Christmas, Cowboys, and John Denver

I’ve been a music lover for as long as I can remember. While I like complete silence during the writing process, music often motivates me to write. One singer who has inspired several of my stories is the late John Denver.

In 1975, John did a Christmas special called A Rocky Mountain Christmas. He sang several traditional Christmas favorites and introduced some new songs he had written including “Aspenglow” and “A Baby Just Like You.”

The title of a third new song was “Christmas for Cowboys.” Christmas on working ranches is far different than it is for people who live in the city. Denver wrote the song as a tribute to cowboys.

About that same time, I wrote (on notebook paper) my first novel. The finished “manuscript” was probably no more than 30-40 thousand words. It was the story of twin sisters, Christy and Cheryl. I was a teenager writing about teenagers, so I never did anything with the story. After a couple of years, I threw it away.

However, I never forgot the characters. Christy and Cheryl grew older as I grew older. I often thought that perhaps someday I would write about them. It took a long time, but it finally happened. In my new story, set during Christmas 1978, Cheryl is now married to a young cowboy named Logan and living on a Montana cattle ranch.

Here is an excerpt:

The howling of coyotes awakened Logan. He jumped up from the makeshift bed, quickly pulled on his boots and jacket, and hurried toward the door. Thankful he’d brought his rifle, he rushed outside to check the animals. Pepper and her calf, as well as Shadow, were safe. Coyotes called out again, but they were farther away than he first thought.

The snow had stopped falling. Logan looked up to see thousands of stars glistening like diamonds against a velvety black sky. He paused for a moment, awestruck by the beauty. Although the night air was bitterly cold, the winds had calmed.

He went back inside the cabin and looked at his watch. Four o’clock. At the first light of dawn, he’d saddle his horse and start for home. Back to his wife and son.

A Montana Christmas is part of Bright Lights and Candle Glow, a collection of holiday-themed short stories. The book features seven other authors:

P. C Zick

Michele Jones

Jan Morrill

Staci Troilo

Pamela Foster

K. E. Lang

Dave Kwiecinski

Bright Lights and Candle Glow is free on Amazon and other retailers. So grab a copy, your favorite beverage, curl up by a warm fire, and enjoy a good read.

  • I loved John Denver and love that you wrote a “novel” about his songs. I still have several stories I wrote as a teen. 😊 I’m looking forward to reading “A Montana Christmas.”

    • Thanks, Jan. Hope you enjoy the story. I’m still a John Denver fan – he died much too young.

  • Michele Jones

    I watched the John Denver Christmas movie several times. Bummer that you didn’t keep your notebook filled with your first novel as a teen. So glad you remembered the characters enough to write about them.

    • Watched it on You Tube the other evening. Lots have changed since then, but it brought back some fond memories.