Read A Basket Brigade Christmas Online
Authors: Judith Mccoy Miller
A Stitch in Time
by Whitson, Inc.
A Pinch of Love
by Judith Miller
by Nancy Moser
Print ISBN 978-1-63058-450-4
Adobe Digital Edition (.epub) 978-1-63409-581-5
Kindle and MobiPocket Edition (.prc) 978-1-63409-582-2
All scripture quotations are taken from the King James Version of the Bible.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission of the publisher.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any similarity to actual people, organizations, and/or events is purely coincidental.
Published by Barbour Books, an imprint of Barbour Publishing, Inc., P.O. Box 719, Uhrichsville, OH 44683,
Our mission is to publish and distribute inspirational products offering exceptional value and biblical encouragement to the masses.
Printed in Canada.
A Basket Brigade Christmas Recipe Collection
“When five o’clock came, there were twenty or thirty women on the platform waiting for the train. Baskets of hot buttered biscuits, cold meats, pies, cakes, and pickles, with gallons of milk and cream, were ready for the supper…. When the car drew up to the platform, the men in the soldiers’ car crowded to the windows … and gave “three cheers for Decatur.” Pale, emaciated, half starved, and disheveled, the men met us with apologies for their appearance, smoothed down their hair with their fingers, and tried to hide the dirty rags that covered their wounds…. It was a sight to make angels weep. This was only the beginning … the ‘basket brigade’ [was] called into service.”
—Jane Martin Johns
Personal Recollections of Early Decatur, Abraham Lincoln, Richard J. Oglesby, and the Civil War
Stephanie Grace Whitson
“My dear boy, I have knit these socks expressly for you. How do you like them? How do you look, and where do you live when you are at home? I am of medium height, of slight build, with blue eyes, fair complexion, light hair, and a good deal of it. Write and tell me all about yourself and how you get on in the hospitals.”
“P.S. If the recipient of these socks has a wife will he please exchange socks with some poor fellow not so fortunate.”
—Note accompanying an aid society shipment to the US Sanitary Commission’s Northwest Branch at Chicago
Late September 1862
nable to face what waited just beyond the black mourning wreath hanging on the Kincaids’ front door, Lucy Maddox hesitated at the wrought-iron gate separating her property from the neighbors’. For the third time in as many hours, she pulled her gloved hand away from the gate and stepped back.
How could Jonah Kincaid possibly be dead? She could still hear his booming laughter, still see his curly blond hair glowing in the light of the auditorium lamps at the ball the ladies had given just before his volunteer regiment left Decatur. He’d been so proud, standing head and shoulders above everyone else, a favorite son of the city, promising to “whip the Rebels and be home before Christmas.”
Tears threatened. Lucy swept her fingertips across her furrowed brow.
She would not—could not call on the Kincaids just yet. Perhaps after a cup of strong tea. She startled when her housekeeper’s voice sounded just over her shoulder.
Martha’s voice was gentle. “Putting it off will only make it that much harder. Best get on with it.”
Lucy turned to face her. “If I can’t offer my condolences without crying, I’ll be small comfort.” She put a hand to the locket hanging on the thick gold chain about her neck—the locket bearing the images of Mother and Father, gone within six weeks of each other just three years ago. She still missed them every day, but saying farewell to the older generation was an expected part of life. The loss of someone as young and vibrant as Jonah—that was another thing entirely. Lucy shook her head. “I’ve no idea what to say.”
“Truth be told, they probably won’t remember what you say. But they’ll be hurt if you don’t go. And Lord knows, they’re already hurting enough.”
Lucy sighed. “I know you’re right. Truly, I do, but—” Her voice broke. “It’s
” When tears spilled down her cheeks, she swiped them away. Why couldn’t her feelings for Jonah fall in line with what she knew to be true? Jonah had never been more than a friend. Would
have been more than a friend, no matter what Lucy might daydream about. Why did she feel as if she’d lost more?
Because you, Lucy Maddox, are a fool, that’s why. Obviously, you still harbored flickering hope.
Why couldn’t she stamp out that flicker? Why?
Martha reached out and gave Lucy’s arm an affectionate squeeze. “Young Mr. Kincaid was always fond of you. Everyone knows that.”
Lucy knew it was true. Why should hearing Martha speak the truth hurt?
The beloved old woman put a calloused palm to Lucy’s cheek. “Your mother would be so proud of you. Proud of the way you’ve taken up her role in the community, serving with the Ladies Aid, volunteering for every good cause. She was always a great comforter in times of distress. I’ve no doubt you will be, too.”
Lucy thought back to the countless times there’d been a knock at the door and Mother had hastened to go to someone in need, armed with little more than her worn Bible and prodigious amounts of courage, compassion, and love for both her God and her fellow man. “I wish I’d paid closer attention to how she did it,” Lucy murmured. She had no doubt that Mother would have known exactly what to say to the widowed Mrs. Kincaid, so cruelly bereft of Jonah, the eldest of her four sons.
“Mrs. Maddox always said that God gave the words just when she needed them, and not a minute before.” Martha patted Lucy’s arm. “Mrs. Kincaid knows you loved her son. She has no husband and no daughter to comfort her—only those three boys, Lord bless them. Be a daughter today. Sit beside her. Hold her hand. Weep with her. She will bless you for it.”
One of Mother’s oft-quoted Bible verses came to mind. “‘In lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves,’” Lucy murmured. “I suppose that’s the key to it, isn’t it. Think more about Jonah’s mother and brothers and less about myself.”
The deep wrinkles lining Martha’s face crinkled as the old woman smiled. “That is it exactly.” She made a little shooing motion with one hand. “Go along, now, and I’ll have a good strong cup of tea waiting when you return. Perhaps even some of my Scotch cakes.”
Lucy caught the old woman’s hand and gave it a squeeze. “Thank you. As usual, I don’t know what I’d do without you.” Straightening her shoulders and lifting her chin, Lucy reached for the gate latch. This time, she did not turn back.
Silas Tait tied the last black tassel in place over the Kincaids’ entryway mirror. Gripping the top of the stepladder with one hand, he leaned back to inspect his work before looking down at the housekeeper. “Does that suit?”