My week has been busy! I've walked and walked and walked. Shouted and waved political signs on busy streets, stayed up later than normal, gotten up earlier than normal, knocked on strangers' houses, left literature about the Republican candidates, answered questions, and been very political, including meeting a few people I think you would like . . . And I'm not done yet. American Government Camp doesn't end until Wednesday! Yeah, I'll be really tired by then!
And, since this coming Tuesday is ELECTION DAY . . . Don't forget to go vote if you are old enough. If you are not old enough, make sure your parents and any older siblings go out and vote. I will once again be sitting all day long (for 13 hours) at a polling place on Tuesday. I'm hoping for a very busy day. Even if those kinds of days mean you hardly have time to eat, it's still much more fun than sitting around and wishing someone would come and vote. (I mean, only 1 or 2 voters an hour can get a little dull.)
I hope you enjoy this next part of Hymns in the Hills!
My Song Shall be of Jesus
“I do hope you will be able to make it each week. Why, Philip,” Mrs. Williamson added, turning to her husband and seizing his arm, “we could start a Sunday School.” She looked at the others. “We have wanted to start one, but there never seem to be enough children and young people who will come. Could you come and help us each week, do you think?”
Belle looked eagerly from Zeke to Ez. She wanted to say they would come but wasn’t sure Uncle Benjamin would let them go or if Zeke and Ez would be willing to bring them. “Do you think we could?” she whispered, looking up at Ez.
“We’ll have ta check with Pa,” Zeke finally said. “He ain’t home every Sunday an’ Ma’d get too tired with all the young’uns.”
Mrs. Williamson opened her eyes wider. “Are there more of you than the seven right here?”
“Reckon so,” Ali replied. “There’s Sade and Si, Tabby, Benny and Mattie.”
“Couldn’t they come along too? We’d be glad to have all of you.”
There was no immediate reply, and the silence began to grow uncomfortable until the minister said, “You don’t have to give any answer now. Chrissy is always ready to start something right away. But tell me, Zeke, just where do you live in the hills?”
In a few short sentences, Zeke gave Mr. Williamson directions, adding, “It ain’t as easy as it seems. Now we’d best be goin’.” He looked around. “Where’s Kade an’ Rome?”
Ez jerked his head in the direction of the sunny slope. There were the two younger boys, rolling down the hills, unmindful of their clean clothes.
“Ain’t Ma goin’ ta give ‘em what fer,” Ali whispered to Belle as the girls, after saying good bye to the minister and his wife, walked over to the wagon.
“Kade! Rome!” Zeke’s strong voice rang out on the quiet afternoon air. “If’n ya don’t aim ta walk back, ye’d best get ta the wagon.”
They were halfway home before anyone broke the silence. “Belle,” Ali asked, “are all minister’s like that one?”
Rubbing a thumb gently over the cover of her Bible, Belle shook her head. “No, they are all different. Like everyone is. Did you like him?”
“Uh huh. Zeke, ya think he’ll come see us?”
“But he asked fer directions.”
“I think he will.” Jess’s quiet voice interrupted anything Ali might have said.
“Why ‘ud he want ta come ta our house fer?” demanded Kade.
“Because ministers like to visit people.” Belle wasn’t sure why exactly, but she knew their minister back home visited folks.
The wagon rumbled and creaked over a few holes before Ali said, “Reckon he’d be comin’ ta see if’n you an’ Rome ken behave at home like ya did in church. If’n ya can’t he–”
“Ali–” Ez began.
“Quit tryin’ ta pick a fight,” finished Zeke. “Kade an’ Rome did good taday.”
Nothing else was said, but Belle could feel the pleasant mood had changed, leaving tension and ill will behind. Was there something she could say? No, but she could sing. Hoping that the others would join her, Belle began her song of the morning.
“My song shall be of Jesus,
His mercy crowns my days,
He fills my cup with blessings,
And tunes my heart to praise.”
The late afternoon sun was filtering down through the leaves of the trees. Evening was coming, but for now all seemed hushed and still, as though nature had taken a repose in preparation for their evening concert. Up on a rock, in the shade of a great oak, sat Belle, silent. It was the first hour she had spent alone since her arrival two days ago. With a soft sigh, she leaned back against the tree and looked up. “I suppose I will get used to it,” she murmured to herself. “I wonder what Mama would say if she could see this place. It is lovely, the colors of the flowers, the different shapes of the tree leaves, and the hills and the sky. It’s all so quiet here when the children are somewhere else.” Her thoughts drifted to her absent parents. “I hope you can rest today, Mama,” she whispered. “But why couldn’t I have gone with you and Papa? I could have helped. Oh, Papa!” She sniffed and blinked rapidly, trying to keep back the tears. She wouldn’t cry. She had promised she would be brave.
Softly she began to hum and after a few minutes her tears went back to their place.
“My song shall be of Jesus,
Whatever ill betide;
I’ll sing the grace that saves me,
And keeps me at His side.”
Into the hush that followed her song, came the sound of shouting children. Turning her head, Belle saw her younger cousins racing about the yard after one another. Kade and Rome were waving sticks and soon Si and Benny had some too. The girls, seemingly oblivious to the sword fighting going on, raced here and there. Pulling her feet up, Belle clasped her hands around her knees and watched. There appeared to be children everywhere, and surely there were more than eight of them!
For a time no one noticed Belle in her secluded place under the tree. She could watch the others in peace. But it didn’t last long. Ali soon caught a glimpse of her, and with Mattie slung on her hip, she tramped up the hillside.
“Kin me’n Mattie join ya?”
“Of course.” Belle scooted over to share the rock with her cousins. “What is everyone else doing?”
Ali shrugged. “Don’t know. Pa’s gone an’ so are Ez an’ Zeke. I reckon Jess an’ Riss’ll be helpin’ Ma fix supper soon.”
For a moment Belle was silent, watching the youngsters below them. “Should we help somewhere? I didn’t know what to do and it didn’t look like I was needed, so I just came out here. I’ve never been in a family this large before, but maybe I should have stayed to help . . .” her voice trailed off.
Do you think the minister will visit them?
Do you ever get overwhelmed by a crowd of younger children?
Are you looking forward to the next part of this story?
P.S. I wrote this post on Monday, so I couldn't exactly tell you who I had met because I wasn't sure just who I would actually get to meet, but Ted Cruz was going to be at a rally . . . But, if you want to know if I got to meet him, leave a comment and I'll tell you. :) After I return to "civilian life."