Monday, June 14, 2010

Chapter Ninety-Three

Chapter 93

May 12th – I swear this heat is driving everyone a little crazy. The lack of rain isn’t helping. Rand is getting really worried. So far we aren’t having any trouble with our well but I know for a fact it is a deep one because my parents put it in. But the pond the cattle use has shrunk by about fifty percent. That has meant more pumping into their thingies they drink out of … I think this heat is frying my brain too. Or maybe it is being pregnant. I guarantee it feels like my IQ has dropped by about 75 points on some days.

Mostly it is the crops that Rand is worried about most. Even though it is a lot of work I can water my gardens by hand the same way it was done last year but the larger fields with the grain crops are another matter completely. From what we hear people spend most of the day, every day carting water and trying to keep their kitchen gardens going. The field crops are being let go to whatever their fate is. And people are hoarding their grains. Rand will bring the thresher to the next Swap Meet but there is going to armed guards because there are rumors that some folks are so desperate they plane to storm the place and take what they want.

Rand thinks he has a solution for our own fields. It won’t be easy … or cheap in trade goods because he’ll need some parts we don’t have … but on paper it looks like a winner. He was looking in some old ag business textbooks he has and he came across a picture of a horse drawn irrigator. He thinks he has the mechanics figured out but he wants to ride over to Uncle George’s to see what he has to say on it. He also hopes to hook up with a couple of the old timers at the Trade Shack at the same time and maybe one of them actually remembers using one or their father using one. I can’t stop him but for some reason I get the willies lately when he and Austin leave me all alone which is really, really stupid. I’ve spent years all alone, so what it up with my hormones now?

The baby isn’t due for nearly eight weeks yet. Wish I could shake off this weird feeling I’ve had lately. Even if the baby comes a month early everything should still be OK. Ken says I’m healthier than I have any right to be all things considered and that I’m a lot healthier than a lot of the pregnant females he’s been seeing lately whether they be of the human flavor or the animal flavor.

This heat and drought on top of it is really starting to wear us all down. Ken has lost weight again and I wish they would figure out a way for him to have a clinic for most days of the week. Say he could have the clinic three days a week, he could make house calls two days a week, and then he’d have two days to devote to being a preacher man. Instead he tries to do both seven days a week and it is taking its toll on him. I startled him by reading him the riot act for once. And you know what the man did? He laughed. That’s right he laughed at me. Honestly, what does he think he is Teflon coated and bullet proof?

You know what Ken needs? A wife. Someone that will boss him around for his own good, make sure he eats properly, and will do what it takes to nail him in place when he really shouldn’t be going out and doing good deeds. I know there are a lot of women that like to make sheep’s eyes at him but I’m not sure the ones I’ve met would know what to do with him if they caught him. I said as much to Rand and he got all loopy and romantic but I’m beginning to wonder if he didn’t get up to all of that to distract me. I mean, I like being distracted by Rand but it is kind of irritating to realize how easy he can do it. I nearly forgot about some muffins that I had in the oven.

Today was baking day and I swear I nearly passed out from the heat at one point. It got so bad that I had to go lay down but there wasn’t much relief there either. Rand and Austin dozed on the front porch and about 1:30 or so it was like the world just shut down for about an hour. Not even the chickens were out scratching for their dinner. The only sound to be heard was what I took to be the withering of what little grass is left in the front yard.

My sole constructive contribution to the day, beyond my regular chores, was to try out a new recipe I found in the very back of one of Momma’s recipe books that Daddy brought her back from one of his TDYs to California, or at least that is what it said in the front of the book. “To Punkin from Pistol …” and a date and location. Daddy would bring Momma back things like that rather than jewelry or clothes. He knew what she liked and it was tourist stuff like coffee mugs, shot glasses, or spoons of the sights he’d seen.

I already do what I can to cut down on the use of our wheat flour but if this drought doesn’t let up the ground is going to be real dry this coming fall and winter when we are supposed to plant again. Most of our big grains fields have already been harvested but the sorghum is in the ground and we can’t lose it. The recipe I found uses millet and oatmeal to piece out the wheat flour and it turned out really well. Not quite like a muffin you would have gotten in the old days made out of processed, bleached, and enriched white flour but not so far off as you didn’t recognize it for what it was.

