Saturday, December 25, 2010

When Things Aren't Always What They Appear

Lola and William Saunders have been staying with us now for close to two months. William is easy going and very helpful. It is easy to like him. Like Avery, he is a Godly man. For me, that is an important quality for any man to have. Many times in the evenings, William will take out his own worn Bible and start reading. When he finishes he will take a hold of Lola's hand and pray, earnestly looking into her eyes. She will seem to have a peace of sorts come over her when he does this. I found it very comforting myself.

Lola though, I haven't felt I know her any better than the day she rode up here on her worn out horse. She has been a huge help to me. Not only doing chores, but helping with Benjamin and doing much of the cooking. She is a very accomplished cook for her years. She is older than me, but seems even older than that. I don't know why I can't seem to gain her confidence and be a friend to her. She is very appreciative that we let them share the roof over our heads.

Today, I did some laundry and most of it was bedding. Now that they are using our guest bedroom I have more of it to do. I don't really mind. It is nice to have some company and the help around here is nice, especially since I am carrying our second child. This baby is going to be a strong child, as he or she has been kicking me constantly. Sometimes I feel really worn out as I am not getting proper sleep. Lately Lola tells me to go take a nap and she will prepare our supper. She surprises me with the kind of meals she comes up with from our supplies. I must admit, I usually prepare very simple foods that I ate at home. Her meals seem to have an elegant touch.

William has been doing much of the barn work. Cleaning out the stalls like Jacob did when he was here. He has also been going into the freight office in the afternoon to give Avery a hand. Sometimes he will even pick up supplies for us so I don't have to drive to town. He is a big man, but gentle in his ways. I looked at his hands and thought to myself  that I had never seen hands that big before. Very strong indeed, as I saw him pick up two fifty pound bags of supplies at the same time and carry inside.

Today, I was out in the barn brushing Tator and Spud when Avery came in to check on a new foal. William was cleaning the stalls and he and Avery were talking. Avery said to him, "Will, where did you grow up? If you don't mind me asking?"

"No, I don't mind. I grew up in New York City."

"Now I would have never guessed that. Though now that you mention it, I should have sensed that."

"I was a street kid."

"No parents or family?"

"Oh I had parents all right and plenty of family. But when you live in a city, most of the kids live on the streets. Just go home to sleep and eat. Ma and Pa had a tough time with us kids. We did what we wanted and they both were working all the time. Couldn't keep an eye on us young'uns."

"I can't even imagine. I grew up in town, in Norwich. My parents knew where or what we were doing every minute. And we'd better be there too or else!"

"I wish it had been that way with us. But you know kids. Nobody could tell us what to do. Our ma had to work in a sweat shop just to make ends meet. Pa worked long hours building buildings. But was never enough."

"Now as I look back," Avery replied, "I'm glad my parents were that way. Our children will be brought up the same way. Rachel's parents too, were very strict but taught their children well."

"Yes, that is how it should be," William answered thoughtfully.

"Well, maybe you and Lola can get settled for awhile and then start your family. Then you can raise your kids that way. It's good for them for their future."

Rachel strained to hear his reply as his voice got really soft and wistful, "We'll see. There's more to it than that with us. Don't know how things will turn out for us." Then he walked outside.

She looked at Avery and he shrugged his shoulders.

Later as I got ready for bed, I thought about that conversation between William and Avery. He seems to be another person with sadness in his life. Yet most of the time he puts up a good front. I hope I never have to be like that. I brushed my hair waiting for Avery to come up to bed. He had gone out to the barn for the third time since supper to check the new foal.

I got down on my knees to pray. "Dear Lord, thank you for all you have bestowed on me. Giving me a loving husband and a healthy, happy son and soon, our second child. Thank you for my parents and for them being the kind of parents who took extra care with me and my brothers and sisters to bring us up in a family of love and of knowing You. Please Lord, help me give help to poor Lola and William as they stay under our roof and need our help in finding their own way to a home and family of their own. And most of all, Dear God, thank you for sending your son, Jesus Christ to save us from our sins. In Jesus's name, I ask it all. Amen."

Copyright © 2010  Kathleen G. Lupole
Updated 2016

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Unexpected Visitors

It has been a week since I told Avery I was pregnant. He is treating me like I am fragile again. I am almost over my morning sickness by now. I am excited about having another baby. Benjamin will have another child to play with as he gets older. I so didn't want to have only one child. I hope to have many more. A large family is what we want. After Avery left for work this morning, I went out to gather eggs and I could feel again as if someone was watching me. I hate that feeling. I hate acting like one of those prissy girls afraid of every little thing. Next time I go out to the barn, I am carrying my pistol in my pocket. It is small, a woman's gun, but it will shoot nevertheless.

I heard horse hooves on the road and went to the door to look out. There was a man and a woman riding up the road. I had never seen them before. They stopped out front and talked to each other, then rode into our drive. I stepped out the door, "Hello," I said.

"Are you Mrs. Longworth?" the man asked.

I nodded, "Yes, I am."

"Well, my name is William Saunders and this is my wife Lola. I have just had a meeting with your husband and he sent us here. He said to tell you that he'll be along soon. We have no place to go and don't know no one. He said you'd give us a little something to eat. We haven't eaten in days. Maybe we could sleep in your barn?"

I looked at his wife, she nodded but didn't speak. She looked pale and  I could tell she was very skinny under the dress she was wearing. Her eyes looked weary, her body weak. I took in their horses, good saddles, looked like quality animals that had recently been through lean times. I walked over to the woman's horse and touched his shoulder, he felt warm. His instinct told him to trust me and he smelled of me. I pat his head then said, "Mr. Saunders, get your wife down. Help her up the steps, I will take the horses to the barn."

I led the horses into the barn. Our horses were out in the pasture, so I took them into two empty stalls. Gave them fresh water, and took off the saddles quickly. I heard someone behind me, it was Mr. Saunders. "Mrs. Longworth, you should have let me do that. It's too heavy for you."

I looked at him, "Mr. Saunders, I have been tacking up horses my whole life. It is not hard work for me."

"Oh, I didn't mean imply that you couldn't do it."

I looked at him, he seemed worn out. I wondered what Avery had gotten us into now. But kept silent. I grabbed a pail and filled it with some apples from the bin. I will add some pies to our supper tonight. Looks like these people could stand to eat a good meal. He followed me out of the barn and up the path to the house and didn't say a word.

His wife was sitting on the bench and got up as we came up the stairs. I opened the door, and heard Benjamin stirring from his nap. I told them to sit down and I went into the front room and picked him up and brought him out to the kitchen, "Aw, look at him," Mr. Saunders spoke and looked at his wife. She smiled weakly.

I put Benjamin in his seat near the table. He stared at the strangers but didn't make a peep. I turned to Mr. Saunders, "I don't know your story, but I don't have time for it right now. I need to get some food into your wife. My husband will be home soon and wanting his supper. So it is best I get started. I have a venison roast on the fire now," I motioned toward the pot hanging on the hearth. I knew they could smell it.

I quickly peeled the apples from the pail and Lola finally spoke, "Uh, Miz Longworth, I could give you a hand with that. I know how to cook."

I started to say no, then thought better of it, "Here wash your hands," I poured water in the basin for her pushed the soap nearby. She nodded and started washing.

Mr.Saunders then said, "Lola is a fine cook, Mrs. Longworth. You'll see." He smiled at her and she smiled back. I looked at her and saw she had been a pretty woman until hard times had hit them, or whatever had happened to bring them here to our home tonight. All of a sudden I heard the hooves of Avery's horse.  I rushed to the door as he rode in. I turned back to my guests, and saw that Lola was putting the crusts in the pie pans.

"I'll be right back. Keep an eye on my son."

I hurried out the barn. Avery was brushing down Black Knight. "Avery!"

He turned to look at me, "Rachel, I see my friends have made it here."

"Your friends? Do you know these people?"

"In a way. They were down by the freight office yesterday and I spoke to them. Then this morning they were back again. I think they slept in the hay loft. I didn't say anything, but later I noticed them picking up pieces of apples that children had given one of the horses. Eating them right from the ground! I couldn't leave them there another night."

"Well, the wife, Lola, is half starved. She is helping me with supper right now."

Avery caught a hold of me, and looked into my eyes, "You're not angry with me then?"

I looked into the eyes of my husband, "How could I be angry with a man helping a starving man and woman? Isn't that what Jesus would have done? I am proud of you for sending them here to our home."

"The Lord has blessed us Rachel. We need to help others best we can. Times are tough."

I grabbed his hand, "Come let us get these people fed and a warm bed to sleep in tonight. Their horses were worn out and hungry too. Might have to give them a little extra when you come out later."

