(A narrative sometime after Thanksgiving but before Christmas)
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It was Scottís privilege, or maybe not, to introduce Johnny to Thanksgiving. Since it was Scottís holiday Murdoch delegated the duty to his elder son. Johnny wasnít interested in some Yankee holiday about pilgrims and a rock, or that they handít planned ahead so they were starving, but it was nice the Indians gave them food. Or so Johnny thought Scott told him since he phased out on the story and concentrated on the good smells coming from Mariaís kitchen. Though the holiday didnít mean much to Johnny the food won him over and the Lancerís celebrated their first Thanksgiving as a family.
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With the colder weather upon them and the threat of snow in the air, Murdoch and Scott began sharing stories of their childhood snow adventures. They seemed to especially enjoy exaggerating how cold and wet they got building snowmen and fighting snow ball wars. Johnny enjoyed the stories but had trouble imagining what could possibly be fun about being cold and wet. Then he remembered Murdoch and Boston like cheese on their apple pie...yep, theyíre crazy.
Another thing Johnny didnít like about the cold weather was the amount of clothing required for these so called snow adventures. Murdoch had presented his younger son with a heavy jacket, wool scarf, fur lined gloves, thick wool socks, new boots, flannel shirts, heavy pants, and long-johns. The later didnít appeal to him at all, they itched. He also realized that by the time he was fully dressed he either had to pee or forgot why he was doing all this in the first place. Also why were the old man and Scott making him gear up when it wasnít even snowing...yet.
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Christmas was two weeks away and Scott and Murdoch had been explaining traditions, decorations, foods, and presents. As for the decorations, he was so tired of Teresa and Scott pulling him into the mess, hang this, move that, and ĎJohnny stay away from the cookiesí. At this point Johnny seriously considered shooting his brother and stepsister, but knew Murdoch would be mad and he didnít want to listen to the olí manís yelling. Now what did interest the former gunfighter was the getting presents part of this holiday. After all when he was a boy presents were never a part of his life, so this was new and exciting. However, much to the chagrin of the rest of the Lancerís, Johnny was constantly searching the hacienda for his presents.
Now with Christmas approaching so came the chance of the dreaded snow. The fact was he had never seen snow and was not in the least comforted that it seemed to amuse his family. With the days getting shorter and colder he decided his favorite place in the hacienda was on the rug in front of the blazing fire. Scott said Johnny looked like a cat curled up on the rug.
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Finally the day arrived, Murdoch and Scott were overjoyed, however the younger Lancer son was another matter. When they banged on his door and announced that it was snowing he yelled, ĎGo away!í and snuggled further under his covers. He should have known that wouldnít work.
Not to be dissuaded from the first snow day of the winter, they burst into Johnnyís room, threw back the covers, and pulled the reluctant man from his bed. Johnny was so surprised and it all happened before he could get to his gun. Later he blamed his slowness on frozen fingers, otherwise there would have been blood shed.
After much laughing by Murdoch and Scott and grumbling by Johnny the Lancer men finally headed outside. Johnny kept scratching the itchy wool long-johns, he was not happy, no, not by a long shot.
At first the snow novice was easy prey to the more experienced snow-ballers but being a quick study it wasnít long before he took his revenge. Soon after Teresa joined Murdoch and Scott while Jelly joined forces with Johnny, the war was on.
After team Murdoch won the snow ball war he mandated a snowman building contest. The result was a snow family adorning the side yard. To show just how he felt about snow things, and feeling he had been sorely used, Johnnyís snowman sported a stick in the shape of a gun resting on itís hip.
Exhausted, cold, and wet the Lancerís decided to call it quits, and as the afternoon sun disappeared everyone headed for the warmth of the Great Room. Johnny was eager to get inside and warm up by the fire, he still wasnít completely convinced that snow was fun. A fact he didnít hesitate to let his family know, loud and clear.
Everyone had changed into dry clothes and gathered around the fire while Maria and Teresa brought coffee, cocoa, cookies, and sandwiches to the grateful men. Johnny was sprawled in his favorite spot in front of the fire, Murdoch in his leather chair, Scott and Jelly on the sofa, and Teresa in her chair working on her knitting. Each basked in their private revelry.
Murdoch looked at his children and knew this day would be a very special memory for him. He would never forget watching his younger son learn about snow, and the boyís shocked look when the first snow ball hit him in the face.
Murdoch relaxed into his chair, smiled, and thought in the battle of Johnny vs Snow:
Next? How was going to keep Johnny from finding Santaís gifts?