Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Coda 35

Don and Ricky-Joe from A Coal Miner’s Son




Ricky-Joe put down his guitar and made a couple of notes. The new song was coming along. Not easily, because a drop of his heart’s blood was in every word, but it was coming. And maybe someday Don would hear that song on the radio -- or more likely Spotify -- and remember…

I'd shorely hold up the ceiling of the darkest mine shaft for you
I’m caving in, you cave in too
Cuz diamonds come from coal, it’s true
I’m caving in, you cave in too

The meter was a little rough. Don had always said timing was Ricky-Joe’s problem. But it was no use thinking of Don now. Their second chance at love had gone up in flames with the fire that had destroyed the Bonsai orchard. Don would never forgive him and Ricky-Joe couldn’t blame him. Only a fool would leave his guitar in the bright sunlight where a cruel and random sunbeam might glance off those steel strings and spark a raging inferno. You only got so many chances in this bottomless mine pit of a world, and Ricky-Joe had wound up with the shaft. Again.

He wiped a tear away and made another notation on the chord chart.

The door to his motel room burst open and Don charged in. Ricky flew to his feet.


Don looked exhausted beneath the grime and coal dust. Actually, it was smudges from the smoke, because it had been a long time since Don had worked the mines. Thank Jiminy Cricket for that, but was it really an improvement if he had to go back to being a butcher’s apprentice and killing baby cows? Beneath the weariness in his sapphire eyes was a twinkle.

“Ricky-Joe.” Don held up something in his big, strong, workmanlike hand.

Ricky-Joe’s eyes popped at the vision of the small and twisted plant. “Donnie, is that what I think it is?”

Don nodded solemnly. “Yonder little fellow survived that conflagration that took out all his leafy kinfolk.”

“A baby bonsai,” breathed Ricky-Joe.

“Babe, I know you feel to blame for what occurred in the orchard yesterday. I know you must be planning to run away to Nashville again. But this little limb of greenery is the symbol of our love. A love that can withstand --”


“Something funny?” Jake asked.

“Hm? Oh.” I showed him the cover of the paperback. “I found it in the drawer of the bedside table.”

His dark brows rose. “A Coal Miner’s Son? I guess it makes a change from Bibles and phone books.”

“You ain’t just a-kidding.” I smiled at the green plaid flannel pajama bottoms he wore. We hadn’t had much time for jammies and such in our previous acquaintanceship. I kind of liked the, well, touch of domesticity official sleepwear brought to the festivities.

Jake crawled into bed beside me. His skin looked smooth and supple in the mellow lamplight, his face younger. He smelled of toothpaste and the aftershave he’d worn at dinner.

“I thought that meal would never end,” I said. “It felt like we were sitting there for years.”

“There did seem like a lot of courses. The food wasn’t as bad as I expected though.” Jake glanced at our hotel room clock. “Hey. It’s officially Christmas.”

“So it is. Happy Christmas.”

"Merry Christmas." He nodded at the book I held. “Were you, er, planning to read for much longer?”

I tossed the book to the side. It made a satisfying thunk as it hit the wall. “No,” I said, and reached for him. “I shorely wasn’t.”






  1. No point in wearing jammies if they're about to come off! I hope they're still in the "no point in wearing pajamas" phase of their relationship.

  2. More Adrien and Jake? Well, this IS Christmas :-) ! Sweet little coda. Happy holidays, Josh! And happy holidays to you all!


  3. I can never get enough of Jake and Adrien. Thank you, Josh

  4. Hahahahahahaaa!!! I'm laughing uncontrollably here and I can't seem to stop! That was absolutely, totally priceless!!! :-D

    And I LOVED the domesticity of Jake's cosy sleepwear — it's difficult to imagine anything more cute and sexy than a man like Jake wearing Christmassy flannel pajama bottoms. ;-)

    By the way, I think we accidentally forgot to throw a launch party for A Coal Miner's Son. So sorry about that, Josh... We'll correct that mistake when the book is released in audio, okay? By the way, the cover of A Coal Miner's Son is pretty eye-catching. And very suitable for "a backwoods romance". :-D

    Thank you so much for all the smiles you bring into my life, Josh. And you really outdid yourself this time, dear! :-) Thank you for the best possible Christmas present — laughter and joy.

