In the Christmas novella collection, An Amish Christmas Quilt, I have the distinct pleasure of partnering with Charlotte Hubbard and Jennifer Beckstrand to create a fabulous threesome of stories. In my novella, there is much to be said about the truth that helped create A Christmas on Ice Mountain. I wanted to write a story that honored my father and an old hunting tale that he told me happened to come to mind…
Deep in the Allegheny Mountains, there lived a man named ‘Possum Johnson, called ‘Possum because he had the illegal tendency to hunt at night. But, one day, in actual daylight, ‘Possum killed a buck so big that it was “the size of a buffalo.” To commemorate this hunting feat, ‘Possum carved a hole in the stock of his gun and glued inside the hole a Buffalo Nickel. The gun was deemed lucky on the mountain and when ‘Possum Johnson grew old and ill, he gifted the gun to another worthy hunter.
Now this is a fine story all by itself, if you enjoy listening to the rich ramblings of those who know the woods and its creatures, like I do, but then my father did something interesting. He told me to wait for a minute and went upstairs, only to reappear with a gun in his hands which he carefully handed to me. There, gleaming in the polished stock was a shiny Buffalo Nickel. Now, forget that I loved to debate with my dad about the merits of hunting, that I was used to his stories and thought them many times, simply stories…No, forget all of that and instead imagine the wonder of holding a living piece of lore-‘Possum Johnson’s gun.
At that moment, I knew there was a bigger story in the beautiful wood, but I didn’t know that it would become the focal point of an Amish tale of love and anger, of healing and forgiveness…all I knew was that the truth was indeed “stranger than fiction!” So, this Christmas, I invite you to share in my wonder, in my father’s long ago story, and in the love for a people who understand the mountains and all of their mystery in A Christmas on Ice Mountain.
Kelly Long was born and raised in North Central Pennsylvania where there was an Amish hitching post at the small grocery store in her town. She loves to write Amish romance and is the author of a number of different novels including Threads of Grace, Sarah’s Garden, An Amish Love with Beth Wiseman and Kathy Fuller, and Lilly’s Wedding Quilt. Her latest title is The Amish Bride of Ice Mountain. She lives in Atlanta with her husband and children.
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