I Miss My Pa The Most eBook #19
I Miss My Pa The Most eBook #19
By Raymond Cook
© 2015 (All Rights Reserved)
Word Count: 122,000 words
This book is (off-line) being re-edited to remove unnecessary comma’s.
Author’s Note: This eBook story will keep you turning the pages as you follow Nathalie and Emily Norris on their journey to Garnet, Montana to live with her husband’s brother after her husband Christopher died in a cabin fire. My story will tug at your heart strings.
What the Reviewers Say…
“The author writes with authority about that part of the country and for the reader who becomes an avid follower of Cook’s novels, there is the added pleasure of running into some of the same people met in other books.” M. K. Turner, Bookreview.com
About This eBook
I Miss My Pa The Most © 2015 by Raymond Cook is a 377 page heart-wrenching story about Christopher and Nathalie Rose Norris who lived in Marble, Colorado in 1898. The couple have daughter Emily, aged eight. After a stove pipe fire erupts downstairs, everyone must escape out a small window to the roof and jump down. Christopher dies in fire, and Nathalie suffers burns on the right side of her face, neck and arm.
Emily is devastated over the loss of her father. Nathalie and her daughter are taken in by her good friend Cheryl Liley. It takes months for Nathalie to heal from her burns but accepting the loss of the man she loved and the father of her daughter will take longer. When spring arrives, Nathalie remembers that her husband had an older brother Lance in the town of Garnet, Montana. Lance agrees to take her and her daughter in.
With the help of the town’s parson, Thomas O’Malley, townsfolk’s raise the funds needed to help get Nathalie and her child to Montana. But the last leg of her journey won’t be easy to say the least. Indians, grizzly bear, cougar, highwaymen and betrayal by a rancher will whittle away at the last bit of hope for Nathalie and her daughter to reach Garnet alive. When they finally reach Garnet, she learns her husband’s brother Lance is died in a mine cave-in.
Now, they’re camped at the edge of town and believe there’s no hope left. She feels that no man will ever want to marry her and that she’ll have to raise her daughter alone. The town’s reverend introduces her to Kenneth Buchanan who agrees to take them both into his home. But the women of Garnet don’t like the fact they’re living together not married and attack Nathalie. So, the reverend marries the couple, ‘out of convenience.’
Can Kenneth and Nathalie stay married but be just friends or will he see beyond her scars and see the love she has to offer him? And what about Emily? Will Kenneth be able to bond with Emma and hear her one day call him call pa?
Sample Story Excerpt…..
Everyone was sound asleep as the fire spread across the main floor of the cabin, going up the cabin walls and to the stairway. By the time Nathalie started to cough and moved her blanket away from her face she began to choke. She screamed, ”Christopher, our cabins on fire!” Then she yelled out for Emily to crawl over to their bed. Flames were lighting up the stairs and Christopher immediately knew there was only one way out as he began to cough, too.
They had to jump out the attic window. By now the attic was smoky as hell. As Emma reached her parents bed she coughed and cried. As Nathalie tried to calm her daughter down she said in a frightened voice, “Emily, now you listen to me. We’re all gonna have to climb out that window and get out on the roof. Then we’ll have to jump to the ground. It isn’t that far so don’t be afraid to jump.
We all have to jump. Then we have to get away from the cabin. Do you understand, momma?” Nathalie didn’t hear her daughter but she felt her shake her head yes. But as soon as she told her daughter to start crawling on her belly toward the attic window flames began shooting up from the floorboards beside the window. It was now or never for the family.
The moment Christopher opened the window, it. let in more air, and the flames shot higher into the air catching the curtains on fire. In desperation, Nathalie pushed her daughter through the window. For a second she hesitated begging her husband to go next. But he yelled out for her to get out the window. He said he’d be right behind her. As Nathalie pushed the burning curtain aside it fell down on her and caught part of hair and nightgown on fire.
She screamed as she climbed through the window, and rolled off the roof hitting the ground hard. Frantically, she patted the right side of her face, hair and arm where her nightgown had caught fire. Emily had lost her balance, and rolled off the roof too, but she was unhurt. She shivered, and ran to her ma before she looked up at the attic window and cried out, “Momma, where’s pa?”
With her head, face, neck and right arm stinging from her burns Nathalie looked up at the attic window as she got to her feet. All she saw were flames coming out of the window. Her husband didn’t make it out the window in time. As they hugged each other they were forced to get away from the cabin that was totally engulfed in flames now. Mother and daughter were in shock as they slowly began walking backward.
The wind was blowing and it carried burning embers through the air onto their barn, chicken coop, hog pen, well and woodshed. In less than 15 minutes their entire ranch, except for their corral, was on fire too. As they huddled together on the ground they cried. Suddenly, gunfire erupted from inside the cabin where Christopher’s rifles, pistol and boxes of shells were by the front door.