"Yes, always thinking of the horses, aren't you Rachel?" He smiled down at me, "Yes, let's get these people taken care of. It's a sad thing to see a couple out there picking up garbage to eat. We have so much."

I nodded, tears glistening in my eyes as I thought how blessed I truly am.

Copyright © 2010  Kathleen G. Lupole
Updated 2016

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

News For Avery

I got Benjamin ready for bed early today. Avery was going to be home a little later than usual so I gave Benjamin his bath early and got him into bed. Then I prepared our supper. A special supper for just the two of us. I put my favorite tablecloth on the table and used our best dishes. These dishes had belonged to my grandmother.  She had given them to me before she died, saying, "Rachel, I want you to have my good china. Your grandfather bought these on a trip to the city one year for my Christmas present. He paid good money for them. Goodness, I was afraid to use them most of the time. I want you to have them because you are the oldest girl and the most like me."

I loved these dishes. I used to take them out of my trunk and unwrap them and look at them. They have tiny roses with lace in the design. I would wonder if I would ever get to use these dishes. Back then it was like a dream, being married and having my own family. Now, if my grandmother was alive she'd be proud of me and my family. I think she would like my family.

Now I had everything ready, the pot roast and fresh root vegetables from our garden that I cooked gently in the fire most of the day. Biscuits that I had just taken out of the oven and two apple pies with fresh whipped cream for dessert. I quickly fastened my hair up on my head and grabbed the dress I had brought downstairs earlier. A new lavender dress I had been making for a special occasion. This would be that occasion. Besides, I probably wouldn't be able to wear it much longer as my waist is already starting to expand. I looked down at it. It may not be noticeable yet.

Just then I heard horse hooves come up the drive. He's here! I hurried to fasten the clasp in the back of the dress. I went to the window and saw Avery leading his horse, Knight into the barn. I quickly carried in the dishes and set them on the table. Just as I came back to the kitchen Avery opened the door, "Anyone home? It looks dark in here."

I smiled at him but didn't speak.

"What is it Rachel?" He looked around, "Where's the baby? Is Benjamin okay?"

"He is in bed. I decided to put him to bed early tonight since you were going to be later." I picked up the pitcher of fresh milk and carried it out the kitchen door to the dining room.

"I smell food, but don't see any." He followed me, "Are we having company for supper?" he questioned looking puzzled.

"No, we are having a private supper tonight. Just you and me." I lit the candles on the table. I looked at him and smiled, took his hand and led him to the wash basin in the kitchen. "Here let me help you." I poured the water on his hand and he soaped them up with the bar of soap.

"Rachel, I don't know what has gotten into you, but I tell you when you do something like that, it makes me want to skip supper."

"Do something like what?" I looked up into his eyes, then I took the towel and dried his hands real good. Taking a hold of each finger and really drying it.

"Just like that," he grabbed a hold of me and pulled me into his arms. He started kissing me and I felt like I was the happiest woman in the world. I wanted to tell him my news, but held back. After supper. I didn't want to spoil it after all my work.

"Come on, let's save supper for tomorrow." He tried to steer me toward the stairs.

"Oh no, Avery! I have gone to a lot of trouble for our special supper tonight. Besides I have news for you."

"News? What kind of news?"

"Good news, but it'll wait till dessert." I smiled mischievously at him.

After we had our supper and I brought the coffee and pie in, Avery said to me, "Aw come on Rachel, share your secret. It can't be that bad."

"Okay, Mr. Longworth since you can't wait through dessert. Guess what!"

"Guess what? How can I guess? My first thought is your sister is not going to marry her beau after all."

"No. We are going to have another baby!" I exclaimed excitedly.

"A baby? Are you kidding?" He jumped up and swooped me into his arms. "Really? You're not joking are you?"

"Nope. I am positive."

"Oh Rachel, that is the best news you could have told me."

He held me in his arms so tightly, I could scarcely breath. "Come on, let's eat this dessert so I can clean up the kitchen."

"And get to bed early," he winked at me. I still get that feeling of excitement when he looks at me like that. I couldn't wait to get the rest of the meal finished and my chores in the kitchen done. Avery went out to the barn to tend to the animals.

"Oh Lord, I am the luckiest woman in the world. Thank you." I prayed silently.

Copyright © 2010  Kathleen G. Lupole
Updated 2016

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Life Goes On

I have been feeling sick for over two weeks now. I am positive I am carrying our second baby. I have not told Avery yet what I suspect. He has been busy getting the building ready in town to run the freight business from. I am afraid he will worry about me if he knows I am already pregnant again. Besides I think I want to keep it to myself for a little while. It hasn't been easy hiding being sick when I prepared breakfast. What I have been doing is to rise earlier. Then I get the fire going, the coffee brewing and I study my Bible in the lamplight for awhile. It has proved to be the perfect time.

Today Ruth came for a surprise visit. She brought me gifts of oranges that a friend of her late husband had brought her from down south. They were bright orange and shiny. I will hate to use them as I like the way they look on my table in a bowl. We sat down to a cup of tea in the kitchen and I felt sick again. I waited for the feeling to pass.

"Rachel, you don't get to town much anymore do you?' she asked as she chose a cookie from the plate I had put down in front of her.

I sat down and took a sip of my tea, "No, I am pretty busy here. Avery is getting that new building set up for operating Longworth Freight Company out of it. So I  haven't needed to go to town for anything. Except on Sunday when we go to church of course."

"Aren't you going to have a cookie? I hate to eat them all. They are so good!"

"No, I don't feel much like eating at the moment."

"I guess you get that way when you do all the cooking. If I cook something, then I don't want to eat it because I am just sick of looking at it. I guess it's a good thing I have a cook for the hotel," she laughed.

"No, it's not that. I usually like what I cook."

"Rachel, you look pale. Are you okay? You don't seem to be yourself today."

"I'm doing alright. I have been busy sewing for my sister, Esther's wedding. Did you hear? She is getting married to Will Delaney in two weeks."

"No, I hadn't heard. Will Delaney? Now who is he? A single man I haven't heard of. Now that's something!"

"He is in Oxford. A law clerk but will be taking a test to be a lawyer next week. So hoping he passes."

"A lawyer huh? How lucky is that?"

"My father found him for her."

"Does he plan on doing that with all your sisters?"

"Doing what?"

"Finding them husbands."

"Maybe, I don't really know. It was only me and now Esther. Avery came to him first. Will, I'm not sure about exactly."

"Some good father you have there," Ruth got up poured us both another cup of tea.

"He is the best," I agreed with her. "How did you meet your husband?"

"Well my father certainly didn't find him for me. He was considerably older than me. I grew up on a small dirt farm in southern Pennsylvania. My father could hardly pay the bills with what little he made off the crops. One day Byron rode into town and was looking for farmers that could grow produce for the restaurant he was putting in his hotel. He needed produce grown further south than New York and he made a deal with my father among other small farmers. Everyone needed the money."

"So in a way your father did provide you with a husband."

Ruth paused, "I guess I never thought of it that way. But yeah, he did. He grew vegetables for him for two years. Then one day, Byron came to pick them up and he got to talking to me. Next time he came he had bought a ring for me and asked me to marry him."

"What did your father say?"

"He was glad to get rid of one more mouth to feed. He figured it was my best offer. Bryon was older, but very wise and he had money. My sisters both married dirt farmers and have had hard lives. My baby sister, Wilma died having her sixth baby. My two brothers are dirt farmers too and my oldest brother, Raymond went west. Don't know if he is dead or alive."

"I guess I am lucky. Avery is a good provider. I think maybe my father knew he would be and I wouldn't have too hard of a life."

"Yes Rachel, I think that is exactly why your father is arranging the marriages of yourself and your sisters in advance. It really is a smart move, but so unromantic. Of course, with you and Avery, that's not the case anymore, now is it?" She looked up at me to see my reaction.

I blushed, "I love him, if that's what you mean."

Ruth laughed, "Now that is not hard to do is it? Avery Longworth is a very easy to love type of man. What is your sister's husband to be like?"

"I think she will adjust to living in town. That is what she didn't want but I think she will like it. I would have never liked it. I have to have room. And horses."

"I never thought a woman would really love horses so much. They serve their purpose alright and I like mine and get attached to them. I don't know I'd say I have to have them."

"I love them. I have always ridden with my father. Now Avery and I share that love of them. He really cares about the animals you know, not just to use them. Their health, their comfort and he talks to them. I love that about him. Sign of a caring man." I smiled at the thought of Avery with our horses.

