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Pony Alice’s First Diary by Desert Sun

Word Count 10,610

Written by: Pony Alice Guthrie of the Lancer episode “The Heart of Pony Alice” through the pen of Desert Sun

Purpose: December 2012 Advent Calendar challenge at the Lancer_Writers group on Yahoo.

Total diary entries: 31

(Note: Desert Sun lays no claim to Pony Alice or anyone she refers to within her diary who played a part in any of the Lancer episodes. They belong to the creators of the Lancer television series. Errors in spelling are intentional as I figured Pony Alice had had little schooling prior to living with Miss Florida. Even after two years, she would be behind most children her age.)


Page 1:

Sunday, December 1, 1872:

I don’t know what to do here.  I never had one of these things bafore.  Scott Lancer gave it to me yesterday for my birthday.  He said every young lady in Boston keeps one.  Even fameus men do.  When I asked him why, he gave me some long reason that didn’t make a lick of since.  Oh, drat.  I spelt sense wrong.  How do I fix it?  Cross it out?  It’ll look ugly.  Must be why he said it would be good writin practist.

Oh well.  I had a grand birthday party.   I turned 13.   Miss Florida gave me a new dress.  I can’t wait for Johnny to see me in it.  She said I’d be the bell of any ball, what air that be.   Treesa made me a bonnet and a.  What did she call that thing you wrap around your sholeders?  I don’t know.  Don’t matter no how.

Murdoch gave me a book.  I wanted a bridle.  Leest, Jelly gave me new gloves.  Not them silly knit things neether.  These are lether and made for waring when your riding.  Which was just what I needed on a count Johnny gave me that horse he promised me when I was old a nuff.  Boy is she a beuty.  Bigger than that black pony I’ve been riding but not so tall I can’t climb into the saddle.  I named her Honey cause that’s her color.

Goodness.  I almost used up this hole page.  Better stop.  Florida’s calling me anyhow.  She don’t like me being late to breckfust.

Goodbye for now. 

Page 2:

Monday, December 2, 1872:

I wish yesterday didn’t have to end.  Johnny took me riding.  It was fun.  Honey is the bestest horse.  She’s not lazy like Blackie.  She’s got some spunk and she’s smart too.  Miss Florida said that about me the day I first met Johnny.  She didn’t mean it in a bad way, neether.

I hated to see the Lancers go.  They only got here on Saturday for my birthday.  Florida.  Oh, there I go leavin out the Miss.  Oh well.  Whose goona know?  Scott said nobodies sposed to read this any how.  Now I cant member what I was goona write and I didn’t put that little mark tween the n and t of can’t and I can’t fit it in there thought, no thout.  Drat.  I’m making a mess of this.  Oh well.  No use sobbing over spilt milk.  I’m goona just go on to somethin elst.

I wanted real bad to go with Johnny, but he woodent let me.  Said not till school lets out for Chrismas.  That’s moren two weeks.  I hope it goes by reel fast.  I get tired setting at a desk for ours.  That last word don’t look rite.  Good thing I don’t have to show this to my teecher.  She wood put marks all over it.

Rats.  Just got told to turn my lite out.  Better say good nite.  Johnny hears I don’t do as I get told he says I wont be setting no wheres.  I woodent mind if it was just the seat at school.  But I sure don’t want any thing keeping me from riding Honey.

Page 3

Tuesday, December 3, 1872:

Bandit, that’s my dog the Lancers gave me a cupple years ago when he was a puppy.  Well he got into big trubble today.  He pulled everthin off the cloze line.  Ollie said its probly cauz he’s jellus of Honey so I snuck Bandit in when nobody was lookin.  I hope I wake up early so I can put him out before anybody gets up.  I’d be in big trubble for lettiin him sleep on the bed.

Ollies store has all sorts of stuff in it.  Florida.  Did it again.  Miss Florida says Ollie wears more hats than the town has cats.  I wonder how he knows wich one to ware.

Miss Florida started her Chrismas puddin after I got out of school.  Everbody that comes in gets to add somethin and give it a stir.  When its ready to eat, you get to keep what ever you find in your dish.  I got to put in a shiny new penny.  Wish I coulda put it in my pocket instead.  I saw Jasper drop in a silver coin.  Hope I get that peace.  It might be a hole dime or even two-bits.

The teacher thinks I’m doin good on writin my letters but I need to work harder on my spellin and puntshuashun.  She says readin more will help me so now I have to read outa that book Mr. Lancer gave me.  I think its about a Chrismas song.  I thought Carol was a girls name, but Miss Florida says Chrismas songs are called Carols, too.

I think I heard a door shut.  I better turn out the lite afore Miss Florida wood up an peek in on me.

Good nite.

Page 4

Wendsday, December 4, 1872:

Glad I got up and put Bandit out when I did.  I got ketched going back to my room.  Johnny wood be mad if he knowed I storied to Miss Florida, but I had to.  Todays cookie day and I didn’t wanna miss out.  Hope God wont keep me out of hevin.  I dont wanna go to that uther place I herd about.

Miss Marson loned me a bridged dictionary to help me with my spelling only I dont know what good it is.  How am I sposed to find the word I need if I cant spell it.  I know uther is wrong cause it wasnt in there where the U words are even tho it has a uh sound.  I cant spend all nite lookin so I gave up.

Miss Florida made fruit cake while I was at school.  It smelled reelly good but I dont know why she calls it a cake when it looks like a loaf of bread.  I asked if we cud have some for supper.  She sed we have to wate for Chrismas cause it has to get old first.

I got to help make sugar cookies after supper.  Leest I got to have one of them.  They sure was good.  I wish we cud have cookies every day.  Bandit wood like it to longs I didn’t get ketched giving him one.

Drat.  Gotta turn the lite out and I didn’t get to tell what Honey did.


Page 5

Thurstday, December 5, 1872:

Yuk.  Today was bathtub day on uhcount Bandit made me fall in the mud.  Why did it hafta rain last nite?  I got marked down at school for not putting one of those funny marks at the end of a asking sentens so I gotta watch out for them.  Miss Florida is always tellin me the only way to always do something rite is to never let myself do it wrong even onest in a while.