First off I stirred a cup of rolled oats into one and a quarter cup of boiling water and then let that stand for twenty minutes and let it cool. Then I sifted together one and a half cups of flour, one teaspoon of baking soda and a half teaspoon of salt and set it aside. Next, in a large mixing bowl I beat a half cup of butter until it was all creamy. Then I slowly added one cup of white and one cup of brown sugar, beating it all again until smooth and creamy. To this I added two teaspoons of vanilla and two beaten eggs and beat until well blended. It looks like you have a mess but that is OK. I added the cooled oatmeal to the butter mixture and stirred it well to blend. If you thought the stuff looked funky before the oatmeal gives it a quality that I had to stop myself from thinking about as it looked all nobbledy and it set my stomach to rocking. I finally added the flour mixture at that point and had to use my heavy wooden spoon to stir it. Then I added a half cup of millet and Austin said it looked like I was stirring in chicken feed.

I spooned the batter into muffin cups that I had buttered really well, filling the wells about two-thirds full. I baked them for about 15 minutes, or until a straw inserted in the centre of the muffin came out clean. I gently ran a table knife around the edge of each muffin, lifted them out and placed them on a rack to cool. The batter only made twelve muffins but that is enough for us. I’m taking them tomorrow when we go to the Swap Meet.

May 13th – I had fun today, even with the ruckus that happened, but boy am I paying for it. My toes look like sausages and my ankles have completely disappeared. When the girls at school used to complain that being pregnant towards the end made them feel ugly I thought they were talking about their belly and all the weight they gained. Now I’m thinking that it was just a kind of an overall feeling of “Yuck, that’s totally gross” when their body started doing things they didn’t expect.

Rand thinks I’m “really hot looking” which basically means he is brain damaged but I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. But even he conceded that my feet and ankles looked a “little swollen.” I felt like I was walking around on clown feet by the time lunch had come and gone.

It wasn’t so bad in the morning. Everyone had agreed to start the swap meet an hour early to try and avoid some of the heat. It didn’t work. As soon as the sun hit the morning sky the heat index started climbing. We opened the upper bay doors on the barn but left the cows inside, left the chickens locked in their run and also left the pigs and goats in their sheds though they had more freedom than the cows did. I suppose it was a hardship for me to go to the Swap Meet with Rand but I … well I really wanted to. I like being home most of the time but I just wanted to get out and see people which was kind of weird since people are usually the last thing in the world I want to have anything to do with.

I put the muffins in a basket and we ate them along the way. Austin must have said something to Rand because he commented, “Hey, they don’t taste like they have birdseed in them.” I guess that was a compliment.

Mitch and Ron and a couple of other men I didn’t recognize met us about half way up our road and escorted us to the Swap Meet. The men all looked uncomfortable but I didn’t understand why and guys being what they are no one was offering an explanation. I looked at Rand and he just shrugged his shoulders.

“Good grief, why has everyone got the mullygrubs this morning?” I asked, my curiosity finally getting the best of me.

My question only made the men squirm and then Ron spoke up in the gravely quiet voice that he’s had ever since the day of the fire. “It’s me.”

“It’s you what?”

Ron looked at me and then his face softened a bit and he said, “Kiri, you know good and well the Harbingers were … well … “

“Oh … well ‘were’ is the correct word to use. You and Stevie are the only Harbingers left. I don’t guess a baby is much of a threat and you’re a changed man so what’s the problem?”

Ron rolled his eyes but since I wasn’t giving up he said, “Memories are long and the things I did were wrong.”

“And … you’ve already done your best to atone for things so I still don’t see the problem. Half the people I’ve met around here seem to have something quirky in their background whether it is them or their family. And if they didn’t before the sickness they have since. We’re all a little on the eccentric side these days if we weren’t before. You’d figure people wouldn’t worry so much about the splinter in their neighbor’s eye when they’ve got a great big ol’ log in their own.”

Ron looked at me and then his mouth twitched and that is just about as close to a smile as he would let himself get. Then he said, “Rand, you ain’t gonna have any hair left by the time you’re my age.”

Rand’s response nearly had me giving him a kiss in public. “Do I look like I’m complaining?” he laughed.

Ron’s response nearly made me cry. “Naw, naw you don’t for a fact. You’re a lucky man,” he trailed off and his eyes got this funny faraway look full of what could have beens and fears of what may never be.

For whatever reason the other men seemed to adjust their attitudes and we travelled the rest of the way much more comfortable silence. I think the general attitude of our party actually set the tone for how people received us. I think it short-circuited a few that were carrying a chip on their shoulders and were looking for a fight.

