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?

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