused the boys great astonishment. They thought their father was too busy to play. But with wide grins, they returned the fire.
Before long, the snowballs were flying thick and fast as father and sons pelted the others with winters’ cold ammunition. Around the house the three combatants raced, hurling the snow as fast as they could scoop it up and pack it into balls. Across the yard Barnacle Bill raced before leaping the stone wall where fresh, un-trampled snow waited for him. The snow drift was so deep, however, that he sank in clear past his knees and was at the mercy of his boys.
The merry shouts and laughter caused Mrs. Bill to pause in her pie making and hurry to look out the window.
“I declare, Betty, it does my heart good to see your father having a little fun.”
Betty hurried over to her mother’s side to see what the fun was. “Do you think, Mama, that Father will go back to work after this?”
Mrs. Bill pursed her lips. “He won’t if we put his tools away.”
“He shouldn’t be working on Christmas Eve anyway,” Betty agreed, hastily pulling on her coat.
Rapidly, yet quietly, Mrs. Bill and Betty gathered the few tools and slipped back inside.

“Whew!” Barnacle Bill sighed as he collapsed in the snow to catch his breath after having with great effort, been helped out of the snow drift. “I haven’t had that much fun in years.”
Brian looked at Brandon meaningfully before speaking. “Do you think you could go down to the pond with us and Betty after a while?”
“Well,” their father began to reply but got no farther, for Mrs. Bill called from the house, “Come and have some hot chocolate and warm cookies to thaw you out.”
With a cheer, the three snow covered figures headed inside where the fire blazed brightly.
When Barnacle Bill went back to his boat, he couldn’t find his tools. Then, since no one would tell him where they were, he consented with good natured grumbling to go skating instead.
“Just be home in time for Christmas Eve supper!” Mrs. Bill called after them.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Favorite Christmas Books

This is a list of some of my favorite Christmas books. The first three were read to me every Christmas for as long as I can remember until I started reading them to myself a dozen year or so ago. It just wouldn't be Christmas without these books. These books will be listed with my very Favorite one first and going down the line.

#1: The Twenty-four Days Before Christmas
by Madeleine L'Engle
(I don't recommend all of her books at all, but this one is wonderful!)

#2: A Pint of Judgment
by Elizabeth Morrow
(Such a cute, short story.)

#3: The Birds' Christmas Carol
by Kate Douglas Wiggin
(Be prepared to cry in this one.)

#4: Arne and the Christmas Star
by Alta Halverson Seymour
(A Norwegian Christmas story. She has written other Christmas books about other counties which I also enjoy: The Christmas Donkey - France, The Christmas Stove - Switzerland, Erik's Christmas Camera - Sweden, The Top O' Christmas Morning - Ireland.)

#5: Christie's Christmas or Christmas Surprise
by Isabella Alden
(Written by my favorite author.)

Hope you find some happy reading in these books.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Home for Christmas - Part 2

Well, once again, Friday Fiction Fans, it is Friday and time for Part 2 of last weeks story. Well, almost time.:)

I hope you enjoyed the short posts I did during the week. I'll be doing more next week. (As long as I can spend a few evening writing.:}) It has been a busy week. We got our piano tuned! Yay! Now I can play Christmas songs that sound good. It was also Dad's birthday this week and last evening S & I babysat for some friends. I think we're supposed to watch the kids tomorrow. Why do things always get really busy just when you think you can finish all your projects and maybe read a few books? I really have to work on my book today so I can get it sent out to my proofer. If you haven't seen my book blog, check it out here.

And now, for the next part of that story. Enjoy!
Last week:

For a moment Daniel was still. He had never heard this quiet, withdrawn cousin go on in this fashion. True, he had known, as had they all, that Susanna wasn’t happy, but never had he dreamed that she felt that way about it. “Well,” he spoke quietly, “there’s not much I can do about that now. Let’s get back to the house before it starts to snow.” He placed a hand on her shoulder.
She pushed it off. “I said I wasn’t going. Maybe you think I’m just talking, but I’m not!” her voice rose to a shout. “I hate it here! I’m leaving, and I won’t go back” She stamped her foot.! “You can go back and wait for your brother. I wish he would die!”
“That is enough!” Daniel’s voice was stern. “I won’t listen to that kind of talk from anyone. If you would stop thinking of only yourself and think and do for others for a change, you would find life more enjoyable. Do you think that your selfishness hasn’t affected the rest of the family? Well, it has. We have all tried our best to make you welcome, yet you persist in thinking of no one except Susanna Mary Stanson. And I for one have grown weary of it. You may complain about it, but,” he added firmly, “we are going home, and I will listen to no more of that kind of talk.”

The sudden sternness of her cousin’s voice startled Susanna into silence. Never had she been spoken to in that tone before. Daniel had always been kind and gentle until now. When he lifted her into the saddle and then swung up behind her, she make no sound.
Daniel’s voice softened as he said, “Now, let’s get home before the snow gets too bad.”
The ride home was one of silence. Daniel, wondering if he had said the right things, prayed for this cousin of his who was making life so miserable for herself.

Susanna’s thoughts were in a turmoil. How could anyone talk to her like that? Was he right? He couldn’t be. It wasn’t her fault that she had to live with them in the middle of nowhere. Life was being unfair. That is what it was. If only she were in the city where she belonged, she would be different. She really wasn’t selfish, it was just her circumstances. By the time they reached the barn, Susanna had once again convinced herself that the problem lay elsewhere.

For several days after that, Susanna went about the house silent and at times sullen. She did the work assigned her so poorly that her uncle spoke to her more than once about it.

In spite of Susanna’s attitude, the family was fairly bursting with excitement and joy. Christmas was only a week away and the eldest son was expected sometime before then. Nothing could dampen their spirits entirely. Not even Susanna’s frowns.

Then one night, Susanna quietly packed her few belongings into the pockets of her coat and the next morning slipped out the door and up to the mail road. As she expected, a neighbor came by shortly afterwards in his wagon.
“Oh, please, won’t you take me into town?” She questioned sweetly. “I have errands to run and no one is free to take me.”
The neighbor chuckled. “Christmas errands I reckon. Sure, I can give you a lift,” and he stopped his horses and offered her a hand up.

Arriving in town, Susanna thanked the man and hurried down the street toward the small general store. Once she was sure the neighbor was gone, she slipped over to the train station and bought a ticket. She was just in time too, for the train was about to pull out.