I didn’t get to ride today cause of the rain.  Hope it stops by tomorrow.  I wood rather have fog.  At leest I can be outside.

Miss Marson asked me how I was doin with the dictionary.  I know I got that big word spelt rite cause I copy it off the front of the book.  I told her it was too hard to find the words I need to look up.  She says I can make a list and she will help me.  I can get exter credit to.

Well that was about all that happend today.


Page 6

Friday, December 6, 1872:

It was raining when I got out of school so I didn’t get to ride Honey again.  I sneeked a carrot out of the seller and took to her.  I don’t think she ever had one afore.  She didn’t chew it up till she had warlord it a round in her mouth some.  I was worryed she was gunna spit it out but she finely bit into it.  Gess she liked it cause she chomped it rite up then.

Bandit almost got me into trubble agin.  I let her out of the shed to play afore supper and she tried to follow Miss Marson into the dining room when she come in to eat with Mr. Danyels.  His boy Bobby don’t got a Ma no more but I spect he will afore long.  His pa and Miss Marson is betroved.  That means they be promist to get mareed.

In lesson two weeks I get to go home with Johnny.  I cant wate.  Wish I didn’t have to be in that dumb old school play.  I could go a day sooner.  Sides I don’t like that get up I gotta ware.  Them wings feel funny and they make me look silly.

I read some more of my book to Miss Florida.  I have to read a few pages each nite to her.  I don’t know why it got the name A Christmas Carol.  It aynt about a song a tall.  Its about this mean old man name of Scrooge.  He hates Christmas.  Called it some kind of bug.  Hees got all kinds of food and woodnt feed his own nephew.  Im glad my unkel Wilf wasnt like that.  He never let me go hungree lessen he was hungreer.

Gess thats all I got time for.  Miss Florida just tapped on my door.


Page 7

Saturday, December 7, 1872:

No school today and no rain!  Thats a exclamation mark.  I looked up that word in my dictionary after Miss Florida spelt it out for me at supper on count we was talkin bout punkchewation marks.  It means Im shoutin cause Im happy I got to ride Honey again.  She is the best horse there ever was and Bandits happy too cause he got to play outside most the day.  I got two kind of tos in that sentence and I used the third kind in this one.  Seems silly to have all them ways to spell words that sound a like, but theres lots of uther ones like that.  Still didn’t find the rite way to spell uther.

I got to help make a reeth for the front door.  Its made outa fir tree limbs tied into a cirkel.  Then I tied some pine coneds on it and some peaces of holly and a big red ribbon.  The sharef hung it up for me.  His names Jasper.  Hes kinda funny looking but I woodnt tell him that.  Sides hes nice to me cept when Bandit bothers the horses over to the livry barn.

The preacher man is coming tomorrow.  Hes a sircut rider and just comes here onest a month.  Hope I can ride Honey after lunch.  Most the time folks stay in town till it most gets dark.  Miss Florida says I have to be soshulbul and play with the uther kids.  Hope she least lets me show Honey to them.

I had trubble findin that soshulbul word.  Why did they make some words so hard to spell?  And its silly to have a letter c when it dont got its own sound.  I asked Miss Marson.  But I dont think she knows cause what she said didn’t give me no good reson.

Ran outa room.


Page 8

Sunday, December 8, 1872:

The preacher talked bout somethin called advint.  Cathlics and Luserins and Methdist and some uther folks all sellbrate it.  It gots somethin to do with Jesus bein borned in a barn.  I have a hard time makin sense of what he says some a the time.  Maybe you gotta be older fer it to make sense.  I wunder ifin it makes a matter which a them folks you blong to.   He didn’t say.

We had a potluckt lunch like always.  Miss Florida says its called that on count most the food gets brung in a pot and its up to luck if ever body don’t bring the same thing.  Bandit woodnt stop barkin cause he had to stay in the shed or he wooda been beggin food off folks.  Miss Marson brang a punkin pie.  Yum.  I love her pie.  Miss Florida made fryd chicken.  Its my favrit.  And Sherif Jaspers wife made her scalped potatoes that has chunks of ham.  Wish I cud a had more but Miss Florida says it aynt lady like to take moren one scoop to a time.  When I went back for seconds there warnt none left.

I didn’t get to ride Honey.  I showed her to the uther kids and Jimmy Anders kept waving his arms tryin to scare her so I punched him in the nose.   Miss Florida told me to polojize but I woodnt so she made me go to my room till ever body left.  Then I had to take Bandit for a walk and help clean the kitchen.  And now I gotta go to bed early.  Be glad when I get growed up so I can do what I want.


Page 9

Monday, December 9, 1872

I got to ride Honey again.  It was one a the best things to happen all day.  Miss Marson made us practiced our parts for the program.  I forgot part a my lines.  Im sposed to tell cowboys bout the baby Jesus.  They was sposed to be sheep boys but sheep aynt loud round here an count the cow mens dont like them.

Bandit scaped from the shed and come to the school bout time we got out for lunch.  He run inside when Bobby opened the door and scattered papers and books ever which a way.  I got in trubble for not latchin the shed door good but I know I did.

That Scrooge fellow in my book met a ghost named a Marley.  Miss Florida said it was a asprashun or something like that.  He sounded perty scarey.  I wood a screemed but Scrooge didn’t.  Gess he don’t got sense nuff to be scaret.

Gotta kuit now.  We was later gettin the kitchen cleaned up tonite cause we was makin sugar cookies.  They sure are perty but a lot a work.  You gotta make a ball out a the doe and then roll it out like you was making a pie.  Then you cut it all up into differnt shapes.  After there baked and get cooled off you spred icin on top and put stuff on top a that.  Miss Florida let me put the dekarashuns on how ever I wanted.  It was fun.  Wish I had time to tell more bout it but she just tapped on my door.


