Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Chapter 41

Linda sat down at the table with me while I chopped rhubarb to go in the strawberry-rhubarb pie filling that the Aunts wanted to prepare next.  "You ok?"


"You need one of your pills?"

I shook my head.  "Not yet but I'm telling you, the aunts sure do have a lot of energy."

She grinned, "We ain't seen nothing yet.  Tommy says that during the different harvest times they can get as much done as one of the big combines."

"One of those big harvesters?"


I groaned, "Oh my Lord."

Linda giggled and took the pan of rhubarb I had finished a few minutes before to carry it into the old kitchen.  I wasn't exaggerating.  The aunts all seemed to have the energy and go of a big city bus.  You might as well just climb on board for the ride or pray they make a few stops along the way to pick you up or you were going to get left behind and be up the creek.

Aunt Suzanne, the quiet and intense wife of Uncle Derwint, brought over more cleaned strawberries.  "You doing ok?"

"Yes ma'am."

"Uh huh.  Tell me another one.  I see you sitting on that cushion.  And Linda said your hip joint was bothering you."

I tried not to make a big deal of it but she surprised me, "My sister had a chair pulled out from under her when we were kids as a practical joke.  She landed hard and funny on the books that had been under her chair.  Broke her tail bone and knocked her leg out of socket.  One leg is almost two inches shorter than the other.  She has to wear a special shoe or she just aches if she is on her feet too long.  You ever been fitted for a special shoe?"

"I was supposed to be but the insurance would never approve it because I was able to get around without one."

"You should tell Sawyer."

I shook my head.  "Oh no.  It wouldn't be worth the expense."

"Honey, I've seen the Hartford men get together and come up with the craziest inventions or work arounds just by expending a little effort.  It can't hurt to let 'em try and do something for you.  And it sure will make it easier on you this summer.  A little sandal with a platform on it if nothing else will help you get down the rows in the garden without tripping.  Now you tell Sawyer or I will.  There's no sense suffering, not when we got menfolk that can be put to work to find a solution.  They thrive on that sort of thing."

"O .. okay.  Yes ma'am.  I'll talk to Sawyer."

"Be sure you do."  She stretched and sat down and started helping me cap the strawberries and said, "Next week we'll see the first of the early summer produce come in.  All you girls will help with that - probably with weekly canning days - plus you'll need to take care of what is in your own yard between times.  Sawyer walked you around yet?"

"Yes ma'am.  We've got peach trees and cherry trees that he said should be ready next week if it keeps trending warm like it has.  There's some other stuff too but that's all that'll be ready anytime this month coming up."

"Boy's got rocks in his head.  You got lots of nice edibles.  I'll show you next time, for now let's finish these strawberries before someone starts hollerin' that they need them."


Sawyer and I stood on the porch and waved as everyone drove away after a buffet supper of the day's leftovers.  After the last tail light disappeared we slowly turned to go in the house to escape the early mosquitoes and then wandered into the kitchen to look at the jars on the kitchen table and all the counter tops.  We couldn't see the jars but we knew they were there under the tea towels and blankets where they would stay until morning.

I was beyond tired when I said, "At least it doesn't look like a science experiment gone bad in here anymore."

Sawyer gave his own tired grin.  "You got that list Aunt Pearl left?"

"The one where she allotted so many of each thing we canned for each family?"  At his nod I answered, "Yeah.  She's got this as organized as a warehouse foreman."

"More organized," Sawyer said cracking a huge yawn.  "At least better organized than the manager I used to work for.  And I hate to stay it but I was checking the trees and they look like you'll be able to start picking in just a couple of days."

I nodded and surprised him when I said, "Good.  At least I have a couple of days to get more jars washed and get organized with what I want to do with it all.  I'm going to make maraschino cherries for sure after I saw how expensive they were at the store.  Linda suggested I dry as much as I can but if I do that it will run up the electric bill and ..."

"Don't worry about that.  Preserving the food is more important and it isn't like we have a cable bill.  Hell ... uh, heck ... we don't have internet out here.  You feel like going to the library for a couple of hours tomorrow?"

"Uh ... yeah sure, I guess.  Why?"

"There's a couple of books I want to look at and I thought maybe if you wanted to you could help me look up some stuff online using the library's wifi.  And ..."


In an embarrassed rush he said, "And there's a show I really want to watch and I'm not going to go to the library and watch tv and leave you here at the house to work."

I smiled.  "You're goofy.  You can go watch your show without having me tag along.  But, to prevent an argument I'll go ... besides I'd kinda like to look and see what kind of cookbooks and stuff they have.  I've got a library card but I guess I'll need to change the address on it and all that stuff."

"You know, that reminds me ... you need to learn to drive."

"I already know how to drive."

"You ... wait, did you say you did?"

"Yeah.  Mr. Brinser's mother liked to go piddle around in craft stores and things like that so Mr. Brinser taught me.  They took me off the insurance when the old lady died so I couldn’t drive after that so I'm rusty, but so long as it is an automatic I can drive."

"Perfect!" he yelled in glee loud enough to hurt my ears.  "There's that station wagon out in the barn.  Benedict said that he thinks that it wouldn't be that big a deal to convert it over to that fuel he makes but he'll have to find the time to really give it a look over.  And so long as you only use the private roads between the various family homesteads - with us being in the middle you can just cut across - we won't even have to put you on the insurance."

He tried to get me to dance, and I tried, but I was stiff and clutzy but he didn't seem to notice.  I think that was even better than where he was dancing with me.  The weirdest things don't seem to matter to Sawyer just like the weirdest things do.

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