Friday, September 26, 2014

Forget Not - Part 3

Good Morning Faithful Friday Fiction Fans!
Wow! What a week this has been! It's been good and busy, or was it busy and good? Hmm, not sure. But I'll let you have a glimpse of it.

Saturday––Spent nearly all day outside working. And we weren't doing the usual "yard work" of mowing, weeding, or trimming trees. This time we were taking out half of our raised garden, moving half of Mom's flower garden which is full of bulbs and plants and moving them into part of the flower garden part into the other garden, shoveling dirt, moving railroad ties, taking down wire fences which had been stapled to the railroad ties and making the play area larger so we could built a tree fort. Then in the evening we pretended it was Sunday and ate our "Sunday supper" and watched a movie as a family.

Sunday––Church, then lunch at home since we no longer have a meal together each Sunday since we've moved on to a different church. Then in the afternoon we had my niece's 8th birthday party. We played games, ate, and did presents.

Monday––First thing in the morning I found out that my married best friend was in labor. (She and her Canadian husband are down here for two months for the birth of their baby.) Nothing ended up happening that day. I sewed, read, and wrote. Got a lot written that evening on TCR-4.

Tuesday––My friend was in labor again. Little Asa was born at 2:19 that afternoon. I sewed, edited a chapter of a book for someone, and wrote more of TCR-4.

Wednesday––Well, I was going to go visit my friend and her baby in the morning, but that didn't work, so I sewed and taught two writing classes in the afternoon. Then late that afternoon I drove the 30 minutes to the house my friend is staying at (Her twin sister was with her that day too.) and got to hold Asa and read him his first book (I am a big fan of reading to children of all ages!), visited, ate supper and then came home. No time for writing that evening.

Thursday––I had papers to grade, but I didn't do them. Instead, after sewing a little, I went outside with Mom and we shoved old cedar mulch into the back of Dad's truck from the play area. The mosquitoes swarmed me! I would rather not be one of those people who attract mosquitoes, but I am. :P We laid down new weed guard and then started putting down rubber mulch. Worked on that until lunch. In the afternoon I helped my dad load 30 more bags of mulch into his truck and then worked outside. My brother dropped all 5 kiddos off around 4:30 and they helped Papa build the tree fort. Then another friend dropped her three oldest kids off and we had 8 kids 8 and under. It was CRAZY (and fun!). :) We spent nearly the entire time outside working and playing and getting dirty and swinging and climbing. It was after 9:00 before parents came to pick them up.

Today––We clean house this morning and then . . . I don't know what we're going to do. I'm hoping to write!

So there you have my week. I told you it was busy. :) Now you can relax and enjoy this last part of

