Friday, November 25, 2011

Danny's Thanksgiving - Part 4

Happy Thanksgiving Friday Fiction Fans!
(Or should I say "Happy Black Friday"?)

We have had a very busy week. We were trying to get some more of the house deep cleaned as well as do some other things on Monday. Then on Tuesday my grandparents came down after lunch. They haven't been down since June. Just after the Tornado. We had Thanksgiving on Wednesday so that yesterday my brother and sister-in-law could go to her families house for yet another Thanksgiving. The kids were such fun. :) Funny Boy (age 2) helped me roll my rolls into crescents. Very cute to watch him. :) A few times he decided he needed to squeeze the roll he had just made so that it sort of squished. Oh well. They may not look perfect, but they taste good. By the way, those rolls are about the only bread thing I make. I've made them for years and no one else has tried making them.

Yesterday we raked leaves. Our yard was covered with leaves since we have so many trees! Anyone want to come play in the piles? Dad also took out our old front door and put in a brand new one! Wow!!! It looks so neat! But not like our house. We've had the same old door since we moved into this house a little more than 24 years ago. Today he has to finish it and put in the screen/storm door. Grandma and Grandpa leave sometime today. Don't know if it will be before or after lunch. Then it will be getting ready for the next thing. Like I said, this is a busy week.

We will finish un-decorating, and making sure we are ready because tonight our three unmarried "heart-sisters" are coming. And tomorrow is Decorating Day! That means J & M will be here with their 4 kids, our other "heart-sister" and her husband and baby will be here as well as my sister-in-laws parents and we'll decorate the whole house. And finally, finally we'll play Christmas music!

I don't know if you've figured it out yet or not, but I have been too busy to write this week. I was very thankful I had something to post. I hope you enjoy the last part of Danny's Thanksgiving. Tell me what you think of it.
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Part 4

    After supper, I brought out my homework and began to study. I wanted to get it all done and out of the way that night. Josh studied too, but he always gets done first. He is really good at school and Pa has talked about sending him to college in a few years.
    I don’t know why it was so difficult to get my homework done that night. Perhaps it was because there was more since I had to make up yesterday’s work too, or perhaps I was just extra tired. All I know is that I was really struggling. Pa and Uncle Scott were in the front room talking so I couldn’t ask Pa for help and when Josh finished he joined them. Ma and Aunt Katy were finishing up the dishes. I must have sighed or something because suddenly Aunt Katy turned around and asked if I was having trouble.
    “Yes,” I replied, staring at my book.
    “Perhaps I can help,” she offered, pulling out a chair and sitting down beside me. “I used to teach school, you know.”
    I didn’t know, but I soon found out that she knows a lot and can explain things well. I found myself starting to like her. She could do things besides sit reading novels and eating bonbons as I always pictured city girls doing. When I made a mistake in division, she didn’t just tell me it was wrong, she helped me find my mistake. By the time the evening was over, my homework was completely finished and I was glad Uncle Scott had married Aunt Katy. I was still expecting to go hunt turkeys with only Pa and Josh in the morning, but such was the way of things.
    When Josh and I went to go check the animals in the barn before bed, I told him about Aunt Katy helping with the homework.
    “I guess you like her now, huh?” he asked.
    “What makes you think I didn’t like her before?” I questioned. Surely it hadn’t been that obvious.
    Josh replied quietly, “You never talk about what you don’t like.”
    Thinking about it, I realized he was right. If I like something I’ll talk about it, but seldom do I talk about what I dislike.

