Saturday, February 17, 2007
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Thursday, February 15, 2007
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Monday, February 12, 2007
(Read Twiglet 1 - Part One...)
Well...meanwhile the old farmer and his grandson had sold all their trees (except for Twiglet, whom they could not find) and were on their way home. It was after dark and it had been snowing hard for quite a while. Snowflakes as big as gumdrops were still falling from the frosty night sky. The wind blew from the north and was very cold! Gran’pa Shepherd and Bright were hurrying to get home when the wagon wheel broke! The old farmer was much too tired and old to walk to their Christmas tree farm. Besides, they had a wagon full of supplies, food for the holidays, and their presents. Bright told his Gran’pa that he would take Blaze, one of the team horses, and go for help. Bright saw the light of a kerosene lamp shining from the window of a nearby cabin. Bright knew that he and Blaze would not be able to go much farther, because they were almost frozen. The reflection of the light on the snow lit the path up to the cabin. Bright slid off his horse and crawled to knock on the old cabin door. Gramma O and the twins looked at each other and wondered who would be knocking on their door this time of night, at any time, for that matter! They wondered because they never had company, ever! Trembling, they all went to the door and slowly opened it to find a young man lying in the snow. They looked out into the snowy night to see if there was anyone else and noticed that a horse with a white blaze on his nose was standing near the young man, as if protecting him! The three of them knelt down, took the young man into the cabin, and laid him on Rueben’s cot by the old wood stove. Gramma took the old patchwork quilt from her old rocking chair to cover him. She gave him some leftover soup and cornbread. Rueben took the strangers’ horse to the shed to stable him. Brown Sugar welcomed the new horse with a soft whinny. Rueben brushed him down, gave him some grain and some hay, before returning to the cabin to see what the strangers’ story was. Moments later the young man, revived by the hot soup, told them that he was Bright Starr. His Gran’pa was still with the wagon and Star, the other team horse. Gramma Oliver offered Brown Sugar and the sleigh to go get them. Rueben and Bright went out to get Gran’pa Shepherd and Star. They had to make several trips to get all of the supplies to the shed at the back of the old cabin. Gran’pa Shepherd lay on Rueben’s cot while Gramma Oliver fed him the rest of their soup. Rueben put Star in the shed with Brown Sugar and Blaze, making sure he gave him fresh clean water and gave him some grain and hay, too. Rachel brushed Star down while he ate his hay. Bright noticed that Blaze had already been brushed down and that he was contentedly resting in his stall. Gran’pa Shepherd was too cold and tired to eat very much and soon fell asleep. He slept all night and into the next day. The children kept the fire burning with the wood and twigs that they had been gathering, when they found Twiglet. Gran’pa Shepherd began to come around close to evening. The first thing he saw when he opened his eyes was a little Christmas tree with a white top notch cheering up the little old cabin. They had found Twiglet! Gran’pa Shepherd heard the clock chime seven times, could hear the children laughing and talking, and knew that they were becoming the best of friends.
It was Christmas Eve and Gramma O had prepared her last hen and the last seven potatoes for their meal. She set a loaf of her special bread, made from the last of their flour, on the table. She sent Rachel to the pantry shelf for the last two jars of apple butter. Gran’pa Shepherd saw behind the pantry shelf curtain and knew that this Gramma and her grandchildren were giving up the last of their food. He had an idea! He sent Bright and Rueben out to the shed where the supplies had been stored and had them bring in EVERYTHING! He wanted to repay Gramma O and her twins for helping him and his only grandson on that cold and wintry night! That night the snowstorm turned into a blizzard and they were snowbound inside the cabin Christmas day! The children made place mats out of used Christmas cards, the old Country Catalog, pictures from old calendars, and glue. Gramma O crocheted a neck scarf for everyone and Gran’pa Shepherd found enough gifts from the ones that he and Bright had picked up in Snowflake. While eating the homemade candy they talked and found out each other’s life stories. They were getting to know one another really well. They were able to keep very warm and everyone was thankful for the wood that Gramma O had chopped and the wood that Rueben and Rachel had gathered before they found Twiglet! Rachel helped Gramma O cook a real Christmas dinner from the supplies that Gran’pa Shepherd had given them. It was a merry time for all of them this Christmas, for they had good food, gifts, and best of all, new friends…what more could they ask for! Well...that evening as the storm blew over, Gran’pa Shepherd and Bright talked about how they had lost Twiglet. They realized that Twiglet had saved their lives. Had it not been for him the light in the window would not have been there to lead Bright to the cabin. Gramma O had already told them that they had been decorating Twiglet and had stayed up longer than usual. They would have already turned out the light and gone to bed. The next morning, Gran’pa Shepherd, Bright and Rueben shoveled the snow away from the door and from around the cabin. They also made a path to the shed. Then they hooked up Star to the sleigh to take their wagon wheel to “Smithy”, the blacksmith in Snowflake. When they reached the wagon, Bright and Rueben took the wagon wheel off for Gran’pa. While Bright, Rueben, and yes, even Gran’pa were trying to load the wagon wheel into the sleigh, the owner of Jacob’s Mercantile, Jacob Jacobs, came down the road in his bright red REO delivery truck. Mr. Jacobs offered them a ride into town and they soon had the wagon wheel loaded into the back of the REO. Bright and Rueben drove the sleigh into Snowflake. Well...on the way into town Gran’pa told Mr. Jacobs what had happened to the wagon wheel and how the Olivers' had given up the last of their food to care for him and his grandson. At Smithy’s blacksmith shop, Gran’pa had him check over the sleigh to make sure that it was in good repair. Smithy said that it would need new leather reins, and other than that, the sleigh was in very good condition. Smithy was remembering how particular Grandpa Oliver had been about his horse and sleigh. Mr. Jacobs wanted to help the Olivers, too! He had more deliveries, so he decided that he would take out some grain for Brown Sugar. Rueben helped Mr. Jacobs load a bag of barley and one of oats into the back of the red REO delivery truck. Mr. Jacobs helped Gran’pa and Bright put the wagon wheel back on the wagon. He would finish his deliveries and then stop back by to help Bright with some repairs. Bright took Gran’pa home and rode back to the Oliver’s cabin on Star. When Mr. Jacobs returned to the Oliver’s cabin, he took the grain to the shed and checked on the wood supply. He chopped up some logs small enough for the old wood stove and picked up the small chips for kindling. Mr. Jacobs repaired the pasture gate, so that Brown Sugar could be turned out in the spring. Rueben was helping Bright repair the stalls as Mr. Jacobs worked on the shed. Mr. Jacobs noticed, as Bright had, that everything was very neat and clean. The Olivers’ just needed a little help with the repairs. When Bright and Mr. Jacobs finished for the day, Gramma O handed each of them a couple of loaves of her special bread. She wanted to thank them for being such good neighbors. Rueben and Rachel ran down the lane as Mr. Jacobs rode away in his red REO delivery truck. Bright saddled up Star and caught up with the twins at the gate. Rueben and Rachel said goodbye to their new friends. From that time forward, Gran’pa Shepherd and Bright continued to take care of Gramma O and the twins.
Printed in the United States of America
ISBN: 0-974561-51-7 ~ Illustrations by Phyllis Mae Richardson Fisher
Red Truck by Doug
Thursday, February 1, 2007
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