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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."
"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