Forget Not
Part 3

    “I do not!” Carlee snapped through her tears.
    “All right, hold it,” commanded Miss Retter firmly. “Both of you take a look at that clock over there.” She pointed with her crochet hook to the old grandfather clock. As her two visitors looked at it, she went on. “That clock has been in my family for over a hundred years and it’s still working. But one time it stopped. It just wouldn’t run. It doesn’t have batteries to replace, so my grandfather took it to a watchmaker friend who took one look at the mechanics inside and said, ‘A spring is broken.’ That was it. One little tiny part of a tiny spring had broken and the clock wouldn’t run. I think you two have the same problem. If it were something large between you, you would notice and fix it, but because it is such a little thing, it has gotten overlooked and now your relationship can’t move forward. So,” she added briskly, “What are you going to do about it? Let this thing destroy something good and beautiful or follow the apostle Paul’s advice and communicate?”
    The silence of the room was only broken by the steady ticking of the grandfather clock. Tick, tick, tick, tick.
    At last Kevin turned and said softly, “I’m sorry Car, I should have listened to you instead of just shrugging it off.”
    “And I should have tried to talk about it calmly instead of getting upset and assuming you didn’t care.” Carlee had raised her head and her eyes met the dark ones on the opposite side of the couch.
    Kevin gave a short laugh. “I guess we’re not so good at communicating.”
    “Not on trifles that matter,” Carlee agreed ruefully. “I just wish we could start over.”
    “Why don’t you?” Miss Retter asked.
    Both young people looked questioningly at each and then, with a grin, Kevin stood up. “You’re right, Miss Retter. We should. Thank you for your words of wisdom and your hospitality. And you’re invited to our wedding.”
    “Kevin! Carlee exclaimed, blushing violently.
    Kevin didn’t so much as look at her, but took his coat and left the house.
    “Now where is he—?” Carlee began, rising quickly.
    “You just leave him be, Carlee Shubert. He’s doing what he should be doing, starting over. Sit back down and finish your chocolate.”
    Carlee did as she was told but still Kevin didn’t return. Rising, she said, “I’ll take the dishes to the kitchen and clean up, Miss Retter.”
    “Why thank you, Deary,” Miss Retter smiled as she watched the slender young girl move easily from the room with the loaded tray.
    Hardly had she disappeared when a knock sounded on the door. “Come in,” Miss Retter called.
    “Good afternoon, Miss Retter,” Kevin smiled. “Do you know where Carlee is?”
    “She’s in the kitchen cleaning up. Carlee!”
    “Yes?” floated back that maid’s voice.
    “Just leave those dishes. I can do them later. Your young man is here for you.”
    A moment passed and then Carlee, with flushed cheeks, appeared. “Hello,” she said somewhat shyly.
    Kevin grinned. “Hi. Want to go out for a walk with me?”
    “Through the mud?” And Carlee looked down at her dirt covered shoes. “Why not. What’s a little more dirt going to hurt?” she asked lifting a smiling face. Then she turned. “Oh, Miss Retter, we shouldn’t leave you—”
    “Nonsense!” retorted that lady from her chair. “Your young man did such a good job with that bandage that I’ll be up and about in no time. Now get along with you.”
    And so they went. Both were silent until the car had pulled out of the driveway. It was Kevin who broke the silence. “I’m sorry, Carlee. I should have listened to you. It wasn’t considerate of me to not try to understand how you felt. Will you forgive me?”
    Carlee blinked back some tears as she whispered, “Yes.” Then her voice grew a little louder as she added, “I’m sorry too, for making such a big deal out of it. Will you forgive me too?”
    “Of course I will.” and Kevin reached over and squeezed her hand. “I guess we both need to work on learning to communicate with each other.”
    Parking the car, he got out and opened the door for Carlee. “Come on,” he said, “I think we should take the path to our tree. And if the mud is too deep in places I’ll either carry you across it or lay my coat down for you to walk on.”
    At that Carlee laughed. It was the first bright, free laugh she had had for days and to Kevin’s ears it was the sweetest sound he had ever heard.
    This time, the walk along the half frozen pond was full of light talk as Kevin helped “his girl” as Miss Retter had called her, over mud puddles and a few fallen branches. Though the air was cold and the wind that blew now and then was bitter, neither one noticed it.
    At last the object of their walk was reached, an old tree with their initials carved in it. Carlee looked about them with a smile of contentment. All was quiet. The low clouds had obscured the sun’s rays and gave the feeling of dusk out in the woods. When she turned to Kevin, who hadn’t said a word, she discovered him looking at her with a new light in his eyes.
    “What?” she asked.
    Instead of replying right away, Kevin dropped down on one knee before her and took her hand. “Carlee, I don’t deserve to ask you this after the way I’ve treated you these past few weeks, but we’ve forgiven each other and I must know, will you do me the honor of becoming Mrs. Kevin Worstell?”
    For a moment, Carlee could only stare. Never had she dreamed that he might propose this afternoon! And she had been cross with him! Oh, he was so sweet and true. He had been the first to admit he was wrong, he had apologized, he had helped Miss Retter, and been the first to take her hint about starting over. Would she marry him? With a sudden start, and flushing cheeks, she realized that he was still waiting for his answer. “Of course I will!” she exclaimed. “If you want me.”
    “Want you? Car!” Kevin looked almost reproachfully at her as with one hand he reached into his pocket and pulled out a small box. This he opened and held it out for her to see.
    “Oh, Kevin!” Carlee could only gasp.
    With tender hands, Kevin slipped the beautiful ring onto Carlee’s finger. “It’s official now, you’ve been branded as mine.”
    Carlee couldn’t reply, but her happy smile and the teary eyes which were fastened not on her new ring, but on “her guy’s” face, was all the answer Kevin needed.
    Standing up, he reached into another pocket and said, pulling out his pocket knife, “I think we need to add something to this tree.”
    Silently watching, Carlee wondered if he’d carve the date on the tree under their initials. But no, instead he painstakingly carved: “But to do good and to communicate forget not.”
    “I think this should be our verse together, Carlee,” Kevin remarked quietly when he had finally finished the last letter.”
    Carlee gave a deep sigh and nodded. After tucking her hand with its new precious ring through Kevin’s arm, she whispered, “And may we never forget this day.”
    Bowing their heads, the young couple prayed together asking for strength and courage to never forget to communicate.