Later that night, when Avery had gone out to the barn to check on one of the mares who was supposed to foal soon, I thought of Ruth, Eliza and Esther, and myself. How different life was for each of us, yet we all wanted the same things. A husband and a family. How come I was chosen to have such a happy life with such a good man. The Lord has surely blessed me, and I am thankful. I got down on my knees to thank him, when I heard Avery come in behind me. "Do you mind if I join you there? I have some blessing to be thankful for myself." I nodded.

Avery got down on his knees and bowed his head, "Thank you heavenly Father for all the blessing you have bestowed on this lowly man. Thank you for giving me the most beautiful woman to be my wife and the mother of my children. Thank your for our little Benjamin, and hopefully, soon we will have another little one on the way. Thank you for my good health in recovering from my accident which could have been much worse. Guide us, Rachel and me as we make way through this life raising our family with an eye on you Lord. Please Lord, protect my brother Jacob, wherever he may be and whatever he may be doing. Guard him and bring him back safely to our home soon. In Jesus's name, I ask it all. Amen."

"Amen." I responded. Noting the blessing he bestowed on his brother. He was uttermost on his mind. Thinking how my news will fill him with much happiness. I think I shall tell him tomorrow night after a special supper. He will be so happy to know that I am having our second child. I think it is safe to tell him now after my morning sickness has lessened. I don't want to tell him and be wrong about it and disappoint him. I am pretty sure now. "Oh yes, thank you Lord!"

Copyright © 2010  Kathleen G. Lupole
Updated 2016

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Quiet Day For Rachel

This morning I made our breakfast, gave Benjamin a  cracker and I sat down to eat. Avery came in from the barn and put a pail of milk on the counter. I handed him a dish of eggs, bacon, biscuits and stewed fruit. He took the plate and said, "Thanks Rachel," and sat down and started to eat. I sat down again and just as I took my first taste of bacon, I felt a wave of nausea come over me. I jumped up and ran out the door, leaning over the porch railing. Avery came quickly behind me, "Rachel, what's wrong? Can I help?"

I shook my head and barely whispered, "No, go back inside with the baby. I'll be okay in a minute."

"If you're sure."

"Yes, just go back inside. I'll be back in soon."

I stood in the fresh air until I felt better, then went back inside. Avery looked up at me, "Are you okay?"

"Just had a bad moment there. I am okay now." I looked at my plate of breakfast, "I can't eat that though."

"You coming down with something? Maybe you need to see Doc Burns." Avery said as he took my biscuits off my plate as I walked by with it.

"Here, you want the rest of it. I can't eat it."

"If you're sure you don't want it. Don't want it to go to waste." He took my whole plate from my hand and started eating again.

I picked up Benjamin and started feeding him some cereal. He had no trouble eating and opened his mouth wide with a smile. I laughed in spite of the way I felt. He always seems to cheer me up. Such a happy baby. I know not all babies are as happy as he is or as easy to care for.

After Avery had left to go down to the freight office I finished cleaning up the kitchen from breakfast and put a pot of meat on the fire for later.  I will make a stew and add the vegetables in a couple hours. I felt tired and decided to go out and see if the horses needed more water and check for eggs in the hen house. The fresh air did me some good. I came in carrying Benjamin, who I usually take out with me to the barn. He loves the animals and the fresh air. I felt strange out there, as if someone was watching me. I looked around but didn't see anyone and thought it was my imagination.

We came in and I gave Benjamin a cookie and sat him on a rag rug I made for him on the floor so he could crawl around with his toys. I picked up my mending and started to work on Avery's work shirts which were in need of mending. We sat there quietly for an hour or so, I looked down at Benjamin and he had fallen asleep clutching my old rag doll. I had given it to him to play with and he seemed to like to hold onto it when he was falling asleep.

I went out to the kitchen and took a bowl of stewed fruit that I hadn't been able to eat earlier for breakfast. I ate it and then got a cup of hot tea. I heard a noise outside that made me jump. So cautiously I went to the window and peered out, scared of what might be out there. All of a sudden I heard a loud hammering........what could that be? I looked out some more. There in the old dead tree that Avery was going to cut down for firewood, but hadn't gotten to it yet, was a big  woodpecker. What a relief! I laughed at myself for being so jumpy. "What has gotten into you Rachel Longworth I asked myself? You never used to be scared of anything." I said aloud to myself. "Better get a hold of myself and stop imagining things".

Copyright © 2010  Kathleen G. Lupole
Updated 2016

Monday, November 1, 2010

Girl Talk With Eliza & Esther

Photo Credit: George Eastman House

Esther and Will Delaney are getting married. The best part is that now, Esther is happy about it. She took Avery's advice and talked to him. She asked him questions about his plans which would now include her. He told her what she needed to know. She didn't really want to live in town, but once he showed her the house he had bought for them, she has changed her mind on that. It is a big house and he is working on it with his father and brothers when he is off work. He told her he wants a downstairs room for an office, since he will be working for himself as soon as he passes his test to be a lawyer.

Esther and my friend, Eliza came out to visit me so Esther could tell me all about Will and her wedding. Eliza drove Father's buggy since Esther has never been comfortable driving the buggy herself. Eliza is very good at driving, almost as good as I am. She has been doing it since she was small, often driving other local women who do not like to drive horses themselves. Maybe they never learned or are afraid of the horses. Eliza's family consists of her, her father and grandfather now, since her mother died when she was born. Her brother is married and they don't see him that often. So it was nice for me to see Eliza again, this time with Esther.

As we were sitting down to a little lunch I quickly put together, Esther said, "Well, you and Avery were right about everything. Thank you for that talk you gave me the last time I was here."

"I understand that you have now formally accepted Will's proposal of marriage?" I questioned.

"Yes, I have. He had made lots of plans that didn't know about or if I would like them or not since I refused to talk to him. He said when he came out to our house for supper that night he was all set to tell me everything and see what I thought. Then when I would not talk to him, well, he didn't know what to do."

Eliza, who had been holding Benjamin on her lap, put him down on his rug on the floor and walked around the kitchen looking at everything, "Oh Rachel, you really have a nice home. I wanted to tell you that day I came with your family but you were so busy with everyone."

"Thank you. I have been working on the house a bit here and there. Avery had the house finished but it needed a woman's touch."

"I remember when we were swimming at the creek before you got married. Remember? You weren't too sure about getting married."

"Oh, that seems like centuries ago!" I laughed as I remembered that day with the girls. One of the last before my marriage.

"Are you glad now that got married? And that you married Avery?"

"I love him with all my heart. He is so good to me and our son. Yes, I am very glad."

"I will never get married." Eliza said.

"You don't know that." Esther answered.

"No, I won't. I know it. Your father is the one who found you both husbands. I have to do it all myself. And I don't dare talk to a man, unless he is someone I know already."

"You know a lot of boys from school and around town," I said trying to encourage her.

"Look Esther has just turned 16 and now she is getting married too. Your father does that for you girls and all your sisters too. I have a father who doesn't really want me to get married. He wants me to stay so I can cook, clean and sew for him and Grandpa."

"What would he say if someone came to him and ask to meet you?" Esther asked.

"He would most likely discourage him in some way."

"Oh Eliza, that is horrible!" I exclaimed thinking how I always knew I would be a wife and mother some day.

"It's not so bad. At least I can do what I want as long as I take care of the house."

Esther asked, "Would you marry a man you didn't know?"

"Without a single minute of hesitation. I'd be out of the house so fast without a word to either of them," she replied bitterly.

Later as I reflected on Esther and Eliza's visit, I thought how Esther had been so miserable at the thought of having to get married to a man she did not know. And how Eliza's situation was exactly the opposite. She would never be able to get married to anyone, so would marry the first man who asked whether she knew him or not. She wanted to leave her home. My sister, Esther did not want to leave our family home. So different.

Copyright © 2010  Kathleen G. Lupole
Updated 2016

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Marriage Isn't So Bad

Esther came home with Avery and me when we came home Sunday, after dinner with my parents. Father talked to us in private. He asked us to try to talk some sense into her because she had to get married eventually. Will Delaney would be able to provide a good home for her. He is a law clerk now but training to be a lawyer, and will make a good amount money to raise a family with. Father pointed out that if she doesn't cooperate soon, Will probably will choose someone else.

Avery said to me at home, "It almost sounds like love doesn't enter into it anymore, does it?"

"Well I didn't love you when I married you. I didn't even know you."

"I guess that's right. I loved you."

"No you didn't. How could you? I never even spoke to you till we had lunch at your parents' house."

"I loved  the idea of you."

"How's that?"

"Well, you know, I met your father at Corbin's store and he talked about you training the horses. Then he mentioned how you made him apple pies and they were so delicious."

"And that made you fall in love with me?"


"Well, then what?"

"It was when the Corbin kid told me how beautiful you were, and I was smitten."

"He did? Which one? Not Sid!"