Bullets were flying in every direction as they exploded. Nathalie shouted at her daughter, “Get on your stomach, sweetheart!” As if things couldn’t get any worse, it began to rain. First, as a sprinkle and then turning into a drenching downpour. They didn’t think of running or walking to the Young’s ranch. They didn’t think about anything as they watched their ranch burn to the ground.
When Aaron stepped out onto his front porch that morning to head down to the outhouse he could smell an overpowering odor of smoke. As he looked over at the Norris’s ranch he saw the smoldering remains of their ranch. He went back inside the cabin and shouted to his wife, “Isabel! Get dressed. The Norris’s ranch caught fire during the night. We have to get over there and see if anyone survived!”
As Isabel knelt down beside mother and child she yelled out to her husband, “Nathalie’s burned, sweetheart.” She gently shook the woman but she got no response. They were both soaked to the skin. They were both shivering as they stared at what was left of their cabin. When Isabel shook Emily and asked where her pa was the child pointed to the smoldering cabin.
“Did your pa get out in time, Emily?” Christine asked. Emma looked up at the woman with tear filled eyes and shook her head no. “We have to get Nathalie into town. She’s badly burned, Aaron,” Isabel said in a tearful voice. Within the hour, almost everyone in town knew that Nathalie and her daughter were homeless and without a stitch of clothing.
Townsfolks were accustomed to hearing someone got injured, Marble being a mining town and all, but news of the devastating fire struck home to many families. When Doc Miller heard the front door open and close, instead of Cheryl Liley walking into the back room to volunteer to help watch over Nathalie, he saw Cheryl, David’s wife, Pamela and Emily Bates. They all waved to Steven.
“Pamela and Emily volunteered to help me watch over Nathalie, too, so I don’t have to do it all by myself,” Cheryl said. Pamela and Emily smiled and nodded. By the look on the Doc Miller’s face he approved. Nathalie asked with a dry, raspy voice to her daughter, “You didn’t get burned did you sweetheart?” As Emily looked down and tears fell onto the blanket covering her mother she said, “No momma.”
Both Nathalie and Emily wanted to hug each other tight but they knew they couldn’t. After Emily knelt down on her knees she asked her ma if she hurt real bad. Nathalie nodded and said, “Yes Emily, it hurts real bad.” Suddenly, tears flowed down her cheeks as she remembered the fire, and the loss of her husband. Emily laid her head on her momma’s stomach, and cried too, as her mother said, “I remember now, I remember the fire. I remember helping Emily through the attic window, and trying to get my husband to go through next as the flames surrounded us.
But he made me go through next as the curtain burst into flames and fell down on me. I rolled off the roof and fought to stop my hair from burning. The last thing I remember was holding Emily as we watched our ranch burn to the ground. Then, it began to rain.” In a heart wrenching voice Kelly and Pamela heard Emily cry out, “I remember too, momma, I remember, too!” There wasn’t a dry eye in the room.
After being given a spoonful of laudanum for her pain Nathalie closed her eyes and went to sleep. Emily crawled up beside her momma and went to sleep, too. When Emily woke up she rubbed her eyes and saw Cheryl in the rocker waving to her. She slowly got off the bed and walked over to the woman. Then, she sleepily climbed up into her arms, and laid her head against her chest. In a tearful voice the child whispered, “I miss my pa. I wish I’d died, too.”
Cheryl was shocked to hear the child she was holding say that she wished she had died in the fire with her pa. In a sympathetic voice, Cheryl asked Emily, “Do you know why your pa had your momma climb out that window before him?” Emily looked up as she wiped her eyes and shook her head no. “He let your momma go first, because he knew all three of you couldn’t get out in time.
He loved you, and your momma so much, he stayed behind hoping he too could escape. Momma needs someone to be her best friend as she tries to heal from her burns. Can you be your momma’s best friend, Emily?” asked Cheryl in a tearful voice. As Emily looked up at Cheryl untold tears flowed as she nodded and said, “I want to be momma’s best friend!” Cheryl nodded.
An hour or so later, Parson O’Malley arrived, and walked into the back room. He called out good morning to Nathalie as he held his Bible tucked under his left arm. Then, he walked over to an empty chair, and sat down on the rocking chair. He reached over, and sat his Bible down on the desk. He opened his arms, and motioned for Emily to come to him. As he sat the child on his lap he looked over at Nathalie and nodded to her.
“Emily, do you know what I would really like right now?” he asked. Emily shook her head no. “I’d like for you, and I to have a long talk, just you and me. Would you like to come over to the church and talk with me? Afterwards, I can slice up a big red apple, and we can eat it together,” Parson O’Malley said as he looked over at Nathalie. “Go ask your ma if you can come over to the church with me,” Thomas asked. Emily climbed down and asked her mother. Nathalie nodded and let her daughter gently hug her.