    Wednesday dawned clear and cold. The snow was about six to seven inches deep with drifts in some places of close to a foot. To my surprise, Uncle Scott came along to hunt turkeys and Pa stayed home. Wellington and I led the way to where the turkeys usually were. Sure enough they were there. At least half a dozen of them. Wellington knows enough about hunting not to make a sound, but he nudged me when he caught the scent of them for they were up wind of us. I glanced over at Uncle and Josh. Uncle had his gun raised as did Josh. I raised mine wondering what we would do if we each killed a bird.
    Crack! Crack!
    The quiet of the snowy morning was shattered by the sounds of our guns. At the sound the flock of turkeys began waddling away as quickly as they could. They couldn’t exactly run because of the snow. Two of the birds had been hit. One was dead and the other only wounded. I made a motion with my arm and Wellington charged through the snow after the wounded one.
    “Now that was a great shot if I ever saw one!” Uncle Scott exclaimed, lowering his own gun. “Which of you claim the dead one?”
    I knew it wasn’t mine. I had missed completely, but Josh was shaking his head. “It wasn’t my bird,” he said. “I only injured mine.”
    “Well, it had to be someone’s.”
    I looked at Uncle. “It was yours.”
    He shook his head. “Couldn’t have been,” he answered, “I didn’t even fire.”
    Josh and I exchanged glances. This was most unusual. By then Wellington had caught the wounded turkey and was bringing it back to where we were now standing next to the dead bird. Who did shoot it?
    “Maybe you pulled the trigger and didn’t mean to,” Josh suggested to Uncle Scott.
    He shook his head again. “Couldn’t have happened. My finger wasn’t even on the trigger, so one of you must have shot it. Come on now, which of you did it?”
    “I only shot once,” Josh said, “and this one is mine,” and he picked up the now dead bird that Wellington had just retrieved.
    “My bird got away,” I protested. “I wish I’d shot this one,” I had knelt down and was examining the bird. It had been shot right through the heart. “I know I’m not that good of a shot.”
    Wellington whined and nudged me. “Don’t worry, boy, we’re going to take it home too, unless someone else comes to claim it. If Pa were here I’d say he did it,”
    “I think he would have claimed it, Danny, if he had,” Josh said softly.
    “Well, no use just standing here. I suggest we follow Wellington’s advice and head for home. Here, Danny,” Uncle said, “I guess you’ll have to carry that bird.”
    “Wait a minute,” Josh stopped suddenly and looked at me. “Danny, where was the bird standing that you were aiming for?”
    I pointed to a place. “Right about there. Why?”
    “That’s your bird then,” and Josh jerked his head towards the one I was holding.
    Completely puzzled, I looked first at the bird, then at Josh and then at Uncle. Uncle Scott looked just as puzzled as I felt.
    “Explain your theory, Josh,” Uncle said.
    “Danny has a habit of closing the wrong eye when he’s aiming. If he thought he was aiming over there, this one would have been in his sights instead.”
    Bursting into a hearty roar of laughter, Uncle Scott clapped me on the back. “Then the gun is yours, Danny!” And still laughing he started back to the house.
    After thinking it over, I had to believe Josh’s theory. I know I sometimes close my right eye instead of my left one when I’m aiming, but never once have I hit something by doing that.
    Pa laughed almost as much as Uncle did about my shooting. But, I got the rifle. I was pleased, I must say. Josh is a much better shot than I am, really, but maybe if I stop closing the wrong eye I’ll get better.
    We dressed both birds, but Josh’s bird we hung in the smoke house while mine was stuffed to bursting with Mother’s dressing. The rest of the day was busy. I kept the wood box filled for Mother and Aunt Katy. Aunt Katy even cut me a slice of her hot bread. It was almost as good as Mother’s. When I told her that, she laughed and said it was the highest compliment I could give her. Wellington begged for a piece, so I had to share.
    That Thanksgiving was the best I’d ever had. Mother banished everyone from the kitchen except Aunt Katy and me. Even Wellington was shut out. Mother told me I was only allowed because of my ability to bring the right size wood in. Well, at least I can do something even if I can’t aim right.
    What a feast we sat down to that afternoon. The table was in danger of splitting from all the loads of good things to eat. Pa had invited Carl Smith to join us for Thanksgiving since he didn’t have any family around. We ate until we could not eat one more bite. Even Wellington, who had been lying beside my chair, had his share of good food. As we all reclined in our chairs too stuffed to move more than necessary, Pa brought out the Bible and opening it to the Thanksgiving psalm, began,
    “Oh give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good . . .”
    Looking around the room, I was thankful. Thankful for my family, for Wellington, for Uncle Scott and yes, for Aunt Katy too. So many blessings, I never would be able to just name a few.

    The sun had set and the men folks were out finishing up the chores. Carl had departed earlier, leaving just us with Uncle Scott and Aunt Katy.
    “Da--nny!” I heard Mother call across the snowy yard.
    “Go on,” Pa told me. “We’ll finish up here.”
    The snow crunched under our feet as Wellington and I trudged through the drifts towards the house.
    “We need more stove wood, Danny,” Mother told me from the porch. “We want to make some hot cocoa, so would you bring some in, please?”
    “Come on Wellington. At least we know how to bring in wood.”
    Wellington answered with a bark.