People looked at the thresher hungrily as we pulled in to the allocated spot away from the general flow of foot traffic but they were keeping their distance and no one appeared to be angry, at least not in the crowd that was there first thing in the morning. Rand got me down and before he could try and figure out a nice way of telling me I was underfoot and in the way I told him I was going over to see Missy. He looked relieved and I had a hard time not laughing at him. It wouldn’t be good for him to know that I’ve gotten a lot better about figuring out what is going on in his head. It might make him nervous or something. Then he’d try to get mysterious and it would only make it hard on me again.

Missy has finally lost all the weight that she put on with the baby. The thing is she has lost even more weight than that and there is even some grey in her hair that I didn’t notice before. She’s still a beautiful woman but it looks like she is aging before her time. Noticing that on Missy made me really look at other people I saw today. I saw a lot more than I wanted to see. The world we’ve been living in for the last two years – first with the pandemic and then with the aftermath of it – hasn’t been kind to people. Grief, hard work, and short rations have taking their toll. Bill’s white blonde crew cut is liberally sprinkled with white streaks. Uncle George … well he’s always looked old to me but even I can tell that he’s looking older than he did before. People are thinner for the most part unless they started out really big and some of those folks that have lost a lot of weight look really bad and there isn’t any way to cover it up.

Momma O was at the Swap Meet and I was really surprised after the way she was acting the last time I saw her. So was Mrs. Withrow and some of the other LA ladies. Mrs. Withrow noticed my confusion and told me, “Honey, when you get to be our age death is a constant companion and on some days when the arthritis gets to you or you’ve heard that another person you’ve known forever has gone on, well, you know your time is coming as well. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have good days too.”

I’m … well, I guess I don’t have any room to talk. I’m not there yet. When I’m old I just hope I don’t freak my kids out with talking about death like it is a neighbor that is coming to call pretty soon. It’s not that I’m afraid to die or anything like that but it just does seem odd not to fight it tooth and nail.

And we did a little bit of fighting it today. It was getting on towards lunch time and most of the locals had come and gone leaving the outsider crowd still mingling amongst the stalls and tables of the people set up for trading. Most of the outsiders are OK and would probably fit into our community if they moved here but there is a rough element that comes around as well. Some of them are from the immigrant camps, allowed out on furlough for the day (guarantee some of them never went back), and some of them were from up and down the river. River folks I really don’t mind; they’re a little on the wild side ‘cause they are out looking for a good time or a good bargain, but where ever these other folks were from they were a bad lot from the word go.

Mitch spotted them first and had his men cruising up and down the aisles but when someone is bound and determined to start a ruckus I don’t guess anyone else’s commonsense is going to stop them. Bill saw the start of the brawl from where he was loading things up in the trailer. He whistled to the men who are his regular helpers and they started throwing things into the trailer to close the stall down.

“Bill, what on earth?” Missy looked up and asked him.

“Brawl. Heading this way. I want you and the baby in the cab … now.”

I guess when Bill used a certain tone of voice Missy listened. Or maybe it was experience. Or maybe it was just thinking about their son’s safety. But when Bill said what he wanted Missy gave it to him.

“Come on. You can … oh, never mind, there’s Austin come running.”

Austin, red cheeked from running in the heat, came barreling up. “Rand wants to know if you’re ready to go ‘cause he wants to get the thresher out of harm’s way.”

That sounded like a plan to me and I waddled as fast as I could as Austin turned to run back to help Rand hitch everything back up for the road. I just don’t waddle so fast and I had to watch double for people … first for me and then for my belly that took up a lot of room.

“Kiri! “ Ron Harbinger went thundering right by me and I heard his horse collide with another one. I turned to look over my shoulder and saw Ron fighting on horseback with another man. I turned around to get going the right direction a little faster when this man stepped in front of me and said, “I know plenty of men who’d pay real gold for a gal like you.”

I don’t know where my brains get to sometimes. I pulled my pistol and aimed it at the man’s rooster parts and said, “You sure? ‘Cause I can be a ton of trouble when I’ve a mind to.”

He snorted and turned to join a fight that had broken out a few feet down one of the aisles and I continued unmolested the rest of the way to Rand who was trying to work and try to see where I was at the same time. It made him look spastic.

“Rand, honestly, be careful! You’re going to fall!!”

“Kiri! You’re here.”

“Well, where else would I be? You asked me if I was ready to go and it looks like everything is shutting down anyway. Seems a shame as the day started out so nice.”