Thomas reached out his hand to Emily before picking up his Bible in his other hand. Before they left, he told Emily’s mother they’d probably be back in about a half an hour. Though Nathalie wanted to know why the parson wanted to talk with her daughter she didn’t ask him. When they went inside the church Thomas asked the child where she’d like to sit down. To his surprise Emily answered quickly, “In the very first row parson where God can see us.” Thomas nodded.
Hand in hand they headed to the first row of pews. He asked her if she wanted to sit on the right side or left side of the aisle. Emily pointed to the left side. When they were both seated Parson O’Malley said, “Pamela told me you feel that it’s your fault that your pa died. Is that how you feel Emily?” Thomas asked in a nonjudgmental voice. Suddenly, Emily’s smile disappeared. She didn’t say a word. She just nodded.
“You didn’t start the fire downstairs did you?” asked the parson. Emily shook her head several times before she said, “I was asleep when the fire started.” Thomas nodded. “Well, if you didn’t start the fire then it’s not your fault. I guess what I’m trying to figure out is why do you feel you want to die?” Thomas asked in a worried voice. Emily’s lower lip started to tremble, and tears ran down her cheeks as she cried out, “I love my pa, and miss him so much. If he can’t come back to me, and ma, I want to be with him.”
Then, she held up her arms. She cried on the parson’s shoulder for a long time. When she finally stopped crying Thomas asked her why she thought her pa let her and her ma climb out the attic window first instead of him climbing out the window first. The answer didn’t come to Emily right away. She thought and picked her words carefully. “Pa wanted me and ma to live, so he let us go first,” Emily cried out. That was a good answer the parson felt but it wasn’t enough to help her grieve over the loss of her father.
“That’s right Emily, he wanted you both to live. But there’s something else you might not have thought about. Just before someone helped you climb through the window onto the roof, everyone was coughing from the smoke weren’t they?” he asked. Emily nodded yes. “There was smoke and fire too, wasn’t there?” he asked. Again she nodded. “Your pa loved you and your ma, didn’t he?” Thomas asked.
Emily was on the verge of a total break down as she cried out loudly, “Yes, he loved ma and me.” The parson nodded his head. “You and I know in our hearts your pa didn’t want to die in that fire. We know he wanted to get out too. But with all that smoke and fire only two people could get out that window in time. I think your pa knew that. That’s why he told your ma to go before him. He wanted you both to live Emily. So you see, it wasn’t your fault. It was your pa’s love for you and your ma, that made him give his life, so the two of you might live.
Jesus gave his life, so you and I could have our sins forgiven and go to heaven Emily. In two days, after Sunday service, there will be a funeral for your father, Emily. Many, many people will be there. I hope you, and your ma will come, and say goodbye to your pa. Do you know what I think would mean a lot to your pa?” asked Thomas. Emily shook her head no as she wiped her eyes.
“I think it would you be nice if you gave me something special of yours that I can put in your pa’s coffin. That way, he’ll remember you loved him as much as he loved you. Do you have something that means a lot to you, Emily?” Thomas asked. Emily thought hard for a few seconds before she broke down in tears. Thomas never saw a child cry so uncontrollably before. He picked her up, and held her on his lap as he patted her back.
Finally, he asked her why she was crying so badly. Emily raised her head, looked into the parson’s eyes and cried out, “I had two dolls, but I can’t give you one of them to give to my pa to keep, because the fire burned them both up.” As Thomas nodded, he told the child he understood as he started to brush the tears from her cheeks.
“Would you like to come with me down to Campbell’s, so you can pick out two new dolls? One for you to keep, and one for me to put in your pa’s coffin to remember you by?” he asked Emily. Her eyes lit up, and though she didn’t smile she shook her head yes again and again. Thomas and Emily walked down to Campbell’s. When they both walked into the store, one woman was ahead of them, and they waited their turn.
When Amelia saw the parson and Emily she smiled and waved to the child. “Good morning, parson. Hi Emma. What can I do for both of you?” she asked cheerfully. Parson O’Malley proudly said, “I don’t need a thing Amelia. But this little one needs two very special things. She’d like to look at every doll you carry in stock. She’d like to pick one out for her and one for her pa.”
Amelia couldn’t hold back her tears if her life depended on it but she tried anyways. As she walked around the counter to Emily’s side she offered her hand to her. “Let’s go over to a shelf where I keep my favorite dolls, Emily. I know you’ll find two that are very special,” she said. Together, they headed to the back of the store. It wasn’t an easy decision to make for Emily because she wanted her doll to be special.