"Yeah, that's the one. Sid. He told me you were beautiful and he was right."

"I can't believe Sid Corbin thought I was beautiful."

"Well, after that I had to have you and I met your Father again and asked him. He told me you were too young."

"He did? Was this after you came to our house for supper? You never spoke to me."

"He told me I had to get my house built. He also told me that your horses come with you. He said I had to promise him, that I would allow you to do what you want with horses because you had a way with them."

"What did you say then?"

"Well, I told him that was something that I liked about you. Your love for horses, since they are the center of my business."

"Were you disappointed to see I wasn't beautiful?"

"No, I saw you were beautiful. And you still are."

"You never said why you didn't talk to me."

"I didn't know what to say."

"We talk now."

"It is different now. We know each other. I did not know you at all. You seemed childlike and sometimes I felt like I was too old for you."

"And now?"

"You are catching up to me." Avery laughed.

I laughed as he gathered me in his arms. "Oh Rachel, my life is unbelievable since you came into it. I love you with every breath in my body. I want to grow old with you. I want to watch our children grow up and have their families, our grandchildren."

"Our children?"

""I want lots!"

I laughed again, but just then Esther appeared at the door carrying Benjamin.

"Oh excuse me." She started to close the kitchen door.

"No, Esther, you are not interrupting. Come here and bring our little Benjamin here." I stretched out my arms to take my son.

Esther handed him to me and seemed quiet, then she spoke, "You two seem so happy. I know I am not supposed to, but I envy you."

Avery looked her in the eyes and took her hands in his and said, "Esther, marriage is what you make it. If you go into a marriage with a chip on your shoulder and resenting a man because he wanted to marry you. Well, then you will get a miserable husband and you will be miserable as well. If you go into it with expectations of making a life together, having a family and sharing the sorrows and joys to come, then you too, will have happy marriage and a man who loves you."

"But you and Will Delaney are two different men. Rachel is lucky. I will not be."

"Esther," I spoke then, "Avery would not have been a man you would have wanted either. You do not like horses. You would not have liked a man who left you at home while he was away for weeks, like when we first got married. That is why Father felt he was the man for me."

She looked at us both, holding back her tears, "I don't know Will Delaney. What if he doesn't like me?"

Avery said, "Get to know him. Talk to him. Find out what his plans are. Then you can see if it is worth getting so upset over. Might be, that you will like his plans. You won't know unless you talk to him."

She smiled a sheepish grin, "That does make sense. I don't know what he wants to do except be a lawyer."

I said, "Talk to him. Invite him to dinner again. This time sit next to him and talk to him!"

"Okay, I will."

Copyright © 2010  Kathleen G. Lupole
Updated 2016

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Esther's Upcoming Marriage

Everything with Avery and me has been almost like living in a dream. I hear the other wives talking quietly about their husbands at church and various other places when we, the younger wives, are sent out to the kitchen to fix coffee and food or snacks for everyone else. I know they must love their husbands to have married them and to bear their children. If something happened to him, I am sure they would be sincerely grieving. I don't feel the way they do. Some of them smile and say, "You're still a newlywed, you'll see after a few more years." I just smile back and don't say a word. I am sure I will never feel that way about my husband. I can't even imagine Mother speaking ill of Father. She always is very respectful of him, even when he is not around. I promise myself I will never complain ever about Avery.

Yesterday Avery and I went to my parents' home for Sunday dinner after church. That is usually the day we see our families. Avery's family is close by, but we still don't often see them until we go to church on Sunday. They go to the same church we go to and the same church Avery has always gone to. My parents live farther away and when we meet them at their church on Sunday morning, we have to get up earlier than usual. So this morning was a very early morning. I had made a pot of porridge last night and let it sit on the fire overnight. That made breakfast faster. I packed some muffins and homemade cheese in my bag for the ride.

I carried my things to the wagon and noticed on the seat a big shiny red apple! Where did that come from? Why was it on the wagon seat? Jacob! Is that a sign that he was here, in the wagon during the night? Did he put the apple there on purpose? I carry it into the house, "Avery, look what I found on the wagon seat. Did you put this apple there?"

He looks at it and shakes his head. Then he picks up Benjamin who is waiting for me to take him out to the wagon. I can tell that it doesn't cross Avery's mind that Jacob left the apple on the seat. As we get into the wagon and all settled in, Avery grabs a muffin out of the bag as he gets Tator and Spud going. He looks at me and smiles, "What's wrong Rachel?"

"I think Jacob left that apple on the wagon seat."

"What? Why do you say that?" He looks questioningly at me, then Benjamin grabs at Avery's hand, and he laughs at him.

"Because I just do. It is a sign he left for us."

"Oh no. I'd think if he was here, he'd have come to the house and let us know. Not leave an apple on a seat so we'd guess he was here. Where did you get that idea from?"

"Well, maybe I am wrong. But I don't think so."

After church, my sister Edna rode with Avery and me as we followed Mother and Father's wagon home. She held Benjamin and played little games with him. "Guess what Rachel!"

"What?" I asked ready to get a big piece of gossip that I am sure Edna would have for me. She was always listening when she shouldn't be and loved to report what she had heard.

"Esther is getting married to Will next month. She is mad. He came to the house about three times so far, and she refused to talk to him."

"She refused to talk to him, huh?" asked Avery with a slight smile on his face. "I guess I married the right girl," he leaned closer to me.

I made a face at him and asked, "What did Father say? Didn't she say a single word to him at all?"

Edna shook her head. "She said no way is she getting married and have to move out."

I thought about how I felt when I was told I had to marry Avery. I didn't want to leave home either. I felt so sad the day of my wedding and especially when I had to leave and go home with Avery. It was a very quiet ride home that day. Avery had tried to talk to me but I only answered him in one word. Now I talk nonstop all the way to town and back.

"Oh poor Esther, she is scared. I will talk to her. Maybe she can stay with us this week?" I looked at Avery and he nodded. "I will try to comfort her about getting married. It's not so bad." I smiled at Avery.

Copyright © 2010  Kathleen G. Lupole
Updated 2016

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Longworth Freight Company

Photo Credit: The Library Of Congress

Today I started making some new shirts for Benjamin. He is almost too big for anything I have left. I am afraid most of his clothes still look new. I have cut out five shirts this morning and will finish at least two of them today. He is already eating some solid food as I fear I cannot keep him satisfied. Today he is crawling around on the floor. He has been pulling himself up and knocking things over. Sometimes it is hard to sew when he is doing that and I try to wait till he naps.

Avery surprised me by coming in early this morning, "Guess what!" he said excitedly.

"I can't guess. What is it?" I said as I continued with my sewing.

"I found the building for the freight company!"

I got up and went to him, "You did? Where is it?" I ask eagerly. I wanted him to finalize his decision to run the company from here and not do the driving himself anymore.

"It is the old Carbon Company building. It has been empty a long time but has potential. I can spruce it up but it doesn't need much and outside it has a good area to load the wagons. There is also a small barn area with a paddock. Not real big but big enough for a new company."

"Oh Avery, that sounds perfect!"

"I meet Paulie Carbon tomorrow at Ruth's restaurant to iron out the details. He doesn't want much for it and we can afford it."

I jumped into his arms, "Oh good! That means you are definitely done with driving and being away from home?" I asked hoping I was right.

He gathered me up in his arms and smiled, "Yes Rachel, it means you are stuck with me home every day like all the other poor wives about town."

I stared into his eyes, I loved this man with all my heart. He was everything to me and I hated the thought of him ever being away from me again. Especially after the time when he was attacked and almost killed. Benjamin who was sitting in his toy box playing suddenly looked up at us and wanted to be included, started fussing and reaching his arms toward us.

Avery laughed, "Look who's jealous!" He bent down and scooped our son up and included him in our hug, "Now we have to have family hugs."  He put his nose into my hair and took a deep breath, "glory woman, you drive me crazy anytime I get anywhere near you."

Benjamin started his baby talk and we both laughed. Life is good for us now. The Lord is smiling down on the Avery Longworth family for sure. I have never felt such happiness in my heart before. It gave me an idea! "Avery, let's invite my family for dinner Sunday and have a special day in honor of our new company."

"Whatever your heart desires. It is fine with me."

I thought about what changes had taken place in my life since I had married Avery. Who would have thought a girl like me just turned seventeen would be a wife to such a wonderful man and a mother to the most beautiful baby boy? I thought of my sister, Esther who is getting married in a couple of months to a man she hardly knows and doesn't seem to care about at all. And my friend, Eliza who lives with her father and grandfather and barely has enough money to live on. I am so blessed. All of a sudden I wanted to help everyone find the same happiness.

"Avery, can I invite my friend Eliza too? She could ride in with my family."