Page 10

Tuesday, December 10, 1872:

We had fog thick as soup today.  It looked like a wall round everthing.  I cudnt even see the uther side the road.  Good thing I had it to follow to school or I wood a got lost.  Wish it didn’t have to stay all day.  Miss Florida woodn’t let me ride Honey.  Bandit didn’t like the fog neether.  When I took him for his walk, he kept barkin and there warnt nothin to see.

I got a hundred on my spelling today.  Good thing Miss Marson don’t grade my diary.  She says my writin needs work cause I dont  pernounst my words crectly.  She says I drop my ges off the end a lots a words.  To find them Id hafta look up ever word in the dictionary.  I dont got time to do that when I write in here.

Scrooge got told he better change his ways or end up like Marley.  Then a nuther ghost came to see him.  He came from a past Christmas and showed Scrooge things what happened when he was a kid.  I still got more of that part to read.

Hope this fog goes away real kwik.  Theres sposed to be a hay ride on Saturday for singin Christmas songs.  I dont care much bout the singin but I dont wanna miss ridin on the hay.

Oh.  Wood be time to turn my lite out.  I wanted to say why I keep writin when no ones sposed to read this till I go be with momma papa and ukel Wilf.


Page 11

Wendsday, December 11, 1872:

Tooly fog again.  Thats what most folks call it when you cant hardly see.  Jimmie Anders said it got so bad three years ago you cudnt see your hand in front a your face.   I think hes fibbin on a count a me punchin him.  I cudnt ride Honey so I sneeked her anuther carrot and brushed her up real good.

Bobby and Jimmie fell down getting away from me when we was practissin our parts.  There the cowboys Im to tell about the baby in the cow manger.  I cudnt say my lines rite cause I cudnt stop laffin.  Dont know why I was the one in trubble.  They was the ones goofin off.

One more week till Johnnys sposed to get here.  Hope the fog gets gone by then.  He mite not come.  Ollie told me some years this fog hangs on for weeks to a time.  Last cupple years has been the ception or somethin like that.

I read why old Scrooge hangs onto all his money and don’t like Christmas.  Miss Florida says it dont make it rite even if he does have a escuse for been that way.  I think the ghost was bad for makin him rumember.  Wish I cud ferget been hungry.  Hope nobody reads this and reminds me.

If your readin this then probly Im your grandma or something.  For now I like to pretend mommas readin it to papa and unkel Wilf.  Hope they aynt upset at all my mustakes or anything I told bout doin.  Miss Marson says Im doin good cunsidarin I didnt get to go to school much a fore livin with Miss Florida.  That aynt unkel Wilfs falt.  He had to go where he cud sell horses.

Im sposed to make a list a words Im havin trubble with but I dont know which ones they are thout showin this to any body  or takin all day to look ever word up.

Gess I better go to bed.


Page 12

Thursday, December 12, 1872:

We had a suprise at school today.  Miss Florida knowed about it but she didn’t tell me.  She closed the dining room after lunch so Miss Marson cud bring the hole school to make gingerbread houses.  I know how to spell gingerbread cause she spelt it out for us on a big peace a paper.

Miss Florida had the doe all mixed up and in the ice box so it wood get hard for us to roll out like we did the sugar cookies the uther day.  We each got a glob to roll flat and cut into house peaces.  We made 4 sides a bottom and 2 roof peaces.  Whilst they baked and coolt we mixed up the icing and pict out our decrations.  We iced and decrated each peace and then we glood it together with more icing.  Hope Johnny likes mine.  I used yellow rayzens on one side to look like Branca standing by the window and I put dark ones on the roof to look like the tiles on his house.  The bottom stuck out in front like a porch so I covered it with chocolate icing.

Cudnt ride again.  Fog was too thick.  Wish it wood go away.

Im not writing much tonight.  Im tired.

Goodnight.  If en you saw I spelt goodnight difernt its cause I had to learn the rite way at school.  Oh drat.  Rite is sposed to be right.  Its one a them words you don’t hear all the letters.  Fight is a nuther and sight is too.  Might be more.  Oh.  Might is one.  Silly me.  Better stop or the page will be filled up with them ight words.

Page 13

Friday, December 13, 1872:

Fog was bad when I went to school but better when I got out so I got to ride a bit.  It gets dark early so I only got half a hour or so after I get out of school.  I have to change my clothes and catcht Honey and get the saddle and bridel on her.  Wish it would stay the same all year, but Miss Marson says it gots to do with the way the earth is tilted as it goes round the sun.  Some places way up north don’t get any light.

I know about the earth being tilted cause I learned it at school.  A man name a Kepler figurt it out in 1600 something by watching the sun and it was made a law that aynt been changed.  We stuck pins in a ball and moved it around a light to see how the sun lights difernt parts a the earth.  Right now its summer in Austeralya and south america.  You know what keeps folks from fallin off down there?  Gravty.  Its what makes you hit the ground if you fall off a ladder or outta a tree.

I got to make popcorn after supper and put it on strings.  They be for decrating the dining room.  Miss Florida let me eat some like she did last year.  Yum was it good.  One big bowl full we poured sirrip over and made it into balls the size your fist.  Those are for Christmas so I couldnt have one yet.

I learnt how to spell more words today.  They have a silent L.   I found out cud which I been writing is a thing what cows chew.  Could is the word I should a been usin.  I been spelling would wrong too.  Wood is what you put in the fire.  And rite that I was writing sted of right is a real word but Im not sure what it means.  Wonder why some words have silent letters anyhow.  Seems a wast a ink. 

Hay rides tomorrow.  Sure hope the fogs gone.  Do you think God would hear me if I asked him to let the sun be shining when I get up?  Might be I could ask my mother to ask him.  She up there with him.  Bet he would listen to her.  Oh.  Got to go now.


Page 14

Saturday, December 14, 1872:

God heard me!  That line above a dot says Im happy he made the fog lift outa here in time for the hay ride.  The sun was buhind clowds but least we could see a long ways.

The hay ride was lots a fun cept Bobby and Jimmie throwed hay in my hair.  I wanted to punch em both but I holded my temper like Miss Florida says I gotta do lesson somebody be hurtin me bad.  I dont want her to hafta tell Johnny I was bein mean.  He might not take me home with him.