    Warm, big hugs coming your way!

    *I'm still chuckling and grinning like a fool*

    Stop, please, it's just too much I'm going to suffocate from laughing too hard about Don and poor Ricky-Joe.
    The bonsai orchard, the fire from steel strings, the song, the baby bonsai... I just can't seem to stop laughing... I've been looked at a bit wearily this morning already because I'm grinning like loon and who has business grinning when the Christmas tree isn't even set up?!

    Thank you, Josh, for this hilarious piece about Don and his Ricky-Joe and that sweet little peek of Andrien and Jake. I'm happy to see them together. :-)

    Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones!

  6. Poor Adrien and Jake still stuck at Lisa's house... Love it! Merry Christmas, Josh!

  7. Fantastic! Thank you for the laughs; I just wish I knew the tune for "I’m caving in, you cave in too". This is exactly what was needed after yesterday's coda.

  8. The last days have been very weird, so thank you for making me laugh, Josh! Don and Ricky-Joe are priceless...
    Merry Christmas!

  9. I'm a bit concerned about your eggnog consumption this season, Josh, ;) but loving the humor. Thank you for the Christmas Eve smiles. Hope you're smiling too.

  10. "He made the butcher holler..." ROFL. Your fans who don't follow your GR group probably think you're crazy instead of being wickedly clever. Thank you for Don & Ricky-Joe's coda and Jake and Adrien :)

  11. Priceless! Thank you for this and happy Christmas!

  12. I am laughing very hard!! Sitting in the tram on the way to Christmas. This is a gem! Thank you so much! I don't have the words to say what I feel! Thank you Josh!

  13. Always clever and very funny. Thank you, again!

  14. It's almost Christmas here, too... And what a wonderful gift reading this was. This was hilarious and even made more special by the unexpected appearance from Adrien and Jake. Thanks Josh, truly. Merry Christmas!!!

  15. As you can imagine I'm waiting for the print edition of ''A Coal Miner's Son'' ;-).

    For the moment thank you so much for the glimpse on the tormented love of Ricky-Joe and Don. I'm glad they still might be together after the terrible fire, even though Ricky-Joe will forever have nightmares of screaming baby bonsai.

    And thank you even more for the Jake/Adrien extra.

    Be well!


  16. Merry Christmas Josh! Thanks for another Adrien and Jake coda, never enough of those two :)

  17. Jake and Adrien AGAIN! Josh, you're SHORELY too good to us! Merry Christmas!

  18. Another Christmas at a hotel room? Poor Jake and Adrien. A Coal Miner's Son? What have I missed?

    Oh, it's almost Christmas here. Merry Christmas, Josh and all!


    1. Same Christmas and same hotel. Jake and Adrien are caught in Groundhog Christmas. With only Don and Ricky Joe to keep them company. ;-D

  19. Ha! OMG, Josh! What a riot! Does your sense of humor know no boundaries? I was choking I laughed so hard reading your excerpt from A Coal Miner's Son. And of course the cover was the requisite headless torso. Too, too funny. :)

    The humor, though, became all sweetness and delight when we realized the story was being read by Adrien. What a treat to have two AE codas in one year. You are so good to us. Thank you for this wonderful Christmas present.

  20. LOL. Is there something wrong with the model in the picture's right collar bone?

  21. A very funny ending to your advent shenanigans!
    Merry Christmas to you and yours

  22. OMG. A TWOFER. Well shucks. This sure is grand.
    So glad to hear not all was lost for Don and Ricky-Joe. Darn tootin'.
    And Adrien and Jake together and happy...
    Happy Christmas.

    Love the "book cover"!!! You realize I am going to be singing about Butcher Holler ALL DAY.

  23. LOL, and what an awesome surprise - both this most romantically hilarious story and AE, and that cover! Thank you so much for this! :-)

  24. love the surprise ending. i did a second-take. happy that the two are still happily together.

  25. Thank you for the laughs and smiles Josh