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Back To The Christmas Cabin by Ruthie W

#2 in the Christmas Cabin series

Word count: 700

Once the cattle drive was over and the   wild horses were delivered to the Army the Lancer men got busy to prepare their ranch for the coming winter.

 September and October were warmer than most years and they used the  good weather to bring the cattle down to the lower pastures and provide lean too shelters for them when the rains started.  The snow level was high up the mountains so they rarely saw snow at the ranch.  By November  the  snow was  on their upper  mountain range where their cabin was waiting for them to gather for Christmas.

They had spent time at the cabin during the year to celebrate birthdays and special occasions but their favorite time was when it snowed and they decorated it for Christmas.

As their father Murdoch Lancer was cutting the Thanksgiving turkey he could feel every eye staring at him.  His sons Scott and Johnny plus his foster daughter Teresa were watching his every move, just waiting to hear when they were all going to the cabin to celebrate Christmas.   

He was smiling to himself and finally sat down and was passing the turkey around as he said “I was thinking about spending 1 week at the cabin instead of just one night, what do you think”?  Then the whole room erupted with laughter  with everyone talking  at once. Murdoch looked at his family and smiled and smiled.

Before the trip up the mountain everyone was going into town to buy Christmas presents.  Then their cook and lady in charge of the  household,  Maria, had all the food cooked, wrapped and ready to go.   Finally it was time to head up to the cabin to celebrate Christmas and spend  time with each other.  The ranch foreman was going to be in charge and give reports on how the branch was doing.   

After they arrived and the horses  were stabled and kept warm, Johnny, Scott, Teresa and even Murdoch took part  in a Lancer snowball fight until it was getting dark and they needed to get a fire going so they could get dinner ready. The snow was  falling on Christmas Eve as the family gave each other gifts.  Murdoch received a history about  his family from Scotland that Scott had put together for him. Teresa and made a sweater for “Uncle Murdoch” and Johnny had given him a new bridle.  After their father had given each son their own  presents he gave Teresa a new dress picked out by Maria.

Soon it was time for bed and one by one they went upstairs.  But Johnny  stayed by the window watching the snow fall. Murdoch came down to find his boy looking at the winter scene and joined Johnny looking at the winter wonderland.  Johnny turned to look at his father and handed him a small box.  “Pa, I wanted to give you this when we were alone.  I hope you like it”.  Murdoch opened his present with tears in his eyes. 

Inside the box was a gold pocket watch with a  gold chain.  The initials  ML were itched on the outside and in the inside was a picture of Johnny with the message “ To my father, thank you for loving me, Johnny”. 

Murdoch took Johnny in his arms and hugged him as Johnny hugged back.  They  both had tears in their eyes and after a few seconds Johnny said “Pa I love you and after almost 2 years together I know you love me and I feel this is where I always belonged, at home with you and my brother.  I just wanted you to know that.”

They sat in the sofa with Murdoch’s arm around his youngest son until they  fell asleep watching the snow coming down.

The next day everyone admired the new watch then they bundled up and went outside to walk in the forest as they each talked about what a great vacation they  were having.

Before they knew it the time had come to pack up and get back to the ranch.  As they left,  just like he did last year, Johnny turned to look at the cabin then smiled and winked at his Papa.  “Happy New Year Pa,  and thank you for being there for me”.



December 2022


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