"Of course, whoever you want. Look at Benjamin!"

I looked at him and he was putting my clean cake pans on his head and laughing. I smiled, but said, "Oh no Benjamin, that is not a toy." I took it from him.

Later as I was finishing up the last shirt before supper, I thought about how Avery and I had settled into a daily routine that was fitting for us. It wasn't the way my parents lived. Or the way the Longworths lived. It was our routine and our life. Our children would be a part of that. It would be their routine and it would form them for their future lives. I was feeling eager to teach my children the way my parents taught me and my brothers and sisters. Yes, God has been good to me. He has surely blessed me and I would not let him down.

Copyright © 2010  Kathleen G. Lupole
Updated 2016

Monday, September 27, 2010

Our Family Life

Photo Credit: Sam Mugraby

Avery is back to work now.  I think he is taking time out on his runs to try to locate his brother, Jacob. He left with not a word. Avery is troubled by his leaving because he was so happy to have Jacob come back after about ten years of being gone. Nobody knew if he was dead or alive. Now we know, but Avery made me promise.... well he didn't make me promise, he told me not to say a word to anyone. He knows I had told our friend Ruth, but nobody else is suppose to know that his brother was here. I feel bad because I was happy that Jacob had left and I knew Avery wouldn't be. Maybe after time passes he will get used to him being gone.

Benjamin is getting so big. He spent a lot of time with Avery while he was home and not able to work. He is doing two big freight runs to give George some time off. Then he is going to open an office in town and set up the freight company there. The horses and equipment will still be kept here at home where they are safe. Then Avery will only drive when the other drivers can not do it for some reason. I like this for selfish reasons. I want my husband home with me every night if possible.

This Sunday after church, Mother and Father and the girls and Teddy are coming here for Sunday dinner. They will go to our church and I know this means that they have to get up extra early to do this. It is a special day. Benjamin is FINALLY being christened!  I asked Avery to invite his family and we will make it a big celebration.  We asked Avery's sister, Margaret, and her husband, George, to be Benjamin's Godparents. I felt they would be best to take care of him if anything happened to Avery and myself. Margaret cried when we asked her. I know she would take the responsibility seriously. She is a good mother and George is good to her and their children.

Avery should be home soon. He is stopping at his parents' home on the way home, to ask them to come to Benjamin's christening. Now things will be normal again. Just the three us for supper. Even though Benjamin is still little, I want him and all our future children to be part of our routines. I want to teach my children the way Mother taught us. My sisters, brothers and I are all capable of many things. All of us are careful students of the Bible. We know it, and our children after us, will know it.

As I was setting the table I heard horse hooves, "oh, good, your Daddy is home!" I said to Benjamin who was sitting in his little high chair. He smiled big. He knows what some words mean and Daddy is one of them.

I heard Avery's step outside the door, I hurried to open it for him. "I hope I'm not late. You know Ma, she didn't want to let me out of there. Tried her best to get me to stay for supper, but I told her you'd scalp me alive!"

"I've got your supper all ready. While you wash up, I'll put it on the table."

He bent down to kiss me, "Mmmmm, you smell good."

I blushed, "Avery, go wash up. Supper is waiting."

I realized as I finished setting the table how much I had missed the attention he used to bestow on me before Jacob came. I started humming as I finished putting the supper on the table. Life is sure good around the Longworth homestead tonight.

Copyright © 2010  Kathleen G. Lupole
Updated 2016

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Avery came into the kitchen while I was kneading my bread. He looked upset. I stopped what I was doing, "Is there something wrong?"

"Yes, I think Jacob is gone."

"What do you mean gone?"

"Just gone. He is no where to be found."

"Are you sure? Did you check to see if his stuff is still here."

"His things are gone too. He didn't even say good-bye."

I knew how Avery had grown fond of his older brother. He didn't seem to notice the inconsistencies I noticed in Jacob's stories. I was not surprised at all that he flew off in the night like a robber. I would not say anything like that to my husband. He wanted to love him. So I stayed quiet on that subject. I have to admit I was glad he had left.

Later when I went down to the larder in the root cellar where I stored our cheese, I found that one was missing. I also found a small crock of salted beef was empty. Hmmm, it looks like he took some food. Well I wouldn't want him to starve. It would have been nice if he asked first.

Avery stayed out in the barn all day. I finally went out there and he was pacing back and forth.

"Avery, I have supper ready to put on the table. Are you coming in any time soon?"

"Rachel, I can't understand why he would have left. He had a place to stay for the winter, food to eat and he was with family."

"Maybe he didn't want to be with family. He left your family once long ago."

"That wasn't his doing. That was Pa's. My father caused him to leave."

"I know your father, and he would not have kicked one of his children out without good reason."

"What kind of good reason would make a man do that? To his own son?"

"Ask your father."

"I can't do that. I promised Jacob I wouldn't mention him being back here."

"Well, just ask your father like you were curious about Jacob all these years and you wondered what really went on between them."

"I guess I could do that. I'd really like to know."

"Did you ask Jacob about it?"

"I did. He said he'd rather not ever think about it or talk about it."

"If you want to end your wondering you will have to ask your father. He is the only one who can answer your questions."

"You know Rachel, I would never do that to Benjamin. Never. I can't figure it out because my parents were so good to me and the rest of us. You see how they are."

"I agree. He must have done something really bad to have brought that on himself."

After supper I was cleaning up the kitchen while Benjamin was listening to a story Avery was reading to him in the front room. I was thinking about my own parents. They would have never kicked out any of us. I am sure whatever we did no matter how bad it was they would not have done that to us. Yet, Mr. Longworth is a very loving father and grandfather. I see him holding Benjamin and looking into his eyes, smiling and laughing with him. He doesn't seem like there is a mean bone in his body.

Jacob. What is there about him that makes me uneasy? Why do I feel that we have not seen the last of him?  I tried to get him to listen with Avery when I read the Bible aloud at night, but he would go outside until I was finished.

Avery is a very Godly man. He prays often, not just when we are having our devotionals in the evening like some men. He often tells me that he needs God in his life in his line of work. I will pray for Jacob, that he is safe and no harm comes to him. But I will not pray for him to come back here. I am sorry Lord, if that is against my husband, but you know what is best for all of us. Maybe you put me on my guard with Jacob from the start, and that is why I didn't trust him. I wanted to, and I tried to. I just couldn't.

Copyright © 2010  Kathleen G. Lupole
Updated 2016

Monday, September 20, 2010

Sunday Dinner At The Longworth's

Photo Credit: Public Domain Photos

After church today, we stopped at Ruth's hotel since I had to ask her not to mention to anyone about Jacob staying with us. Or even that he had come back to the area. At least not until he wanted to tell his family. She listened to what I said, then Avery came in from tying the horses up, so I just shook my head. I was afraid she might tell Avery that I was nervous about Jacob. She didn't say a word. She agreed and we were on our way to Avery's parents' home for our Sunday dinner.

At dinner I felt like I was keeping a secret from his family and they knew by looking at me. I knew I was being silly. I am just not happy about having to be quiet about him being at our house. I looked all around the room for some sign of Jacob. Mrs. Longworth is a very gentle woman and wears more feminine clothing than my mother does. She does not do the kind of work Mother does daily. I like her and when I get to know her better, will probably become closer to her. I think she thinks I am too young to be running a big house. She  does not seem to realize that I was brought up to do this.

As soon as I came in the house, Avery's sisters, as well as his mother came to take Benjamin from me. Benjamin had other ideas though. He let out a howl and was looking around for me. He spotted Avery and stared at him amidts the tears. Avery softened and went to him. His father, gave out a long sigh, "Glory be, my son has become a father after all!" Everyone laughed.

Margaret, his sister who's husband, George drives one of the freight wagons smiled, "Of course, Avery has been spending a lot of time at home while George is out driving the wagons."

Avery looked at her and said, "Yes, but he is paid handsomely. We just hired another driver Miss Smarty pants."

"You did? Who? Does George know yet?"

"Rachel's brother, Kenneth. He is out right now. Driving the wagon I had, all the way to Albany."

"Oh good, maybe George will be able to spend some time with us. When are you going back out?"

"Rachel and I are discussing me not driving anymore. Just running the company and having drivers doing all the driving."

"That's not fair," Margaret said sharply.

Avery smiled, "It's my company."

I put Benjamin down for a nap while we had dinner. I watched for the perfect opening in the conversation and asked, "Mrs. Longworth, if you don't mind me asking, how old were you when you had your first child?"

"Why no dear, I don't mind. Just about your age, 16, if I remember correctly. And Rachel dear, don't call me Mrs. Longworth. Call me mother or ma or whatever you are comfortable with. Mrs. Longworth sounds so formal coming from my own daughter-in-law."

