Christmas was fast approaching. Nest was busy beading a pair of moccasins she had made for Joseph as a surprise. She couldn't help wondering if he would bring her a present. Nest wished the trapper had celebrated with them when she was young. Her brother would have liked that. That sent her heart down a homesick trail.
That night after dinner, Joseph told her he would beheading out in the morning to trade in the Holston River area where they used to live. Nest did not say anything but it was a stab to her heart. She knew it was near where his first wife's family lived.
"Can't you just go to Knoxville? It's right here."
"Bonny Kate wants me to check the Holston River traders for what she can't find here."
"Can't your father, or your brothers go?"
"No. I said I would go."
She turned her back and busied herself with building up the fire to prepare for Joseph's nightly reading. Tonight he read from the last chapter in the Old Testament.