The Writer's Corner
The Next Step…
Chapter 10 - Christmas
Written by Deanne Bertram
Mark woke early the following morning, Christmas. He bundled up
as he headed out to do the chores. He was finishing up when he
heard a commotion coming down the road. He looked out the door
to see the team, with his Pa and Ma, and many people from North
Fork following behind, hooting and a hollering.
Lucas stopped the buckboard in front of the house, walked
around, and lifted Milly from her seat. She insisted she could
walk, but he refused to put her down. Mark smiled as he watched
Lucas carrying Milly across the threshold. “Now, I’m home with
my wife. All of you just return to town! Merry Christmas!” and
closed the door.
Mark saw the people ride and drive away, singing Christmas
carols. When he turned around Hope and her father and brother
were standing before the hitching rail. Mark walked over and
greeted the Lane’s. He took his hat off and hid his face as he
gave Hope a kiss on the cheek. Then invited everyone inside.
Before opening the door, he knocked and called, “Hey inside, I
live here! Can I come in?”
Lucas opened the door and gave his son a hug. Mark had never
seen Milly so radiant, he saw she had a glow about her.
As she was standing at the stove to prepare breakfast, Mark
walked up behind her, put her arms around her waist, and
whispered into her ear. “Merry Christmas, Ma.”
Milly turned around and put her arms around Mark’s neck and gave
him a big hug. “Merry Christmas son.” They smiled as they
Lucas carried in some more wood for the fireplace. It was a
wonderful family celebration of the birth of Christ and reading
from the bible throughout the day.
Later that night, after Milly had retired to their bedroom,
Lucas saw Mark sitting at the table, the look in his face was
the same as when he was a child daydreaming. He was staring at
the embroidered picture hanging on the wall. Home – Sweet – Home
“Son, what are you thinking?”
“Pa, don’t misunderstand me, but the picture… This really is
home, sweet, home, now?”
“Mark I understand, our family has been just you and me for so
long and I’ve treasured the life we’ve had together. But yes,
Milly adds a new dimension to our lives.”
Milly stood in the doorway, listening to the two men in her
“Pa, I hope you don’t mind that I called her Ma. I don’t mean to
disrespect my real Ma, it’s just that…”
“Pa, you’re my Pa and I just feel that, whoever you are married
to, they should be my Ma.”
Tears welled in Milly’s eyes as she quietly shut the door.
“Mark, I’m sure Milly was honored when you called her Ma. And it
did my heart good hearing it too.”
“Pa, don’t you think you forgot something?” Lucas looked at
Mark. “The family bible?”
Mark walked and pulled the bible out from the chest and set it,
and the pen and ink well, on the table. Lucas stepped to his
bedroom door and knocked.
“Milly?” She opened the door.
“Mark reminded me that I forgot something very important.” Lucas
escorted Milly to the table and pulled out a chair, he sat down
next to her.
Lucas opened the family bible as he spoke,
“Milly, this bible is our family bible. Mark can tell you that
it is precious to us. It’s not the bible that I read from. This
bible carries a lot of emotions, our memories…”
He showed the page to Milly and she read the events that had
She watched as Lucas made one more addition:
Lucas and Milly (Scott) McCain, married, and the date
He waited for the ink to dry and closed the bible. Lucas
escorted Milly back to their bedroom, they stopped at the door
and said, together.
“Goodnight,” Mark replied.
New Year’s came and it was time for the Lane’s to return to
their duties at Fort Sam Houston. The McCain’s were in town with
Hope when she again had to say goodbye to her family.
The Next Step —
Learning the Letter of the Law
This is a story based on the TV
series The Rifleman
Here are some other great stories. Enjoy!
around The McCain Ranch