Tuesday, December 31, 2019

A Soldier's Lighthouse Christmas

Cape Bonavista Lighthouse, Newfoundland. Photo by Annlynn Ward.

Christmas 1943 (a true story)

Private William Duval shivered as he rubbed his hands together over the small stove heater in his barracks. Man, this place was cold! Despite sharing a room with 19 other guys, the room never warmed up.
Some of the guys didn’t mind the cold so much. But back home in Louisiana, it just didn’t get as cold as here in Newfoundland. Why couldn’t he have been sent somewhere warm?

But then again, that’s where a lot of the fighting was – in the Pacific islands. Guess he should be thankful he wasn’t sent there. Who would’ve thought he’d end up in Canada, on a US base built to protect the northern coastline from German invasion?

He glanced at the pinup calendar hanging over his bed, his heart squeezing at the sight of his girlfriend’s picture thumbtacked over the movie star’s photo. Christmas was just weeks away, and what he wouldn’t give to spend it with Angela back home. Home where it was warm, where family and friends gathered together for food and fun. He could just see them all going around singing Christmas carols to their neighbors. If only the war would end before Christmas. Chances were slim with all the heavy fighting going on, but a guy could hope, couldn’t he?

His buddy Pete came in, slamming the door against a blast of frosty air. “Billy! We’ve been invited to the lighthouse for Christmas. Wanna go?”
“The lighthouse? What would we do at a lighthouse?”
“I hear the family there is swell – and real big too! Seems folks all around here go to the lighthouse for Christmas. Sounds good to me!”
“Well, it’s gotta beat staying in this barn. Sure, I’ll go.”

When Christmas day arrived, Billy and a bunch of other soldiers climbed into an Army Truck. After plowing through the deep snow, they reached the end of Cape Bonavista where the white lighthouse with vertical red stripes gleamed in the sunlight. Billy stepped inside the house and an array of tantalizing aromas drew him toward a table laden with food. Trays of Christmas cookies lay beside towering cakes and golden-crusted pies. At the other end of the table, platters of sliced meats and bowls of steaming vegetables invited.

A teenage girl ran up and introduced herself as one of Lightkeeper Hubert Abbott’s eleven children. Soon Billy’s stomach was full of Christmas dinner. Afterwards, he joined in the singing as everyone gathered around the family parlor while a man played Christmas carols on an accordion.  After singing, the folks played a variety of games, just like they did back home. As daylight began to dwindle over the Atlantic Ocean, Billy said his goodbyes to the hosts.

“Thank you, Mr. Abbott, Mrs. Abbott. You really made me feel like family today.”
“We’re glad you came, Billy. We’re all part of God’s family, and what better time for a family to be together than Christmas?”
Billy didn’t get to go home for the holidays, but thanks to the Abbotts, he didn’t spend the holiday alone.

The holidays can be a lonely time for people separated from their families. Many find the holidays especially difficult because their loved ones are no longer alive to share them.  God wants us to reach out to others, not just at Christmas, but all year long. Perhaps this Christmas season you can invite someone into your home, or find others who are alone and create a family environment together.

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in," Matthew 25:35

I pray you all had a blessed Christmas. 

This is my last post for the Heroes, Heroines and History blog, as I've taken on more responsibilities and need to let go of others. I will miss you all, but hope to stay in touch by reading this blog along with you. As a parting Christmas gift, I'm offering a drawing for a copy of my book, The Christmas Gazebo. To enter, please leave a comment with your email address so I can reach you if you win. 

The Christmas Gazebo

by Marilyn Turk and Lenora Worth

Two Christmas Romances of past and present 

 A “literary archaeologist,” Marilyn Turk writes historical fiction flavored with suspense and romance for Barbour Books, Winged Publications and Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. One of her World War II novels, The Gilded Curse, won a Silver Scroll award. She has also written a series of novels set in 1800 Florida whose settings are lighthouses. In addition, Marilyn’s novellas have been published in the Great Lakes Lighthouse Brides collection and Crinoline Cowboys. Marilyn also writes for Guideposts magazine and Daily Guideposts Devotions.  She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association and Word Weavers International.
When not writing, Marilyn and her husband enjoy boating, fishing, playing tennis or visiting lighthouses.

Marilyn is a regular contributor to the Heroes, Heroines and History blog. https://www.hhhistory.com). Connect with her at http://pathwayheart.com, https://twitter.com/MarilynTurk, https://www.facebook.com/MarilynTurkAuthor/, https://www.pinterest.com/bluewaterbayou/, marilynturkwriter@yahoo.com.


  1. Thanks for the post! I've enjoyed your time here on the blog. Happy New Year!

    1. Thanks, Connie. You may continue to follow me at marilynturk.com, if you wish.

  2. Wonderful post! Lots of food for thought about reaching out to others.

  3. Thank you for your post. I love the cover of your book.Thank you for the chance to win a copy.

  4. Thanks for the true story - we moved to Florida just before Christmas and while my sister and her husband are nearby, I found I really missed some of the things that were normal in Minnesota. Here we are establishing new traditions, like walking on the beach on Christmas Day. Thanks for all the time you have put into HHH!. Thanks also for the giveaway - bettimace(at)gmail(dot)com Wishing you a Happy and Blessed 2020!

    1. Thanks, Betti, for being a faithful HHH reader. Walking on the beach at Christmas is pretty cool, too, isn't it? Just different kind of white on the ground.:)

  5. Thank you for this beautiful true story. Sorry to see you leave HHH but know there comes a time for new beginnings and goodbyes. Blessings on your writing. I do not need to be entered for the giveaway since I've read and reviewed The Christmas Gazebo. Blessings on your new responsibilities and writing, Marilyn.

  6. Marilyn, thank you so much for your support through the years and for being a faithful reader of HHH. Thank you, too for reading and reviewing The Christmas Gazebo!

  7. What an interesting post. This book looks wonderful. The cover is so lovely. This has been a great year of learning about people and places here. Thank you so much for all you have shared. I have loved it. May you have a healthy and wonderful new year. quilting dash lady at comcast dot net

  8. Thanks, Lori. And I wish you a Happy New Year as well!