What did you think of the last of it?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Danny's Thanksgiving - Part 3

Well, Good Morning Friday Fiction Fans,
This past week has been so full and busy that it feels like last Friday was at least two weeks ago. It wasn't, was it?

Let me see, what did happen? After I posted last Friday, Mom, S and I headed back home in the afternoon. We had a great time with Grandma. After arriving at home and unloading and unpacking, we headed over to my brother and sister-in-law's for supper. It was nice to not have to plan supper. The kiddos were such fun. Doodle Bug is getting big. He enjoyed grabbing the Duplo pieces Funny Boy was using to build a house. :)
Saturday was spent trying to put things away and work on some cleaning.
Sunday was a delightful day of rest. I didn't write anything. Instead, I read a new Pansy book. Well, I guess it really isn't "new" since it was written about 100 years ago. But, it was new to me since I hadn't read it before.
On Monday we cleaned more of the house. Mom would like the whole house "deep cleaned," before we decorate for Christmas, but I don't know if it will happen. I know we did more than clean, but I can't think of it.
Tuesday was full and busy. We went to "Connie's" in the morning to put new things in our booth and pick up our check. Then we got a little cleaning done and I worked on preparing for the Geography Review that I do with two home school families. That night S and I babysat the kids so J & M and Dad could go to a political meeting. I was "supposed" to be there but I got out of it by saying I would babysit so M could go. :)
Wednesday was more cleaning and finishing getting ready for Geography. Then in the afternoon, I got dressed in my civil war outfit complete with hoop-skirt, bonnet and cape, and went to teach Geography. (We were reviewing the southern states). That was such fun!
Yesterday we did more cleaning (and no the house is not super clean now) and then Grandpa came down in the evening and took me to a concert. Oh, the music was simply delightful! We got Vivaldi, Handle, J.S. Bach, Telemann, Purcell and Blow. Talk about a treat!
Grandpa left this morning before we were up. He had to take the car back to Grandma. Today we will be cleaning house (the usual cleaning not the extra stuff), probably going back to Connie's since they are having their big Open House starting today. We'll probably also get some more deep cleaning done. And, I forgot, we'll be babysitting tonight.

As far as writing, I got a short story for the Pickwick done and corrected the Christmas story that goes in one of my books, but that is all. I have many things to write as soon as I have a free evening or two.

It is hard to believe next week is Thanksgiving! Grandma & Grandpa are coming down here this year. 

But if you have actually been reading all this stuff you are probably wishing I'd hurry up and get on with things. :) So, here is part 3. Enjoy.

