A sergeant plans to muster out of the Army after twenty years in order to go into ranching--and start a family. A new widow, grateful to have work as a housekeeper, struggles to provide Christmas gifts for her two children. An eleven year-old boy, still fiercely loyal to the dead father who neglected him while alive, struggles to learn how to grow to be a man. A younger sister is starved for the attention and affection only a father can give. This heartwarming tale of a bleak Christmas set in 1873 Wyoming tells of the gift of second chances and a promise for a brighter future.
“Mrs. Clayton was a-sayin’ they open a gift on Christmas Eve,” Samuel countered. “Reckon we oughtta, too.”
“That’s not how our family does it, Sam. You know that. If we open our gifts tonight, there won’t be anything for Christmas morning.”
“Figures,” Samuel snorted. “That’s mighty sorry, Ma.”
“I’m sorry, Samuel, but that’s how it’s a-goin’ to be. I guess we might read the Christmas story from the New Testament,” Annie said in an attempt to steer her son away from his disappointment. “Reckon it’d be best, what with it being what Christmas is all about, not just a-gettin’ presents.”
“But we like a-gettin’ presents, Ma,” Arletta piped up.
“I know, Letta,” Annie remained calm, refusing to allow the frustration she felt worming its way through her insides to erupt in her voice or expression. “But we need to remember that it’s because Jesus was born into this world to save us that we celebrate Christmas. And, if you both listen to just a smidgen of the story, I’ve a special treat I’ve saved for you all. But, you gotta wait until we’re done a-readin’. Come around the table, now, and I’ll get the lamp.”
The three had no sooner settled in their chairs than they heard the sound of boots stomping on the back porch. A knocking on the outside door to the kitchen followed.
“That Saint Nicholas, Ma?” Arletta asked, her voice full of wonder. Samuel snickered in response. Annie glanced over to Samuel with a warning frown.
“Too early for him, Letta. Probably one of the hands a-needin’ something from Mr. Clayton. You two wait here while I see who it is.”
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