Even though Christmas Day is over, many of us cling to the spirit of the season, savoring the wonderful feelings, the food, the fellowship, and the opening of gifts. I remembered a Christmas scene in my newest release, titled Wish for the Moon.
The year was 1902, and Annie McGinnis, the youngest child of the family, now at seventeen finds herself the lady of the house--the home she grew up in. The position is not one she wants, but Annie has a very strong sense of duty and responsibility, and in this case...taking care not only of the household chores, but seeing after her widowed father, Grover, and Old Blind Jarrel, a neighbor man they took in. Her brothers, Kyle and Clifford have married and moved away.Max Landry, the man Annie fell in love with after saving him from the hangman's noose, has moved on, too...or so she thinks.
Christmas time nears, and Annie goes to town to sell her pecans, eggs, and jars of jelly. She hopes to earn enough money to buy a gift for her father and Jarrel. She also hopes she has enough to buy a bar a lavender soap for herself.
She finds a tiny cedar tree and uses it for a Christmas tree. She places it on the end of the kitchen table, decorated with strings of juniper berries and bows made of bits of colored cloth and old lace. On each side, she places a candle.
On Christmas Day, Annie placed her offerings in front of the tree. She sat two candles, one on either side, and lit them.
“Jerral,” she said, “give me your hand, and you can see the tree.” She helped guide his hand, so he could feel each part, and the gifts underneath. Carefully, she guided his hand to feel the candlesticks, and waved his hand over the flames so he would know they burned.
After breakfast, Annie told Grover to stay at the table so he and Jerral could open their presents. Grover, though, took Jerral to the bedroom first, and when they returned, each held a gift, wrapped in white paper with red string.
Jerral loved his suspenders, and exclaimed over them, how he liked the thick, woven texture, and the feel of the smooth metal clasps. She helped fasten them to his pants and adjusted them to the right length on his bony shoulders. “Oh, you look so fine, Jerral. These were just made for you.” He asked if he could kiss Annie’s cheek, and she happily let him.
Grover said little about his new blue-striped shirt, but he held it in his lap and stroked the soft fabric for a long time.
Finally, he told her the other two gifts were for her—one from him and one from Jerral. Jerral gave her the only thing he had—his family Bible.
Jerral said, “I can’t read it, Annie, and I don’t have any kin. You’re as close to a daughter as I’ll ever have. I want you to have it.”
Annie cried and hugged him around his neck and kissed his cheek. “Oh, thank you, Jerral. I’ll treasure it and add it to my bookshelf where I have the other books. And guess what? I’ve baked you a vanilla-raisin meringue cream pie!”
Grover gave her a small box of chocolates from the drugstore. They were in a gold colored box with a fancy seal on the top. The label read, “Golden’s Chocolates, Made in
“Thank you so much, Papa. I will savor each one, and the box will look so pretty on my dresser. If I ever get a necklace, I’ll keep it in the gold box.”
“Annie,” he said gruffly. “I’m sorry I missed your birthday. I just plumb forgot. Helen would have my hide if she knew I didn’t remember our baby’s birthday.”
Annie laughed and cried some more, and soon, all three choked up.
Christmas had come, after all.
At the dawn of the Twentieth Century, sixteen-year-old Annie McGinnis wishes for a chance to see more of the world, since all she’s ever known is the family farm in North Texas. A mysterious visitor arrives who will change not only her life, but her family’s as well. To save Max Landry from a bogus charge, she follows him and the Texas Rangers back to the coal-mining town one county over where a murder occurred. The short journey sets Annie on a path of discovery—new horizons, an inner strength, and quite possibly…love.
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Buy Link on Willow Moon Publishing--ebook.
Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas
Aww. What a tender, poignant moment. You have such a feel for families, Celia. I enjoyed the read. And I have to say, I'm not ready to see the end of Christmas yet. I'm enjoying those "good will" moments. MaggieReplyDelete
Isn't it amazing how the use of imagination and creativity can make the difference? I remember those days before everything was purchased at a store and people actually made directions. Those are the days I miss...am I showing my age?ReplyDelete
It was a lovely post to share, Celia.
I forgot you and Cheryl changed with one another this month, so I was surprised. Lovely post, though, and I have bought the book and will soon read it.ReplyDelete
I know this story is going to be a great one, Celia. I can't wait to read it.ReplyDelete
What a heart-warming excerpt and beautiful characters.ReplyDelete
Aw, Celia! Now that part where Jarrel gave her the Bible just got me right in the heart. I will be downloading this on my kindle. I just have to see what happens.Today I had to order the books that Gary wanted for Christmas that he didn't get. So tomorrow will be MY day!LOL Great excerpt--you know how to tug on the old heartstrings.ReplyDelete
Celia--your writing is so beautifully descriptive! The scene of Annie holding Jerral's hands over the candles is one that I will long remember. Have a great new year : )ReplyDelete
Thanks, Maggie...I, too, hate to see the good Christmas vibes end. Maybe we can keep them going.ReplyDelete
Oh, yes, we used to make our decorations. My kids made salt dough figures and painted them...ahh, those were the days.ReplyDelete