The Rifleman
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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 parted.

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 life.

“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…”

Lucas waited.

“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 been entered.

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 son.”

“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!

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