Part 3

    No one talked on the ride to town. It was bitterly cold and Pa had remarked that he expected snow before midnight.
    At last we reached town and, driving to the depot, we waited for the train. It was a few minutes late, but at last it pulled in with a shrill whistle and a hissing of brakes. Not many people ride the train, so we weren’t expecting anyone else besides Uncle Scott.
    I saw him first as he stepped off the train, gave a quick wave to us and then, instead of coming right over, he turned back to the train and helped someone step down. It was a woman.
    I don’t know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t that. Wellington was the first to greet Uncle Scott and barked and jumped about him and the woman as we came up.
    Pa greeted Uncle Scott in delight while I managed to keep Wellington from jumping up on the lady. Uncle Scott introduced her to us as his wife! Never do I remember being so astonished and tongue tied. I know I must have managed to greet her and Uncle Scott and help carry the baggage to the wagon, but all the conversation about me simply floated over my head. It wasn’t until we were on the way home that I began to notice what was being said.
    Josh and I were riding in the back of the wagon with Wellington and the luggage. Wellington was stretched out with his head in my lap while I fondled his ears. Pa’s voice reached me first.
    “Scott, just look what you’ve done. Ever since that letter of yours came, Danny’s been puzzling over your surprise and now when you show up with a wife, he just sits there so astonished he hasn’t a word to say.”
    Uncle Scott laughed and out of the corner of my eye I saw him turn to look at me. “Oh, he’ll find his tongue when he sees what else I’ve brought. Katy isn’t my only surprise.”
    He had another surprise? I hoped I would like it better than I did his first one. I mean I was happy, I suppose, that Uncle Scott got married, but the lady looked much too proper and grand to be coming out to our farm. Her clothes were dark brown and looked like something from the Sears and Roebuck catalog. And her hat. Well, that in itself I thought, gave proof that she was not fit for the country. What was Uncle Scott thinking of when he married her? I couldn’t help wondering if she even knew how to do anything.
    Reaching home, Mother came out to greet us and welcomed Uncle’s wife with delight. Josh and I unhitched the team and took care of them while Pa and Uncle Scott carried in the luggage. Neither of us talked while we brushed the horses. Wellington sat and watched us. He didn’t say a word either, but I think he was wondering why I was so quiet.
    I didn’t talk much at all the rest of that first day. I was watching. Uncle Scott was just the same, laughing, joking and lending a hand when he could, yet there was a difference. I don’t know if the others noticed it, but I did. Always before he had come outside and wanted to go for walks with Wellington and me or to talk about school with Josh or quiz us on our arithmetic. This time, he stayed inside. Usually near my new aunt. I had a hard time thinking “Aunt Katy” much less saying it. No other surprises were forth coming and I began to wonder if Uncle had forgotten them.
    It wasn’t until after supper was over and the evening chores were done and we had all gathered around the fireplace that Uncle Scott came in with a new rifle in his hands and a grin on his face.
    “This gun is for the person that shoots our Thanksgiving turkey. So Beth,” and he turned to Mother, “If you want this rifle, you’ll have to go shoot a turkey.”
    Mother laughed. It was well known that she never handled firearms of any sort whether they were loaded or not.
    “How many days of school are left before Thanksgiving, Josh?” Uncle asked placing the rifle on the mantle and sitting down on the sofa beside his wife.
    “Just tomorrow.”
    “Good, plenty of time to go hunt turkeys. Danny?”
    I had been sitting before the fire with Wellington beside me. I turned to look at Uncle Scott.
    “Have you and Wellington discovered where the turkeys can be found?”
    I nodded and turned back to the fire. What good would it do for him to know? He probably wouldn’t go. It would most likely just be Josh and Pa and me.
    Other talk went on around me, but I remained silent. After prayers I went off to bed. Perhaps I could get used to the idea if all was quiet, I told myself as I crawled under the blankets. Wellington was stretched out beside my bed. Only the murmur of the adults’ voices disturbed the quiet. Josh’s steady breathing soon told me he was asleep. For a long time I couldn’t sleep. I tossed and turned, tired but restless. At last I heard the soft footsteps of the others going to their rooms and all grew still. Yet even then I could not sleep so, even though it was cold, I slipped out of bed, pulled some wool socks on and grabbed a blanket.
    Tiptoeing out of the room I crept softly to the front room where the fire still glowed. Curling up with the blanket around me, I sat in Pa’s armchair. Wellington stretched out before the chair and went back to sleep. “I told you to stay there,” I whispered to him, but he only flopped his tail from one side to the other.
    I jerked my head up. Pa was standing in the doorway. “I couldn’t sleep,” I replied softly.
    “Is something wrong?” he asked coming over. “You’ve been awfully quiet since Uncle Scott came.” When I didn’t reply, he put a log on the fire and, sitting down across from me asked quietly, “Do you want to talk about it?”
    For a minute I only sat and watched the flames dance on the log. Then I blurted out, “Why did he have to marry her?”
    “Perhaps because he loved her and knew she was the only one for him.”
    That answer didn’t satisfy me and I frowned.
    “Are you just objecting to Katy or to the whole idea of your uncle having another person to compete for his time now?”
    I looked up, startled. Pa had a way of coming right to the heart of things with no beating around the bush.
    “Are you just a little jealous, Danny?”
    Giving a small half smile, I looked at Pa. “Perhaps.”
    “Katy isn’t going to take your place, remember. And I think that if you give her a chance, you just might find yourself liking her.”
    I rather doubted it, for I didn’t like city girls who didn’t know how to do things, though I didn’t say as much.
    Pa seemed to be able to read my mind, for he added, “Just give her a chance, Son.”
    I nodded. I’d try, but I still thought Uncle Scott had picked the wrong girl.
    “Now, get to bed,” Pa ordered, standing up and banking the fire. “Tomorrow is a school day and you’ll have twice as much homework to do.”
    Back in bed, I fell straight to sleep.

    Pa’s prediction of snow came true, for there were several inches of snow on the ground when Josh and I headed out to do chores in the morning. Wellington delighted in rolling in it and barking at the flakes that were still coming down. I tossed a couple of snowballs and he went tearing after them barking and carrying on like it was the battle of Waterloo and they were the French.
    After eating a quick breakfast, Josh and I put on our coats and hats, pulled on our boots, grabbed our school books and set off for school. I was determined to work as hard as I could and make up for missing yesterday, but I couldn’t help wondering if it wouldn’t have just been better if I had gone to school then too.

