Sunday, January 1, 2017

Reprint: Happy New Year! LHOP Inspired Fan Fiction by Cheryl C. Malandrinos

This is a fan fiction story from the end of last year that I am posting again in honor of the new year. Wishing you and your family a happy and healthy 2017 filled with blessings.

Happy New Year!

LHOP inspired fan fiction by Cheryl C. Malandrinos

Disclaimer: I do not own the Little House on the Prairie television series, book series, or any of the characters.

Laura rocked in her chair next to the fireplace. A quilt wrapped around her, she gazed into the yellow and orange flames of the roaring fire. How much longer?

The mantle clock chimed five times and anxiety bubbled inside her. She had no reason to be nervous. Manly made this trip in worse weather at least half a dozen times. But this was different. That was before they were married…before she moved into the tidy white house Almanzo used to share with his sister.

Through the glass she saw the darkening sky and heard the steady slap of wind blowing sleet against the window panes. He hadn’t told her when he would be home, but Manly never liked to be late for supper. A thick, hearty stew simmered on the stove. The freshly baked loaf of bread he enjoyed dipping into the gravy so he could scoop up every last drop had cooled by now. The smell of percolating coffee wafted from the kitchen.

She stood and pulled the quilt tight around her shoulders before trudging to the front window. The snow that had fallen yesterday hugged the sides of the barn and chicken coop where they met the ground. Today’s icy storm would make the roads slippery. Could Almanzo’s cutter have slid off the road? Laura couldn’t keep her mind from conjuring up an image of Manly trapped underneath his tipped over cutter in a ditch slowly freezing to death. She shuddered. No. It will do no good to think like that. He’ll be home any minute.

But he wasn’t home any minute.

She ate supper and he didn’t come.

She washed the dirty dishes and wrapped up the bread and he didn’t come.

She stoked the dying fire three times and still there was no sound of sleigh bells in the front yard. Oh, Manly, she thought as she looked out the window for what seemed like the thousandth time. Where are you?

By ten o’clock it was all Laura could do to keep herself from saddling up one of the horses to go out in search of her husband. She knew it made no sense. She could only assume he took the usual route home from Sleepy Eye. If the road were blocked or he had to seek shelter from the storm, she would have no idea where to find him. Frantic, she dashed upstairs to her bedroom and grabbed her Bible. Then going back to the chair in front of the fireplace, she turned up the kerosene lamp, snuggled into the quilt, and searched for the peace and comfort only the Bible’s pages could provide.

Laura found the passage right away. When she was still a child, Ma would recite this portion of Scripture before Pa left on any journey and every night until his safe return. It was a tradition she continued in her own home now that she was married. This was only the third time Almanzo had been away since their August wedding, but she found it especially lonely without him around the place. She took a deep breath and then recited slowly:

Psalm 121
I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.
The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

Her gazed lingered on the last line of the Psalm. She closed the Bible, leaving her right thumb in between the pages to hold her place. She breathed slow and steady, her eyelids suddenly heavy from lack of sleep.

A cold rush of air startled Laura awake.

“Were ya sleepin’?" a snow covered Almanzo asked from the front door.

She sprung up from the chair and ran over to embrace him. “Oh, Manly, I am so glad you’re home!” He chuckled as she pecked his cheek with kisses.

He tried to pull her arms away from his neck. “You’re going to be all wet.”

“I don’t care.”

“Well, at least let me take my coat and hat off.”

She stepped back. “Oh, I’m sorry.”

“I woulda come in through the back door to avoid this mess on the carpet, but it was iced shut.”

Laura fluttered her hands. “It doesn’t matter. I’m just glad you’re home safely.” She took his hat into the kitchen and shook the melting ice off in the sink. His dripping boots squished and thudded on the floor behind her as he walked into the room.

Pulling off his coat and the muffler that hung around his neck, he put the wet clothes on hooks by the back door so they could dry. Once Laura had placed his hat on another hook, he scooped her up in his arms.

“I’m sorry I was so late.” He planted a soft kiss on her forehead. “Had to wait for a shipment to arrive. I promised Mr. Crowley I would help him unload before I left.”

Leaning her head against his broad chest, she heard the thump, thump of his heart. “That’s okay. Are you hungry?” she asked, though she was sure she knew the answer.

“I’m starved.”

Laura pulled away. “I made beef stew—”

Before she knew what was happening, he had drawn her back to him and engulfed her with a deep kiss. Moments passed, and when they finally parted, Laura’s heart raced in her chest. “What was that for?”

“Listen,” he said. The clock chimed once, twice, and then ten more times, signaling the beginning of the new year. “Happy new year, Beth.”

“Happy new year, Manly.”

They kissed once more, whispering I love you to each other. The moment they parted a crooked smile turned the corner of his lips. “Can I have that stew now?”

“Oh, Manly!” She playfully slapped him before grabbing a bowl and spoon from the table. Everything had worked out fine, just as the Scripture had said. I pray this is a sign of a wonderful new year.

The End.