She also wanted the doll that would be buried with her pa to be special, too. When she finally picked out the two dolls she liked most, Amelia and the child returned to the counter. Emily held her new doll close to her chest, and Amelia sat the other doll down on the counter. She picked out the prettiest wrapping paper and wrapped it carefully. Then, she tied the package with red and yellow ribbons. Then, she sat a small white card down on the counter and laid a pencil beside it.
Parson O’Malley picked the child up close enough to pick up the pencil. “You can write something special on that card Emily, and I’ll tape it to the wrapping paper,” Amelia said in a kind voice. As Emily held onto the pencil she thought real hard before she drew each letter as carefully as she could. What she wrote was, “I love you pa, Emily.” Then, she sat the pencil down and Thomas put her down.
After Amelia handed the package to Thomas, he took out his coin purse and asked the woman what he owed her. In a tearful voice she smiled and told him, “There isn’t any charge, parson. Now, you two go before I cry in front of Emily.” Then, she quickly turned around. Emily walked outside with the parson smiling from ear to ear holding her new doll. When they walked into the doctor’s office Pamela and Nathalie were talking.
As she saw her daughter she waved to her. Emily ran as fast as she could to her as she held out her doll. “Now, I have someone to talk with,” Emily said excitedly. As Nathalie looked over at the parson standing in the doorway she saw a package under his arm. But when she asked him what the present was he wouldn’t tell her.
Instead he said, “I’ll let Emily tell you. Good day ladies. Bye bye, Emily.” Emily turned her head, and waved goodbye to the parson. Everyone heard the front door close as Emily looked up into her momma’s eyes. What Nathalie saw was a mixture of sadness and happiness in her daughter’s eyes.
“The parson talked to me about pa, and how it wasn’t my fault he died. Then, he took me down to the store. I got to pick out two dolls, one for me and one for pa. The doll Amelia wrapped up in pretty paper has a note I wrote that goes in pa’s coffin. The parson promised he’d put it there before Sunday. He told me after church that he’ll bury pa. Can we go to church on Sunday momma, please?” Emily pleaded.
Nathalie was afraid to go out in public and let everyone see her bandages. But she wiped her eyes, and promised they’d both attend Sunday service. “I want to be there when your pa is buried too, sweetheart,” Nathalie said tearfully. Then, she asked her daughter what she wrote on the note to her pa. In a proud voice Emily replied, “I wrote ‘I love ya, pa.’ Then, I wrote my name.” With her good arm Nathalie hugged her daughter.
5-Star Reader’s Favorite Book review by Kathryn Bennett. I Miss My Pa The Most by Raymond Cook introduces us to Christopher and Nathalie Rose Norris, a couple living in Marble, Colorado in 1898 with their young daughter, Emily. When one night a stovepipe fire engulfs their home, the family escape through an attic window. Sadly, Emily’s father dies in the fire and her mother suffers serious burns. Life has a lot of ups and downs to throw at Emily and her mother, including a dangerous trip to Montana, finding out another family member is dead, and fearing what will happen to them if they don’t find somewhere to go. Then comes a marriage of convenience. Can young Emily manage to find the healing she needs in her young heart?
The book itself is written very well and I found the pacing very enjoyable. It didn’t move too fast or too slow and the way author Raymond Cook describes things makes the story come to life. Stories that make me feel like I could jump into the book and walk with the characters are my favorite kind. I can’t say the judgmental ladies of the town Nathalie and Emily find themselves in are my favorite characters, but I know I am looking at their actions with modern eyes. It was very scandalous in 1898 for an unmarried man and woman to live together. My heart went out to Emily for the entire book, her strength as such a young child to keep dealing with what was being thrown at her is amazing.
My first thought upon finishing this book was wow, what a journey and a series of events that would make most people give up. It seems like Nathalie and young Emily just cannot catch a break at any turn. Their entire life literally goes up in smoke and as they try to move on, they keep being met by road blocks. The fact that somehow this mother and daughter manage to dig deep and not give up is very inspiring to me. We need more books with that kind of message. I don’t want to give away the ending, but I highly recommend you read this book whether you like historical novels or not. This is a book that jumps out of the genre and becomes just a really good story.
Amazon Comment Section
I Miss My Pa The Most is a heart tugging, action-packed western frontier era eBook story about a woman who lost her husband in a tragic fire and fights to reach Garnet, Montana with her daughter to live with her husband’s brother Lance. This eBook was uploaded onto Amazon on June 11, 2015. I’ve made this comment section so I can share with visitors to my website what readers feel about my newest eBook. To share your comments too, just go to the top of the page and click on the Contact Me tab.
Amazon Reader Comment:
Dottie, on May 3, 2017
“I really enjoyed this book. It was exciting, adventurous, and kept my interest. The love and hard work between the parents were so inspiring. But the little girl touched my heart! What a journey. Great book to enjoy. Clean reading.”
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