A Short Story – Waiting For Mason by Karyn Good

Christmas is right around the corner. We’re busy. We need more time. More energy. More peace. I like to post a short story every December. My gift to you.

I wrote this little story a few years back. Some of you may have read it. Some of you haven’t. Our family has camped many times in the Qu’Appelle Valley, which is basically our backyard. We have many fond memories. This story touches on how the valley got it’s name.

WAITING FOR MASON by Karyn Good

In the waning light Willa Harris surveyed her version of the prettiest spot on earth. With its shelter of wolf willows and cottonwoods, the tranquil calm of the lake, it soothed her battered heart. She struck a red-tipped match. Held the tiny flame to the bits of dry grass and twig she’d arranged in the middle of an irregular circle of stones. It whiffed out in a puff of wind.

The second match survived the odds and sparked at the broken bits of branch. She held her breath, delighted when it caught. She needed the heat. Tonight the many miles between the rustic Qu’Appelle Valley and her native Toronto were adding up to doubts. She tossed on a couple of smaller branches. Not about setting down roots here. Or Mason. The dry wood caught and she leaned in closer to catch the flare of heat. She reached for her backpack, the motion jarring her swollen ankle. Could she convince Mason she belonged here, too?

Okay, maybe she could use a crash course in backwoods smarts, on how to survive on ants and tree bark tea, that kind of thing. Hiking without falling victim to a sprained ankle. But she was trying. Hadn’t she’d trekked in alone to their special spot? Set things up? Okay, half set things up, but still it proved she was crazy about Mason Shaw, protector of the wild things. Didn’t it?

The darker the night sky and the brighter the moon, the more she felt like maybe Mason wasn’t coming. What if he hadn’t found her note? What if he didn’t show? What then? It’d be her and the howling coyotes. No. Mason would come looking for her. He was like that, straight up honourable in an old fashioned Camelot style that stretched way beyond appealing. She could count on Mason to do the right thing even when he’d rather not.

Willa massaged her throbbing ankle. In the distance the prairie wolves began their nightly serenade of howls and yips, in front of her the yellow-red flames fluttered and weaved. In back of her a breeze whispered through the fresh-leafed aspens. It wasn’t so bad being out here all alone. To disconnect. Take some time to think.

She never heard a sound, not a footstep, snapping twig, or rustle of clothing. Nothing until he appeared on the other side of the fire blocking her view. She froze at the sight of the bent old man who stared back at her. He lifted a hand in greeting a second before he squatted down across from her and set his rifle on the ground beside him.

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Hots Drinks and Book Review

tea timeIt’s December and that can mean chilly nights. In fact, today there is a Winter Storm Warning for my small part of the Canadian prairies. Nothing warms a cold winter day or night more than a book, BUT while your reading you might choose to sip a warm beverage. I’m a fan of several hot drinks.

I love the peppermint tea from David’s Tea. My husband and I drink this in the evening some nights and the scent is so fresh and addicting. I also love hot chocolate, see below. Who can forget about hot apple cider this time of year? I love making a big batch for guests in my crock pot. Chai tea lattes! And it’s always fun to add a snip of Bailey’s, Kahlua, or Peppermint Schnapps to the various mixes.

Now for the book part. My book club the Sanity Seekers read The Paris Wife by Paula McLain for our November selection. I picked it. Since it was my pick I figured I should review it.

The Paris Wife Nov 2013I’m always intrigued by books of fiction based on real people, events, and well fact. Hadley Richardson was Ernest Hemingway’s first wife. The story is told in Hadley’s point of view which peaked my interest as much has been made of Hemingway’s women. Their time together was short but huge at the same time. There were parts of this book that fascinated me. I thoroughly enjoyed McLain’s style and her writing. I’ve read other fiction based on fact but none that read as smoothing or believably as this. I loved the setting of Paris in the 1920’s. Loved the parts that talked of writing. But reading about their relationship and how they lived their lives was hard work at times particularly towards the end. And parts of the book dragged along. There was no temptation to stay up late and read all the way through, but the necessity of having to put it aside for a while and think about what you’d read. There is no happy ending for these two although I like to think Hadley found hers with her second husband, I wonder if Hemingway ever truly did. If he came close I’m betting it was with Hadley. But that’s probably the romantic in me.

I would definitely recommend this book.

Now about that hot chocolate. Although I haven’t been much for experimenting in the past, I’m trying to eat less of certain foods and cut others out altogether. Like cow milk and refined sugar. Which creates challenges when craving hot chocolate. It’s actually easy enough to replace the milk with coconut milk or almond mild, but the hot chocolate mix is another story. Until I found the following recipe in our local paper:

Hot Chocolate Recipe

  • 6 to 7 medjool dates
  • 1 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups hot water

Method: Mix all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Adjust quantities to suit taste. Serves 2 Adapted from Ashley Clark: www.naturallyashley.com

I used hot almond milk instead of hot chocolate. It was wonderously thick and frothy but very sweet. If I were to make it again I think I’d use less dates and more cacao powder. Also, from using the medjool dates in my smoothies as a natural sweetner, I put them in the blender first with a little liquid and puree as I find they don’t blend up well and the end result is chunky.

Which hot drink is your favorite? Read any good books lately?

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