Four days to the program.  I got my lines most memrized.  Miss Marson wants me to look at Bobby and Jimmie when Im talkin but Im not gunna cause I might laff so Im gunna make it look like Im looking but my eyes is gunna be shut tight.  Tight is a nuther one them ight words I learnt.

Scrooge met up with the ghost of Christmas present.  That means today.  He saw a market where folks was getting stuff for Christmas dinner.  And he saw folks in a miners house and a lighthouse.  I thot miners were folks that dug for gold.  These was getting cole to put in ther fires.  You find lighthouses by the ocean.  Unkel Wilf showed me the ocean onest.  Its like a big big lake with no land on the uther side.  Some folks go out there in ships but Im not gunna.  If you get out far nuff you cant see no land a tall.

Im gunna pray again the fog stays gone.  I wanna ride Honey tomorrow.


Page 15

Sunday, December 15, 1872:

No preacher man today.  Not till next month.  Miss Florida and me put up decorations.  I looked for that word in the dictionary and found it!   We even got a tree.  Bobbys pa got it for us when he got one for the school.  Its a pine tree bout tall as a big man like Mr Lancer is.  We hang holly and strings of popped corn on it.  It sure looks purty.

I got to ride Honey again.  She behaved real good.  We went up to the school and all way round town and back to the barn.  Miss Florida says I have to stay in sight of town when I ride so I make Honey take a snake path thru the trees.  Thats what unkel Wilf called a road thats got lots a turns.  It takes longer than going strate.

Bandit had fun fetchin a stick.  He loves to run.  Miss Flodida wont let me take him with me when I ride yet on count he might spook Honey.  Maybe Johnny can help me teach him to be good while we’re out to the ranch for Christmas.

Bandits real smart for a dog.  He does lots a tricks I teached him.  He can sit and stay and lay down and play dead and roll over and beg and shake hands and crawl on his belly.  Johnny helped me teach him some a them tricks.

I been writing ever day for two hole weeks and a day and reading some in my book.  That otta make Johnny happy cause I know he wants me to use all my gifts.   I been waring my hat Tresa gave me most ever day to school.  Im gunna ware my new dress from Miss Florida and my shole from Tresa to the school program.   I think shole is what Miss Florida said that was I wrap round me over my dress. 

Oh.  Got a go to bed now.


Page 16

Monday, December 16, 1872:

I said all my lines thout making one mustake.  Miss Marson asked if I had my eyes shut.  Im gunna hafta watch what way I stand so she can’t see so well.

It got real windy bout time school got out so I couldn’t ride.  I hardly had time to get Bandit out afore it started raining.  He wasn’t happy to hafta go back in the shed so fast.

I had to work on a postrofees at school.  You use it in a cuntracshun.  That be a word you put with a nuther word and leave out letters.  The postrofee goes where the missing letters otta be.  Today I worked on words that end in n’t.  n’t means not.  I was writing didn’t with one but I was leavin it out of a lot a uther words like don’t and can’t and won’t and shouldn’t.  You don’t put it in all words with nt at the end.  Only the ones that mean not.

 We decorated our tree over to the school.  Miss Marson brung popped corn for us to string and some holly.  She brung some ribbons too.  We got to make bows and tie em to the end of the branches with some string.   She said some folk put candles on ther trees but we won’t cause she don’t want it to catch on fire.

Scrooge got showed the house of his worker Bob Crachet.  Bob gots a boy name of Tiny Tim.  Hes real sick but Scrooge won’t give Bob a nuff money for a doctor.  Don’t know why folks what gots lots a money won’t help ones that don’t.  Cept for the Lancers.  They be rich but they don’t let nobody go hungry that works for them.

The wind be still blowing.  I can hear it howlin like a kyotee and rattlin the shutter on the window.  Sure hope it stops come morning.  I don’t like going to school in a storm.

Time to turn out my light.


Page 17

Tuesday, December 17, 1872:

It rained most the night and most the day.  Wind blowed a tree over by the school last night but it didn’t hit nuthin.  Roads mucky as all get out from the rain tho.  I had to take my shoes off at school cause they got all muddy.  Bandit had to stay in the shed so he wouldn’t get a mess.  Its too cold to give him a bath.  And I couldn’t ride Honey.  She gots a stall in the barn for when it rains so she stays dry.  Johnny maked sure of that.

Los Posadas started last night.  We don’t got any folks what celbrate it here cause its for Mexacans.  The only ones a them folks near here don’t got no family.   There be lots of them folks at the Lancer ranch.  Thats how I know bout it count a Johnny told me all bout it last year when I was there at Christmas.  They have somebody be Mary and somebody be Joseph like in our program at school.  They go round looking for a place to stay ever night for a week.  When somebody lets em in, they have a party and a pinyata for the kids.  Johnny took me one night last year.  We went to Cipranos house.  On Christmas Eve they go to Moro Coyo so they can go to church and have a big feast after it gets to be midnight.

We gots two more ruherzals for our program.  We are acting out the Christmas story from the Bible.  Anna plays Mary and Jake plays Joseph.  They don’t hardly have anything to say.  Rodneys the inn keeper.  Jimmie and Bobby are the cowboys and the Johnson boys are the wise mens.  Sarah and Beth and me are the angels but I got all the lines cept the last one we all say at one time.

Hope this rain kwits tonight so the road won’t be too muddy for the Lancers wagon.  Their all coming to the program on Thursday ifn they can get here.  Then their staying the night here to Miss Floridas and going home the next day.  Thats when I get to go.  Miss Florida gots to stay cause she gots folks to cook for till Monday morning.  Then shes gunna close up the diner till after Christmas.  Johnnys sposed to bring her to his house next Tuesday a fore dark.  Thats Christmas Eve night.

Can’t say no more.  Got no more room on my page.


Page 18

Wednesday, December 18, 1872:

Johnny gets here tomorrow.  Hope he don’t find out I punched Jimmie again.  Jimmie was teazin me cause I was talking bout Johnny coming to get me.  He said I was moony over Johnny.  I don’t know what that means but it didn’t sound nice a tall.  Nobody saw me do it but Jimmie might tell.  I hope not.  I told him heed be sorry ifn he did.