Did you like it?
Do you ever have the same problem Carlee and Kevin had?
Will you be back next week for "Dr. Morgan"?

Friday, September 19, 2014

Forget Not - Part 2

Good Morning Friday Fiction Fans,
I hope you are enjoying some lovely tastes of fall. The weather has been cooler this week, but the mosquitoes are so bad we hardly dare go outside! I'll be glad when we hit a really cold spell and those pesky, villainous creatures die.

I have gotten more writing on TCR-4 done this week, but not as much as I had hoped. But I am over half way done and I have a rough plan for the rest of the book. Of course I'm not sure just when I'll have to wrap things up since I don't know how long different events will take, but I have two places I can stop. If I have to end the book sooner, then I can save the other parts for a Book 5. :) You wouldn't mind, would you?

This week I've been doing a bit of sewing, which you might know, is not a favorite activity. But I'm sewing bags this time so I really don't mind. My sister had boxes of denim scraps from sewing projects she had done for people, so we decided to turn those scraps into bags. They are the "ragged" bags and are pretty cute. We will try to sell them at a "Farm Girls Fest" next month.

I hope you all enjoy this next part of

Forget Not
Part 2

 Last week . . .
Thank you. Oh, Carlee?”
    Carlee turned in the doorway.
    “If you want to use more of the china dishes, you just go right ahead.”
    The young lady nodded and gave a slight smile. “Poor Miss Retter,” she thought. “She’s lonely and there’s no one to do special things for her. I’ll just make a tea party for her. I’d much rather do that than go someplace and have another argument with Kevin.” And she busied herself with china dishes, cookies, and hot chocolate.
    Back in the living room, Kevin, having taken off his coat and draped it over the back of a chair where Carlee had flung hers, asked, “Miss Retter, do you have a first-aid kit around here somewhere so that ankle can be taken care of?”
    “Oh my, yes. I forgot about it. Over in the right hand closet in the hall; it’s on the middle shelf. Did you find it?”
    “Sure did. Now let me see if we can get your shoe off.”
    “Are you a doctor?” Miss Retter inquired in astonishment as her shoe was taken off with capable hands and her visitor began to gently massage the injured ankle before bandaging it.
    “No, just a rancher. But we have to know how to take care of all kinds of things. It’s not the first time I’ve treated a sprained ankle.”
    “You sure know how to do it well. I declare, that feels much better all ready.” Miss Retter smiled as, her ankle firmly bandaged, a footstool was placed before her chair with a cushion for her injured limb. “Now, do sit down - Kevin, isn’t it? Carlee has told me quite a bit about you though I haven’t seen her for a few weeks. Oh, do you suppose you should go out and help her in the kitchen?”
    From the couch where he had seated himself, Kevin shook his head. “No, I’m sure she doesn’t want to see me now. I’d only get in her way,” he added hastily as a questioning look flashed across Miss Retter’s face. “I’m not much good messing around with china and dainty things like that.”
    “More at home with a grill and steaks or a pot of stew?”
    Kevin laughed. It was his first laugh all day and it felt good. “That’s it. I’m rather a clumsy chap with breakable things.”
    “How are you with hearts?”
    “Ma’am?” Kevin looked startled and flushed.
    “Human hearts are breakable too, especially a woman’s heart. I know for I am one. They must be handled with care, Kevin.”
    There was no time for Kevin to make a reply for Carlee entered the room a moment later bearing a tray loaded with a silver tea pot, three china cups and saucers and a plate of chocolate-chip cookies. This was carefully set down on the coffee table and Carlee began pouring steaming cocoa into the cups.
    “Here, Miss Retter,” she said, handing a cup to the older woman and then offering the plate of cookies.
