Friday, October 21, 2016

HitH - My Song Shall be of Jesus - Part 1

A lovely autumn morning to you, FFFs!
It actually feels like fall now! Well, for the most part. We still haven't had a frost of any sort yet. But it was supposed to get down to 40ยบ last night. :)

How was your week? Mine was different. Not is a bad sort of way except that I just couldn't seem to get much done. Yesterday I printed some calendar pages and worked on planning the rest of the year with the things I'm trying to get done. Sometimes it feels a bit overwhelming, but other times I think, "That's all I have to do? No problem. I could probably get some other things done too." ;)

And I really can't think of anything else to say at the moment. I have hardly done any writing this week. At least in the way of stories goes. I won't be writing tonight because my nieces and nephews will be here. Oh, I did get my proof copy of my Christmas book!!! :D I can't wait to get it proofed and then share the wonderful cover! Okay, and the story. ;)

I hope you enjoy this first part of Chapter 3 of Hymns in the Hills.

My Song Shall be of Jesus
Part 1

    The sun was barely up when Zeke came to the door of the cabin and looked in. “If’n we’re goin’ ta make it ta church ‘fore it’s over, we’d best git a move on.”
    Two last bites were shoveled by Kade into his mouth while Rome swallowed his milk so hastily that he choked and started coughing. Jess, Riss and Ali, all suddenly looking unsure, smoothed their best dresses and hurried out to the wagon.
    Excited but somewhat nervous, Belle slipped from the girls’ room where she had gone to fetch her Bible. Her dress was neat and clean, her hair smooth. Though she didn’t know it, the contrast between her and her cousins was observed by both her aunt and uncle.
    Uncle Ben followed the others and stood on the porch beside Aunt Lillian. “Good bye, Auntie,” Belle was saying as she waited to be helped up into the wagon. “I do hope that you and Uncle will be able to come with us next time.”
    “Zeke,” Uncle Ben called before that young man sprang up to take his seat in the front beside his cousin who had been given the seat of honor next to Jess on the broad seat. “Make sure ya tie Coon Dog right, er ya might all be walkin’ home.”
    “Yep.” Zeke nodded and clucked to the dark horse. With a creak, the wagon started forward over the hard packed trail.
    “Zeke, did Uncle say this horse’s name is Coon Dog?” Belle asked with doubt in her voice as the house disappeared behind the trees.
    “Why would a horse have that name?”
    When Zeke didn’t offer an explanation, Ali volunteered the answer from the back of the wagon where she sat with the others. “It was a few years ago an’ the boys’d been wantin’ ta get a coon dog ta help ‘em hunt. Pa goes off one day an’ says he’s goin’ ta look fer one, but he comes home with this horse. There jest weren’t no coon dogs ta be had. Least ways not where Pa looked.”
    “So you named the horse for the dog he couldn’t get,” Belle chuckled softly. “I do like the name, now that I know the story. Did you ever get your dog, Zeke?” She hadn’t seen any around, but Belle wondered if it could be somewhere else.
    Inwardly relieved, Belle didn’t reply. One thing she had always been afraid of was dogs, but she didn’t want to admit it. At least not then.
    Besides the creaking of the wagon wheels as they jolted over rocks and across holes, and the steady plodding of Coon Dog’s hoofs, the travelers were quiet. The morning songs of the birds in the trees could be heard, and the sky, when they could see it, became streaked with pink and orange as the sun came up higher.

“My song shall be of Jesus,
His mercy crowns my days,
He fills my cup with blessings,
And tunes my heart to praise;
My song shall be of Jesus,
The precious Lamb of God,
Who gave Himself my ransom,
And bought me with His blood.”

    Belle’s voice seemed to blend in with the morning sounds, as though it were part of the woods and the sunrise, the light wind and the birds. It had not been her intention to sing; in fact, she scarcely noticed her voice had taken up the song she had read earlier that morning. Something in the woods, the colors of the flowers, and the early morning light streaming through the trees had awakened the melody in her heart and she had to sing.

“My song shall be of Jesus,
When sitting at His feet,
I call to mind His goodness,
In meditation sweet.”

    The steady plodding of Coon Dog’s hooves quickened a little as though to mark the time of the music.

“And when my soul shall enter
The gate of Eden fair,
A song of praise to Jesus
I’ll sing forever there.”

    Belle felt a light tap on her arm when the song was ended. Turning, she saw Ris looking up at her.
    “Sing it again.” The pleading was in the girl’s eyes, for her words, if they had really been spoken aloud, were lost in the creaking of the wagon as it jostled over a particularly rough part of road.
    At once Belle began the song again. It was one of her favorites and she had sung it often at home. This time, when she reached the last lines, she said, “Now all of you try and sing it with me.”
    A grunt came from Zeke, but Belle thought it might have been a cough.
    Slowly she began the first verse.

“My song shall be of Jesus,
His mercy crowns my days.”

    Timidly, Ali and Jess joined in. Twice through the first verse Belle’s strong, young voice led the others before she ventured into the second verse. By the time the town was reached, the song had been well learned. Belle wasn’t sure if Zeke and Ez had sung at all, for she never heard them. But the others had. Even Kade’s off key warbling hadn’t clashed with the others.
    A hush fell over the wagon as it drew near the outskirts of town. Belle wondered when the younger ones had last been to town, for a remark from Ali last night made her think going to town was a rare occurrence. Hardly a soul was to be seen as the wagon, its occupants quiet, rumbled and creaked up the hill to the church. There Zeke skillfully drove to a place near the clapboard building where other rough wagons and a few buggies already stood, and with a low “whoa” brought Coon Dog to a halt. Springing out, he lifted first his cousin down and then his sister. “I’ll tie up Coon Dog,” was all he said.

Have you ever named an animal for another animal?
Have you ever heard this hymn?
Are you looking forward to next week's part?


Jesseca Dawn said...

I've never heard this song before, but it's so beautiful! I really enjoyed this part :) And I'm really, really looking forward to seeing the new cover!!! Willowy designed me one for a new novella I'm working on, and it's sososo beautiful!! She does an AMAZING job on cover design!

Rebekah said...

Thanks for commenting, Jesseca! I came across this song in an old Bliss and Sankey hymn book "as used by them in Gospel meetings." The melody is really lovely.
I can't wait to show you the cover! And now I want to see the cover Willowy designed for you! She does do an incredible job!
I hope you enjoy next week's part as much as this one. :)