It didn’t rain but it was too muddy to ride Honey or play with Bandit.  Miss Florida had me help make peppermint sticks for tomorrow night.  Their white and crunch when you bite em.  And we made carmals too.  Their brown candy that sticks to your teeth.   She baked apple pies this morning when I went to school.  Its for the party after the program gets done.

Miss Floridas been helpin me make gifts for all the Lancers when ever we gots time.  I finished up the last one tonight and we wrapped em all up in scraps a cloth and tied em with a string.   Their under the tree for now.  I made something for Miss Florida too but she don’t know what it is.  I worked on it in my room.  Its a broydered hankercheef like what she helped me make for Tresa.

Got to kwit cause I gotta turn out my light earlyer on count I gotta get up earlyer tomorrow.


Page 19

Thursday, December 19, 1872:

Gotta write fast.  It be late on count of the school Christmas party didn’t get over till after ten and we gots to get up a fore seven.

Didn’t get no more rain.  Johnny and Scott and their pa and Tresa and Jelly got here for supper.  They went to the program and the party.   The school house was full a folks from all round here.  Everbody said I done good on my lines.  Nobody asked if I had my eyes shut neether.  We had lots a food and all us kids got a new writing tablet.  It was lots a fun.  Folks sung Christmas songs and Jimmies pa played his fiddle.  Sherif Jasper lead the singing.  He don’t look like he can sing a lick but he sings really good.

I got lots a compelmunts on my new dress.  It’s green with a yellow ribbon.  Scott told me I looked like a princess.  Johnny estorted me into the school.  I think thats what he called it when he had me hold his arm when we walked in.  Jimmie wouldn’t talk to me but Bobby said I looked pretty.

Johnny liked my gingerbread house.  Weer taking it to his house to put on the table.  Scott said it could be the sinterpeace like what a bowkay a flowers would be.  I told him I was writing in my diary ever day.  Him and Johnny was both happy bout that.

I gots my clothes packed up and my gifts for everbody.  I have to ride in the wagon so Bandit wont bark all the way.  He has to stay in the wagon so he can’t get all muddy.  Honey gets tied on behind.  We be leavin after brekfast so we can get there by dark.

Goodnight.  Hope I get to write while Im gone.

Page 20

Friday, December 20, 1872:

Wish I could a rode Honey.  We had to go slow in the wagon cause the roads was muddy.  It didn’t rain but it tooked us all day to get here.  Least Maria had supper all cooked.  I sure was hungry.  Miss Florida fixed us samwiches but we ate em all up at noon.  We couldn’t go the way Johnny takes me in the summer cause the road don’t go that way on count its too steep getting up on top a Black Mesa and back down the uther side.  We had to come in from the other drecshun by going round through Spanish Wells and over to the road that goes to Moro Coyo only you turn the uther way.  It takes you to the top of a big ridge where you can see the whole valley where Johnny lives.  Black Mesas up near the uther end where the mountains are.

 I gots my very own room for when Im here.  Its bigger then my one at Miss Floridas and gots a table by the window.  I can sit there to write stead a sitting in my bed.  I put most my clothes in the buroh and hanged my coat and dresses in the wardrobe.  I brung three.

Johnny promist to take me riding tomorrow.  Bandit has to stay in the barn whilest we’re gone.  After we get back we’re gunna teach him to behave round Honey.  Hope he learns better then he did bout Dewdrop.  Thats Jellys goose.  Bandit likes to chase him and make him squack.  He likes to chase the chickens too cept for the rooster.  Bandit runs from him cause he flies up in his face and tries to spur him with them nobs on the back of his feet.

Im tired so Im gunna kwit for now.


Page 21

Saturday, December 21, 1872:

Johnny took me riding.  We was gone bout a hour.  Honey was real good.  She don’t spook at nuthin.  We didn’t run any count its too muddy but we jogged some.  Bandit was barkin when we left but he must a got tired cause he was kwiet when we got back.  After I got the saddle and bridle off Honey we took her into the crall by the barn.  Johnny led her round while I followed with Bandit.  We had a rope on him so I could keep him back if he got too close.  Johnny had me tell him no and jerk on the rope ever time he got close or wanted to bark.  He got in trubble a lot but he got better after while so we kwit for the day.

The posada went to Cipranos house so we all followed long.  It was fun.  I got to take a wack at the piñata with a stick.  I had my eyes covered up so I couldn’t see.  I hit it!  I think they let me cause I watched em pull it up over the uther bigger kids heads when they was swinging at it.

We put my gingerbread house in the middle of the table.  Tresa put a white cloth under it so it would look like snow.  It looks real purty.  They gots a tree too.  It gots gingerbread mens hanging on it and popped corn strings with crandberrys and candles that won’t get lighted till Christmas eve night.  They gots reaths outside on the doors and lanterns hanging round the cortyard with the stone wall where you can get up on a stone bench and look down the road.  Theres lots a uther decrashuns but I can’t tell it all on one page.

I got a write smaller on this part so I don’t run out a room.  I got to hang a stockin on the mantle of the fireplace next to all the others.  Ever body gots one.  Mine and Tresas is red with white at the top and at the toe.  Johnny and Scott and Mister Lancers is green with white.  Jellys is green with red.  Santas sposed to put something in em when he comes down the chimney on Christmas morning a fore we get up.  Hope there aynt no fire when he gets here.

Runned out a room so got a kwit.  Goodnight.

Page 22

Sunday, December 22, 1872:

We went to church this morning and sung Christmas songs like silent night and come all yuh faithful and first noel and one called something about a clear midnight and a nuther about the angles singing and finished up with holy night.  The preacher told the Christmas story about Jesus being born and why.  Its so we can go to heaven like he did after he rose up on easter.  We just have to believe in our hearts what the Bible says bout him and not be afraid to say so.  I told Jesus I believed and I told the Lancers on the way home.  They all smiled at me and Johnny and Tresa gave me a hug.  I was sitting tween them in the carrage.