    When Josh and I arrived home after school, we discovered Mother and Uncle’s wife busy baking in the kitchen. So, she at least knew how to cook.
    “Danny,” Mother exclaimed, “I’m glad you’re home. We’re about to run out of wood for the stove and neither your pa nor your uncle seems to have the ability to bring in the right wood. Their pieces are either too long or too fat.”
    I hurried to change and brought in the wood and filled the wood box. Mother let me have a few hot cookies before I headed off to help with chores. I shared my cookies with Wellington for he loves cookies almost as much as I do.

So, what do you think now?
Or do you think at all?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Danny's Thanksgiving - Part 2

Good Morning FFFs,
I'm on vacation so I'm not getting this posted as early as I usually do. I was trying to find the Sudoku puzzle in the paper this morning and finally after looking at all the pages I discovered it on a page I had already looked at. I think they hide it because it hasn't been on the same page two days this week. Oh well.

So much for getting any writing done while at Grandma's. Like I said, I'm on vacation. I have gotten some things done. Like going book shopping. :) We have 88 books to take back home with us. I do like books. Some will be going on Paper Back Swap. By the way, if you aren't signed up on PBS just click on the button on the side of my blog and check it out. I'll be happy to answer any questions you have about it.

Oh, you know that trap we have had at our house trying to catch the skunks? Well, Dad caught a Possum in it the other night and he's trying to  catch the groundhog. That would be nice. I said we were just doing a "school project" to see what kind of wildlife live in the city around us. :)

Well, here is Part 2 of the Thanksgiving story. I hope you enjoy it.

Part 2
    Starting off across the back pasture, Wellington was so excited that at first he ran circles around me and barked at anything that moved whether it was a leaf or a rabbit.
    The mountains were still a hazy blue with low clouds hovering over them, but the aspen grove at their base seemed almost to be on fire for their gold and orange leaves were reflecting the afternoon sun while the grass all around was tawny.
    “Wellington,” I sighed, pausing a moment to enjoy the scene before us, “do you ever remember seeing such a perfect autumn?”
    Wellington wagged his tail and gave a short bark.
    “I don’t either. But come on,” I urged, “let’s get going before the sun sets.”
    I wish I could write down all that we saw on that tramp through field and wood; the multi colored leaves, of which I brought a good collection home to Mother, the nuts that I filled my pockets and cap with, the animals which Wellington chased and the ones he didn’t because I told him to stay; all of it would take me hours to write down and writing it is never the same as living it and seeing and hearing it yourself.
    It was Wellington who reminded me of the time. He stopped in front of me and barked.
    “What is it, boy?” I asked, looking around for something that might have interested him. But I could find nothing.
    Again he barked, looking pleadingly at me and whining as he sat down practically on my feet.
    Then I noticed the sun was starting to set. “Oh, you think we should head home, huh?” I asked, attempting to scratch his ears without dropping my leaves.
    For answer he reared up and almost knocked me down!
    “Whoa,” I cried taking a quick step backwards to save myself. “All right, lead the way, Lord Wellington, and I will follow. We must be returning from Waterloo with our spoils.”
    Happy to oblige, Wellington started off, tail waving gaily while I tramped after him, toting my treasures.
    We reached home before dark, and Mother was pleased with the leaves and nuts. She told me we should go nutting tomorrow if it was a fine day and Pa didn’t have other plans.

    We did go nutting on Saturday. Pa thought it was a good idea to gather nuts for roasting this winter. All five of us went. Wellington didn’t gather any nuts but he did dig in the leaves thereby uncovering more for the rest of us. When I climbed some of the trees to shake the branches, Wellington had a fit. He barked and jumped at the tree. I’m not sure if he wanted to climb up too or if he was just worried that I would fall out. I didn’t and we returned late in the afternoon laden with nuts of all kinds.

