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.|
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?