The Next Step…
Chapter 21 - Hope’s Second Christmas
Written by Deanne Bertram
Mark woke early Christmas morning. He wrote a note before he left the house. He saddled Blue Boy and headed to the road to Oat Jackford’s place. Mark met Sam Montgomery on the road and asked Sam to tell Mr. Jackford he’d be by later to properly thank him as he took the reins to the black and white paint mare that he had hidden out at the Jackford’s ranch. Mark rode for North Fork. He stopped at the livery, where Nils met him. They walked to the back room and pried the lid off a crate. Mark pulled at the saddle, pad, and cinch, and carried them to the mare. He saddled the horse, then pulled a red bow out from his saddle bag and placed it around the saddle horn.
Mark then mounted Blue Boy and led the mare to Miss Hattie’s. He walked the path to the door and knocked. Miss Hattie greeted him, wishing him a Merry Christmas, he removed his hat as he entered and waited. Mark watched as Hope came down the steps, he smiled to himself and wished her a Merry Christmas. He held her jacket for her to slip into. They ran down the walk to the horses, Mark yelling “I’ll have her back before sundown!”
As Hope walked around Blue Boy, she saw the new horse and then spied the red bow on the saddle. She squealed and Mark hugged her and said, “Merry Christmas Hope. She’s yours.” Tears were in Hattie’s eyes as she watched from the porch. Before they rode, Mark made sure the stirrups were properly adjusted. They waved as they headed back to the McCain Ranch.
“Mark, does she have a name?” Hope asked.
“They called her Two-Bits,” he answered.
“I love her Mark. Thank you so much.”
Next Step —
New Year’s Eve