Nonfiction / Memoir
Date Published: 09-21-2023
Publisher: Horner Publishing Company
Brimming with heartfelt anecdotes, nostalgic escapades, and timeless humor, Hair on Fire is a Christmas memoir like no other. It will warm your heart, make you laugh uproariously, and transport you back to the most magical time of the year. So grab a hot cocoa and snuggle under a cozy blanket while Horner-Miller beguiles with her tales!
About the Author
Larada Horner-Miller is an award-winning poet, essayist, blogger and accomplished multi-genre author who holds a bachelor’s degree in English and a Master of Education Degree in Integrating Technology into the Classroom. She is the accomplished author of seven award-winning historical fiction, memoir, and poetry works plus three self-published cookbooks.
Her new release, Hair on Fire: A Heartwarming & Humorous Christmas Memoir is available in paperback and e-book format.
Her sixth book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better?, is available in paperback and four e-book formats. It won the 2023 New Mexico/Arizona Book Awards for the Self Help/Guides category and the 2022 New Mexico/Arizona Book Award for the Mind, Body and Spirit category. Larada offers the reader the opportunity to look back at 2020 and the global pandemic through her prose and poetry through reading, then reflecting and responding. She addresses all the emotions she felt during this overwhelming time and leads the reader through to a self-access: bitter or better?
Her fifth book is the authorized memoir and biography of world-renown square dance caller Marshall “Flip” Flippo. Just Another Square Dance Caller: Biography of Marshall Flippo is available now in hardback, paperback and four e-book formats. Recently Just Another Square Dance Caller won two awards: Book Excellence Awards Finalist and Silver award for eLit. Book Awards.
Larada and her husband, Lin, enjoy being nestled in the mountains above Albuquerque, New Mexico, near the village of Tijeras. She enjoys square dancing, traveling, knitting, and reading.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
CHRISTMAS SAD AND PRECIOUS
It was in the late 1960s. Mom, Dad, my
teenage brother, and I arrived in Poway, California for a special Christmas
celebration. My sister’s husband had recently been diagnosed with cirrhosis of
the liver, and the future loomed bleak. This was only the second time we'd
traversed to California for Christmas, and this trip had such a mixture of
A couple years before, as newlyweds, my
sister, her new husband, and his two children came to Colorado for a truly
country Christmas with lots of snow.
My new brother-in-law immediately started
picking on me, and we bonded deeply even though he forced me to try
cranberries—I had never tried this dish before. In reality, it wasn’t a
dish—Mom opened cranberry sauce that slid out of the can whole—plop!—and served
it. It always looked slimy to me. With his humor and persistent influence, I
grew to love cranberries!
Sunny California appeared gloomy and
heavy. The festive atmosphere of Christmas felt tinged with a deep sadness and
fear. My sister greeted us warmly, knitting like a crazy woman. She shared with
me that all of their gifts this year were knitted. I thought it a wonderful
idea, but shortly I learned finances drove her decision.
I gasped silently at the man we saw on
arrival, a shadow of the man we met a few short years ago. The disease had
ravaged my brother-in-law’s body, and he had lost so much weight, his clothes
hung loose and limp on his frame.
But his spirit of love and laughter
prevailed. Mom tried her hand at making homemade pie crusts, forgetting the effect
of being at sea level on a recipe usually done at 6,100 feet above sea level.
She grumbled about the gooey mess she kept trying to roll out, and my
brother-in-law teased her unmercifully. As he ducked out of the kitchen with
his latest quip, she slung the ball of dough at him, hitting him in the eye—a
magnificent bullseye. Our laughter filled the kitchen with delight in the
Christmas Eve morning came, and my
brother-in-law slipped into Mom and Dad’s bedroom and whispered his plan for
the day to Mom and me. "I'm going to go sell some wood so I can buy my
loving wife some Christmas presents. Don't let her know where I've gone. Can
you help me wrap the presents when I get home?"
Mom and I both choked back tears, nodding
The impact of my brother-in-law's health
had destroyed their finances. He hadn't worked his normal construction job in
several months; my sister had a good job, but she was so busy and overwhelmed
being a caregiver, too. Living in the wooded area of Poway, he cut wood
whenever he could and sold it to make some extra money and to keep active—his
current lack of working was not his nature.
Christmas Eve day went by uneventfully
except for my sister's repeated refrain, "Where is my husband? What is he
doing?" Her distress weighed on me, but I couldn't ruin his surprise. She
continued to knit, the needles rapidly moving in her nervous hands.
Daylight slowly faded into darkness. Mom
and I exchanged worried glances all day—Dad and Bub joined my sister in
wondering about the whereabouts of my brother-in-law.
Mom and I went to their bedroom to talk
about what we should do—the pending darkness scared us. He had been gone for
hours. What if something went wrong? Quietly my brother-in-law opened the door
of my parent’s bedroom, a couple bags in hand. He looked exhausted but pleased
We wrapped the small collection of
gifts—all kitchen utensils for my sister. We placed the gifts under the tree,
and my sister, contrite in her reaction to her husband's day-long absence, held
back tears and pain.
I knew deep in my heart that this was the
most precious exhibition of love I'd ever seen. His generosity and spirit
graced the rest of that holiday.
Sixty-some years ago, and it still brings
a smile to my heart, yet a tear to my eyes, as I remember his mission of love
and the true spirit of Christmas.
Have you had a Christmas like this—both
sweet and bittersweet at the same time?