Margaret spoke up and said, "George calls her ma Longworth or just ma most of the time."

"Alright. Ma."

"Why do you ask about my age?"

"Because I think that you think, I am too young to take care of Avery, Benjamin and the house."

"I must admit Rachel, that you surprise me with all that you can do. I was not that good at it when we first got married. I had to enlist help, but luckily my mother lived right down the street. You are out there in the Godforsaken country with no help in sight."

"No, I am capable. My mother raised all of us girls to be homemakers and mothers. I can do whatever needs doing. Ask Avery and I am sure he will tell you."

All eyes turned on Avery and he nodded, "Oh yes, I got the best end of the bargain," he winked at me, "Rachel can do it all, and more."

Copyright © 2010  Kathleen G. Lupole
Updated 2016

The Secret

Photo Source: Public Domain Photos
It has been almost two months since Jacob came to stay with us. Avery and I usually meet his family at church every Sunday, and sometimes we go back to their house for dinner with them. Once in awhile we go to his Aunt's house for dinner. Since Avery had been beaten when the outlaws stole his freight load, we hadn't gone at all. I could not wait to get back to church, and was pleased when Avery mentioned us going. He came to me later and said that Jacob would be staying home. I tried to insist that he accompany us, as I was thinking he hadn't been to church in a very long time. Avery stopped me when I tried to protest. I could see he was set that Jacob would be staying at home.

Jacob harnessed up Tater and Spud while we were getting ready. I usually insist on doing that job myself. I love doing it, and I don't get to spend as much time fussing with them, as I used to when I was living at home. I got Benjamin all ready and Avery took him from me and out to the wagon. I stepped up to get into the wagon, and felt someone take a hold of my elbow. I knew it was Jacob. I tried not to let on but it made me uncomfortable for him to touch me, even in such an innocent way. Other men have done that same thing for me many times, but he just gives me a feeling that I can't shake. I hurried to get into the wagon so he would let go.

I murmured to him, "Thank you Jacob."

He smiled, "Anytime Missy.......uh, Rachel."

"Any message you want me to give to your mother?" I asked looking him in the eye.

He looked down, "No." And he turned to walk back toward the barn with his head still down.

As we were going down the road I said to Avery, "You'd think he'd want to see his own mother at least."

"He doesn't."

"What do you think she will say when you tell her that he is here?" I asked, as I held Benjamin close. He looked happy to be going for a ride today, making his little baby noises that I love so much.

"I wanted to talk to you about that," Avery turned to look at me. "Do not tell her or anyone that Jacob is here. If anyone finds out he is here don't mention how long he has been here."

I paused and thought, now why wouldn't Jacob want his mother to know he was here? Why wouldn't he want to see his sisters? Maybe friends he had before he left so long ago?  I was truly puzzled.

"Rachel? Are you with me on this?" Avery was still looking at me.

"Why Avery? What is he hiding? Why wouldn't he at least want to see your mother? I am sure she would be overjoyed to see him. Her oldest child. She doesn't  know whether he is dead or alive."

"He doesn't want anyone to know. Even Mother."

"Avery, that would be like Benjamin being gone with no word for ten years. I would be besides myself with worry. Even if she doesn't mention it, I am sure she thinks about him constantly. I would."

"Just promise me you won't say a word to anyone about him being here."

"I can't promise that. I already told Ruth."

Avery's eyes met mine, "Oh no. I hope she hasn't mentioned him to anyone else. We will stop by the hotel on the way home to ask her. Please do this for me, Rachel. He is my brother and if I can help him I want to. I care about him just the way you care about your brothers."

"Okay Avery. For you. Not for him."

Avery seemed relieved then. I was afraid he knew something that I did not. For the moment I just wanted to forget about Mr. Jacob Longworth and his deep dark secrets. I wanted to rejoice because we were going to church again. Benjamin is getting big and is healthy. I need to speak with the pastor about a christening. Usually it would have taken place when he was much younger. So much has happened. Avery being missing for such a long time, not knowing whether he was dead or alive. Then him being hurt so bad and me taking care of him and everything else. And now Jacob.

"Avery, do you mind if I pray for Jacob to go see your parents? At least your mother?"

"No, Rachel. You can pray for whatever you want.  Just don't let anyone else hear you. Okay?"

"Okay." With that I settled down in the wagon anxious to get to church and see our family and friends. To see people I hadn't seen much of since I had last gone to town. Going to church settles my mind when I have things I am worried about. I will pray about this matter. As my mother always says about troublesome worries, "put them in the Lord's hands." I will do that today.

We will stop by Ruth's later and she will think it is a strange request from Avery, but she will agree. Unless she has mentioned Jacob to someone else. Then we will go back to the Longworth's house for Sunday dinner. It should be an interesting day. Good thing Benjamin can't talk yet. I don't think he could keep this secret.

Copyright © 2010  Kathleen G. Lupole
Updated 2016

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Rachel's Dilemma

It has been over two weeks since Jacob has come to stay with us. I don't want to say anything to Avery because I see how happy he is to have him back in his life. I know they are brothers and have been separated for a very long time, close to ten years I think. I am not really comfortable around Jacob, though he has been a proper gentleman since I first found him sleeping in our wagon. I see him looking at me sometimes, and it is not the way a brother should be looking at his brother's wife. I am trying to tolerate it until he leaves thinking it would be only a few days.

Today, I went to town earlier with my wagon and he wanted to ride with me. I told him to stay home and keep an eye on things, that Avery was watching Benjamin and he should stay with them. I did not want him riding somewhere alone with me. I think he may think I am young, almost seventeen now, and inexperienced with dealing with situations like this. What he should remember is that I told him that first day I met him at the wagon, that I was a crack shot and I am. When I drive to town I carry my pistol. I have had it since I was nine. My grandfather and father taught me how to use it. Father did not want me riding out into the woods without some protection and made sure that knew how to use it.

While in town I stopped in to say hello to my friend, Ruth. She was thrilled to see me. We had tea together and I told her about Jacob. She asked me if Avery's parents knew yet. I told her that Avery didn't want to tell them quite yet. He wanted to get to know his brother again, thought Jacob would leave again once his father knows he is here. She hugged me when I was leaving, "You be careful with that brother-in-law. Don't be left alone with him. If he does do anything to scare you, scream, kick and bite. Then tell Avery!"

"I will," I answered, but in my mind I was thinking I would try to handle this situation the best I could without Avery knowing how I felt. It could be that I was wrong about Jacob. He was just a man of the world and had some hard times. After all he is Avery's brother and they were raised in the same house. How could he be that bad? Maybe I have been too hard on him. I will try being nicer starting tonight.

When I got home Jacob had already brought in all my firewood, a job I usually do myself. Avery still is healing but feeling much better, He has been doing more and more. His ribs were broken and the only mend for them, the doc says, is rest. It's hard trying to keep him down though. So I don't usually mention something I need done. I try to do as many chores myself as I can. Jacob though, has been doing what he thinks needs to be done before I can try to do it myself. He knows not to touch Tator and Spud's stalls as that is one job I will not allow even Avery to do.

"Why thank you Jacob for getting my firewood. One less job for me to do before supper," I said as he came in with another handful.

He brightened up and looked at me with a smile, "Anything for a pretty lady."

I blushed, but tried not to show it. I was not used to other men giving me compliments, and with Jacob I was wary of them.

Just then Avery came in from the front room carrying Benjamin who was crying. "I think he wants his Mama," said Avery as he handed him over to me. "Nothing I could do would quiet him. I hope nothing is wrong."

"No, he is starting to get a tooth and it hurts. I got something in town to rub on that." I opened up a bottle and put some on a cloth and rubbed it on his gum and he quieted right down. I wiped the tears from his eyes and felt his diaper, "You are are dry? What a surprise!"

Avery said, "No, he wasn't. I just changed him. I thought that was why he was carrying on so."

"Well, I got to get to work. Supper needs making and I am behind on my schedule."

"Rachel, how about if I make pancakes and bacon for supper and give yourself a rest?" Jacob said.

"Oh my, I can't let you do that. Meals are my job. Women's work."

"I worked as a cook. I am pretty good, heard tell. Sit down with my little brother and Benjie there."

Later after supper, Jacob cleaned up all the dishes and washed and put them away. I felt like I had been wrong about him. He couldn't be that bad if he did all that for me and Avery's chores too. I think I will give him another chance. Not many men I know would do all that work and he was a good cook too.

On our way to bed, Jacob held the candle out to me and said, "Night Rachel."

Our eyes met and I smiled and said, "Good night Jacob. Thank you for all the help you have been to Avery and myself." Avery took my arm and we went upstairs to our bedroom.

