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