Rand looked at me real hard. “Babe? Why do you have your pistol out?”

“Varmints in the underbrush.”

“Kiri …” Rand started warningly.

That’s when Ron rode up with a cut on his chin. “Those rustlers from south Florida or someone who associates with ‘em.”

“What?! Why those no good … (blip) (blip) (blip).” My teeth nearly fell out. Rand isn’t prone to using that kind of language and to have him to do with what I thought was so little provocation just floored me. I found out what he was so bent out of shape about that it would make him lose his religion after Austin went to be and he could assure himself that I was still here and all right but I don’t feel like going into again. I finally wore Rand out enough that he could go to sleep and now I guess I’m wore out enough too.

May 14th – Oh my gosh! Rand and Austin surprised me so much today. It’s Mother’s Day you see and I never even thought much about it but I woke up with something tickling my nose. Rand had pulled a feather out of my old duster and was using it to wake me up.

Well all that did was make me laugh so hard at how silly he was being I had to rush to the bathroom after he helped me to roll out of bed. When I got back he and Austin had set up a bed table and told me that I wasn’t to do any chores today. And I didn’t … not really. I had to help get the scorched taste out of the green beans when they let the water cook out of them and I saved the cake they were baking from burning but other than that, not a bit of work.

I had a lovely day. I even washed my hair and took some time to just read a book for pleasure … it was an old Trixie Belden book that used to be Momma’s. I thought Rand and Austin had gone for a walk but he came back in and caught me upstairs crying looking at the old photo books of times when things were like they used to be. I miss Momma. Who am I supposed to ask how to be a momma to this baby?

May 15th – I started sniffling and crying yesterday so I just decided to stop writing. It doesn’t bring Momma back to cry about it and I guess it is actually one of those things that does more harm than good to wallow in it.

I meant to get around to telling why Rand was so bent out of shape after the Swap Meet but it is one of those things you don’t like to think about but I suppose after today I might as well go ahead and put something down if for no other reason than to get it out of my system.

Apparently – and this is just a rumor as far as I’m concerned because it just sounds so farfetched – there is a network of men who are trafficking in humans. Can you believe it? Slavery is alive and well. Yuck. It seems that the pandemic and subsequent social and physical upheaval took a heavy toll on women and children. I can almost see why some couples might be so crazy as to want a child for their own if they lost all of their biological children and couldn’t have any more but apparently that isn’t what it is about. It is about work and how much it takes to run a home or homestead these days. When I said slavery I meant that literally.

There are also forced indentures. Say you get into debt over your head, or you want to travel out of an area but it costs more than you have and your aren’t willing to wait, you can sign off on so many years worth of labor in exchange for transportation, food and lodging, security, or just about anything. I just can’t understand why people would bargain away their freedom like that.

But it is the slavery that really gets to me and makes me kind of sick to my stomach. Imagine if Austin had fallen into the clutches of people like that. Imagine if I had on my bike ride from Tampa. Imagine a parent willing to bargain away the life of one child so that the other can eat. I just don’t know what things are coming to. And listening to myself say things like that makes me feel old. I used to not care what things were coming to, I was tired and wanted to be with my parents. I was too wrapped up in my own problems to look around and really understand what was going on around me. Now … now there are days when I you couldn’t pay me to go back to being that person but I sure would like some of that innocence back. It scares me for what my baby is going to have to face in the future if we can’t get a hold of things like that now.

May 16th – My hands are purple. Of course that’s better than having purple feet which is what Rand and Austin have. The blueberries came in after all. I was afraid we hadn’t started irrigating them in time and I went out to the garden early this morning expecting to see them all on the ground and lo and behold the bushes were full of ripe berries. But for some weird reason they are coming ripe all at once. That wasn’t the case last year.

I’ve got a mess on my hands figuratively and literally. I would have called over to the Crenshaws to see if I could get Alicia or someone to come help but that what we get for not having phones any more. I suppose we could have used the radio set up that Rand finished with Bill and Ram’s help but that’s only for emergencies and for listening. The only kind of chatter we hear these days is the kind of stuff I want to listen to. People are crazy and there are all sorts of rumors, most of whom prove out to be exaggerations or outright lies. I can’t stand to listen to it; it gives me a headache.

Besides, at least for today I’ve been busy canning and drying blueberries. I’ll have more to do tomorrow but what I don’t get tomorrow will probably fall to the ground unless I can pick them all and put them in the cooler, then I might squeeze another day in.