We had dinner at the church but got home soon unuff to ride for a little bit.  Tresa and Scott went too but Bandit had to stay in the barn.  He gots to learn better afore he gets to go.  We had fun.  It was drier so we loped some where it wasn’t too muddy.  Honey can run fast but she don’t go no faster en I want her to go.  Johnny trained her real good.

Bandit got a short lesson after we got back.  He got in trubble some but he was better an yesterday.  By after Christmas he might be able to go long when we ride.  Johnny says when he keeps his distans just by being told thout a rope on him heel be ready.

Johnny took me on a nuther posada out to Marias house.  She lives near the bottom of the other side the ridge we comed in on the uther day.  You turn off the road to Moro Coyo afore you get to the road to Spanish Wells.  Its were the land flattens out after you come down the hill.  The river is a ways byond her.  It comes out a canyon bout there.

Runned out a room.  Three more days to Christmas.  Hope ever body likes what I got em.


Page 23

Monday, December 23, 1872:

Had some fog a fore noon then the sun come out.  It was a nice day to ride.  Bandit didn’t get to go but he got a nuther lesson.  Johnny says maybe after Christmas weel try taking him.

Johnny tied a red ribbon round Dewdrops neck after brekfast.  Jelly was most as mad as Dewdrop.  That goose sure can be loud and Jelly was hallerin.  Not that Johnny would ever hurt Dewdrop.  He was just funnin.

Scott helped me read some more in my book after supper.  It gots some word I don’t know and ther hard to per.  I can’t member the word he said.  It means ther hard to say.  Scrooge saw a nuther ghost.  It took him to see what aynt happened yet.  Scrooge didn’t like it a tall.  He didn’t want a go but he had to.  I didn’t like it neether.  He did say he learnt his lesson.  I hope so.  I don’t want a read bout no more speerits.  They make me shiver.

Miss Florida gets here tomorrow.  Johnny had to leave right after we got back from riding today.  He went the short way.  Heel rent a rig in Witness Tree and take it back when he takes her home after Christmas.  I get to stay till the new year.  School don’t start for a few days after that.

Miss Florida gets to hang her sock when she gets here.  Hers is red with a green top and toe.  Tresa made all the socks.  I don’t know how to nit.  Not sure I want a learn.  Broydering is hard a nuff and Miss Florida has me doing whats sposed to be easy.

Runned out a room again.  Goodnight.

Page 24

Tuesday, December 24, 1872:

I be writing smaller tonight cause I don’t want to use more en one page an I keep running out of space.  I went riding with Scott and Teresa after lunch.  Found out I was spelling her name wrong.  Nobody says her name the same.  Johnny and me say Treesuh.  Scott says Tuhraysuh.  Mister Lancer says Tereesuh.  Glad theres only one way to say my name.

We went up the hill behind the house and down the uther side.  Somes purty steep but there aynt no rocks.  Thats the short way to Moro Coyo cause you don’t have all them turns like the road gots.  Only a horse can go that way.  Wagons have to stay on the road.  That’s why Johnny had to come back the way I got here this time stead a taking the short way over Black Mesa like he done when he left to go get Miss Florida.  Theres a short way to Green River too.  It goes through a dry canyon that gets too skinny for a wagon to get tween the giant bolders.  Johnny took me that way last summer when he took me to see the horse oction.

We didn’t go all the way to town today.  We turned to the right at the bottom of the hill and went over to the road by where Maria lives and followed the road back to the house.  We caught up to Johnny and Miss Florida at the top of the ridge.  We all stopped and looked at the Lancer valley.  It sure is purty.  The mountain tops way over on the uther side was white with snow.

After supper Johnny went to mass in Moro Coyo where Ciprano and his family go.  It be Christmas Eve so the rest a us singed some Christmas songs.  Then we had cookies and candy and fruit while we talked or played games.  I beated Jelly in 2 games a checkers.          Scott played chess with Teresa.  He was teaching her.  He wanted to show me how to play but I watched him and Mister Lancer play once and it looked too hard.  All them different men don’t get to move the same way.   I wanted to stay up till Johnny got back but everbody said Santa wouldn’t stop if he sees a light on when he gets here.  Guess it can be anytime after it gets midnight.  Thats when the clock bongs 12 times.

Miss Florida hanged her sock next to mine at the end of the mattle.  Uh oh.  The grandfather clock is bonging now.  I better get my light out so Santa don’t see it.


Page 25

Wendsday, December 25, 1872:

Santa came and filled up our socks with nuts and fruit and other stuff.  We left him a plate a cookies and they was gone.  He must be awful stuffed by now if he eats ever house he goes to.

I got lots a presents.  Hair ribbons and a nice comb and brush and mirror set from Miss Florida.  A riding skirt from Teresa.  She made it herself.  A rain slicker from Jelly.  A new saddle and blanket from Johnny and Mister Lancer.  I been using the old one they let me use for Blackie but it was getting to be too small for me and Honey really needs a bigger one.  This ones real purty.  Its black with a fancy dezine on the fenders and ever where else but the seat.  Honey sure looked purty with it on.  Johnny says maybe I can ride her in the fourth July prade next year beside him and Branca.   Scott got me a book called Little Women.  It takes place in a town called Concord not far from where Scott growed up in Bostin clear over on the uther side a the country.

Ever body liked what I got em.  Miss Florida and Teresa said I did good on my broydering.  I worked at the livery and exter this summer for Miss Florida to earn some money.  I got Mister Lancer a real nice fowntun pen.  It gots the ink in the pen so you don’t need a bottle that can get spilt.  Its made a steel by John Mitchell and come from England.  Ollie ordered it for me long time ago so it would get here in time.  I also got him some pipe tobacco.

I got shirts for Johnny and Scott and Jelly.  I picked out the matereal at Ollies and sharif Jasper’s wife Minnie helped me cut em out and sew em up.  She did all the hard parts.  Shes real nice.  She likes someone to talk to when shes sewing so I go there once a week for a hour during school and two or three times a week during the summer.  She says I do real good on my stitches.

