by Diane




Despite it all, Victoria Cannon made sure that her family was together at midnight to welcome in the New Year. As the clock struck midnight she insisted that each man eat a grape with each chime of the clock. This Spanish tradition of the 12 grapes was supposed to ensure good luck for each month of the New Year.

Luck is very important, especially out in the wilderness, as Victoria had started to think of The High Chaparral. It had been a horrific year. They had almost lost it all, not just the ranch, but dear ones as well. Tensions were high and family bonds were strained.

"Feliz Ano Nuevo," she said sweetly and hopefully.


"Uhm yes, Happy New Year", they all responded.


Wine was especially helpfully that evening. The assembled group seemed more optimistic, but shortly after midnight the festivities broke up and everyone, even Buck and Manolito, retired for the night.

"Goodnight Victoria,"


"Buenos noches, John," she said as she was about to tidy up, but as she responded he tenderly grasped her arm and gently pulled her into the bedroom, closing the door behind them.

Victoria was surprised but did not resist. He leaned her against the wall, his hands encircling her tiny waist.

"Happy New Year Mrs. Cannon," he said softly, and sweetly kissed her in a prolonged embrace. He pulled back to look at her lovely face.

Breathless, Victoria gazed into his eyes. He stroked her face slowly with the back of his index finger and gently brushed back a wisp of blue-black hair from her now half-closed eyes. He kissed her again and she responded with a surprising passion.

"Oh Victoria", he sighed, pleased and reassured. Suddenly he realized that she was trembling. "What is it?" he asked. "Are you cold?" and held her even closer.

She looked up at him and sighed, her luminous dark eyes growing bigger. “Oh John, I thought you would never want me the way a husband should ever again. It's been so long.”

”Victoria, it's been a horrible year, first the drought, then the blasted fires, nearly lost everything we worked so hard to build. It takes a toll on a man, I've been hard on the men and maybe I've neglected you."


"Oh John no, I, I," he stopped her from speaking with a sudden fervent kiss. 

"Victoria, I'm not real good with explaining how I feel, but don't you know that you are my passion, my reason for living? Without you by my side I couldn't...”


She threw her arms around him and said demurely, "John come to bed. It's a new year now and the past is behind us. We have only new memories to look forward to."