And why would Austin and Rand’s feet be purple? That was kind of funny. Rand found a patch of wild blueberries all but buried in the grass on one of the near 40s. He’d hoped to bag some quail but they’ve all taken to the grass because it is so hot. Well he was bent over looking for trails through the tall grass when he spies what he thinks is a small patch but the more he investigated the bigger the patch turned out to be. He finally came and got Austin and they must have picked three bushels in an hour and a half.

What did he do with these berries? Did he give them to me so I wouldn’t have to go out into the hot berry patch and pick them myself? No. He did a total guy thing and if he hadn’t look so silly doing it I think I might have gotten upset. He made blueberry and raisin wine. He swiped a couple of my remaining yeast packets which didn’t make me too happy but since it was the first time in a couple of days I saw him looking actually enthusiastic rather than tired and drained I could say no.

As far as what I’ve been making with the blueberries I made some more blueberry relish because that went over so well that I ran out around Christmas time if I remember right. I tripled the batch on that because I figure Uncle George will want some and I’m also making up some stuff to trade with Ram. I just don’t feel right taking things from him for free even though I know he is doing it because he thinks of me as a little sister. He has a family now too and we both need to be generous but be smart about it.

I dried a bunch of blueberries naturally and I also made a large batch of blueberry fruit leathers. Those don’t keep as long as I wish they did but sealing them in a jar and then putting them out in the cooler ought to help some. Austin deserves to have a treat now and again even if we can’t afford to buy him some of the stuff that comes through the Trade Shack like some of the other parents splurge on. He’s a good boy and I like being his Momma even if it is a big sister kind of mother. He always seems so surprised when Rand or I do something just for his sake and for no other reason. It makes me really wonder how bad he had it growing up. His grandfather taught him a lot and obviously gave him some love but it also seems like he was never first in line for anything.

The other stuff that I made today was blueberry syrup, but I’m making less of that this year because I need to conserve my white sugar that I have left, and then all the different conserves and preserves that I’ve got recipes for. Tomorrow it will mostly be juice I expect. If there is anything left after that I plan on trying to make a blueberry mousse.

May 17th – Nice surprise. Alicia came over to visit and stayed to help with the blueberries. I haven’t seen her too much since Tommy left us. She seems to be dealing with things better but there are still shadows under her eyes. Austin didn’t know what to say to her but she gave him a hug to let him know it was OK. I hope she has started to heal. They say grief is a process. I remember it being like that … and sometimes it is a long painful process.

May 20th – I’ve been too tired to write. But we had some excitement today that I want to mark the occasion of. Rand finished building the horse drawn irrigator … and it works. A couple of the hose fittings leak but Rand thinks he can fix that and it took a while for the mules to get use to the jangling everything does but it does work.

But the dog is a nuisance. Austin thought it was funny but I could tell Rand was losing patience and asked Austin to hold onto Woofer’s collar. The crazy dog was trying to play in the spray of the irrigator like a kid in a sprinkler. I wish he would enjoy his baths as much as he enjoys getting into things he shouldn’t.

As soon as Woofer was under control Rand took the irrigator for a spin in the garden. I asked him how it felt and he said a little more difficult to work than the cultivator but that just meant that he’d need to drive slower. The long arms that fed and held the hoses off the ground will need to be reinforced because they really bounce around making getting an even spray kind of hard but Rand is so happy that he said, “Babe, something is better than nothing even if I have to make two passes to make sure everything gets some. Now so long as the well holds out we should do OK no matter how long the rains take to get here. And now that I know this is going to work I’ll take the plans to Brendon and Ron and they can make one for the farm over there so I don’t have to drive this one across the roads and worry about bending the axle on this old wagon bed.

Salvaging things is getting harder. All of the old homesteads have pretty much been picked clean and those that haven’t have been pulled out and refurbishes and put to work. There are a few people that have converted tractors to methane or ethanol (corn liquor more likely) but they are clunkety things compared to Rand’s horse drawn equipment and prone to breaking down.

Our mules certainly do get a work out. I was worried about Hatchet getting jealous but lately he’s really started settling down. I think it is Austin working with him all the time. Of course he’s still not too partial to me but he doesn’t try and bit anymore which is a relief. Rand still doesn’t want me to go out to the corral unless he or Austin are with me but I figure that’s just fine. I do miss riding the mules but in the shape I’m in I don’t even know if I could get up in the saddle much less stay in it.