Im bout to run out a room.  We had ham and candyed yams and lots a uther good food for dinner.  Mister Lancer read the Christmas story from the Bible.  We sang some songs and played some games.  It was a fun day.


Page 26

Thursday, December 26, 1872:

Everbody got to ride today.  Even Miss Florida and Mister Lancer come with us but they went in the buggy.  We went on the road to the uther end of the valley and back.  It was a nice day.  The sun shined most the time.  Bandit still can’t go.  He gots to get trained more.  Johnny says he done purty good when we worked with him after we got back from our ride.  Tomorrow, Johnnys says we can see how Bandit does with me on Honey in the crall.  Hope he does good.

Scott says today is boxin day for folks in some uther parts the world like Inglind.  Thats on the uther side the ocean from Bostin where Scott lived when he was my age.   Folks box up stuff for poor folks or for them what works for em on Christmas so they can have a day to celbrate with their famlys.

Miss Florida gots to be home so she can open up the diner on Saturday morning so Mister Lances is gunna take her tomorrow.  She needs a day to bake bread and pie.  I get to stay a nuther week.  I don’t have to be back for school till a week from Monday.  Johnnys gunna take me the first Saturday of the new year so he can be home on Sunday on a count he has to work the next day.

I read some more of the Christmas Carol book.  Old Scrooge learnt his lesson good.  He sure did sprise folks.  I was glad.  I didn’t want him to have to drag them chains round like that Marly fellow.  Scott says the story is a good zample of rudempshun.  I think thats the word he said.  It means he don’t got a pay fer the way he was longs he don’t go back to doin bad things.  Johnny says it means even old dogs can learn new tricks.  Miss Florida says rudempshun of folks is what Jesus come here for.  Thats kind a like what the preacher man said at church on Sunday.

Im trying to make all my letters smaller so I can get more on the page.  I sure never thinked I would have so much stuff to write.  Lots more happens but it would take me all night and a lot a pages to tell it all so Im gunna kwit for now.

Oh, Dewdrop saw the rooster chasing Bandit and he chased him too.  It sure was funny to watch.  Bandit didn’t know which a way to go.  Finely he jumped in the water trauff.  It stopped the rooster but Dewdrop flew in after him.  Bandit jumped out and ran into the barn to where he gets shut in at night and when I go riding.  Guess he figerred if he was shut in the box stall the birds couldn’t get him.

Now I gotta write real tiny.   Goodnight.

Page 27

Friday, December 27, 1872:

Miss Florida and Mister Lancer left right after I got up.  They all ready had their breckfast.  Least they gots a good day for travling cause the suns shining again.

I got to help Johnny check on the cows across the river.  Honey done good.  She wasn’t scared or nuthin.  Theres a house over there on the uther side the fields but no one lives in it no more.  Cipranos boy Rowbearto said the folks what lived there got killed by Day Pardy.  He was a land pyrit the Lancers fighted a cupple years go.  I asked Johnny bout it but he said it wasn’t for my ears to hear.  Guess that means realy bad stuff happend.

Bandit did good on his lesson with me riding Honey in the crall.  He didn’t bark one time and he kept back when I told him.  Tomorrow he gets to go with us up the road a ways.  If hes good he can go with us all the way up to the cow pasture.  He gots to learn to leave them be too.

I didn’t start to read my new book.  Im gunna wate till after I go back to Miss Floridas house.  Tonight Scott told me how folks talk in Bostin.  He sure sounded funny.  Im glad he don’t talk that way no more.  He wrote some the words on a paper for me.  Said it was like a sampel dictionary.  I copied some in here so whoever it is that reads this can see em.

They says aftuh stead of after and bahth stead a bath.  Bayah stead a bear.  Cahnt stead a can’t.  Cayuh stead a care.  Dahk stead a dark.  Eah stead a ear.  Fah stead a far and faw stead a for.  Fah and faw sound the same to me.  Guess its like to and two.  A fawk is a fork and Dewdrop gots fethiz stead a fethers.  Johnny said just leave out the ars and you can talk just like them folks.  He was being silly and said he was gunna put a fawk in Scotts eah and run fah or faw the hills and not come home till aftuh dahk lesson he saw a bayah.  I most fell off my chair when they chased each uther round the table.  Teresa said was a good thing Murdoch wasn’t here.  Thats what she calls Mister Lancer.  Johnny once said I should call him gampa but I was scared he would think I was saying he was old.

Forgot to write little enuff so I got to kwit.  Goodnight.

 Page 28

Saturday, December 28, 1872:

Had a nuther good day.  Sun shined.  Bandit done good and got to go to the cow pastore.  Johnny had me put some little rocks in my pocket so I could chuck em at him if he wanted to chase em and wouldn’t listen to me telling him not to.  Bandit don’t like rocks.  I roll ones big as Johnnys fist at him when I catch him chasing horses in the crall at the livry barn where I keep Honey over in Witness Tree.   He knows he aynt sposed to be in there on his own.  I don’t hit him so to hurt him.  I yell at him as I roll it.  Its just to scare him out a there.  We couldn’t use rocks to teach him to stay back from Honey when I ride cause he wouldn’t a stayed in the crall with us when we was giving him his lessons.

Mister Lancer got home a while after lunch.  He said the roads was dry and he maked good time going and coming.  Jasper vited them to supper last night so Miss Florida didn’t have to cook nuthing uther en baking her bread and pies for opening the diner up today.  His wife cooks most as good as Miss Florida and she likes company.  They aynt got no kids cause they got the colra when they was little.

Johnny and Scott and Jelly are saving their new shirts to wear to church tomorrow.  Jelly said Johnny only goes when I come here.  Guess thats why he acts kind a shy there and don’t say much to folks.  Wish I could be here more then he could get used to going.  Only then Miss Florida wouldn’t have nobody with her.  I wish she could open a diner in Spanish Wells.  It aynt far a tall.  Thats where the Lancers go to church so I could see Johnny ever week.  He could get me on Friday after school or Saturday morning and take me back for church.  When it didn’t rain we could go riding after we ate and he could still get back here a fore his bed time.  In the summer when I stay here most the time I could see Miss Florida ever week and I know she would like that.  Maybe Mister Lancer could talk to her bout it.  She might listen to him on count he aynt younger en her.

