Excerpt From A Beautiful Glittering Lie
The following excerpt is from my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie. It takes place during the Christmas season, but in 1862, Christmas was anything but joyous.
The following morning, David and his family attended church, where they received a grand reception, for the congregation had heard about Hiram’s homecoming, and bestowed well-wishes upon them. That afternoon, David busied himself by getting caught up on chores he had let slide over the past few months. He wanted his father to be proud and impressed with his efforts to take care of the place, just like he had promised. Even though it was the Sabbath, a designated day of rest, he worked through it anyway, reasoning that he had only four days to finish his tasks.
The next few days were filled with anticipation and last-minute preparations for Christmas. While the girls decorated, David worked diligently to finish his handmade gifts, and Caroline cooked. The family spent every waking moment getting ready to receive their loved one.
Soon, it was the day before Christmas. David awoke to discover that it was drizzling, which wasn’t unusual for that time of year. Pulling himself from his warm bed, he dressed, ate a quick bowl of grits, and went outside to tend to the livestock. By the time he had finished, he was cold and damp, so he returned to his room, changed, and sat down on the bed with his guitar. Although he hadn’t played it in quite a while, he decided to learn a few carols, so he practiced “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” and “Silent Night” several times. While he worked out the chords to the “Boar’s Head Carol,” he heard a knock at his door. Josie entered, wearing a brown coat over her green calico dress.
“Ma says it’s time to go fetch the tree!” she announced, barely containing her excitement.
Grinning at her exuberance, he laid the guitar down across his bed. “All right, li’l’ sis. If you insist.”
Throwing on his coat and hat, he followed her outside to the barn. He saddled Renegade, gave her a foot up, and led the colt out toward the woodlot. Noticing that it had stopped drizzling, he clucked to Renegade, who responded by prancing.
“Your horse is the funniest critter!” Josie giggled. “He must know it’s a holiday!”
“Reckon so. He’s mighty high-strung today.”
“He’s like this every day!” she exclaimed, bouncing atop the colt.
“That’s fine if he is. It jist makes him more competitive. He already won those two races I ran him in last month, and I’m fixin’ to run him a heap more this spring.”
Renegade slowed to a walk as brother and sister approached the woods.
“Reckon tonight ole Santee Claus will be makin’ his appearance,” David remarked casually.
To their amusement, Renegade blew in response. Caleb and Si came loping up, eager to find out what they were missing, and the two hounds nearly tumbled over each other in their rush.
Josie laughed at them. “Let’s find the purtiest tree out here for Pa,” she suggested.
“That’s a right good idea.” He grinned up at his sister, who smiled back down at him.