    “Why Carlee, this is quite delightful. I haven’t had anyone over for tea or chocolate in ages! Now you just sit down there on the couch with your suitor and join us.”
    Carlee did as she was requested but didn’t give an adoring glance at Kevin as Miss Retter expected. She simply poured him a cup of cocoa and then one for herself before settling in a corner of the couch.
    Silence fell on the trio for a full five minutes until the old, ornate, grandfather clock chimed the hour of two.
    “I suppose we should go,” Carlee suggested drearily.
    “Nonsense!” Miss Retter chided. “We haven’t visited yet and neither one of you has finished your chocolate. Besides,” she added briskly, “I want to know what the trouble is between you two. Oh, don’t try to tell me there’s no trouble, Carlee. Don’t forget I’ve known you since you were five-years-old. And I may be an old maid, but I’ve been around long enough to know when young folks have problems. Now,” Miss Retter set her cup down on the table beside her, picked up her crocheting and nodded. “Which of you is going to begin?”
    Kevin glanced at the girl whose heart he had worked so hard to win. What was wrong? He wasn’t quite sure he knew except in a general way.
    Keeping her eyes on her cup of chocolate, Carlee frowned. Did she dare tell Miss Retter about their quarrel?
    “Come on, one of you had better get to talking,” Miss Retter ordered briskly. “I’ll keep you here all night if you don’t up and out with it, as my brother and I used to say when we were small.”
    “He just doesn’t care about how I feel!” Carlee burst forth with feeling.
    “How you feel about what?” Kevin demanded.
    “Everything!” she retorted. “Ever since that day when—”
    “Oh, not that again!”
    “If you’d just get off your high horse and listen to my feelings for once maybe we could drop it, but no, your way is the only way and—”
    Kevin interrupted her. “Good grief, Car. That was almost three weeks ago! Can’t you get over it?”
    “Get over it?” Carlee placed her unfinished cup down, tucked her legs under her and crossed her arms. “How can I when you won’t apologize or admit that you might be wrong! It’s probably a good thing we aren’t engaged.”
    “Why?” Kevin sat up straight and stared at the girl beside him.
    Carlee’s voice sank to almost a whisper. “So it won’t cause a commotion when we break up.”
    “What!” It was almost a shout and Carlee hid her face in the back of the couch to avoid the eyes that stared at her.
    “Now wait a minute you two,” Miss Retter put in before another word could be said by either of her guests. “I don’t know what all the fuss is about, but I do know a solution besides breaking up. That would only fix the outside, but not the real hurt. Kevin, could you hand me that Bible beside you?”
    It was silently handed over.
    Turning the leaves of the well worn book, Miss Retter went on, “You are both followers of Christ, are you not?”
    Both heads nodded.
    “Then listen to this verse in Hebrews. ‘But to do good and communicate forget not.’” Miss Retter looked up with a smile. “It sounds to me as though you two haven’t communicated enough.”
    “How can I when he won’t listen to me?” Carlee sniffed.
    “I’ve listened to you, Car, but you never listen to me,” argued Kevin. “All you do is complain when I mention it.”
    “I do not!” Carlee snapped through her tears.

What will happen?
Have you ever needed to communicate?
Will you be back for the last part next week?

Friday, September 12, 2014

Forget Not - Part 1

Good Morning FFFs!
It's a lovely, chilly morning here. Cloudy, a cool breeze from the north and the sounds and feelings of fall are just delighting me. The other day the crows were having a fit because a red tailed hawk was riding on the breeze over our neighborhood.

My week has been productive. :) I'm delighted with everything I have been able to get done or worked on. I've been feeling behind for months and now I'm finally starting to feel as though perhaps I can catch up on things and make progress on my "to do" list.

