#1 in the Christmas Cabin series
Word Count – 1.216
It was two weeks before Christmas when Murdoch Lancer woke up with a smile on his face thinking about the day ahead.
For months now he had planned a surprise for his sons Scott and Johnny who were spending their second Christmas with their father as they had been raised away from his home.
Scott was raised by his grandfather in Boston after his mother died at birth and while Johnny was born at Lancer his mother ran off with him when he was two to Mexico and it was only after years of searching that Murdoch was able to bring his youngest boy home.
Nine months ago after the snows melted into spring he had hired a crew of men to change their line shack in the mountains into a winter lodge so the family could spend time together, away from the ranch and watch the snow come down when they went up there to chop down their Christmas tree.
Scott and Johnny woke up to their father calling them down for an early breakfast and as they were eating he announced the plans for that day, they were going to the mountain to cut down their tree for Christmas.
Both boys looked at each other and groaned. It was snowing on the mountain and that lousy line shack was falling down and more snow came inside then outside. Johnny spoke up first. “Pa, can we just pick a tree closer to home this time? I really do not want to waste a day freezing to death.”
Scott joined the protest against a mountain trip but their father was determined to go. He was looking forward to seeing the looks on their faces when they saw the new lodge.
Once breakfast was done they packed up food and supplies and hitched the horses to the wagon which Scott was going to drive while Johnny and Murdoch rode their horses.
Around noon they stopped for lunch and once again Johnny and Scott pointed out the nice trees in the area but Murdoch ignored their hints and up they went.
It happened just as Murdoch imagined it would. Scott and Johnny saw the lodge at the same time and their mouths dropped open. As the snow came down on their new mountain home they looked at their father and smiled then each one gave Murdoch a hug after they dismounted their horses.
Murdoch went in first to light the house which made it shine into the darkness and with the snow coming down it looked like a scene from a Christmas Card.
It was dark when the horses were sheltered into the new barn and their luggage and supplies were unpacked. They enjoyed a big dinner by the fireplace and the boys went over the cabin room by room seeing the pictures that their father had brought up from the ranch.
They all got a good night’s sleep and the next morning after breakfast Murdoch, Scott and Johnny walked out the door to pick up out a Christmas tree. As his sons cut and chopped the wood chips went flying and the young men laughed with their father about how they should now get jobs as lumberjacks.
The snow was falling on and off during the day but the three of them took long walks after they wrapped up their Christmas tree and placed it in the wagon for the trip down.
They had planned to spend just one night but that was before they fell in love with the new lodge. But there was something more. Perhaps it was the handsome surroundings or the smell of fresh hewn wood but not really.
In this new place they are drawing closer together as they opened up to each other about their past lives and the hope they had for the future. For Johnny it was more than all that.
He had lived in Mexico most of his life where there was no snow but lots of heat and lots of loneliness and the need for a father’s love. He had that now here in this home and he had no idea why he felt so much closer to this father and brother here in the mountains.
But it was almost Christmas and he was in love with his life and the memory of being a gunfighter when he was only 14 was almost gone as he stood by the fireplace watching the snow.
Neither of the Lancer men wanted to leave but Teresa was at home waiting to decorate the tree and while she was waiting her and their cook and friend Maria were filling the house with the aroma of fresh baked bread and cookies.
The lodge was closed up and the fire place was cleaned out and everything put away. The horses were saddled and ready and the gear they brought up was going back down along with the Christmas tree and the leftovers from the wonderful meals Murdoch had made for them there.
The snow was coming down again as they rode away in the early morning. Before they rounded the corner they all turned around to take one last look before they continued on.
Scott and Johnny looked at their father and smiled. ‘Pa, thank you for this surprise but mostly for the fun we had here and the time we spent together. I hope we can do this again soon.”
Scott said the same thing and Murdoch, trying to keep the tears in his eyes from falling smiled and nodded his head before he answered them.
“Boys I built this cabin for the three of us to come and spend time in, to get away from the ranch business and the pressures it can bring and just be together as a family. And also to get to know each other better. That also includes Teresa who is eager to see the new place.”
Then they all laughed thinking about how much their ‘sister’ was going to love it and also to try to make it over a little.
They arrived at home late that night and even though they were tired they took the time to put up the Christmas tree which was beautifully decorated by Teresa and Maria with help from the Lancer men.
In the early morning hours of Christmas Johnny woke up first and came down to stare at the tree and the presents under it. He thought of the magic of the winter lodge and suddenly he realized he was not alone. Murdoch had followed him downstairs and wished his young son Merry Christmas. Then they turned to look at each other and Murdoch pulled his son into a hug and the two of them held on to each other tightly.
“Merry Christmas Pa., I love you and I always will. The best present I have ever got was the time with you and Scott at our new home in the mountains. I have been thinking about why it was so special and now I think I know. It was magic pure and simple that I found there.”
Murdoch smiled at his son and they waited for the rest of the family to come down to share in the magic Johnny had found.
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6 thoughts on “The Christmas Cabin by Ruthie W.”
I loved this story. It’s nice when they get family time.
So happy you like it. I wanted to get them away from the ranch and have fun at Christmas.
Loved that story.What a great first memory for the Lancer men to tell thier children and grandchildren
Thank you for taking the time to read my story and thank you for your lovely comment. Merry Christmas.
What a wonderful surprise for Johnny and Scott! Murdoch is a wise and loving father, far different than the flinty man who met them upon their arrival at Lancer. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story.
Nice little Christmas tale, love the idea of the family get away.