“At last,” she told herself, “tonight I’ll be in the city and then things will be all right.” What she planned on doing once she reached the city was still uncertain. However, that gave her no worries, for soon the motion of the train had lulled her into an uneasy slumber.

Several times the conductor paused beside her and gazed down in silence at the young, fretful looking face of the sleeping girl. Where was she going, and why was she alone? Poor little thing, she looked so forsaken, and now and then a tear would roll down her cheek.

It was mid afternoon when Susanna awoke only partially refreshed from her long nap. All she could see from the car windows were snow laden trees and hills. Snow swirled around with such force that at times nothing but snow could be seen. The train began to slow down and the passengers looked at one another anxiously. When the conductor came through, he was eagerly questioned but only replied that they were nearing a town. In a few minutes the train had stopped, and the conductor entered the car.

“Well, folks, you all have got to get out now and find a place to stay. The snow is growin’ worse, and we can’t go on without riskin'’ being stranded. Besides that, the westbound train came in some ten minutes ago saying a bridge they had crossed just a couple miles from here is about to collapse.”

Eager were the tongues then and rapid flew the questions. Were there hotels to be had in such a small town? Would the westbound train keep on going? Perhaps some of them would just return with it. Was the bridge going to be checked to see if it really was about to collapse?
Susanna listened to all this talk with growing dismay. Stuck? Here in a little mite of a town? What would she do? For the first time she began to realize the folly of her running away. It was too late now, though, to return, for she heard the conductor say that neither train was going anywhere until the storm had passed. Slowly she stood up and followed the crowd out of the train car. What she saw did not lift her spirits any. People were milling about in the snow, and the station, if it could be called a station, was packed with passengers from the earlier train. With a clutch at her scarf, Susanna managed to squeeze her way int. Finding a small empty corner, she sat down and waited.

At last the crowd began to thin and people disappeared out into the world of white. A strange silence filled the room causing Susanna to look up. Only a few persons were left besides herself. One was a young man with sandy hair and a pleasant face. As Susanna gazed at him, he looked up and smiled. That smile so reminded her of her papa that for a minute all she could do was stare and then slowly one by one, the tears began to trickle down her cheeks.

“Well, upon my word!” the young man exclaimed softly and standing up he walked rather feebly over and sank down into a seat beside Susanna. “There now,” he said gently, “there’s no need to cry. Did you lose something?”
Susanna shook her head and forced herself to stop crying. “You just, . . . just, . . . reminded me of someone.”
The young man nodded. “I understand. Are you here alone?”
Susanna nodded and dropped her head. What would he say to that?
“I see I haven’t introduced myself; my name is Robert Smith. and you are--?”
“Susanna Stanson.”
The young man gave a slight start and looked down at the girl beside him with a new interest which Susanna didn’t see.
“Where were you going? To visit relatives for Christmas?” The questions was gently put.
Susanna shook her head. “Just to the city. I have to live in a city.”
Robert nodded soberly and fell silent.
Susanna, feeling fretful and worried, looked up. “I don’t know what to do now. I have to get to the city, and now I’m stuck here.”
“There’s two train loads of people stuck, Miss.” It was the station master who had come up. “An’ we’ve only got jest one hotel, an’ that ain’t the biggest. But don’t you fret none, the folk here’ll make room for everyone somehow. Suppose you two jest come along with me an’ I’ll get ya a place ta stay.”
Robert thanked the station master and stood up. As he reached for his bag, the station master picked it up, saying as he did so, “I’ll carry that. Ya don’t look all that strong. Miss, where is yer bag?”
“I don’t have one,” Susanna replied in a small voice.
“Well, that ain’t my concern though I say it’s a shame to send a young girl like you off with no bag an’ baggage. And right before Christmas, too. Never mind though. Jest follow me close, the snow’s gettin’ deeper all the time.”

Part 3 will be here next week, so come back.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


A Garlandsburg Christmas Eve

The little village of Garlandsburg, along the coast of New England, was full of Christmas cheer. All the shops and houses, the church and even the lighthouse on the cliff, were trimmed with green boughs brought from the nearby woods and festooned with red ribbon bows. A thick blanket of snow lay everywhere, in which the children of the village reveled, while the cold weather had frozen the pond into a perfect skating rink. The air was full of good cheer as last minute shopping was done, and merry were the voices on that frosty Christmas Eve day. Even the sleigh bells seemed to ring in pure joy of the season.

For some reason, the pilot of the plane that carried the photographer only flew over half of the village. I hope I can get him to fly over the rest of it. If so, I'll post a few more pictures for you.
More of this village to come, so check back

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Christmas Wonders

Christmas Wonders

Christmas wonders, what are they?
Presents wrapped in colors gay,
Snowdrifts piled along the roads,
Wagons filled with Christmas loads,
Red bows or sleigh bells ringing,
Christmas trees or carols pealing,
Or is there something sweeter still
That all the world with joy fills?
Christmas wonders, there are many
but never could I think of any
Greater than my Savior's birth,
Death and life upon the earth.
So, Heavenly Father, I thank Thee
For the Christmas wonder You gave me!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Home For Christmas - part 1

Good Morning and Merry 3rd of December to all you Favorite Friday Fiction Fans!

I suppose since no one left a comment, that no one got on and read last weeks story. It is not too late to tell me what you think of it and if I should write any others to go with it.
Since I posted last Friday, things have been busy! On Sat. we drove home from KC, picked up the Cass girls on the way, and began to get the house ready to decorate. On Sun. the rest of the Cass and Morris and Yoders came, and we decorated after church. It sure looks pretty. Everyone left that night. Monday, I spent the morning finishing last touches on the decorating downstairs, then relaxing in the afternoon. Tues. I did the upstairs, then got to work on a quilt I'm doing for someone. Wednesday, I worked a lot on the quilt. Yesterday, Dad came home with a pile of green branches from Lowes that they had cut off of Christmas trees and were giving away! Yay! Now the house smells like Christmas. We baby-sat the three kids from 4:45 - 10:00. By the time J & M came back, K told me, "Mommy & Daddy were gone too long." :)

But that was then. I started this story last year, however, I got stuck and didn't finish it until this year. It will continue until Dec. 24th.

ATTENTION: Important notice. Throughout the month of December, Rebekah's Reading Room will not only have the regular posts every Friday, but will also be posting different things during the weeks!* The things during the weeks won't be long, but you might want to check back often.
*Special thanks for this idea goes to the Cass girls.*

And now, for your regularly scheduled program. Uh, I mean story.

