One day Shepherd was preparing a moose roast that he planned to use several different ways once it was cooked. The odor of freshly baked bread and apple pie filled the cabin and likely the entire valley. Pal pranced. He was excited.
“Do you want out?” Shepherd said.
Pal nudged Shepherd’s hand with his wet nose and walked to the door. Shepherd opened the door and Pal stood there. He looked up at Shepherd and to the plain in front of them.
“Someone’s coming, aren’t they, Pal?”
Shepherd and Pal waited and from the stream bed two snow machines appeared and buzzed toward them. It was Ben and Izzy.
Shepherd and Pal waited for them to come to stop in front of the cabin. Pal playfully greeted them.
“I’m glad we caught you at home,” Ben said. “We thought you might be at the Knicks game.”
“Come on you guys,” Shepherd said. “The Knicks are in Atlanta, the Rangers are in town.”
“What do we know,” Izzy said. “We’re Lakers’ fans.”
“I’m sorry for your illness,” Shepherd said. “But come in anyway.”
They stomped into the cabin.
“Take your stuff off and get warm,” Shepherd said. “I have a good fire.”
“We could use that,” Ben said.
“What brings you guys out this way?” Shepherd said.
“Do you celebrate Christmas?” Ben said.
“I haven’t given it any thought,” Shepherd said.
“Our family doesn’t,” Ben said as he walked to the fire place, “but our family has a big dinner sometime around Christmas; before, after, on, whenever it is best for us. It will be in three days, the 28th. We want you to come and plan on spending the night with us.”
“You will be so full your snow machine will sink in the snow,” Izzy said.
Shepherd smiled. “I’ll be there.” He thought for a instant. “That makes today Christmas.”
“Yeah,” Izzy said and smiled. “You’re pretty good at math.”
Both boys stood at the fire; one warming the front side and the other the back side.
“Are you guys hungry?” Shepherd said.
“You don’t think we came out here for your good looks,” Ben said.
“No,” Izzy said. “That’s what Nan would come out here for.”
“Izzy,” Ben whispered and shoved him.
“When your age I was always hungry,” Shepherd said.
While the boys warmed themselves the table was set.
“Do you miss New York,” Ben said.
The reply was swift, “No!”