#1 NYT bestselling author Linda Lael Miller

The Gift

What do you get for the woman who quite literally has everything? That’s a dilemma my friends and family face every year, I think, and may I say, they always do a remarkable job anyhow.

This year, I really felt that I’d had all the Christmas anybody could ask for, at the NFR in Las Vegas. My brother, Jerry, and cousin, Steve, along with his wife, Deb, had such a good time there, thanks mostly to the generosity of Steve Miller. Seeing them so happy, and enjoying the experience so much, meant more to me than anything that would fit under a tree. I truly believed that.

And then, yesterday, Jerry arrived here, with Mom, his wife Anna, and their three magnificent children, Jerome, Chyanne and Sydney. They were all being very mysterious–I was to stay in the kitchen, no matter what. No looking from side to side, even. The kids were sworn to silence. I wondered, what on earth?

When Jerry finally came into the kitchen, after much ado at the front door and in the living room, and put an arm around my shoulders, I still had no clue. With Jerry still supporting me–and it was a darn good thing, as it turned out–I stepped into the living room and there, by the tree, was my dad’s old saddle. I couldn’t believe it! I have many pictures of it, on Dad’s beloved horse, Peanuts. Dad and I used to ride together, even when I was little–I have pictures of myself as a two-year-old, sitting up there like I was Annie Oakley. His name–Skip Lael–is etched into the leather.

Well, I just burst into tears. As I’ve already said, I could not believe my own eyes. I knew it had to be that same saddle, and yet–how could it be? It seemed like a miracle!

Jerry tracked that saddle down, recovered it, and even built a sturdy stand for it. It’s hard to say which I treasure more–the love and effort it took to do what he did–or the saddle itself, and the memories it brings back.

Talk about your magical Christmases!

I’m going to stop writing now–wish you a very Merry Christmas and all blessings of the sacred season–and head on downstairs to admire that saddle in the glow of the tree lights. Maybe I’ll even forgive Jerry for burying my transistor radio in the backyard when he was ten. :)

Thank you doesn’t seem like enough, Jerry. The gift goes way beyond the saddle itself.

And I guess I’ve gotten along pretty well without that radio. :)

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