Summer has come. We actually turned on the air conditioning yesterday afternoon because it was so warm and muggy. I think we've only had it on once or twice this year. But this morning we are back to having the windows open. :)
It's been a good week of staying home and getting things done! After having such a crazy month of May, June has started out at a slower pace, allowing me to feel like I'm accomplishing some things.
However, I'm afraid that writing hasn't been as productive as it was earlier this year. Perhaps it's because I haven't written much last month, perhaps it's because I got a little stuck on the new "Graham Quartet" story, perhaps it's because of many other things. Anyway, it's been slower. But, I do have the start of the "Graham Quartet" mystery and I just might post the first part next Friday. :) But you'll have to give me all the help you can. I'll need questions, ideas, suggestions, more questions, and anything else you can think of. Maybe that will spur on my brain and I'll be able to get this story written. :)
This week I was also getting an interview ready for a blog. It turned out rather fun. If you want to go read it (You may learn some new things about me.), head on over to Kristy's Cottage and read it. Kristy is also going to be doing a fun giveaway of TCR-1 and my two audios later today and as soon as it's up, I'll come back and link to it on here, so stay tuned. :)
I think that's all the news I have for you now. I hope you enjoy this final part of
The Old Wagon
Everyone breathed a deep sigh of relief when we again reached a flatter land. The going was easier after that, until we came to a river. This one reminded me of the large one we had crossed when I was young and I dreaded it. I’m afraid I dug my wheels in the mud on purpose to avoid getting on another ferry. But it didn’t help. Erik conquered my stubbornness and made me get on board, just as he always prevailed when one of his children got in a stubborn fit and didn’t want to mind. The crossing wasn’t as bad as I had feared, but I was relieved when we reached the other side.
At last we reached the new home. There was no place to move into right away, and my family had to spend more nights in me while the house was being built. I didn’t mind. Even if the load was still resting in my bed, I at least had the pleasure of remaining still during the day, for which my wheels were grateful.
My family did finally move in o the newly built home and I was unloaded once more and my canvas top removed. I breathed a sigh as the rays of the warm summer sun fell on my bed, so long hidden from the light. Perhaps now my days of long traveling were over. Would this be my home until I could no longer be used?
As the seasons passed, I watched the Mattingly children grow. I carried them to town, on Sundays for church, during the week to go shopping, and on other occasions for gatherings of various natures. It was a pleasant life to lead. Elizabeth often drove me when her husband was busy in the fields. Sometimes I even carried a load of hay to the barn, with many laughing children piled on the top. When the children grew older, the older boys would hitch up the horses to me and, after all the children had climbed in, we’d make an excursion to the pecan groves farther away and come back with baskets filled with nuts. In winter I was often driven into the barn when the fierce cold winds would sweep across the plains sometimes bringing snow to cover everything outside.
But my tale is growing long. Perhaps that is because I have had so many years of life. The Mattingly children grew up and not one of them sought a new life away from their home. I often wondered what would have happened had any of them decided to head west. Would they have loaded me up again, or would they have taken a train? I’ve seen those steam cars many times.
One time I remember well. I had been driven to the station by Elizabeth’s oldest son, Bern. (They had named him Bernard, but no one would ever remember to call him that.) Bern had gone to meet his younger brother Lee who was returning from somewhere. The horse driving me was a young thing, not well acquainted with trains. I’m not sure how it happened, but when the train roared in, the horse became frightened and shook its reins loose from the hitching post and raced away. There I was, bouncing along, turning every which way as though I was a young inexperienced wagon bent on mischief. It took me a little time to collect my startled thoughts, for the jarring and jolting of my wheels over the rocks was not pleasant. At last it came to me that if I were to turn over, I might stop the horse. There wasn’t much time for reflection. I spied a grassy slope ahead and suddenly I flipped over. Let me tell you it was a nail jarring crash. My wheels spun in the air faster than I had ever known they could. I had stopped the horse all right, but every board and nail in me protested.
There was quite a commotion over me and the horse when a crowd from the station reached us. The horse was calmed down and unhitched, and, with difficulty, for I was no light spring wagon, I was turned back over onto my wheels. Much to my amazement, I had received very little damage and was able to be driven home. I doubted that anyone ever knew what a large part I had played in stopping that runaway horse that day.
Well, the children grew up and married and had children of their own. I saw the new invention, the automobile, and, like many another wagon, wondered how long it would last. They are still around, but I’ve never met any as old as me, and I wonder if they have as long a lifespan as wagons do.
Elizabeth kept me at the farm, for she couldn’t bear to part with me, and when the family would all gather, I was often hitched up to take the younger children for a ride. I was painted several bright colors over the years, but the weather of the changing seasons has worn most of it off.
But all that fun and delight seem to be over. Elizabeth has been dead so many seasons, and no longer do I get to enjoy the feel of moving along the dirt road with a load of children all talking and laughing. Here I sit on a plot of grass alone and watch those young automobiles race by at speeds never dreamed of by wagons. Sometimes children come and climb up on me and pretend they are pioneers heading west. I love those times, for they bring back such pleasant memories. There have also been times when one of the long line of Elizabeth’s descendants chooses to have a family picture taken on or beside me because, “it’s a neat old thing and Great Grandma loved it.”
I creaked my delight at being remembered, but someone only said, “Be careful climbing on that thing, Joe, it might break.”
I could tell you more stories if you cared to listen, but not many do these days. They are always in a hurry. But thanks for stopping by.
So, what did you think?
Will you ever look at an old wagon the same way?
Are you looking forward to "The Graham Quartet"?
Did you go read the interview?