Home for Christmas

It just wasn’t fair! She had barely tolerated it from the first and now all would be even worse. Twelve-year-old Susanna strode across the yard, climbed the fence into the pasture and frowned. Savagely she kicked a clump of frozen grass and then winced as her toe connected with a hidden rock. “I hate it here!” she spoke the words aloud and started across the field. She didn’t want to stay here any longer. Why couldn’t she go back to the city where she had always lived? Surely she could find someone among her friends to live with. It just wasn’t fair! Susanna could feel the tears rise, and her eyes smarted. Why did her father get drafted to go fight and her uncle get to stay home? And if that wasn’t bad enough, her father had to get killed only two weeks after he was shipped over to France while her cousin only got wounded and was coming home any day now. Irritably she twitched at her skirt as it became caught in a bramble.

A cheerful whistle was heard along with the sound of horses hooves. A quick glance showed her that Daniel was riding out to bring in the cows. With a look of disgust she turned her back on her approaching cousin and continued walking. That was another thing she disliked; all these smelly animals. It was a disgrace to have a dog in the house as well as two cats! She shuddered. All these relatives of hers thought about was work and animals, from Daniel down to the baby. Back when she had lived in the city with her papa there had been plenty of time for parties and friends. Now she hardly had time to breathe by herself!

“Susanna!” her cousin’s cheerful voice sounded beside her. “You want to ride with me to round up the cows?”
Susanna shook her head, her frown deepening into a scowl.
“Okay, suit yourself.” Daniel shrugged and turned his horse’s head. “Just don’t stay out too long, supper will be ready shortly, and it looks like a snow storm might be brewin’.”

Susanna made no reply and tramped steadily on, away from the house with its warmth, noise and joy. She felt miserable. There had been times over the last months that she had almost begun to let herself like this new home, but the feeling had never lasted. That was mostly her own fault though she refused to admit it and pushed away all love. Her aunt had a special place in her heart for this only daughter of her only brother. Susanna’s mother had died when she was just a baby, and thus it was that Susanna had never known the love and gentleness of a mother.

Reaching the far fence of the pasture, Susanna turned her head. She could see the smoke coming from the chimney of the large log house. Behind it the Rocky mountains towered high into the sky. Most peaks were invisible because of the clouds. A cold wind blew from the north making her shiver and pull her coat even closer around her. She jerked a scarf from her pocket and tied it around her blonde hair. At the sight of it a sob rose in her throat. Papa had given it to her only last Christmas. Papa! Why did he have to go? All the former thoughts came back to her again. Life wasn’t fair to her.

It all started when she had to leave the city. That was it! If she could only return to the city, any city, life would once again be what it used to. Suddenly, acting on an impulse, she turned, deliberately climbed the fence and set off across the open country toward the town. She would just leave. No one cared for her anyway.

She didn’t know how long she had walked, but it felt like it had been hours. Her feet ached, and she was cold, tired and hungry. The darkness was settling quickly all around, and she could hear the cry of a coyote. She shivered. Her eyes filled, but defiantly she blinked back the tears. She wouldn’t cry. She hadn’t cried since her papa had kissed her good bye before her train pulled out for Montana; even when word came of her father’s death, she had shed no tears.

She hadn’t heard her aunt talking about it to her uncle. “I don’t know what to do. She hasn’t even shed a tear though I know she loved him dearly. There is something wrong with her, Seth. There must be, for she doesn’t act like any child I have ever known.
“Just give her a little more time, Alice. This is quite a shock to her. Perhaps she just needs more love.”
“Love! I’ve given her all the love I have, yet she rejects it all. She wants nothing to do with us or this place, you can see it in her every look and action.”
“Then the only thing we can do is to pray for her more than ever we have before.”

Back in the barn, Daniel and Josh were milking the cows while their father tossed hay down from the loft. “Is Susanna out here?” Rosy-cheeked Martha stepped in out of the wind.
“No, I haven’t seen her,” replied her father.
Daniel stood up from the last cow. “Isn’t she home yet?”
Martha shook her head. “No one has seen her since before you set off for the cows. We thought maybe she was with you.”
Daniel frowned. “I did see her in the pasture and asked if she wanted to go with me, but she refused. I told her not to go far or stay out too long.” He paused and glanced out the door.
“Perhaps you should ride out and bring her back, Son.”
Daniel nodded and went to saddle up.
“Can I go too, Pa, please?” Josh pleaded eagerly. At his father’s nod, he too began to saddle up his horse.

It wasn’t long before the two brothers were riding off into the gathering darkness. Daniel held the lantern. Upon reaching the back fence they found a piece of her skirt, and Daniel realized with a growing dread that she was alone in the open range. Turning quickly to his younger brother, he ordered, “Josh, go back to the house and tell Pa I’m going out to find her. She can’t have gone far, not in this short of time. I’ll bring her back just as quick as I can. Now get.”

Susanna had sat down on a fallen tree to rest her weary feet. She heard the sound of approaching hooves and saw the light of a lantern. She knew it must be either her uncle or cousin. Her shoulders sagged. Why did they have to find her? Secretly she was relieved, but not for an instant would she admit it to anyone, not even herself. As Daniel swung off his horse beside her, she stiffened and looked away.
“Come on, Susanna, Ma has supper waitin’.”
“I don’t want to go,” her voice had a faint quiver in it despite all she could do.”
Daniel shrugged and reached out to pull her to her feet.
In an instant all the pent up frustration and anger, as well as sorrow and despair, that had been bottled up for so long burst forth. “I won’t go back! I hate it here! It’s the very worst place anywhere, and I won’t stay here with smelly animals in a crowded, noisy hut one more night! I’m going back to the city. That is where civilized people live. You can ride back and tell them I said so! And I don’t care one bit about your brother coming back. You don’t deserve him back! I hope he doesn’t come back, so there! It isn’t fair for him to only get wounded before he even goes over seas and Papa to be killed. And I don’t care about Christmas coming. No one here would even know how to celebrate it anyway. You are all just a bunch of . . . of ignorant, backwoods nobodys, and I can’t stand any of you!” As she finished her tirade, she crossed her arms over her chest and stood waiting for she knew not what.

