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Everyone has a favorite Christmas story and mine is not really any different. Who am I kidding? Of course it is different because it is about a very special lady who loved a little boy so very, very much that she saved her money and bought him the best Christmas present ever. Better than a chocolate, better than a puppy dog, even better than being able to play outside until after dark. It was just THE BEST CHRISTMAS PRESENT EVER! I'm not kidding. Really! All right, all right. I'm procrastinating because I'm not sure how to start. Oh, yes, I do. Every good story begins the same way with Once Upon A Time. So here goes.

 

ONCE UPON A TIME there was a little boy who lived on a farm with his mother, father, two sisters and a brother. The boy and his brother shared lots of chores together, like feeding the dogs that their father took hunting, or watering the camellia and rose bushes that made the farm look beautiful, or feeding the cows and pigs and horses. The two boys enjoyed doing the chores together because they were the best friends. Every day, after school they couldn't wait to finish the chores so they could play together...Whoa! Stop the story. That isn't right. That's not how the story really goes. That's not anywhere at all like the story goes. Let me begin again.

 

ONCE UPON A TIME there was a little boy who lived on a farm with his mother, father, two sisters and a brother, who thought he was an only child. Everyone on the farm had a chore to do, even the little boy's sisters, although their chores were inside the house with their mother, like sweeping and cleaning and dusting the house, or reading books. Girl stuff. But the little boy and his brother, who thought he was an only child, had chores to do out on the farm like feeding the hunting dogs and watering the beautiful camellia and rose bushes. They even had to take care of the cows and pigs and horses and, in the summer, bale the hay and load it in the barn. Now the brother, who thought he was an only child, hardly ever helped with the chores on the farm, when their father wasn't around, and although the little boy got angry with the brother who thought he was an only child, and although the little boy wanted to beat his brother up and say all sorts of nasty things about him, he didn't. The little boy never even told his parents because he didn't want to seem like a tattletale. Besides, the quicker the chores were finished, the quicker the little boy could enjoy what he loved to do. He knew that when he got home from school, if he did his homework AND the chores then he was able to do the one thing he lived for day after day and that was to ride his horse, even after dark if he wanted to as long as he stopped for supper. So the little boy, most of the time, just went and did the chores for both of them, even if his brother, who thought he was an only child, ran off to play in the woods or something.

 

The little boy didn't mind this because he loved riding his horse. He loved her better than anything in the world except his dog, Prissie, of course. The horse was a beautiful palomino mare with a long golden tail and flowing mane. She was so beautiful she could be a movie horse. In fact, the little boy wanted to name this horse Trigger after his favorite horse ever, but his horse was a mare and not a stallion like Trigger. And the little boy couldn't name the horse, Buttermilk, like Dale Evans' horse because his horse was not a buckskin quarter horse. So the little boy sat down and thought for a very long time, about what Roy Rogers might name his horse if his horse were a mare. The little boy thought that if Dale Evans had a palomino mare she would have named her Trixie. It sounded like a movie star horse name and it was almost like Trigger's. So he named his horse Trixie.

 

Now, the little boy and Trixie were like best friends. Every free moment the two of them could be seen riding down the pasture lane while the little boy practiced his rodeo riding tricks. He loved to bounce off the ground and back into the saddle while Trixie was at full gallop or ride standing up on the saddle while Trixie galloped around the pasture. Sometimes the little boy would do shoulder stands while Trixie did her thing, but he fell off too much and finally quit that trick. Why even at bedtime, if his mother wasn't watching, the little boy would sneak out of the house and just go sit on top of his favorite horse and tell her all about everything that went on that day. The little boy spent hours grooming his beautiful Trixie, carefully brushing her golden mane and tail, making sure there were no tangles. He took great joy in taking care of his best friend.

 

But one thing bothered the little boy. The bridle and saddle were a dull brown and worn and scratched. They had been used on other horses before Trixie. This was fine, he thought, on the other horses because they were sorrels but his Trixie was a special horse. She was like movie horses. She could do tricks like count to ten with her front foot or kneel and lower her head. She could stand still while the little boy ran from behind and leaped into the saddle like Roy Rogers about to chase the bad guys. She could even rear up and paw the air with the little boy on her back. She needed something much better than the brown worn saddle or the fraying bridle. She needed to look like the beautiful blond animal she was.

 

The little boy prayed every night that some day he could find a way to buy a saddle or a bridle that would look beautiful on his wonderful Trixie. He saved all his money and asked for extra chores because he loved his horse so much. He prayed that he could get a saddle and bridle for Christmas. Every night the little boy counted his money and prayed for a miracle.

 

One night, the very kind, sweet lady, who loved the little boy so very much, heard the little boy praying for a saddle and bridle for his horse. She heard him praying for a miracle. So she decided to help the little boy because she knew how hard he worked and how sincere his heart was. Besides, she too, knew that the little boys brother, who thought he was an only child, didn't do his share of the chores all the time and went and played in the woods instead.

 

So the kind lady made a plan. She would save her money. She had been receiving checks in the mail, that no one knew about, not even the father, because she had been writing articles for different magazines using another name and decided she would surprise the little boy when Christmas came. One day she went to the local Cowboy store and ordered a bridle and a saddle for the little boy. She made sure that the saddle maker understood exactly how special the little boy's horse was and how beautiful a horse it was with her flowing tail and golden mane. The kind lady told the saddle maker to use very good leather and to dye the leather a golden yellow to match the beautiful horse. She made sure that the gift would be finished in time for Christmas day.

 

Christmas morning that year was so special. It was a cold day, for once, and the sun was bright and beautiful shining against the bluest of blue skies. The little boy rushed to the Christmas tree to see what gifts were there. He searched and searched but couldn't find a single gift except only one teeny tiny box with his name on it. His brother, who thought he was an only child, had at least three presents and both his sisters had lots of gifts. He sat down and thought that it wasn't fair. He worked harder than his selfish brother, he pouted. When his mother came into the room he got up to leave with a long, sad face. But the kind lady just asked him to open his present. He didn't want to but he did. Inside was a note that said to look outside the back door. When he threw the door open the little boy saw his beautiful Trixie standing there with the most glorious saddle and bridle that he had ever seen. They were just like he dreamed they should look. He rushed to Trixie and hugged the saddle and bridle before jumping on to ride. But then he turned and saw the smile on his mother and father's face and rushed to give them a huge hug also. “THIS IS THE BEST CHRISTMAS PRESENT EVER!” he shouted as he and Trixie galloped down the pasture lane, shouting “Yippee! Thank you, Jesus, for answering my prayers.”

 

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