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From Author Phyliss Miranda – THE CHRISTMAS MIRACLE
Children should not suffer for the sins of their fathers, Mattie Jo Ashley thought, as she put two mugs of beer on the table for a couple of regulars of the Longhorn Saloon.
Lucas Jones had posted the House Rules on each wall. Although the watering hole was one of only two in the temperance colony known as Carroll Creek, Texas, its owner wanted to make sure everyone understood what he expected. He wouldn’t stand for a rowdy crowd that might run away his patrons who never missed three opportunities. A good tent meeting. A good church sermon. And, a good drink with a quiet game of cards. . . .
The swinging doors flew open and her friend and fellow saloon girl Violet rushed in. Not bothering to acknowledge anyone around, she literally screamed, “Mattie Jo!” She rushed on without taking a breath. “The baby’s taken a turn for the worse.”
Blood ran like cold well water through Mattie Jo’s veins. “Slow down, Violet, and tell me what is going on with her.” Her heart beat out of control. She couldn’t lose another family member. “Who is watching Katie?”
“Brady is.” Violet grabbed the edge of the bar. “I caught your brother right before he left to milk the Garner’s cows, so he stayed because I needed to come tell you your baby sister’s really bad.”
“Tell me exactly what’s going on.” Mattie Jo’s asked again. With each word her legs got weaker. It wasn’t typical of Violet to get so upset, even though it involved Mattie Jo’s baby sister, Katie.
“She won’t eat. Her eyes are more matted than ever. One is completely shut.”
“Does Brady know to keep warm towels on her eyes?” Mattie Jo bit her lip. “And, wash her face frequently? He’s only thirteen.”
“I know, but he’s taking good care of her. Her fever has gone up. Cool towels haven’t helped, so I gave her a cold bath. By the time I left, it still hadn’t brought down her fever. I don’t want to upset you, but it’s a whole bunch higher. She’s even more listless, refusing her bottle and is coughing more. I think she seems
to be having a little trouble breathing.”
All of the worsening conditions Violet described balled up and hit Mattie Jo between the eyes. She swallowed hard and looked over the crowded saloon at her boss, Lucas Jones, who was delivering a tray of drinks to another table of card-playing cowboys. Tears brimmed in her eyes, just thinking about the possibility that she might lose her precious sister. She needed to go home and take care of her, but also had to work her shift because the jar in the kitchen out at her place had only three pennies and a dime in it. Not enough to pay for the doctor to make a house call especially three miles outside of town.