For a moment Daniel was still. He had never heard this quiet, withdrawn cousin go on in this fashion. True, he had known, as had they all, that Susanna wasn’t happy, but never had he dreamed that she felt that way about it. “Well,” he spoke quietly, “there’s not much I can do about that now. Let’s get back to the house before it starts to snow.” He placed a hand on her shoulder.
To be continued next Friday.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Sergeant Wyatt: SWAT Team Adventure

Hello FFFs,
I wonder if any of you got on here earlier and didn't find a new story. Well, if you did, I'm sorry. I was going to get this ready to post yesterday, but things got busy. I spent most of the afternoon helping my aunt decorate for Christmas. I think this is the best year yet. :)
This morning Grandma, Mom, S and I went to JoAnns a little before 7:00. I got yarn for the new knitting things I learned to do. I am knitting socks! It is such fun! I can't wait to try some fun yarn. I've used wool so far.
We had our Thanksgiving on Wednesday so Jimmy & Megan could come up, too. The kids were such fun. Here is a James funny:
James had finished eating everything on his plate during the "big dinner."
(Great)-Grandma says, "You cleaned your plate!"
James looks down at his plate, that holds it up to show Grandma, "No, it's dirty.":)
But that is enough for now. Here is the story.

Sergeant Wyatt: SWAT Team Adventure

The gray light of early dawn was stealing across the eastern sky as Sergeant Jerry Wyatt of the Burgess City Police Department strode out of the office towards his vehicle. He tried unsuccessfully to smother a yawn as he unlocked the door of his blue pickup, nodded to a fellow officer coming on duty and slid in behind the wheel. It had been another long, busy night of patrol work, and he was glad to be going home. He could use a good sleep.
The rosy pink clouds in the east gave promise of a beautiful day. In the trees, the birds had already struck up a full chorus: robins, cardinals, blue jays, sparrows, chickadees, finches, wrens and many others, all rejoicing in one of the last few days of warmth before the cold weather descended on everything for real. Pulling into his driveway, Jerry slowly got out of his truck with another yawn. Sleep. That was all he wanted at the moment, and stepping up on the front stoop he glanced down at his watch. It was nearly 7:00. Slowly his tired hands unlocked the door and stepping in, he turned to close it. However, something caught his eye.
“Hmm,” he muttered, looking north, “I wonder what that’s from.” Dark gray smoke was billowing to the sky from some place miles away. After gazing for a moment Jerry shrugged and turned, shutting the door. “Glad I’m not on duty any more.”
Collapsing on his bed, he was asleep almost before his head hit the pillow.

Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. . . . Jerry rolled over in bed and opened one eye. The glowing red lights on his alarm clock read 7:32. Beep. Beep. Beep. . . . The noise continued, each beep driving deeper than the last into the fog of sleep, penetrating his brain, forcing his mind to think, to understand, to act. Suddenly Jerry sprang up, all thoughts of sleep vanished. His pager! That’s what it was!
Snatching it up, he hit a button and listened to the message.
“SWAT team call,” he muttered to himself. “Arsonist burns his own building?” He shook his head, scrambling to get ready.

“Okay, that sounds like everything. He’s barricaded himself in a storage place. That’s where we’re going; let’s head out.” The briefing at the police station was over, and the SWAT team headed out to the van.
“Hey Sarge,” one of the men called to Jerry, “what kind of a crazy guy would go and burn his own building down?”
Jerry shook his head. It didn’t make sense to him either, so he turned to the SWAT team’s paramedic who was striding beside him. “Got an answer for that one, Ryan?”
“I think he needs some help.”
“Yeah,” Corporal Joe put in, “he needs help all right, and we’ll give it to him.”
There was little talk in the SWAT van as they headed out towards the storage unit on the edge of town.
The sun was bright as the Burgess City SWAT team settled into position around the storage unit.
“I have a feeling it’s going to be a long day,” Corporal Joe remarked to Sergeant Wyatt.
Jerry glanced over. “You just had to say that, didn’t you, Joe.”

“Sergeant Wyatt.”
Jerry moved over to the police negotiator. “What’s up, Tom?”
“Nothing. I can’t get anywhere with him.” The officer sighed. “And he’s armed.”
“Well, I guess we just keep waiting and hope he comes out.”
Nodding, Tom started to turn away, but Sergeant Wyatt had a question.
“Any clues as to why he burned his own business down?”
Tom shook his head. “Nope. Detectives Brad and Steve are checking some things, but I doubt we’ll know until the guy,” he jerked his head towards the storage building, “comes out and confesses.”
Jerry nodded and headed back to his men stationed around the building.
“Guys,” Sergeant Wyatt informed the men, “it looks like we’ll be here a while.”
The men looked at each other in silence. This was all a part of their job.

The morning wore slowly on and the temperature climbed into the eighties. With their full equipment on of over a hundred pounds, the SWAT team began to grow uncomfortable. Taking breaks by turn helped a little. But they couldn’t take off their equipment, for they had to be constantly ready, for no one knew what this man would do. Again and again the police negotiator tried to reason with him to come out and give himself up, but to no avail.
Arriving in their vans and cars, the news reporters mingled around trying to get the latest developments for their station or paper. But along with the reporters came the Red Cross. Jerry saw them with thankfulness. He knew they could always count on them to show up, for any long seige, with food and drinks.
As the long day wore slowly on, with bright sun and warm weather, Jerry could feel the sweat running in tiny streams down his back, neck and face. How he wished he could take off his heavy bullet proof vest, even for a little while. He and the SWAT team’s medic kept an eye on the rest of the men. Several times someone from the SWAT team had needed medical help when suffering from heat. As it now appeared, however, since the sun was dropping lower, heat exhaustion wouldn’t be a problem.

“Sarge, how long you think that guy will stay in there?”
Jerry shrugged. “No telling. Hopefully he’ll give up soon.”
“If we could just have a little action,” Corporal Joe grinned, “it would at least be a little more interesting.”
“I know what you mean, Joe.”

As evening descended, so did the cold. Before long several of the men were beginning to shiver.
“This is the kind of day that’s rough on a person,” Sergeant Wyatt muttered to Ryan as they both took a break with some hot coffee from the Red Cross. “I mean, first you get drenched with sweat, and then you freeze in wet clothes.”
Ryan nodded. “Yeah. And yet, you wouldn’t trade this job for any other eight hour day in an office, would you?”
Jerry grinned and shook his head before draining the last of his coffee. “Not a chance. Who wants to be stuck inside a boring old office when you could be chasing bad guys with guns.”
“Or wishing they’d come out, huh?”
“That too,” Jerry laughed, glancing at his watch. “I’ve got to get back.”