    The days passed full of school, chores and helping Mother about the house. Wellington and I did manage to fit in several more tramps through the woods and I kept wondering what Uncle Scott was bringing. Never before had he told us he was bringing a surprise, so why did he tell us this time? Josh had no more idea than I did for I asked him several times. Mother always said,
    “Just wait, Danny. I reckon we’ll all find out when Uncle Scott arrives.”
    And Pa was no help. He simply shrugged and replied, “There’s no tellin’ what your uncle would think to bring. We’ll just have to wait and see.”
    Of all of them, Wellington was the most sympathetic and companionable about it. When we went out together, just us two, I’d often talk about what the surprise could be and he never told me to just be patient or to wait and see. Sometimes he would whine or bark when I asked him what he thought.
    And so, the days slowly passed. The leaves on the aspens dropped off leaving their branches bare while higher on the mountains the snow was to be seen. We got some snow. Not a whole lot, but enough to change the look of the landscape.

    One day in early November, Wellington and I rode into town with Pa for supplies. The breath from the horses was steamy clouds. Warmly dressed, Pa and I didn’t mind the cold and Wellington seemed to relish the brisk air as we rolled along the rutted, bumpy road to town. Arriving, I tied the horses while Pa threw blankets over them. He hadn’t let them get too warm, but it would be cold just standing there.
    Wellington waited for us in the wagon while we picked up the supplies. Ma had sent us with a list of things, so it took longer than usual. Having carried things from the store to the wagon, Pa let Wellington and me run down to the telegraph office just to see if there was anything from Uncle Scott. Off we raced down the street. Wellington was so delighted to be off and running that just trying to keep up with him left me breathless long before we reached the office.
    “Well, Danny,” a deep voice chuckled as I paused, gulping mouthfuls of the nippy air. “I see that dog of yours is in a hurry to get someplace.”
    I looked up. There stood Carl Smith, grinning. As soon as I could speak I replied, “Yep, he’s watching for a telegram.”
    “Well I hope he gets it,” Carl laughed, moving on to talk to Pa.
    I waited until Wellington, who had raced to the edge of town before stopping, had returned, tail wagging excitedly. He barked when he reached me.
    “I know you beat me,” I told him, roughing up his silky ears. “And-- Hey! Knock it off!” I cried trying to shove Wellington’s head away from my face which he was licking exuberantly. “It’s too cold to be so wet! Wellington!” It was hopeless. Wellington was in no mood to be calm and listen to anything I had to say. Finally I managed to stand up and start down the road again.
    Barking and running in circles, Wellington accompanied me to the telegraph office where Mr. Silk met us at the door.
    “I knew it had to be Wellington with all that commotion,” Mr. Silk laughed, patting Wellington’s head. “Only one dog barks like that. Glad you came, it saves me a long ride out to your place later.”
    “You mean you have a telegram for us?” I asked eagerly.
    “Yep. Got it right here,” and he handed me the yellow piece of paper.
    “Thank you, Mr. Silk,” I called over my shoulder, for Wellington and I were already trotting back to the wagon and Pa.
    Uncle Scott was coming on the ten-fifteen train on the eighteenth. That was only twelve days away! I wondered all the way home what surprise he might be bringing.
    “Pa,” I asked suddenly, “did Uncle Scott’s letter say who the surprise was for?”
    Frowning in thought, Pa remained silent for a short space of time before replying, “Nope, I don’t think he did. Why? Are you still trying to figure it out?” He glanced over at me.
    I admitted that I was or at least trying to get a few ideas. “But,” I told him, “I can’t think of a single thing that sounds right.”
    Pa chuckled. “Well, when we get home, there will be a heap of chores to keep you from stewing too much about that surprise. And there is plenty to keep you, Josh and me busy these next twelve days until he comes. And I reckon your ma has a long list as well.”
    Pa was right. I really didn’t have time to think about the surprise, not with repairing part of the barn, taking care of the stock, attending school and helping Mother about the house. Only Wellington had time to lie around and dream, but if he ever came up with any ideas, he never told me.

    At last the eighteenth of November arrived. I was up bringing wood for the kitchen stove and getting the fire going before Pa came downstairs.
    “You’re sure up early,” Pa greeted me with a grin. “You wouldn’t want to go into town with me, would you?”
    “And skip school?” I asked in disbelief but full of excitement. I had never dreamed of such a thing.
    “It’s not every day Uncle Scott comes out,” Pa began, then added, looking closely at me, “If I let you out from school today, you’ll have to work twice as hard tomorrow to make up.”
    “I will!” I promised almost before he finished speaking.
    “All right,” was all he said but he shook hands with me and I knew no matter how difficult it would be, I’d have to study twice as hard if need be to keep my word.
    Wellington seemed puzzled when Josh and I didn’t start off for school as usual, but when we set off for town, he was overjoyed to accompany us. Mother stayed at home to get some more baking done. I had filled the wood box and even piled some on the floor next to it so that she wouldn’t run out.