Better turn out my light.  The clocked bonged ten times a while ago.  I gotta get up at six cause we gotta leave here bout eight.  Church is at ten.  Mister Lancer don’t like to be late.


Page 29

Sunday, December 29, 1872:

It was foggy but not real bad down low when we left for church.  Only at the top the hill was it realy hard to see.   Once we got down the uther side we could see better most the way.  A fore we left Johnny said Scott looked purty in his new shirt.  Its blue.  Scott made a face and told Johnny he looked elegant in red.  Jelly said no body better use none them femnant words about him if they knew what for.  I think that ment don’t say he looks like a girl in his green shirt.  Mister Lancer said they best all get out the door and in the surry or they be ansren to him if we be late getting to church.  That sure made em kwit their teasing.

 On the way home I asked if there was a place in Spanish Wells Miss Florida could have a diner like she gots at Witness Tree.  No body knowed of one and they asked me why I asked.  When I told em Johnny said hed check round but he didn’t think sheed wanna move.  He asked her bout it one time.  Im not gunna give up hoping.

We stopped by Marias house on the way back here.  Teresa and me are gunna go there tomorrow after lunch and stay till supper time the next day so we can help fix stuff for the new year eve festa.  Mister Lancer said he wanted a kwiet day on Tuesday cause it’s the last chance to have one this year.  Jellys gunna drive us over there and come get us.  Johnny and Scott gots to work cause they aynt done much sinse I got here.

I got to ride Honey a little bit after we got back and Bandit got to come long.  Hes doing good most the time.  Johnny says I just have to crect him ever time he does wrong so he don’t think he can do what he wants.

I forgot to write last night bout yesterday been Mister Lancers birthday.  Teresa baked a cake while I was riding with Johnny.  She let me help put the icing on and put the candels on it.  We didn’t put one for every year like Miss Florida did on my cake.  Teresa said she didn’t have that many candels.  Nobody said how old his is.  I wasn’t bout to ask him neether.

Im at the bottom of the page.


Page 30

Monday, December 30, 1872:

Teresa and me are staying with Maria tonight.  We husked dried corn this afternoon for making tomalees and grinded the corn into flour.  Marias sister Juanita who is Cipranos wife and their girl Luisa helped us but they went home when it was supper time.  Tomorrow their coming back and we’re having a tomalee party with some the other women and girls.  We’re gunna cook the meat Mister Lancer sent with us.  It takes all morning or longer.  Then we gots to soak the corn husks to get em soft and make the corn doe.  Maria says maysa stead of corn.  When we’re ready to make the tomalees, we lay out some husk and spread the maysa stuff on it.  Then you put a scoop of meat down the middle and roll up the husk and tuck in the ends.  Then you tie a string round it to keep it from falling apart.  I helped make em last year.  Its a lot a work but their yummy to eat.

When Jelly goes for supplies tomorrow, hees gunna leave us some more big blocks a ice to keep the tomalees cold till we’re ready to cook em for the festa tomorrow night.  Hees gunna get us when he comes back just a fore dark.  We’re gunna eat bout eight o’clock so them that wants can leave by ten to go to midnight mass in Moro Coyo.

The cook for them that lives in the bunk house is gunna roast a whole pig and a hind leg of a beef and roast up a big passle a taters.  The women what aren’t Mexican are gunna make bread and pies and such.  Mister Lancer is giving em ever thing they need to cook.  Weel put ever thing out in the courtyard and ever body can eat what they want.

I got a stop for tonight cause Teresa and me are sleeping in the living room and shes ready to put out the light and go to sleep.


Page 31

Tuesday, December 31, 1872:

Its only half past five, but Im writing early cause I might not get to later on count of the festa to sellabrate the new year.  Im gunna have to write bout that tomorrow.  Right now Im sposed to rest for a couple hours.  I already had a bath and my clothes are all layed out ready for me to put on when it gets closer to eight o’clock.  That’s when the festa starts and we eat the tomalees we made at Marias.

I guess Mister Lancer had a hard day.  He was sleeping in his chair when Teresa and me got here with Jelly.  I could hear him snoring when I came in the door.  We was real kwiet so we wouldn’t wake him up.  Ranch work really tires you out and hes older so he might have a harder time staying up to midnight if we didn’t let him sleep.

Johnny and Scott come in a little bit later and slammed the door afore Teresa could stop em.  Guess that woke Mister Lancer up cause he got up then.  He must a got a nuff sleep cause he was smiling and not grumpy or nothing.

I got a candel plate in my room just like Johnny gots.  We get to light em later and let em burn all night till the wax melts all over the beans and rice and corn and other stuff on the plate.  When the wax gets hard we bury it in the corner of the garden.  Its a Mexican custum to make sure your crops grow good in the new year.  A nuther custom is to sweep the old dirt out the front door your house and toss some coins on the porch and sweep em back into the house.  That ones sposed to give you good fortshun.

We got big bowls a grapes set out too.  When the clock starts to bong at midnight yer sposed to eat one grape with each bong and make a wish for each month till you got twelve in your mouth less you can eat em faster en the clock can bong.  Johnny and Scott gots lots of fireworks ready to set fire to after the clock says its midnight.  Maria says the noise chases away all the evil so it don’t keep you out a the new year.

I better kwit and lay down for a while.  I wouldn’t wanna miss seeing the new year get here.

!Feliz Ano Nuevo!   That be Spanish for Happy New Year!   Johnny showed me how to write it but I should a made that first excumashun mark with the dot on the top. I couldn’t fix it thout it looking messy.

…..The end for now………

Companion pieces:

Short story:  No Interruptions!   (Takes place on the morning of  Dec. 31, 1872)

Poems:  A Visit From Pony Alice  (Takes place Dec. 18 through Dec. 25, 1872)

            Ringing in the New  (Takes place New Year’s Eve, 1872)


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