WELCOME to my PARTY!!!
The month of November is a special time for me!
My second novel and sequel to
the second in the unsavory heritage series,
will be available 30 November on Amazon
EXCERPT – CLARA BESS GETS A PONY
The day after Christmas, instead of sledding down Kinder Hill, Frank and Lily trundled the kids in the Impala Wagon. After nearly an hour, and repeated chorus of “Are we there yet?” and “Where are we going?” Frank pulled off the main road.
They passed through an open gate and down a long drive, bordered with a white wooden fence on either side. Snow drifts were deep on one side, but on the other – Clara Bess spotted them first.
“Ponies!” She squealed, clamoring to open the door before they had come to a complete stop.
“Thank you, Daddy! Thank you!” She squealed and jumped up and down, and hugged him, and danced around him, and hugged him again.
“It was your Ma’s idea.”
Clara Bess performed her dance and hug routine for Lily.
“Good afternoon, folks.” A portly man in dungarees and a heavy coat approached them. “I’m Dorn Staunton. Ya’ll must be the Mayes’es.’”
“Frank Mayes.” The men shook hands, Frank turned. “My wife, Lily.”
“And this here must be the new owner of a pretty little horsey.” Mr. Staunton winked at Clara Bess. “Come along, we’ll let you pick. We got three’s ready for a new home.”
Blythe and Sallie paired off, looking for the sheep. Herb and Boyd, however, were antsy to get back home and set up their new train and stayed by the car.
“Oh, Daddy, look at all the ponies!” Clara Bess squealed, jumping up and down and clapping her hands.
“Actually, little lady, them’s not ponies at all.” Mr. Staunton laughed.
Clara Bess tilted her head and looked up at him, chewing her lip and scrunching her eyes.
“Ponies is just smaller horses, is all.” He crossed the wide lane between the two rolling pastures. “These ‘uns over here, these is ponies.”
Clara Bess climbed up on the bottom rail of the fence. “Look’it them Papa. They’re so little.”
“Them’s work horses.”
“They have to work?” Clara Bess was appalled.
“They ain’t babies, they’s adults.” Clara Bess peered up at Mr. Staunton. “They gotta work like all the other animals.”
“But what can they do if they’re so small?”
“They can tote a small load purty easy.” Mr. Staunton whistled to a nearby roan pony. “And you could ride this ‘un, he’s strong.”
“I can’t ride my new po – I mean, horsey?”
“Sure you can, soon’s he’s old enough.” Mr. Staunton motioned to Clara Bess, attention back on the roan pony. “See here, how his coat and mane is thicker than them over yonder?” He turned and thumbed over his shoulder. “Them over there is scrawny with gangling legs. They’ll fatten up all right, but not’s like these ‘uns.”
Clara Bess walked back across the lane and climbed up on the fence rail. There were four young yearlings, three fillies and one colt. One light brown filly with white mane and forelocks tentatively approached Clara Bess.
Mr. Staunton reached into his overalls pocket and handed an apple to Clara Bess. “Hold this out to her, let her eat it out of your hand.”
Clara Bess did as instructed. The filly inched closer to get sweet treat. Her muzzle homed in on the juicy fruit. She slowly licked over Clara Bess’s hand, eliciting a squirmy squeal of glee, finally taking a munch of the apple.
“My hand is all slobbery,” Clara Bess beamed a smile through her scrunched up face.
The filly snagged the remainder of the apple, stepped back while she chomped it down.
Clara Bess made a clicking sound and the filly raised her head to look Clara Bess in the eye.
“She like you, little lady.”
“She’s so sweet.” Clara Bess raised her hand to stroke side of the filly’s face; the filly leaned in to her touch. “What’s her name?”
“Oh, these ‘un’s here, they don’t got no name. They ain’t staying here, so we don’t give them no name.”
“Oh, Papa,” Clara Bess turned to Frank. “Can we keep her. Can we have this po – I mean – ” She turned to Mr. Staunton. “What did you call her?”
“A filly. Girl horses is fillies.”
“Papa, can we have this filly? I love her.” Clara Bess reached up to the filly’s mane, ran her fingers through the course hair.
“I reckon, if she’s your pick.” Frank turned to Mr. Staunton. “She seems to have made her choice.”
The chatter in the car on the way home was what to name the horse. Suggestions varied from Mocha to Mud to Hershey, from Missy to Patty to Lady. Clara Bess pondered in silence the last miles of their drive.
As they turned off of the highway and onto Drury Road, Clara Bess announced her decision.
“Her name is Cocoa, she looks like a cup of hot cocoa.” Clara Bess crossed her arms and nodded firmly. The boys whined that it was too sissy until Clara Bess cut eyes at them. “She’s my pony, I mean, filly, not yours.” And stuck her tongue out. Boyd started to tattle, but Blythe pinched his arm, and the boys set to wrestling in the back of the station wagon til Papa took a curve faster than usual and toppled them on top of one another.
Clara Bess was hands on as Papa unloaded Cocoa from the horse trailer. She had studied long and hard about ponies, what she had thought were ponies, and knew about the hay and the stall and feeding them oats. What she hadn’t known, was that Papa had bought all the gear associated with their new family member. He walked Clara Bess through the first grooming, showing her how to brush the coat to keep it smooth and clean, and produced three carrots for Clara Bess to give her new friend.
“Can I sleep out here with her tonight?”
“I’m afraid not, Dumplin.”
“But Papa,” crocodile tears welled in her eyes, her lip quivered as she bit at it. “Cocoa will be so lonely out here all by herself.”
Frank lifted Clara Bess and gave her a hug. “It’ll be too cold out here for little girls.”
“Won’t it be too cold for Cocoa, too?”
“Animals don’t get so cold like us humans do, Dumplin.”
“But… but… she’ll be lonely, without her brothers and sisters. She’ll miss her family. Pleeeee-ase can’t I stay out here with her? Just tonight?”
“Flower is out here, and the lambs are in their pen. Your Cocoa’ll be just fine.”
Clara Bess followed Papa into the house, where Momma was serving up dinner.
The next morning, they found Clara Bess curled up next to Cocoa, snugged in the hay with a thick wool blanket.
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“I once said I should write down all the story ideas in my head so someone could write them someday. I had no idea at the time that someone was me!
Ms. Mason has been writing since 1995, and began working in earnest on her debut novel, Tessa in 2013. Meanwhile, she cranked out a few dozen poems, and made countless notes for story ideas. Ms. Mason lived with depression for many years, and the inherent feelings of worthlessness and invisibility; she didn’t want to be who she was and struggled with her own identity for many years. Her characters face many of these same demons.
Ms. Mason has lived in the Upstate of South Carolina since 1988. She lived in Colorado for sixteen years, during which time she: went to high school, got married, had babies, got divorced and went to college. Her “babies” are now grown, two have babies of their own. She currently lives alone, with her five cats.
Ms. Mason writes Christian-worldview–in other words, there’s no salvation message, but there are plenty of characters who know the Lord and share His perspective with those who are struggling.
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