Right before Thanksgiving, a freak tornado descends on Larkspur, the small town in Pennsylvania's Allegheny Mountains where matriarch and candy magnate Loretta Cisco -- affectionately called "Cisco" by her grandchildren -- lives, and levels the home she's inhabited for fifty years.
Then there's more bad news: Cisco's beloved triplet grandchildren, Hannah, Sara, and Sam, all newlyweds, are experiencing marital problems and they refuse to confide in their grandmother about what's wrong. Sam's wife, Sonia, has left him, and Hannah and Sara fear that their husbands are having affairs. Why else would they be coming home so late every night and seem to be keeping secrets?
As the citizens of Larkspur help to rebuild Cisco's home in time for Christmas, she vows to work a holiday miracle that will hold her family together.
With Family Blessings Fern Michaels uses her keen insight into the emotional bonds between family members and the passions that bring men and women together to create an enduring novella that celebrates love, family, and forgiveness, and shows why she is one of the world's best-loved storytellers.
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October 18, 2004
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Excerpt from Family Blessings by Fern Michaels
One Month Later
"IT'S HARD TO BELIEVE HALLOWEEN HAS COME AND gone already." Loretta Cisco, founder and recently retired CEO of Cisco Candies who was known as Cisco to her family, opened the screen door to let the dogs out. Freddie, a golden retriever, barked to let his partner, Hugo, know it was time to get a move on. It was the same thing as saying the breakfast bacon will still be there when we get back. Hugo, a black Lab, bolted through the door.
Ezra Danford, a tall, robust man, and Cisco's live-in companion, as well as partner, turned from the stove where he was making blueberry pancakes, Cisco's favorite breakfast. "I know what you mean, Loretta." He insisted on calling her by her given name, saying the pet name Cisco was just for her son and her grandchildren, the triplets, to use. "In a few weeks we'll be out there raking the last of the leaves and bringing in firewood. Then before you know it, the holidays will be here."
Cisco tugged at the apron she was wearing. "Time moves too fast when you're old, and we're old, Ezra. I dearly love the holidays, as you well know, but in another way they're sad because it means another year is coming to a close. You and I, my dear, also have an anniversary coming up. If the Trips," she said, referring to her triplet grandchildren, "hadn't brought you here that special Christmas almost three years ago, I might never have gotten to know you. For that, I will be eternally grateful."
Ezra expertly flipped a pancake, then turned the strips of bacon to the other side. "We should get married, Loretta." He winked at her, hoping she would get flustered and say yes.
Cisco adjusted the glasses perched on the end of her nose before she gave her colorful apron another hitch. "No, Ezra, we shouldn't get married. You had a wife, and I had a husband. When we depart this world, you're going with your wife, and I'm going with my husband. That's the way it has to be. Otherwise, your children and grandchildren will have a problem, as will mine. They won't know where to put us.