In the early morning hours, Jerry was called over.
“We’re tired of waiting for him to come out, so we’re going to blow the door. Make sure your men are ready.”
“Yes, sir,” Sergeant Wyatt replied. “I think they’ll be glad for a little action.”
Moving back to his men he told them in low tones to get ready. Instantly all tiredness dropped away and senses snapped to full alert.
Glancing around to make sure everyone was in place and ready, Sergeant Wyatt noticed a news reporter standing off to the side. It looked like she was about to do a broadcast, for she was facing away from the building towards the camera.
A quick wondering if she knew what was about to take place flashed through Jerry’s mind as he fingered the trigger of his gun.
The explosion was startling even to those waiting for it. Now the door into the storage unit was open.
“Do we go in, Sergeant?”
“No. He’s armed. We’ll wait and see what he does.”
All eyes were fixed on the now open door. A few shouts were heard from inside and then silence. Enough light came from the street lights and a few on the building itself to enable the watching SWAT team members to see a little ways into the dark entrance of the storage unit.
“Come on out now,” the negotiator called. “With your hands up.”
A figure appeared at the extreme edge of the light. “I still have a gun,” he called out.
What is this guy, nuts? Sergeant Wyatt thought. You don’t go anouncing to the police that you still have a gun.
“Drop your gun,” Tom ordered.
For a moment, the man stood there, then dropping his gun, he came forward with his hands up.
Not a SWAT man moved, but keeping the man covered with their guns, they waited until he was handcuffed.
“All right guys,” Sergeant Wyatt called. “Let’s load up.”
At last the long vigil was over. As the men were gathering up their things and talking, one of the Red Cross workers made his way over to Jerry.
“You should make sure you watch the news later, especially Channel 8.”
“I don’t know if you noticed her or not, but the reporter was giving a live broadcast right when the door blew. You should have seen her! I’ll bet she jumped at least a foot.”
Jerry grinned. “I’ll be sure to watch it.”

Once back at the police station for a quick debriefing, Jerry found he could hardly stay awake. Stifling a yawn, he struggled to keep focused. Thankfully the meeting wasn’t long, and he once more headed home. This time he wanted a shower before bed.
Pulling into his driveway, he noticed the sky was beginning to grow a rosy pink and the birds were singing. “Didn’t I just do this?” he muttered.
Stepping out of his truck, he pulled out his key to let himself into the house. Stumbling inside, he noticed the time.
“No wonder I’m beat,” Sergeant Wyatt moaned. “I’ve been awake and on duty for thirty hours with only a thirty minute nap!” With a tremendous yawn, Jerry headed for his room. “At least if there is another call, the other SWAT team can get it,” he mumbled as he pulled off his boots.

Should I write more stories from the Burgess Police Department?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Meleah's Western Part 24

Good Morning all you Fabulous Friday Fiction Fans!
It is a glorious morning to be alive. The sky is a pale blue along the horizons, but the sun is coming up with all its splendor. Some trees are still holding on to their colorful dress, however, most of them are bare. Yards are covered with a carpet of leave, or have piles of them just waiting to be jumped in. It is chilly out now, but it should warm up somewhat. Today is the kind of day, to get things done. So, if you don't have anything planned, get to work and DO something!

This week has been bewilderingly busy.:) I had all kinds of plans for getting lots done, but a friend and her baby spent the afternoon here on Tues. That was such fun. On Wed. afternoon/evening, I taught my last writing class for the year and the family stayed and had supper with us. Delightful. Yesterday, we were out in the morning and then we baby-sat the kids all evening. That is always fun. You never know what we'll do.:) Today we have friends coming over for Library this afternoon and there is a bridal shower for a friend tonight. Tomorrow, being Saturday, means another busy day, too.
So, I didn't get much written this week. At least I had something to post.:)

I hope you enjoy this next Meleah's Western.

Part 24

The night, which had closed down around Ty and Sally, was dark and still. Other than the glowing embers of the fire, only the sliver of moon and the thousand twinkling stars in the heavens were to be seen. The brother and sister had gone to bed with the sun, having covered many miles that day. All was hushed. No breeze blew to rustle the leaves or grasses and only occasionally would one of the horses stir. The silence was intense.
With a start, Ty suddenly was jerked awake. For a moment he lay staring into the darkness and straining his ears. Softly reaching beside him, his hand grasped his rifle. Whatever it was that had awakened him would find him ready. Lying quietly back down, he pressed his ear to the ground, listening. Hoof beats. Faint though they were, there was no mistaking them.
Moving stealthily over to where Sally lay still wrapped in a deep slumber, Ty placed his hand over her mouth and whispered, “Sally!”
She was awake in an instant, her eyes wide with alarm. Not a sound did she make as Ty drew away his hand.
“Someone’s comin’. Get yer gun an’ get behind the trees.”
Sally nodded and slipping out of her blanket, she drew her father’s six gun from its holster. Then noiselessly she disappeared into the gloom. Ty followed and together they crouched in the blackness, waiting.

