I’m Dreamin’ of a White Christmas…..

 

As I was writing this blog a week or so ago, nature decided to deck the halls in all its glory. Snow descended on the West Texas Plains and temperatures drastically dropped as shoppers scurried from store to store. In the midst of it all everyone was putting up Christmas trees, pretty lights and making their homes beautiful.

But back to the snow. Although we only got about two inches where I am, some surrounding areas received up to four.

It was simply gorgeous.

I can admire it as long as I’m warm and snug inside and only viewing it through a window with a cup of something hot in my hand. I’m not one for venturing out if there’s the slightest chance I might fall and break a bone.

This recent snow and frigid temperatures reminded me of the research Phyliss, Jodi, DeWanna, and I did when we decided to write a Christmas anthology.

The Texas Panhandle where our stories are set is no stranger to horrible blizzards.

Beginning in late December of 1885 until about 1890, a series of devastating blizzards occurred that struck a blow and brought the cattle rancher to his knees. Hundreds of thousands of cattle froze or starved to death. Some ranches were completely wiped out and unable to stay in operation.

What does some snow have to do to cause financial ruin you ask?

Cattle instinctively drift south (sometimes over 100 miles or more) seeking shelter when blue northers and blizzards hit. They’re no dummies. And it wouldn’t have posed such a huge problem normally. But members of the Panhandle Stock Association erected a drift fence in 1882 that ran from the New Mexico line eastward to the Canadian River breaks. When the blizzard hit, the cattle began their southward trek…until they got caught at the drift fences. Unable to go any farther they huddled against each other along the fence line in huge bunches and died.

Then, during the especially harsh winter of 1886-1887 cattle losses were as high as 75%. One cowboy of the LX Ranch reportedly skinned 250 carcasses a mile for 35 miles along one section of fence alone. Now, that’s a lot of dead cows!

So, when Phyliss, Jodi, DeWanna and I decided to write a Christmas book, we knew we wanted to incorporate a blizzard into each of the stories.

In my story, a train is stuck by the deep snow and there’s a pregnant woman, a very ill elderly man  and three orphan children on board. If not for Sloan Sullivan, a nearby rancher, who brought much needed supplies and the courage of Tess Whitgrove they might not have survived.

So, remember this next time you’re caught in a blizzard…avoid fences and have plenty of hot stuff along to keep your blood pumping. Use your cell phone to call for help. Oh, and make sure you have a handsome rescuer not far off.

This is my last blog for 2011. My thanks to everyone who supports all of us here at P&P.

MERRY CHRISTMAS and Happy New Year!

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Here in the Texas Panhandle, we do love our cowboys. There's just something about a man in a Stetson and jeans that makes my heart beat faster. I'm not much of a cook but I love to do genealogy and I'm a bit of a rock hound. I'm also a NY Times & USA Today bestselling author of historical western romance. You can contact me through my website and I'd love to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and more. HAPPY READING!
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31 thoughts on “I’m Dreamin’ of a White Christmas…..”

  1. Great post,,I live in the deep south so we dont get very many white christmases,,but I lived in VT for 5 yrs,an they get lots of snow,it comes in feets not inches,,it was very beautiful at Christmas time but then its a real pain,,,I dont DO snow,,,cant drive in it or walk,lol,,,anyway enjoyed the post,Merry Christmas!

  2. I’d have to say it’s unusual for you to have snow in Texas and we’re expecting more rain in Wisconsin…mid 40’s* for the next couple of days!

    I’m not complaining!

    Best wishes for continued success for your writing!

    A TEXAS CHRISTMAS with your story THE CHRISTMAS BELL sounds perfect for a wonderful holiday read!

  3. Linda,

    That same 1886-1887 storm devastated the Wyoming cattle business, as well. Those blizzards that wiped our whole herds are just astonding.

    THE CHRISTMAS BELL was a great read. And you’re right, if you have to be stuck in a blizzard Sloan would be the man you’d want to be stuck with. :o)

    Merry Christmas to you and yours!

    –Kirsten

  4. Good Morning, Vickie……I can only imagine how deep the snow gets in Vermont. Oh my Lord! Those people really get buried. But I agree it’s really beautiful as long as I don’t have to get out in it.

    Wishing you the very best Christmas!