One of the things I've gotten a good bit done on, is writing. And yes, I've been working on TCR-4. Monday was the best writing day with Tuesday coming in a close second. Wednesday I was able to get a little written while teaching a writing class. :) (I know, you are probably wondering what kind of a teacher I am! My two students were each writing a short story themselves, so instead of just sitting around staring at them or the clock for 20 minutes, I figured I might as well write too. :) ) Last night I got a good bit written. That will probably be it for this week though, since tonight my grandparents will be down and we'll have a birthday party for my niece, "Pickle Puss," who is going to turn 8 next week!!!!! Then tomorrow we're all (my brother's family, grandparents and us) going to a State Park for a special day they are having.

I thought of giving you a Dr. Morgan today, but I don't know what I haven't posted and my notebook is elsewhere, so you'll have to settle for this story. I'm not sure if you'll all enjoy it, but I hope you will tell me what you think. :) I promise though, that I will give you a Dr. Morgan after this story is over. :) If you can wait.

Forget Not
Part 1

    The pond had a thin skin of ice on it, thick enough for a few geese to walk on, but certainly not strong enough for anything heavier. On the other side snow could still be seen on the slopes under the dark, bare trees. It was a grey day in February, a cold, dreary, miserable day. The kind of day no one really wants to be outside. It was just above the freezing point so the ground was sloppy and mud clung to shoes in an aggravating way.
    Carlee Schubert frowned as she tried to avoid the muddiest places along the water. “Slow down, Kevin.”
    “You should have worn boots instead of tennis shoes,” the young man retorted, stopping to wait.
    “I don’t have any. And it’s cold out here, and I would rather be home!”
    “Fine. I thought we’d go to our place and talk, but if you want to go back, we’ll go back.”
    “You don’t have to be cross about it,” the girl snapped.
    “Who’s cross? You’re the one who’s been complaining ever since you stepped outside. You didn’t have to come with me, you know.”
    The short, auburn curls quivered in indignation while the blue eyes sparked. “Of course it’s all my fault! Now I won’t go back!” And with the perversity of women, Carlee stomped forward.
    “Well, good grief, Car, make up your mind!”
    “I have! Now are you coming?”
    Kevin rolled his eyes and followed. He didn’t know what was wrong or rather, he didn’t know when it had started. “It seems like all the days are like this now,” he muttered. “Cold and gloomy.”
    “What did you say?”
    “I was talking to myself.”
    “What were you saying about me?” Carlee demanded, whirling around.
    “I said the days have been cloudy and cold.” He glanced about at the bare trees, the drab leaves and grasses, the mud and the snow. “The sun hasn’t been out for a week.”
    If he expected a reply, he was disappointed, for none came, and in silence the young couple trudged forward along the edge of the pond.
    A sudden sharp cry from across the water caused both heads to turn swiftly. The blue figure of someone tumbling and sliding down the hill towards the pond and stopped only by crashing into a tree galvanized Kevin into action. With incredible speed, considering the muddy terrain he had to cross, he sped along the pond’s edge towards the motionless figure while Carlee flew after him, not noticing that her shoes were becoming covered in mud.
    Arriving breathless as Kevin knelt beside the fallen form, she gasped, “Is she hurt? Who is she?”
    “I don’t know. I think she’s unconscious, but her pulse is strong.”
    “I— I’m all right,” a faint voice replied. “I just had the breath . . . knocked out . . . of me.” Pushing herself up on one elbow and pulling her scarf away from her face, the woman asked, “Who are you?” as she gazed at Kevin’s face.
    “Kevin Worstell.”
    “Oh, you’re Carlee’s young man.”
    “Miss Retter?” Carlee pushed forward and knelt down in the snow beside the older woman. “Should we call the ambulance?”
    “What for, Dear? I’ve got my wind back. Now if you’ll just help me up, I think I can make it home all right.”
    But when they lifted her, Miss Retter moaned and leaned heavily on Kevin. “Oh dear. I’m afraid I turned my ankle. Carlee, see if you can’t find me a stout stick while I hang on to your guy for support. Then I can make my way home.”
    “Nonsense,” Kevin broke in. “My car is just over that rise. We can get you there and then can drive you to a doctor.”
    Miss Retter smiled. “That is very thoughtful of you, but I don’t need a doctor if I can just get home.”
    Though Carlee searched for a stout stick, none were to be found and she came back looking worried. “I can’t find one.”
    Miss Retter smiled. “Don’t worry, Dear, I’ll just use this strong arm for a crutch and hobble along. You won’t mind sharing him with me for just a little while, will you?”
    Carlee shook her head.
    However, when Miss Retter tried to put the slightest weight on her injured ankle, an involuntary cry of pain caused Kevin to suddenly stoop and lift her as though she were a child. “I’ll just carry you. We’ll go faster that way.”
    “But I don’t want you to hurt yourself,” protested Miss Retter.
    It was Carlee who answered. “He’s a rancher from Oklahoma, Miss Retter. He’s used to roping cows, and toting hay bales. I doubt he’ll even notice.”
    Not another word was spoken until the car was reached and all were in. “Where to now?” Kevin turned in the driver’s seat and looked back at Miss Retter who had insisted on riding in the back.
    “If you’ll just be kind enough to drive me to my home, I’d be much obliged. I know it’s not broken and I’ll just wrap it up and put ice on it. I’m sure it will be all right in a day or so.”
    Kevin nodded and started the car; he knew she was referring to her ankle and not her house. Carlee remained silent as Miss Retter gave Kevin directions to her house. This they reached in a few minutes and Kevin got out to assist Miss Retter.
    “Carlee, won’t you come in too, Dear?” Miss Retter asked. “I baked some cookies this morning and I’d like to get to know your young man.”
    With a silent nod, Carlee climbed out of the car, took the house key from Miss Retter and unlocked her front door.
    Once set down in her favorite chair near the window, Miss Retter smiled brightly. “It isn’t very often that I have visitors on such a dreary day. Carlee, won’t you go and get the cookies? Use one of the pink and white china plates, Dear. And won’t you put the kettle on so we can have hot chocolate? Thank you. Oh, Carlee?”
    Carlee turned in the doorway.