It wasn’t long before they could both hear distinctly the sound of horses. They weren’t moving rapidly, but they came on at a steady pace. In another moment they would be there.
Beside him, Ty heard the soft click of the six-shooter as it was cocked.
“Don’t shoot ‘till we know who it is an’ what they want,” he hissed.
“I don’t aim ta. Jest ta be prepared.”
Ty smiled rather grimly. He was glad Sally was taking things so calmly, yet wished she didn’t have to face this at all.
On the steps of the approaching horses came. A welcoming nicker from one of their own mounts greeted the new arrivals as they drew near the camp site. From the shadows Ty could make out the form of one rider who halted and looked around.
“Ty? Sally?”
That voice! It couldn’t be, and yet-- Ty heard Sally gasp as once again the stranger called,
“Ty? I know I ain’t taught ya ta sleep through someone ridin’ inta camp. Where in thunder are ya?”
“Uncle Bob!” “Carson!” The answering cries came at once as both Ty and Sally rushed from the trees, the one to grip Carson’s hand while the other threw herself about his neck.
It was indeed Carson. He had returned as it were, from the dead. Questions flew so thick and fast that he had no time to answer any or get a word in edge wise. At last, having disentangled himself from Sally’s embrace and pulled his hand out of Ty’s viselike grip, he cried out,
Instant silence prevailed. “I’ll answer yer questions soon’s I can, but I’m near famished an’ the poor beasts must be plum tuckered out. An’ how ‘bout a little more light.”
Sally built up the fire and pulled out some dried meat while Ty saw to the horses. It wasn’t very long before all three were sitting around the blazing fire. All thought of sleep had vanished.
“Uncle Bob,” Sally began, “How’d ya manage ta get out a that river?”
“Weren’t never in no river, girl.”
“But,” Sally protested, “I’m sure I saw ya down in the bottom of the valley, right ‘fore the water came.”
Carson snorted. “Well, it weren’t me. Why I was plum up the other side when that there flood come a rushin’ down. I was scairt for you an’ Ty. Couldn’t get them ornery beasts ta get anywhere close ta the edge ta look for ya neither. By the time I did get back, there weren’t no sign of neither of ya. I even fired my gun, though it ain’t likely ya could a heard it, seein’ I couldn’t hear it none too well myself. I did light a fire a hopin’ ya’d see the smoke.”
“I didn’t even look for smoke, Carson. Sally had been so sure ya was in the bottom that we both gave ya up for dead.”
“Ya ought ta know it’d take more’n a little water ta get rid a me.” Carson grinned and stroked his beard with his hand.
“But how’d ya find us?” persisted Ty.
“Why, I met Black Eagle. Used ta hunt an’ trap together years back. In fact, yer pa used ta come with us ‘for he went an’ got hitched ta yer ma. Ain’t seen Black Eagle for some time an’ it were right nice ta see him again. He called me Swift Fox an’ yer pa, never one ta talk much, was Silent Hawk.”
“Ty, maybe that’s why Black Eagle kept lookin’ at ya. Ya reminded him of Pa.”
Ty didn’t answer for several minutes. Then he turned with a question to Carson. “How come Black Eagle didn’t say he knew ya?”
Carson shrugged his shoulders. “I reckon we ain’t goin’ ta ever know. He did come a lookin’ ta see if’n I were really dead. An’,” Carson couldn’t help chuckling, “he found out I weren’t. He set me on yer trail an’ here I am. But, by thunder, Ty, I well nigh couldn’t catch ya ‘fore ya travel powerful fast. An’ now,” he yawned, “I reckon I could use with some shut eye.” With that, he stretched out by the fire, after wrapping himself in a blanket, and was soon snoring.
“Well, would ya look at that,” Ty shook his head. “He’s gone from dead ta snorin’ by our campfire. Huh.” Looking across the fire to his sister, he asked, “Ya reckon we ought ta join him?”
Sally giggled. “Jest long’s I don’t have ta snore like a grizzly bear.”
Ty grinned. “I reckon not.”

Now, do you have any questions to get me going again?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Meleah's Western Part 23

Good Morning FFFs,
It is cloudy and wet outside this morning. It rained during the night and there is a chance of rain for today, too. This is the kind of day I either want to curl up with a book or get a lot done. I know, drastic differences.:) I can be rather extreme at times.

I wanted to let you know, those of you who read "Alan's Farewell" that it was named in the honorable mentions of the contest. There were over 320 entries. There are other contests coming up that I'm trying to decide if I should enter. One is at the end of this month. It has to be a christian story of no more than 700 words.:} The other is writing a story for the Vision Forum catalog cover. That has to be in by Dec. 31. I guess we'll see if try. If you think I should enter these, let me know.

Thanks for all your comments on the newest story. I'll be getting back to it as soon as I can. I want to find out what happens and who people are, too. But, for now, here is the next Western. I finally got Ty and Sally to do something.:) Enjoy!

Part 23

It was the smell of a savory, venison stew drifting through the blanket and awakening his appetite that aroused Ty from slumber some time later. For several minutes he remained unmoving, feeling drained of all energy and wishing only to sleep. However, the pangs of hunger would not subside. With a yawn, he threw off the blanket and sat up.
The sun was high, showing that the morning was well nigh past. The vast expanse of sky was a brilliant blue with wisps and puffs of clouds dancing across it. Everywhere in the woods and sky birds were singing, eager to be alive on that glorious day. In the distance, the still snow covered mountain peaks gleamed in the sunlight.
A movement beside him caused Ty to turn. Sally too had been aroused by the smell and sat up.
“Eat.” The Indian across the fire nodded towards the pot on the fire.
Needing no urging, Ty and Sally filled their bowls and began. Not for a long time had they tasted such a wonderful stew, and they ate rapidly and in silence.
When at last he could eat no more, Ty drew a deep breath. “I ain’t sure jest how it happened, but I feel ‘bout ready ta set off again. I ain’t sayin’ I know jest where ta go or that I ain’t goin’ ta miss Carson, but I got the courage ta go on again.”
Sally nodded. “If’n my horse is all right, I reckon it might be nice ta get on.”
Then Black Eagle spoke. “Horse good walk, no ride. Stew give life. We go. Black Eagle show trail to white man and his squaw.”
“We’ll be right glad ta go with ya, Black Eagle, but this here,” and he jerked his head in Sally’s direction, “is my sister not my squaw.”

Camp was packed up quickly and the trio set off on foot leading the two horses. Each breath of air seemed to infuse new energy and life into every fiber of Ty and Sally’s beings. The events of yesterday, tragic and terrible though they were, could not cast a deep gloom today. They would move forward. Hope of success, however distant, seemed to grow brighter with each step they took.
Sally fingered her locket, looking down into the tiny face, and whispered to herself, “We’ll find her, Mama. We will.”
And Ty, reaching his hand into his pocket pressed the broken locket, muttering with a new tone of determination, “I’ll do it, Pa. No matter what it takes! I’ll find my other sister.”

And so the day moved on. That night they camped and the following morning set off again, still with Black Eagle as their guide. By mid afternoon the old Indian had pointed out a trail which led north. Farewells were called, Ty and Sally rode off leaving Black Eagle watching them until they were lost to sight.

The horses kept up a brisk pace, for the feeling of spring was filling all living creatures with its vitality. By evening the two riders had traversed many miles, and on finding a suitable place to camp, halted. There they prepared their supper after taking care of their horses.

