“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.

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

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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.