Copyright © 2010  Kathleen G. Lupole
Updated 2016

Monday, September 6, 2010

A Family Ride

Today was wash day. I was able to skip doing barn chores since Avery's brother, Jacob is here. He went out with Avery and Avery showed him how he does things. Avery is still recuperating from his ordeal of being beaten by those outlaws who stole his load of freight. I hope he will show Jacob how to do the chores and not do them himself. Jacob offered to help and he does have a roof over his head and food to eat for now. He never did tell us why he showed up here or what he had been doing all these years. When Avery asked him he avoided answering. That is fine for now. If he stays with us for very long we will have to know what his intentions are.

I washed the laundry and hung it out to dry. It is a nice day for winter with the sun shining. I will try to make a couple of pies for supper tonight. Avery has lost some weight since he was eating mostly liquid meals until his jaws weren't so swollen. Today, my brother Kenneth is supposed to come and talk to Avery about the job of driving Avery's freight wagon. He has some loads that are waiting to be hauled until another driver could be found. The other two drivers have been working nonstop.

I felt someone was watching me, I looked around and there was Avery. I smiled, "Hey stranger! How's things going in the barn?"

"Fine, he knows how to clean a stall. I feel like taking one of the horses out for a ride."

"Avery, you are still recovering."

"I know, but I feel the need to get on horseback. It'll heal my soul."

"I don't want you to go out alone. I sure wish I could go with you. Nothing makes me feel more alive than a ride just for the fun of it."

"Let's go together. How about I help you hang the rest of these?"

"Oh no Avery! I'll finish it up in a few minutes. I was daydreaming that's why it was taking me so long. Just enjoying the sunshine."

'What about Benjamin? Want me to get him ready? How do you haul him on horseback?"

I smiled at that term, hauling Benjamin on horseback. "I have a sling that I wear and put him inside. He loves it. I know he is going to love horses as much as we do. It is in his blood."

"Okay, I will get him ready. What does he need besides a clean diaper? Some food?"

"I supply his food. Just change his diaper and pack a clean one."

"We can't be very long because Kenneth is coming. Remember? About the job."

"Yes, I know. When we get back I will prepare a couple of pies for supper and maybe I can convince him to eat with us."

"Better make more than a couple. My brother is mighty hungry. I think he hasn't had a woman's cooking for too long."

After our ride, Avery took the horses in the barn and I went in the house. Benjamin was rosy from the cold air but was laughing and happy. He loves riding with me and I love teaching him to love it. After all, horses are important in our life. I changed and fed him then put him down for a nap. I'm afraid he doesn't get a nap in when we are out riding.

I just finished putting the top crust on the pies when all of a sudden I heard horse hooves. I looked outside and saw my brother, Kenneth was here. Better get my pies in the oven to go with our supper. I feel truly blessed tonight with Avery spending so much time with Benjamin and me. Our ride today made the day extra special. Though I know if it wasn't for Jacob being here we wouldn't have been able to go together.

Thank you Lord for all my blessings...........and especially for my parents accepting Avery Longworth to be my husband. And for you Lord, giving us our dear sweet Benjamin. Thank you so much.

Copyright © 2010  Kathleen G. Lupole
Updated 2016

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Jacob Longworth

Avery and Jacob came up the path about an hour after Avery had gone to look for him. Peanut started growling and I looked up to see Jacob smiling at me, "See Missy, I told you I was his brother."

I looked at Avery and he said, "Rachel, this is my brother Jacob. Jacob this is my wife, Rachel."

Jacob put out his hand and I had no choice but to extend mine to him. He took it heartily and shook it a little hard for me."Sorry Missy,.....I mean Rachel. I haven't shook a woman's hand in a long time." He looked down and removed his hat.

Avery said, "Oh that's okay, Jacob. Rachel can handle it."

I looked at how dirty Jacob was and said, "Jacob, I am heating water for a bath for you right now." I glanced at Avery and said, "Avery, could you get some of your clothes for him to wear? I will wash what he has and see if I can fix them. In the meantime he needs something to wear and something warm. These clothes are not warm enough for winter."

"Oh no Rachel, I can just clean up a bit. I don't need any fancy duds," he started to protest.

"It is no trouble Jacob. You need a bath. After you bathe then we can eat. I have food cooking now."

He looked at me and said, "I can smell the food. Smells mighty good. Let's eat it now."

I shook my head, "No Jacob. Bathe first. Food afterwards. Besides the food is still cooking. There is plenty of time for your bath first."

He started to say something but I looked at him and said, "That is all there is to say about it." I pulled the copper tub out of the closet where I kept it, and grabbed some towels and a new bar of my lye soap. "Here, this is what you'll need. Avery, go get those clothes now please."

Avery turned to Jacob, "Rachel is pretty much in charge in the house here. You will learn to do what she says. She is a wonderful cook! Wait until you taste her pot roast. I'll be right back." And he went to get the clothes.

I checked the water on the stove, and Jacob said to me, "Rachel, I am sorry for what happened down at the wagon. I didn't mean anything if I said anything to make you mad at me."

"That's okay Jacob. I just didn't know that Avery had a brother and you startled me."

"So we can be friends?" he looked at me and smiled.

"Yes, we can be friends."

I went into the other room while he bathed and Avery put his clothes on  a chair in the kitchen. I fed Benjamin and then Avery came and sat beside us. I was waiting for him to tell me about his brother. "Rachel, I know you don't understand why no one, or especially me, never told you about Jacob."

"No, I don't understand at all, Avery." I was acting cool toward him because I was a little mad that I didn't know about Jacob. That made me look like a fool.

"He left home a long time ago. We never heard from him again."

"So no one ever even mentions him? That seems strange to me. After all he is your brother. Your parents are his parents. Why doesn't anyone mention him?"

"My father and him had a falling out and he left with bad feelings. They never spoke of him after that."

"What did he do that was so bad?" I couldn't imagine Father being that mad at my brothers no matter what they did.

"I don't rightly know. I was younger. I didn't dare ask any questions."

"Well, I guess we will have to let him stay with us for a spell? It doesn't look like he has any money or anywhere to go."

"I was going to ask you about that. If you would mind. I feel like I have to let him stay with us or he could freeze to death. Looks like a blizzard is coming on."

I looked at Avery. He seemed much better. "Are you feeling stronger now? Do you think you can eat solid food tonight?"

He nodded, "I feel better. Feel much stronger. My appetite is back and I am hungering for more than food."

"Avery! Your brother might hear!"

He laughed. "Tonight we are sleeping in our own room. Let Jacob sleep on that little bed in here. The guest room still doesn't have a proper bed."

"What about the food? I made a venison roast. Do you think you can eat it or will it be too painful? I can make some of it into a stew or soup for you."

"I will eat it. I am tired of soups, stews and puddings. Your venison roast sounds good!"

I smiled knowing how Avery loved my cooking and knowing that both of them would love this roast. I could tell that Jacob was very hungry. So I made a lot of food for supper. I was quite happy to have my husband back in control again.

I am a little uneasy about Jacob. He seems so different from Avery I can hardly believe they are brothers. Maybe after I get to know him it will be different but he looks at me in a way that I don't think I like. I hope it is just my imagination as Avery seems glad to have him here. I will make the best of it for a few days and then he will be gone and we can get back to our normal life again.

Copyright © 2010  Kathleen G. Lupole
Updated 2016

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Our House Guest

I went into the house as quietly as I could, expecting that Avery would be resting on the little bed in the corner. He was not there. I saw Benjamin was sleeping soundly in his daybed. Where did Avery go? I was still shaking from my encounter with this intruder. Avery's brother! How could that be? It couldn't be. I have been with his whole family many, many times and I have never heard anyone speak of a missing brother. You would think they would mention him from time to time if he wasn't present. Wouldn't Avery have told me about his older brother if he had one? No, this guy is trying to trick me.

I picked up the rifle to make sure it was ready if I needed to use it. All of a sudden I heard a sound, a creak on the cellar stair! I jumped up and cocked the rifle, when the cellar door opened, I had my gun aimed on it. When the door opened, there was Avery! With his arms full of winter squash, "Rachel! What are you doing?"

I put the rifle down and said, "I thought I heard someone downstairs."

Avery looked down at the rifle, "That is the rifle that we keep in the barn. Why is it in the house? Is there something you aren't telling me?" He set the vegetables down on the counter and looked at me, "Come on Rachel, tell me what's going on. I am not an invalid here."

From the look on his face I knew I had to tell him about this bum. "Avery, I did not want to worry you. Please sit down and I will tell you what is wrong."

He sat down on the bench near the door, "Okay, I am sitting down."