Miles away, the slow plodding steps of horses came through the woods to the keen ears of the watching Indian. Eagerly he listened. The steps came closer. A twig snapped. As the rider came into view, the Indian lowered his rifle and stepped out into the open. At the unexpected appearance, the lead horse snorted and tossed his head. At this the rider looked up.
“Black Eagle!”
“Swift Fox,” replied the Indian on foot. “It is many moons since you come here.”
The rider nodded. “Yes, many moons.”
“Come,” Black Eagle beckoned. “We eat. Smoke pipe. Sleep.”
With his rifle in his hands, Black Eagle led his guest into the woods. Neither talked for both knew talk could wait. Once they had arrived at the Indian’s camp site, Swift Fox slid off his horse and stretched his legs stiffly before taking care of his mount and the other horse.
It was only after the simple meal was over and their first pipes smoked, that the two friends begin to talk. Their low voices were dispassionate at first, however, as Black Eagle recounted the last few days experience, the eyes of his companion began to gleam in the firelight.
“One white man and white squaw?” Swift Fox questioned with interest. “Good!”
Black Eagle paused, eyeing the other figure across the fire.
“Where they gone to?”
Grunting, Black Eagle gave a faint nod of his head in the direction Ty and Sally had taken.
Swift Fox quickly looked at the darkening sky, then at the still darker woods about them.
As though reading his thoughts, Black Eagle shook his head. “No find tonight. They ride quick.”
“When sun comes again. Black Eagle show Swift Fox the trail. Swift Fox, he find.”
Silence fell on the little camp site for several minutes. After knocking the ashes from his pipe, Swift Fox began to talk. In the stillness his voice sounded like the distant thunder of a far off storm. For some time the voice went on with a few solitary comments from Black Eagle. Then all was quiet. Rolling themselves in blankets, they slept.

The sun had scarce risen when Swift Fox set off on the trail of Ty and Sally. He was well mounted, and the horse tethered behind was not one to lag on such a morning. Bidding Black Eagle good bye, the rider set the horses into a brisk ground eating pace. He scarcely noticed the lush green leaves which now were to be seen on every tree and bush, nor did he pay the slightest attention to the birds which sang so loudly. He had one fixed idea, to find this white man and his squaw. This he would do. They would not slip from his grasp. He would follow them.


Friday, November 5, 2010

No Title Part 2

Good Morning Friday Fiction Fans,
I have returned back from American Government Camp and here I am. I am slowly catching up on sleep. That is one reason why this was not posted by 8:00.

AGC was fun, busy, exhausting, challenging, incredible, wonderful, stressful and so on.:) I enjoyed it. Getting only 5 to 6 hours of sleep every night made things a little harder, but I was so grateful that I could rest in my Father's everlasting arms. Thank you to all who prayed for us during camp. You prayers meant a lot. It was exciting to have all the people we worked for win office this year!

But, I must go clean house. I have a lot of catching up to do, so I'd better get busy.


Quickly Justin examined him and when the warm milk came, he gently forced some between the blue lips of the child in Sara’s arms. Then turning to Danny, he offered him the cup. Eagerly the child drank it, holding it out for more when it was gone.
“You can have more later,” Justin assured him. “Mom, could you, Sara and Adam give them baths and find clean clothes?”
Mrs. Morgan nodded.
“Then make sure they’re wrapped up warmly and bring them back.”
Again his mom nodded and said, “I’m sure some of the grandkids’ clothes will fit. It’s a good thing Heather keeps some extra things here. Come on Sara, Adam.”
Before they could leave the room, however, the girl in the chair began looking frantically around, calling in hoarse tones, “Danny! Jenny! . . . Have to find them.” Her restless hands tried to push off the blanket Mr. Morgan had tucked around her. “Jenny! Danny!” A violent fit of coughing put an end to her calls though she still struggled faintly to move from the chair.
“Easy there,” Justin coaxed, taking one of her cold shaking hands in his and noting her pulse. “Everything is going to be all right. Just relax.” Gently he kept her from getting up, talking soothingly all the while. “Danny and Jenny are going to be all right. They are being taken care of, don’t worry about them.”
Mr. Morgan handed Justin a glass of warm milk. Adding a few drops from a bottle he pulled from his medical bag, Justin dropped down in front of the chair. “Here,” he said, holding it to the girls lips, “drink this.”
For a moment she sat limp and made no move to do as she was told. Her eyelids drooped.
“Come on,” Justin ordered softly, “drink it.”
Obediently her mouth opened and she took a swallow.
“What is your name?”
The words or the tone seemed to penetrate the fog that surrounded her mind for she sighed and straightened. “Who are you?” she asked in a bewildered way.
Justin had shifted to one knee before her where he could watch every expression of her face with his keen eyes. “I”m Doctor Justin Morgan. What is your name?”
“Amy.” The name was murmured, and she shivered, moaning as she did so while an expression of pain flitted over her pale face.
“Amy, can you tell me what hurts?”
No answer came.
A few more swallows from the cup revived her enough to mumble, “My leg,” before relapsing into the stupor which was so hard to pull her out of.
After handing Mr. Morgan the cup, Justin pulled back the blanket. After a quick examination, Justin looked up at his dad with a frown. “I don’t like this,” he admitted frankly. “If it weren’t so dark and cold, I’d take all three down to the hospital at once, as it is,--” Breaking off abruptly, he again felt the girl’s pulse and laid his hand against her hot face. “I don’t want them exposed to any more of that cold air now.”
Mr. Morgan nodded. “Do you want her in the upstairs or downstairs bedroom?”
“Then I’ll go open the door and vent so it will warm up.”

“Justin,” Sara spoke softly as she entered the living room a little while later.
Rising from the floor, Justin turned. “Hmm, what we need is a baby bottle. I don’t think that little one is going to drink much if we try a cup or spoon.” He was looking down into the small, pinched face of the tiny girl in his sister’s arms.
“I have a bottle somewhere. Do you want it?”
“You have one? Where?”
“In my room.”
“Get it,” Justin ordered taking the child himself. “It will have to be sterilized.”
Sara nodded and disappeared.
Before she returned, Mrs. Morgan and Adam with a sleepy, little Danny came back. Danny, after Justin gave him a quick examination, was made happy by another cup of milk and then carried off to bed. Several minutes later, Sara carried Jenny and the bottle of milk up to her room, Justin promising to come up later.
Mrs. Morgan now laid a hand on her son’s arm. “What about her?” She nodded towards the chair near the fireplace.
Justin sighed. “I want to take her to the hospital, but not tonight in this weather. Dad is warming up a guest room down the hall.”
“Do you know her name?”
“That’s it?”
“That’s it. Frankly, Mom, all I know is her first name, that she has a badly injured and infected leg and a terrible cough and is on the brink of total collapse.”
“The poor girl!” Together the two of them stood looking down on the white, pain-filled face of the stranger before them. The light of the flames danced across the thin hand and arm which hung limp and still over the arm of the chair.
“The room is ready.” The softly spoken words brought Justin into action. Together with his father, they lifted and carried the girl in and laid her on the bed. Once there, Justin made a more careful examination of her leg, forced a spoonful of medicine between her unwilling lips and, tucking a hot water bottle in beside her, drew the covers up. Leaving only a small lamp on, he slipped out into the hall.

