This is a reading from Mollie Davis' 1899 novel, The Wire-Cutters. The scene described is a Christmas party at the home of one of the families living in a West Texas community. Country folks from all around have gathered for dancing, a fried chicken dinner, and a boiled candy pull in the back yard.
Sleet has fallen the day before, and the trees are covered with glistening ice. The breath of the horses can be seen on the night air. Though it is cold, the front door is open, and inside there is a roaring fire. After the meal, the dance goes on to the music of a single fiddler. The young people step outside into the cold to grab handfuls of hot candy and pull it until it turns brittle in the cold air. It's a bit of Dickens on the Texas frontier.
3-Minute Western: The Wire-Cutters, "Christmas" from Ron Scheer on Vimeo.
Coming up: Top-ten lists for 2010