Copyright Cheryl C. Malandrinos - All Rights Reserved.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Brand New LHOP Fan Flash Fiction: The Clock by Cheryl C. Malandrinos

The Clock

LHOP inspired fan flash fiction by Cheryl C. Malandrinos

Disclaimer: I do not own the Little House on the Prairie television series, book series, or any of the characters.

Laura glanced up at the clock on the mantle when it chimed. Oh, how she enjoyed that beautiful present Manly had brought home the day before Christmas. She hadn’t expected any presents this Christmas. Just three weeks ago, Laura had given birth to a healthy girl. She didn’t remember much about the birth, but precious money had been spent on doctor bills and medicine. How could they afford such a beautiful clock?

“I traded a load of hay for it,” Manly told her. This put her mind at ease, especially when he told her he couldn’t have sold the load because they weren’t shipping any longer.

Nearly two feet tall, it had a sold walnut base and a glass door that covered a face wreathed with a gilt vine on which four gilt birds fluttered. Laura loved it at once.

“Whatcha thinkin’?” Almanzo said from his seat in the rocking chair across from her. His blue eyes twinkled and she could just see the uplifted corner of his crooked smile.

Laura snuggled little Rose next to her as the embers in the fireplace began to dwindle. “Just how thoughtful it was of you to buy the clock.”

“We needed it.”

She nodded. “That’s true. We could have done without something so elegant, though. It looks perfect on the mantle.” Laura sighed. “I know it’s wrong to pay too much attention to worldly things, but so many people have commented on it when they come to visit.”

Laura’s mind wandered through her childhood and she recalled Ma’s insistence that the place they lived wasn’t a home until the china shepherdess sat on the mantle. She finally understood what she meant. She wasn’t sure if they would always live here, but Laura was certain that the clock would find a place on any mantle in every spot she called home.

Copyright Cheryl C. Malandrinos - All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Little Town on the Prairie Most Iconic Book Set in South Dakota

Featured on MSN Lifestyle today is a list of "The Most Iconic Book Set In Every State." As I browsed through the slides I discovered many books I knew and some I didn't. When I landed on South Dakota, I discovered Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder won that honor. You can check it out here.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Little House Myths at Discover Laura Blog

The Discover Laura Blog written by the Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society in De Smet, SD shared a post recently titled "Little House" Myths. Find out what myths they discussed at

Friday, September 16, 2016

Laura's "Sweet Memories" Historic Home Open House on Saturday, September 17!

Photo property of RE/MAX FARM & HOME

"Beautiful Victorian Folk home just off the town square of Mansfield, the hometown of Laura Ingalls Wilder. This home boasts 3,200 sq. ft. and sits on approx. 1/2 acre lot zoned for residential and/or commercial use. The home is made up of 4 large bedrooms, 3 baths(one bath has the original claw foot tub), parlor, (with classic rock fireplace), dining room, country kitchen, library, and antique shop( with large bay window). There are LOTS of closets and storage, beautiful original staircase, decks, and covered front porches. The whole house is served by central heat and air. There are many possibilities such as a B & B, coffee shop, store or personal residence. Call today to view this well preserved piece of history!"

Address:  107 N Business 60, Mansfield, MO 65704

Open House: September 17, 2016 from 11am-2pm

Listing Agent:  Andrew Koehn, RE/MAX FARM & HOME: (417) 926-5552, DIRECT: 417.349.2163

Saturday, September 3, 2016

We Did It!: Plum Creek - The Little House on the Prairie LEGO® Ideas Project Moves Forward!

We did it! As of the end of August, we reached 10,000 votes for The Little House on the Prairie LEGO® Ideas Project to move forward. Now the project goes onto the Review Stage, which according to the website, can take several months. After that, we will know if LEGO decides to develop and sell a product based upon this idea.

You can

Way to go, Bonnetheads!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Happy Anniversary to Almanzo and Laura!

Do you think Almanzo and Laura ever thought that long after they were gone there would still be people talking about them?

Do you believe that Mama Bess could even fathom that nearly sixty years after her passing people of all ages would be celebrating her legacy to children's literature? 

If it were not for Laura Ingalls Wilder's classic books would Bess and Manly simply be known as the parents of Rose Wilder Lane? 

In many ways, young Laura and young Almanzo are no different than kids are today. They grew up under the guidance of their parents and moved on to create lives of their own. Similarly, as young adults and then parents, they struggled to find their place in this great big world, to raise a daughter, and worked hard to survive. 

Just like their TV counterparts would portray decades later, they experienced joys and sorrows and health and sickness. Life on the prairie, just like modern day life, is not always a cup of tea. 

What Wilder's books and the film adaptations based upon them have always meant to me is that family and faith is the focus of all we do. In the end, it is our family and our faith that will carry us through the good times and the bad. That is what I see as the essence of what Wilder attempted to portray while giving readers a glimpse into what life on the prairie was like. 

May Laura and Almanzo continue to live on for new generations of fans across the world. Happy Anniversary! Thanks for sharing your life with us.