It was a long night for the young doctor so recently out of medical school who, with keeping an eye on the two little ones upstairs and Amy downstairs, got very little sleep. Yet, the early light of the new dawn filtering in through the office windows found him on the phone with the newly formed hospital in town.
“Yes, . . . I want immediate x-rays of the leg . . .. Dr. Stern should be alerted for consultation later . . .. No-- complete check on both little ones . . .. Have no idea at present . . .. Sounds good. Thanks.”
Any questions for the next part?

Friday, October 29, 2010

No Title Part 1

Goodness Me! I nearly forgot to post. It must be because I am writing this on Wednesday not Friday. On Friday, or whenever it is you read this, I'll be in the midst of American Government Camp 2010! I'm sure I'll be busy, having a wonderful time and be tired if I stopped long enough to think about it.:) Anyway, you can pray for us all at camp. I'll be sure to tell you about it at least a little next Friday. It starts this afternoon with training for the Team Leaders.

I started this story just because it began in my brain and instead of just thinking it like I usually do, I decided to write it and see what happenes. I had thought I'd just write the whole thing, but as it was 2,000 words long and no where near done (it may end up a book), I thought I ought to post part of it here and see what you Friday Fiction Fans think of it. Mom liked it.:) I'll only post the first 1,000 words this week. Next week will be the next thousand.

I hope you tell me what you think of it. And any questions would help to keep it going.:)
P.S. My spell check isn't working, so sorry for any typos.:}


The fire crackled brightly in the fireplace of the Morgan cabin. Nestled in a hollow of the mountains where it was sheltered from many a fierce winter wind, the large, two-story house had stood for years. It wasn’t really a cabin, but the Morgans loved to call it one since the outside was all logs. Inside was every modern appliance including electricity. However, tonight only a few lamps burned in addition to the fire.
It was a pleasant group sitting about the rustic living room with its high vaulted ceiling and large picture windows. A walkway running from one side of the upstairs to the other looked down on either side of the large, stone chimney into the living room. On the other, the dining room was seen below. Everywhere the house was dark save for the lamps and fire where the family had gathered. Outside all was black, for the sun had long since set, and the air had an autumn chill to it. To those about the cheerful fire all was warm and peaceful.

“Well, Justin, are you all settled in town?” Mr. Morgan, with his feet on a footstool, regarded his eldest son with a smile.
“I think so. Now that the water and electricity are hooked back up, the ‘hospital’ seems to be all set.” Justin laughed as he said the word hospital.
“Hospital, yeah right,” eighteen-year-old Adam scoffed. “It was an old hotel and still looks like one. It even has the old name above the door.”
“On the outside maybe,” Justin countered good naturally, “but have you seen the inside?”
Adam shook his head.
“I haven’t seen it either, Just.” Sara settled herself more comfortably on the couch opposite her older brother. Her nut brown hair was loose about her shoulders and made her almost look her nineteen years. “But it will be nice to have one in town now, so we don’t have to go all the way to Jackson.”
“Since when have you ever been to a hospital?” Justin couldn’t resist a little teasing.
Sara tossed her head. “Never. And I don’t plan to go just because you are a doctor in this one.”
“Oh come on, Sis!” Justin pleaded. “Wouldn’t you come visit me with a hot pie when I have been slaving away and am exhausted from all my multitude of patients?” He could be dramatic when he chose.
Pursing her lips, Sara pretended to give it some thought. “Maybe,” she finally said, adding, “but I’d have to think about it first.”
Justin threw a pillow at her which she promptly tossed back.
“But really, Son,” Mrs. Morgan spoke softly when the pillows had ceased to fly, “I’m glad we now have a medical facility even if it does look like a hotel. As long as the personnel know what they are doing, that is what we need.”
“Don’t worry about that, Mom There may not be many of us, but I think we’re ready. At least we’ll do our best.”
“That’s all that needs done.” Mr. Morgan agreed and then stared into the fire, and all fell silent.

The loud barking of their collie, Captain, broke the silence outside.
“What is he barking about?” Justin turned to try to look out the window behind him but could see nothing but the reflection of the fire and lamps.
“It’s not his ‘wild animal’ bark nor is it his company coming bark--”
Adam had stood up as Sara spoke and grabbed his shotgun from a rack nearby. “I’ll go check.”
“Be careful,” Mrs. Morgan called.
In silence the rest of the family waited, listening to the barking which seemed to have a different tone to it than usual. Suddenly they were startled by Adam’s cry, “Mom! Dad! Justin! Sara!”

The four sprang up and rushed for the door. There by the light of the front porch which Mr. Morgan snapped on, they could see Adam supporting someone out in the yard! It was a girl, and she was carrying something! In an instant the Morgan family were around them. The girl had two young children in her arms and was clearly exhausted.
“Here, Sara, take that one. Mom can you carry this one? Dad, steady her on this side. Get them inside while I grab my bag from the truck.” Justin threw his orders rapidly and the next moment was sprinting the short distance to his pick-up.

Moments later, he was back in the house. Turning the lights on in the living room he found the girl sitting in a chair by the fire. Her eyes held a glazed look while dark circles under them gave added proof that she hadn’t slept for a while. She seemed on the verge of collapse.
Justin turned to find Sara holding the small child in her arms while tears trickled down her cheeks. She looked pleadingly at him. Motioning her to sit down, he jerked out his stethoscope. As he pulled back the tattered shirt the child was wrapped in, he noticed the bluish tint to its lips and the thin little arms. A quick check showed it was still alive.
Pulling a flannel throw off the back of a nearby rocking chair, he quickly wrapped it around the child. “Mom, I want some warm milk as quickly as possible.”
With a nod Mrs. Morgan placed the other child in Adam’s arms and hurried off.
This one, a child of about three years of age, began to cry whether from cold, hunger or fright, no one knew.
“Danny,” a dry hoarse voice called, “its going to be okay.”
The girl in the chair seemed to have been roused from her stupor by the crying and now held out her arms. “I’ll take him.”
“Let me keep him a little longer,” Adam urged gently. “See, he has already quieted.” It was true, as soon as he had heard his name, Danny had quit crying and now lay motionless in the strong arms that held him.

~To be continued next week.