Will you be back next week?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Danny's Thanksgiving - Part 1

Good Morning Faithful Friday Fiction Fans,
Are you enjoying this lovely fall weather? Yesterday was cold and windy. It is still dark out this morning so I'm not sure what kind of a day it is going to be. I did stick my head out the window to take a look at the little skunk we caught and it was cold. This skunk is mostly black. The last one was mostly white. Now if we can just catch the third one that is a mixture, we'll have all the baby skunks out of the neighborhood. So far in our trap we have caught two cats, one squirrel, one raccoon and two skunks. Not bad for a city. :)

I taught my last writing classes yesterday afternoon. These classes have been such fun and now I am looking forward to January when we can start up again. :)  I had the girls each write a character sketch of a person for a story and now I get to take the three characters and write a short story about them. It should be interesting. Of course I did tell them that it might not get done for a little while as I had other things I had to write.

Speaking of writing, today's story is the first part of a longer short story for Noah. Thanks Noah for the instructions. My word count was supposed to be 2,000+ well, I certainly did the + since it ended up nearly 6,000 words long. So, this story will last all of November.
I started working on one Christmas story, but I didn't get very far. I knew I needed to get a new one written for December and wanted to get it done so I had it ready. Well, I thought and thought, pondered and puzzled. What should I write about? And then I thought, "Why don't I write a Christmas story that can be used in 'this' book later?" Brilliant idea! I wasn't sure what would happen, but I thought it would be fun to write. And, I was write, I mean right. :) I am having fun. But, (don't you just love it when someone adds that little word?) I was telling Mom what I was working on and she had another idea. "Why don't you write a Christmas story about so-and-so?" "Oh," I said, "that would be fun! And my readers would LOVE it!" I haven't started it yet since I'm trying to finish the first one first. Then I can work on it.

And I'm rambling on and on again. Oh, did you notice the new little "help wanted" at the top right of this page? If not, please go read it and help me out. :) 
Thanks. Now you can read Part 1. Enjoy!

This was the picture for the story.

Danny’s Thanksgiving
Rebekah M.

