The red glow from the electric heater coils cast a warm glow on the walls of the cabin. In the last moments of day the sun burst through the winter clouds and added a touch of yellow to the palette. Jason sat in the rocking chair, a long low sigh escaping his lips. He looked out the window to see the clouds finally breaking in the late afternoon light. It’s going to get cold tonight, he whispered. Chase, his old tabby cat, jumped in his lap in response to the sound of Jason’s voice. Jason rubbed the old tomcat’s head and scratched the worn, scarred ear tips. A deep rumbling purr erupted from the feline’s throat and his eyes closed in appreciation of the attention.
After a few minutes of ministrations, Jason set Chase back on the floor. The cat, shook his head, licked a paw, then trotted off to his swinging cat door and out into the gathering dusk. Jason mused to himself that he really needed to find a better solution to Chase’s cat door.
With an audible grunt he got out of the rocking chair and stepped over to the kitchen sideboard. In the crock-pot, pinto beans and a ham hock simmered. Jason lifted the lid and a cloud of flavorful steam rose into the cabin. After placing the lid on the counter, he picked up an old wooden spoon, dipped it into the juices and sampled the broth. He smacked his lips and decided it needed a little more pepper.
Leaving the future supper to cook a little more, Jason pulled down a bottle of amber liquid from a shelf and grabbed a glass from the drain rack. He settled back into the rocking chair and poured himself three fingers of whisky. He eased back, took a long sip of the warming liquid and gazed outside. He could see the first stars twinkle in the blue black of the evening sky. He smiled at a faint memory that burst into his conscious. It was Christmas Eve.