  5. Good Morning, Laurie G…….Surprisingly it’s not all that unusual for us to get snow here on the Texas Panhandle and in West Texas. We don’t get tons of it usually but we average two or three snowfalls a winter. When it descends on us I huddle by the fire and drink lots of hot coffee. I cannot imagine how awful those blizzards were here from 1885 to 1890. Those poor cows.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  6. Good Morning, Kirsten………You’re absolutely right. Those blizzards began in Wyoming and swooped down into Texas. With the blizzards being so fierce and covering so much territory they wiped out the cattle industry and it took many years to recover.

    I’m glad you enjoyed The Christmas Bell. Thank you so much for saying that. Sloan was probably one of the best heroes I’ve written. So tough and yet tender at the same time. Just the way I like my heroes to be.

    Hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

  7. Good Morning Linda – I love your anthologies with Jodi, Phyliss and DeWanna and most especially A Texas Christmas. Keep those anthologies coming! Merry Christmas!

  8. Linda, after the terrible dry summer you just had in Texas, the snow must be heavenly. But hope it isn’t a blizzard.

    Have a beautiful holiday season and a great new year, sister FIlly.

  9. Good Morning, Lori D……..glad you stopped by. You’ve made my day. Thank you for the kind words about our anthologies. We’re thrilled readers like them. Our next one is a Valentine one and will release in January–Be My Texas Valentine.

    Wishing you a very joyous Merry Christmas!

  10. Good Morning, CateS……..Wow, what a wonderful endorsement! Speaking on behalf of Phyliss, Jodi, DeWanna, and I thank you, thank you! We’re thrilled you liked the stories. And I’m doubly thrilled that you you found The Christmas Bell to your liking.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  11. Dearest Elizabeth……..Yes, the snow was very welcome. Any moisture at all just thrills us to death. We are still locked in our drought. Experts in these things are saying we won’t see any relief until late summer. Hopefully! No, our piddly snow was very short of being a blizzard.

    I wishing you a Merry Christmas and hope all your dreams come true!

  12. Hi Linda,
    Well, I have to say, Sloan sounds like my kind of guy–I’m downloading this anthology to my kindle TODAY. I’m just north of you in Oklahoma, and we got a blizzard the Christmas of 2009 that actually killed a couple of people because the drifts covered their cars!It was unbelievable. Usually here, we get more ice than snow. But that was a terrible blizzard and then in Feb. of this past year we had two within about 2 weeks of each other. OK, girl, I need to download this wonderful anthology of yours and see just how Sloan manages to save the day.
    Hugs,
    Cheryl P.

  13. We had enough snow down here in Abilene to cover the roofs and yards but not enough to cancel school to my children’s dismay. Unfortunately, I was at a conference down in Austin last week when the snow came through, and I was too far south to get any. There were a few patches left in the shade by the time I came home on Wednesday, but it’s all gone now. Love the beauty of a snow covered landscape, though.

    And I loved Sloan’s story. Nothing like a blizzard to bring folks together. 🙂 Can’t wait to see what you gals cook up for the Valentine’s anthology.

  14. We just had our first substantial snowfall in Nebraska. NOT a blizzard. I find myself scrambling now to get ready for Christmas and I think it’s at least partly because the fall has been so mild Christmas as sort of sneaked up on me.
    The snow is all gone now (well, a little left in ditches) and it’s supposed to be 50 degrees tomorrow. That’s TROPICAL for Nebraska in December.

  15. Cheryl P……..I remember how bad it was up there. It was pretty bad down here. And last year we had a white Christmas. Don’t think we will this year with it being so dry. But, you never know. Mother Nature has a mind of her own.

    Thank you for downloading A Texas Christmas! You’re so sweet. Hope you like the stories.

    Merry Christmas, dear Filly sister!!

  16. Karen W………I think Abilene got a little more than we did. It was really pretty all fresh and new. Our schools weren’t out either but we had several days of classes starting late. One thing about this neck of the woods….it usually doesn’t linger long. That sun comes out and it all melts.

    Bless you for the kind words about The Christmas Bell!! Saying you liked it means a lot coming from someone so talented.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  17. Mary……..You folks are known to get quite a bit of substantial snowfall. That’s what you get for being the middle of the U.S. You catch all that stuff. Do you have trouble getting feed to your cows? Poor Ivan for having to deal with it. Hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas!

    Good luck with your shopping.