    “Danny! D--a--nny!”
    My mother’s voice rang out from the house across to the barn where I was helping Pa and Josh bed down the horses for the night.
    “Best run along, Son,” Pa told me. “Josh an’ I’ll finish up. Tell yer ma we’ll be along shortly.”
    I would much rather have stayed and helped with the horses because I like animals, but I knew that Mother must need me. As I came out of the barn, Wellington, my Springer Spaniel rose from where he had been sleeping, catching the last light of the sun, and came to me, tail wagging and tongue hanging out.
    I scratched his head quickly and ran to the house, Wellington staying right at my heels. Two years ago, for my tenth birthday, Uncle Scott had come up on the train for a visit. He brought Wellington, who was then just a pup, with him. Ever since that time, Wellington and I have hardly ever been apart, except when I have to go to school.
    When we reached the house, Mother said she needed more firewood for the stove and I hurried off to get some. It sure smelled good when I came in later with my arms full. Glancing about, I saw Mother had baked two pies. One was apple and the other pumpkin.
    She must have seen my look, for she said, “Sorry, Danny, you’ll have to wait until after supper.”
    I had to laugh. “Didn’t you make anything we can eat now?” I asked as my stomach growled.
    “Supper will be ready in just a few minutes,” she replied, stirring the soup on the stove, and then, as she opened the oven door and the aroma of fresh, hot biscuits filled the kitchen, she asked, “Where are your father and Josh?”
    “Pa said they’d be along shortly.” I had sat down on the floor and was pulling a few burs from Wellington’s coat. Mother has always let Wellington come inside. She used to tell me about the dog she had when she was a girl. That is funny to think about; Mother being a little girl.
    Wellington whined and pushed his nose under my arm. I fondled his ears and scratched his head, his tail thumping against the cabinet. My stomach rumbled again and Wellington’s ears pricked up and he cocked his head. I think he was wondering what was wrong with me.
    “Danny,” Mother said, “since you are just sitting there--” She didn’t finish her sentence, but I knew what she wanted.
    “Sorry, Boy,” I whispered loudly, watching Mother out of the corner of my eye, “I guess we should have gone back outside.” But I stood up and set the table with a grin. Since I didn’t have any sisters, I often helped Mother about the house, but then, so did Josh and Pa when they weren’t busy with other chores.
    Soon supper was on the table and Pa and Josh had come in and washed up. Pa asked the blessing and we all began to eat. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted anything as good as Mother’s cooking.
    “This sure hits the spot, Beth,” Pa told Mother. “Warms a body right up on a chilly night like tonight.”
    “Do you think we’ll get snow, Pa?” Josh asked, slathering butter on another hot biscuit.
    Pa shook his head. “Nope, not this week. It’s still a might early.”
    We were interrupted then by the sound of a horse riding up followed by a knock on the kitchen door.
    Pa opened it to find Carl Smith, who lives about ten miles away, standing on the porch.
    “Why Carl, what brings you out this way so late? Would you like some hot supper?”
    With a deep laugh Carl stepped into the bright, cozy room. “I was just ridin’ back from town. I got held up on business, but,” and he reached into his pocket and pulled out a slightly crumpled envelope, “this was waitin’ for you at the post office so, seein’ as how I passed yer place to get home, Mr. Dickland asked me to bring it to you.”
    “I was meaning to get out to town some time soon, but things have been busy here. Thanks for bringing it out. Stay for some supper?” Pa offered again.
    As he hesitated, Mother spoke up, “I always make enough for guests. You can’t ride home on an empty stomach to a cold, dark house and a cold supper. Besides,” she added with a smile, “I baked an apple pie today.” Mother knew Carl’s weakness for fresh apple pie.
    Carl’s bearded face broke into a grin. “When you put it that way, Mrs. Chester, a man can’t well refuse you.”
    I jumped up to help. While Mother brought out more dishes, I carried in another chair from the front room and Josh hurried out to take care of Carl’s horse.
    I wondered what was in the letter, but I knew better than to ask, especially when we had a guest. I wouldn’t exactly call Carl a guest though. Even if he does live so far away, we see him often on his way to or from town. He wasn’t usually this late, however.
    Carl left soon after he had eaten, for he did have ten miles to ride. After he left, while Josh and I helped Mother clean up, Pa opened his letter and read it. It was from Uncle Scott. He said he was going to come for Thanksgiving! He would telegraph his arrival time later when it was closer to Thanksgiving, and he said he was bringing a surprise.
    I should explain that Uncle Scott is Pa’s younger brother. Pa has three brothers but only Uncle Scott lives close enough to visit us. All that evening I wondered what Uncle Scott was bringing. Last time he came he brought Josh a new rifle. Of course, it was still over a month until Thanksgiving. That was enough time to wonder and puzzle over it all I wished, but first I headed out with Josh to do the last few chores and make sure everything was shut up for the night.
    Wellington trotted along between us, the light of the lantern Josh carried falling on his brown and white coat. It was quiet out under the stars, and chilly too.
    “It sure is nippy out tonight,” Josh remarked quietly.
    I nodded, shoving my hands deeper into my coat pockets. Neither of us said more than a dozen words as we finished the chores. Josh never was one to talk much. He’s always been quiet, thoughtful, slow and easy going.
    As we walked back to the house, the howl of a coyote was heard in the still night air. Wellington pressed close to my side and whined.

    The following morning was slightly overcast. The mountains behind our farm, which were covered in pine and evergreen trees, appeared blue in the low clouds. After chores and breakfast were over, the sun burst forth with its warming rays. It was cool still, just the kind of day that was perfect for a walk in the woods. The only problem was, I had to go to school.
    I’m afraid I did more daydreaming that day than studying. Miss Randall had to call my name twice that morning during reading because I was staring out the window, and during math I gave the wrong answer to three easy problem causing me to lose my place at the top of the class.
    At recess Josh cornered me and gave me a short lecture about paying attention. I can’t say that I blame him. I don’t remember ever having this much trouble. Not only were the woods calling me, but I was puzzling over Uncle Scott’s surprise.
    Josh must have understood some of what I was going through for he said, “The woods will still be there.”
    I did try harder the rest of the day and found that when I really set my mind to it, I could concentrate on school if I really wanted to. I didn’t really want to be a problem for Miss Randall.
    Racing home from school, I found Wellington as eager and excited to see me as I was to see him. It was Friday, so no school for two days. Rapidly I changed clothes then hurried off to find Pa.
    He said I could go for a walk if I took the shotgun and was home before dark. I promised I would be and raced to the house to tell Mother where I was going and get the shotgun.

Come back next week for Part 2
P.S. Do you like it so far?