What do you think is going on?
Will you be back next week for the next part?
This story is only three weeks long.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Being Decisive - Part 5

Hello Friday Fiction Fans!
I'm having a hard time believing it could be Friday, but I'll post anyway. :)

My week has been busy. I've had three evening of writing and have gotten some done. Not as much as I would have liked, but at least it was something. I've also done a lot of trying to catch up on things and working on odds & ends that just hadn't gotten done.
 Last night we were babysitting the kiddos. Actually we had them all morning too. But they went home to take naps and didn't return until about 5:30 or so. Tonight we have a wedding to go to, but maybe I can write Saturday night. I have lots of ideas for the 4th TCR book, but I either get stuck in little places or I don't have time to write. I'm going to try to do better. You all can pray I have time and that the story moves along. Would you all like TCR-4 by Christmas? I'm not promising anything, but I might be more motivated with more feedback. :)

Well, this is the last part of Being Decisive. I think I'll post "Forget Not" next week. Well, I'll at least start it next week. :) Perhaps in the midst of writing TCR-4 I can get a few other short stories written that are just waiting for me. I always have several stories going at once, at least in my brain. :P I know, I'm strange. But I don't like to have more than one book started that I'm reading. Go figure.

And here is the last and final part! Enjoy!

Being Decisive
Part 5

Mel’s aunt and uncle were there waiting, and Dick was swiftly transferred from the truck to the car in the midst of a babble of words from the excited younger girls, calm, direct instructions and replies from the older boys, and soothing ones from Cath and Aunt Mary.
    During the confusion, Mel managed to slip unnoticed from the truck and hobble up the steps and into the kitchen. Dropping into the first chair she came to, she leaned her tired, aching head on her arms and gave a little whimper. She wanted to go up to bed, but the pain in her feet made her delay just a little longer. The noise outside died down and then the sound of boots on the porch was heard. How Mel wanted to go hide right then! If it hadn’t been for her, no one would have gotten hurt. Oh, why had she agreed to go to Lookout Rock?
    Reluctantly, tiredly, Melody lifted her head though her eyes remained lowered. “I . . . I . . . I’m sorry,” she stammered and then bit her lip in an attempt to keep back her tears lest her cousins think her a baby.
    “Sorry?” Don exclaimed. “Sorry for what?”
    And Cath added, as she knelt down beside her cousin, “You saved Dick’s life, Mel. If you hadn’t gone to him and stayed with him, he probably would have tried to move and would have fallen again.”
    “I still don’t know how you managed to climb that cliff, though,” Tom put in.
    Mel shrugged, and winced from pain. “I just had to do it.”
    “You were decisive when it counted,” Cath whispered.
    Gently Tom turned her hands over and looked at the raw palms. “Next time you try climbing a cliff, wear some gloves,” he teased with a smile, drawing up a chair as Don set a bowl of warm water down next to a first aid box. “Now let’s get them taken care of and then we’ll have a look at your feet.”
    Mel did her best not to cry as her cousins washed her cut hands and bandaged them, though they stung and smarted. Looking at her bound hands, she wondered how she was going to be able to do any of her assigned chores. It seemed impossible to hold anything right then.
    “Did you climb with your socks on, Mel?” Tom asked, scooting his chair farther back and looking down at her stocking feet.
    “No, but—” she added quickly as Don brought the bowl with fresh water back and sat down. “Could you please not do anything to my feet yet?”
