“A Father’s Gift” by Keli Gwyn

I’m Keli Gwyn, and I’m A Cup of Christmas Cheer author! My story, “A Father’s Gift,” appears in Volume Three: Heartwarming Tales of Christmas Past. To have my story included in this year’s collection along with those by such talented authors is a real honor. I’m still pinching myself.

Meadow Lake, CaliforniaThe setting:
“A Father’s Gift” takes place in the Gold Rush-era town of Meadow Lake, high in California’s Sierra Nevada, during the fierce winter of 1866/67, when forty-four storms buried the mountains beneath a thick blanket of white.

The story:
A young couple anxiously awaits the birth of their first child during the harsh winter of 1866. Life in Northern California is hard and the townspeople want to rally around them, but Cole Foster is suspicious and somewhat embittered toward his new neighbors. Having witnessed how the gold rush broke up his own family and led his father to abandon him, he wants to rely only on himself. However, God brings him into a season of need that softens his heart so he can learn to trust again. And, there is an extra surprise in store that rights a wrong from many years ago. (Description taken from the Guideposts website.)

Snowshoe Thompson Mural in Placerville, CaliforniaThe inspiration:
I’m a native Californian with a deep love of the Golden State. I’ve been privileged to spend the past twenty-one years living in the Gold Rush-era town of Placerville. One of my historic town’s most celebrated figures is John “Snowshoe” Thompson, a kindly Norwegian-American hired by the U.S. Postal Service in 1856 to carry mail across the Sierra to the isolated community of Genoa in Nevada Territory, which he did for twenty years. Snowshoe Thompson made the 90-mile trek from Placerville to Genoa in three days on a pair of ten-foot-long wooden skis he’d made himself.

During the winter of 1866/67, Thompson was asked to add a side trip to Meadow Lake, California. When I learned about the request, my mind began spinning a tale about a young couple trapped in that snowbound town. And yes, Snowshoe Thompson does make an appearance in the story.

The takeaway:
The hero of my story is finally able to let go of bitterness that stems from a past loss. It’s my hope that readers will be inspired by Cole’s journey to forgiveness.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAChristmas traditions:
Our daughter is grown and living in Austria this year. Although Gwynly and I won’t be celebrating Christmas with Adriana, we will be carrying on one of her favorite traditions: decorating our tree the Friday after Thanksgiving. Thanks to Skype, she’ll be able to join in the fun virtually.

Your turn:
When do you set up and decorate your tree?

My giveaway!

Since I live in Placerville, California, where Snowshoe Thompson began his mail runs, I thought it would be fun to give away a Christmas mug depicting one of our town’s stately Victorian houses. The painting on the mug is the work of another Placerville legend, Thomas Kinkade, who grew up here and was inspired by our historic town, as am I.

 Thomas Kinkade Christmas Mug

Click this link to be taken to our Rafflecopter drawing.
Once there, follow the directions to enter. Drawing ends Nov. 25th.

(U.S. addresses only, please.)

For your protection, do not include personal information in a comment.

Congratulations to the winner of the giveaway, Martha P.

Christmas Tree Border

 Check out the Giveaways page on our site to learn about our fun giveaways.

(Note: If comments aren’t visible below the post, click the green circle under the post date.)

Christmas Tree Border

keligwyn-bb2-smallThe storyteller:
Keli Gwyn writes stories that transport readers to the 1800s, where she brings historic towns to life, peoples them with colorful characters and adds a hint of humor. A California native, she lives in the Gold Rush-era town of Placerville at the foot of the majestic Sierra Nevada.

When Keli’s fingers aren’t hovering over the keyboard of her newfangled laptop, she enjoys strolling past stately Victorian houses in her historic town, burying her nose in reference books as she unearths interesting facts to include in her stories, and interacting with readers. Her favorite places to visit are her fictional worlds, historical museums, and other Gold Rush-era towns.

Visit the Pinterest board for “A Father’s Gift” here.



10 thoughts on ““A Father’s Gift” by Keli Gwyn

  1. This is so interesting, Keli. I have a real life photo of John “Snowshoe” Thompson on my Historic Sports Pinterest board from when I blogged about early skiing in an Inkwell Inspirations post. Fascinating man.

    I like how you used a historic person to create your own story, and then included him. I can’t wait to read your story.

    Congrats on joining the Christmas Cheer team. 🙂

    • Anita, when we first moved here and learned about Snowshoe Thompson, I was fascinated by his story. His accomplishments are legendary. I was happy to have this opportunity to give readers a glimpse into the kinds of things he did for people. While my story is fictional, Snowshoe Thompson did deliver a number of special requests, such as the one I depicted, over the years.

  2. What a neat inspiration, Keli! I loved reading your story, especially getting an up-close view of a real servant from history.

    As for your question…Well, as you know, our family put up our tree last night. 🙂 But like your family, we usually wait until after Thanksgiving. This year is unique with the shorter stretch between Thanksgiving and Christmas and a lineup of overnight guests headed our way soon, so we jumped the gun to save ourselves stress later.

  3. Sarah, I’m sure your kids were thrilled to see the tree go up early. I know our gal would have been delighted if she could have talked me into putting the tree up BEFORE Thanksgiving. As it was, it took her a number of years to convince to put it up the day after Thanksgiving. Once I did, I was happy to embrace the new tradition. Having the decorating done early relieved a good deal of my holiday to-to list stress.

  4. I’m very much looking forward to reading your story when I get my copies. It sounds like a delightful tale, rich in history!! What a blessing it is for you to live in Placerville. And you have to leave it to those Norwegians for their ingenuity. I married one! We look forward to setting up our tree a little earlier than usual this year on account of our little grandson. That means closer to Thanksgiving than Christmas.

    • Carla, Snowshoe Thompson certainly was ingenious, wasn’t he? He heard about the need for a mail carrier over the Sierra and came up with a way to make the job work–and make it his.

      I’m sure your grandson will enjoy seeing your Christmas tree and that you’ll enjoy seeing his joy.

  5. Wow that is really interesting about the mail carrier. And I love that you live in a town rich with history. I put my tree up at all different times. With 4 kids I just shot for a day when they could all be here, with jobs and sports. But I do like to have it up in November. There’s been a few years it didn’t get up til December.

    • Debbie Lynne, I can’t imagine having to work around the schedules of four children. You must have been one busy mom in those days. I hope the kids helped with the decorating.

Comments are closed.