  18. Hi Linda, great blog. There’s a saying in this part of Texas (the Panhandle) that there’s nothing between Texas and the North Pole but barbed wire … and it’s so true. A lot of our weather variance is dependent upon where a storm forms and how it comes in because of the Rocky Mountains. When they skirt the mountains and come south, we’re generally in lots of trouble. I’ve seen it snow two or three inches and with the wind blowing there’s barely any snow on the ground, but there’ll be snowdrifts really to where people can’t get out of their doors. The next day it’ll be 50! We have very fickled weather in the Panhandle, but the blizzards of the late 1800’s were devastating on most of central United States. I’ve seen a few of them in the many years since I was born here, but thank goodness very few. Because of the lack of trees, our biggest problem is white out conditions which I use in my story “Away in the Manager” for “A Texas Christmas”. They are more dangerous than the actual snow. Linda, thanks for a great post. Big hugs, P

  19. Colleen………I always get a smile when I see your name. Thanks for stopping by to chat. Blizzards are certainly no fun to be in. I’m just really glad that we don’t have that often here. I don’t do snow and ice well and usually hunker down indoors if I can until it melts. But I do love to see the beautiful white stuff occasionally. I think we’re people of variety. Things would get boring if it was the same thing every day.

    Wishing you a Merry Christmas! Hopefully Santa will be good to you.

  20. Hi Phyliss……..I loved AWAY IN THE MANGER! Those two little scamps were so funny. And it was even more funny seeing how your hero dealt with them. Loved how he came to terms with losing his wife and child and coming to enjoy Christmas again.

    Every year at this time I take stock of my life and count my blessings that I have such wonderful family and friends. For you, I feel especially blessed.

    Wishing you and yours a very special Christmas!

  21. Linda,

    I like you love to watch the snow, peeking out the window….I hate it if I have to go out in the snow…Here in Payson it is snowing now…Its beautiful…I love the thought of a cowboy and a blizzard….What a combination….
    Thanks Linda for sharing

    Walk in harmony,
    Melinda

  22. I have dealt with my share of blizzards. I grew up in the NE corner of New York state bordering on Vermont and Canada. We had our share of storms and I spent them snowed in at home, at a house where I was babysitting, and one in a car, that one was no fun. We were on the Mass. Turnpike with a five week old when they closed it. We were the only vehicle from Boston to NY, but we were in our Land Rover and had no problem at all – just slow and cold. We had to drive through one trying to get home in Colorado.

    The worst one was on our move from NY to Colorado. We got caught in a blizzard in Adair, Iowa, population less than 800. We got the last room in the motel and spent 3 nights there. Nothing moved -the roads were all closed and even the fuel in the semi’s had turned to gel. With the wind chill, it was 100 below. Our room never got above 50 and the snow blew in around the door. During the days, our two young daughters, my DH and I, plus our dog and cat snuggled in one bed to keep warm. We had to carry our dog outside so her paws wouldn’t freeze to the ground. The girls loved it. They got to eat at the little diner attached to the motel where the fare was greasy burgers & fries, pancakes, and ice cream. That was 1982, just think what it would have been like 100 years before that.

    I have A TEXAS CHRISTMAS waiting for me. I will be reading it Christmas week. I look forward to seeing what their blizzard experiences were.

    Have a wonderful Christmas and a great 2012.

  23. As soon as I finished A TEXAS CHRISTMAS, I put the book on my keeper shelf. It is one that I will reread every Christmas! 🙂

  24. Hi Linda! Your story sounds wonderful. One of my favorite children’s books is “The Long Winter” by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Snow in mass quantities is both beautiful and dangerous. For me, four inches is just about right–pretty but not too inconvenient!

  25. Oh, Cheryl C!! You’ve made me one happy lady. Thank you, thank you! I’m so glad the book gave you the kind of stories you wanted.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  26. I am reading A Texas Christmas right now, your story was awesome. I will be starting the last story soon my father in law passed away so my reading is on hold right now.

  27. Linda, I just finished A Texas Christmas last night. I loved all four stories and how they tie in to teach other! It’s finally cold here in my section of California, and I hunkered by the fireplace while I read. Perfect timing and great book! LOVED it. oxox

  28. Tanya……..thanks for the kind words about A Texas Christmas. I speak for all four of us in saying we’re thrilled that you liked it. Coming from you that’s quite a compliment. Keep that fire going or at least a throw within reach.

    Merry Christmas!!

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