    Don looked up quickly. “Why?”
    Mel shifted in her seat and hesitated. Her cousins waited in patient silence. “They don’t hurt too much right now if nothing touches them and I don’t move them. Please!” she begged, not sure she could keep back the tears if there was more pain.
    Slowly Tom shook his head. “Sorry, Mel,” he apologized, “but if your feet are anything like your hands, the sooner they are taken care of the better it will be. If you didn’t climb in your socks, when did you put them on?”
    “As you came down.” The reply was half whispered and Melody pressed her lips together as her socks were gently pulled off, exposing her cut and bruised feet.
    Don couldn’t hold back a low whistle which brought Cath and Lou over to look. Liz, who couldn’t stand the sight of blood, remained on the other side of the room. “How you ever managed to keep climbing with feet like this . . .” Don shook his head and left his sentence unfinished.
    Jim arrived before the feet were bandaged and raised his eyebrows at the sight, though he only said, “Here are your boots, Mel. The horses are fine. Dad call yet?”
    It wasn’t until much later, after supper was eaten that the phone call came. Dick was going to be fine. He had a broken leg, as Tom had suspected, but, because Melody had reached him quickly and had kept him quiet until help arrived, it wasn’t made worse by moving.
    Melody went to bed that night feeling much relieved by the good news, but the pain in her hands and feet kept her awake for quite a while. She was still awake when a car drove down the driveway. Sitting up in bed, she listened. Yes, it was her aunt and uncle bringing Dick home. With a sudden longing to see for herself that Dick was going to be okay, Melody managed to limp out into the upper hall. There she sat down at the top of the stairs and peered through the banisters.
    Moments later her uncle came in carrying Dick, followed by Aunt Mary. Don and Cath, who were the only ones who had waited up, said a few low words to Dick before he was borne upstairs. Melody knew she wouldn’t be able to slip back to her room before she was noticed, so she remained where she was.
    “Why, Mel,” her aunt said softly, “I thought you would be in bed.”
    “I just wanted to see that Dick really was . . .” her voice faltered as her eyes rested on the doorway into which her uncle had just disappeared.
    Aunt Mary must have understood for she patted Mel’s shoulder and whispered, “I’ll be back just as soon as I make sure Dicky is settled for the night.”
    A sob welled up inside her and suddenly all the tears she had been holding back began to trickle down her cheeks, and when her aunt and uncle returned, Mel was shaking with half suppressed sobs. Without a word Uncle John lifted her and carried her down to the living room. In the tender embrace of her aunt, Melody cried as she had rarely cried before. All the fear, self-reproach and anxiety she had held in check for so many hours, poured forth, and it was some time before her tears could be checked. At last, however, her sobs lessoned, and she leaned, exhausted against her aunt.
    “Mel,” Uncle John said, taking one of her bandaged hands in his, “your quick thinking and the swiftness with which you acted saved Dick’s life today. Thank you.”

    It was several days before Melody could walk about with comfort, and a full week before her uncle would allow her to return to all her chores. But Mel was happy. She felt that Don and Cath fully approved of her. Dick was getting well and she knew that she could be decisive when an emergency arose. When it came to the small things, however, she still couldn’t make up her mind.

Have you ever felt like Mel?
What did you think of the story?
Any other character qualities I should write about?
Let me know!