"When I went out to the barn this morning, Peanut led me to the wagon on the path where I had those men put it that brought you home. There was a bum sleeping in it. I went back to the barn and got this gun because I thought he might be one of those outlaws' friends who have come for you with revenge on his mind."

"So who was this bum? Was he still there when you got back? Was he looking for me or just a bite to eat?"

"Yes, he was still there and woke up when he heard Peanut growl. He says for me to tell you that he is your brother. Your older brother, Jacob Longworth. " I looked at Avery to see what his reaction might be to that news. He looked up sharply when I said that, "I told him you did not have an older brother and especially one that I did not know or you would have told me before this." I looked at him sternly, waiting to see what he'd say. I now had the feeling that this bum was telling the truth, that he was in fact, Avery's brother. But how could that be? "He slept in our barn. Took our apples to eat and was looking at the horses. Maybe he is one of those horse thieving Loomises."

Avery stood up, "Is he still down there?" I nodded. He said, "I will go talk to him. You stay here."

I jumped up, "No, I am going with you. You are injured. I need to go with you."

Avery shook his head, "No Rachel, you stay here with Benjamin. I will go alone." He walked to the door while putting his coat on.

I was scared and handed him the rifle, "You better take this."

Avery shook his head, "I won't be needing that." and he walked out the door. I watched him head down the path. He didn't look like he had been injured now. He looked like he was eager to meet up with his so called brother. I didn't know what to think. What if that bum was really his brother? A Longworth? He didn't look like one of them and I can't believe no one ever mentioned him before. If Avery was in such a hurry to get down there to talk to him, he must be his brother. Jacob.

I checked on Benjamin and put some wood on the fire. Better start preparing something besides stew, as it looks like we will be having a guest for supper.

Copyright © 2010  Kathleen G. Lupole
Updated 2016

Saturday, August 28, 2010

An Encounter

I have been doing most of the chores for awhile Avery is recovering from his ordeal. In some ways it has been good for us. Not that he was missing, assaulted and hurt. Now that he is recovering and has to stay inside most of the time taking it easy, he is getting to know his son. When I go out to the barn in the morning he is caring for Benjamin. They are getting closer. I can see Benjamin look for him when I am bathing him. This way I can take my time out in the barn. It is too cold to take Benjamin out there with me.

This morning Peanut came running to me excited about something. He wanted to show me something. So I followed him down the path. There was a man sleeping in the freight wagon! He was dressed a little shabby and had an untrimmed beard. What should I do? I could not go tell Avery because he could not walk out here right now. Who is he? Could he possibly be one of those outlaws' family or friends coming for revenge on Avery?  I motioned to Peanut to be quiet and I backed up to the barn. There is a loaded rifle in there, so I grabbed it and cocked it and slowly walked back down the path to the wagon and the sleeping guest. He stirred a little and I could see he looked a little older than Avery.

I pointed the rifle at him, and Peanut started growling. He awoke with a start, "What the............Hey lady, be careful where you point that thing!" He sat up and I kept the gun right on him. He rubbed his eyes, "Who are you missy?"

I said, "I should be asking you that question. This is my house and you are sleeping in my wagon."

"Well, I'll mean my little brother went and married a beauty like yourself?"

I thought I heard him wrong, "What do you mean? Little brother? My husband does not have an older brother. You better tell me who you are before I pull this trigger. I am a crack shot. I grew up shooting squirrels." I kept my finger on the trigger in case he tried to come at me.

"Go get your husband. Ask him if he has a brother named Jacob Longworth. He will tell you. I'll wait here."

"Mister, you are loony if you think I will fall for that and leave you here while I go to my husband."

"Then how do I know his name is Avery Longworth?"

"Anyone would know our names. Especially if they were coming to rob us." I held the gun steady with a good grip, but hoping I would not have to shoot this man.

"I will just sit back down here and wait. What have you got to lose?" With that he sat back down on the wagon seat. "By the way, Missy, what is your name?"

"It is not Missy." I was undecided what to do. I knew I did not want Avery to try to come out here in the cold. Not in his present condition. If he knew someone was out here, he might try to. It could be a trap to get him to come out.

"Just go ask lil' Av, if he has an older brother. He will tell you."

"Okay, but if you leave I will ride to the sheriff and report you for trying to rob us."

He laughed, "Okay Missy, you do that." He sat back down and picked up an apple that he had in his pocket and shined it and took a bite.

"Where did you get that?" I asked suspiciously.

"You've got a big barrel of them in the barn. Mighty good too. Nice horses you're keeping in there. Are they boarded?"

"You were in my barn? How dare you! You stole our apples!"

"Oh stop fuming Missy. I only took a couple. I had to sleep somewhere. Mighty cold out here."

"None of your business about our horses. You stay there and I'll see what my husband has to say." I turned on my heel and walked up the path back to the house with Peanut at my side.

Copyright © 2010  Kathleen G. Lupole
Updated 2016

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Recovering From His Accident

Avery and I have been together ever since he was brought home seven days ago. I hardly dare to leave him. When he falls asleep, I go outside to do some chores. Clean the chicken coop, clean the horses' stalls, feed them all, carry in some water, then some firewood. Then when I get back inside, usually Benjamin is fussing a little in his bed. I get him up and change him, feed and then heat water for his bath. When all that is done, I start thinking about what to prepare for our food. I have been making soups and stews so it is easier for Avery to eat. Right now I just put the broth in his dish and spoon feed him. He does not like this at all. I can tell it bothers him that I am feeding him, but he can't hold the spoon or a cup. This is what has to be done, and he better get used to until he gets better.

Ruth stopped in this morning. She was anxious about Avery's condition. I told her he doesn't want to see anyone and he is really in bad shape. She left me some oranges she had brought in for her restaurant in the hotel. I know they cost her a lot of money but she would not take anything for it. It is her way to do something for Avery. I will make him some orange juice today and see if that will help. We sat in the kitchen and she held Benjamin. He was happy and smiling and made us both laugh and forget our problems for awhile.

After she left I made some vanilla pudding for a surprise for Avery. Maybe something sweet will taste good to him and it is full of fresh eggs and milk. Avery woke up and sat up for awhile and sat with him and just talked told him what was going on while he was gone. He seemed very distant to me. Not like his old self. I brought Benjamin in and thought he would cheer him up, but Avery seemed more troubled. I know he is always used to being in control and this whole thing has been hard for him to accept.

I put Benjamin down for the night and went to sit by Avery, I thought he was asleep, but he was awake. I said, "Avery, I know this is a hard thing you have gone through. I know you are still in pain, but you are healing. Is there anything more I can do for you?"

He looked at me very seriously and studied me for a minute, "Rachel, I feel I have let you down. I let Hank Garrison  down when I lost his load of goods. I have let my son, Benjamin down."

"Avery Longworth! Don't you ever say that again!" I was angry and I knew my eyes were blazing, "You have never let us or anyone else down in your life. One man cannot take on a whole band of outlaws. Yes, they got the freight but you got the horses and wagon back, did you not?"

"Yes, but I still lost the freight. I figure I will have to swallow that loss and give him his money back. It is just not right for him to pay for something he did not receive. He paid me in advance you know."

"Are you worried about the money? I did not touch it while you were gone."

"I know. But we could have used that money. I wanted to do some things around here to make it nice and homey for you. You deserve a nice house, Rachel."

"I have a nice house. I do not need things bought for me. All I want is my husband to get well and back to normal. I really don't want my husband leaving home and being gone for so long."

"Well, you know I have to earn a living. That is why we have a big house and a big barn and first class horses. I have never wanted to be scrounging for food and other expenses."

"Avery, you are only one man. You cannot do it all. For now you have two other drivers. While you are recovering how about hiring another driver to take over for you? I can send a note to Mr. Garrison to tell him we will return the money."

"I think we could hire another driver. You wouldn't mind helping me with this?"

I laughed out loud, "Avery, you know I don't! You know me better than that. I will take care of this. I think I know someone who might like that job."

Avery laid back down, but grabbed a hold of my skirt as I walked by, "Come here, I have missed you."

"Avery! You are recovering and I might hurt you," I said, but was secretly pleased that he seemed interested in me so soon. I had missed his touch.

"No Rachel, I just want you to lay down next to me. Just to feel you close to me will make me feel better."

I smiled at him and thought to myself, "this is my Avery. I do believe he will recover from this even though it is a painful recovery." I had an idea though that this job might be just the thing for my brother, Kenneth, who seems to be getting bored with our family farm. Last time he was here he told me there was a girl he was interested in. Maybe a job like this would help him out and help us out. Avery can run the freight lines from home but pay the drivers to deliver the goods. Yes, I can help him out with this.

Copyright © 2010  Kathleen G. Lupole
Updated 2016