May 21st – I wish I could have taken a picture of Uncle George’s face when he saw the irrigator. It was priceless. I guess he hadn’t had much confidence in Rand being able to get one figured out. Ron and Brendon spent most of the morning making copies of Rand’s hand drawings and asking him questions to clarify when the diagram wasn’t clear to them. Uncle George spent the morning going over the whole thing and taking measurements and making a few suggestions for the leaky fittings.

He was in the middle of looking at something when he stopped and yelled, “Brendon, get that bag that Ram sent over for Kiri before I forget about it.”

Brendon is still hops to when his Daddy bellows like that and I guess I would to if my Daddy was here but it’s odd knowing that Brendon is a father himself now. I guess you have to make some compromises if you are going to stay under your parent’s roof.

Almost afraid to look in the bag I took it inside to open in privacy.

Hermana, I know the baby is coming soon and I thought you might could use these. If you don’t need them pass them along to someone who can as there is no way I’m going to let Missy catch me with them. She’d never let me live it down. Your Hermano

A couple of those really expensive books you could only afford to check out at the library slid out of the bag. They looked like they came from some doctor’s private collection. The Process of Labor and Delivery, The Pros and Cons of Natural Child Birth, and others that dealt with emergencies that can occur during a home birth, how to avoid medical interventions like forceps and the pictures nearly turned my head inside out. I’m a prude, I admit it. Maybe I’m a real stick about the whole keeping certain things covered and I know I really give Ken a hard time when he wants to give me an exam but my word. Rand thinks I'm being silly and if he uses the cow and the farmer analogy one more time I'm going to throw something at hime. And Ram is right, this shouldn’t fall into the wrong hands. It's liable to give some poor girl nightmares before her wedding day even gets here. Some of those pictures make it look like the woman is in the middle of some kind of bloody battle. When I’m finished with them I’ll give them to Ken and he can dispose of them as he thinks best.

Missy really would have teased Ram unmercifully. Seems like now that he is married to the right woman he’s turned into a prude himself … at least when it comes to women he considers his family or part of his extended and adopted family. Alicia says that he growls as bad as Uncle George does if some young man gets too close to Charlene or Janet.

I haven’t gotten to see too much of those two except at church and Charlene is always surrounding by a bunch of young men … some not as young as they should be. What am I saying? Charlene and I are pretty close to the same age. Why am I suddenly acting like I’m so much older than she is? Goodness I think I need to get over myself or something.

For instance, today at the church services the boys were buzzing around Charlene as thick as flies. But I’m not so sure that Charlene likes it much. She seemed pretty happy when I went over to say hello which pretty much killed the mood when I started talking about heart burn, flatulence, and swollen feet.

Charlene looked at me very serious and then started giggling and said, “Thank you! I was starting to have trouble breathing. I wish they wouldn’t act so stupid. I’m … well, I’ve decided I’m not ready to settle down and have kids. Life is hard enough helping at home, you know?”

“Like you need to ask me that?” I laughed right back.

“Seriously, you look like you’re going to explode at any second. Daddy was saying last night that folks are laying odds that you and Rand … uh … I mean …”

“That Rand and I what?”

“Well, that maybe you’re farther along than you’re saying if you know what I mean.”

“No I don’t under … oh … oh how awful. You mean they think that Rand and I … before we got married and stuff? But, if that were true I’d have had the baby a long time ago and …”

“Take it easy. Nobody who matters thinks that. And no matter what you say some people are going to have dirty minds. You should have heard some of the things they said about Alicia and Brendon and they really did get caught before they got married.”

“Well I don’t like it when people talk about me behind my back,” I insisted.

“Would you rather they get up in your face about it? They’re stupid and that’s all you need to think about it.”

“That sounds like something Missy would say.”

She laughed again, “Probably. Daddy says I’m getting more like her every day. But it is strange, he doesn’t make that sound quite as bad a thing as he used to. I guess he and Missy have come a long way from where they used to be.”

“Where’s Janet? I thought she would be here today.”

“She had another spell last night.”

Worried I said, “Oh no.”

“Daddy had Ken out last week since she’s had so many lately. Ken seems to think the heat might be setting them off or maybe an electrolyte imbalance or something. Daddy has Ram and Bill trying to find some mineral supplements for her. Last night’s spell was pretty bad. She was half way up the steps when it happened. If Laurabeth hadn’t been coming down from putting Stevie in a clean diaper she might have taken a really bad fall. Daddy is moving her down to the first floor until we can find something that will get the spells back under control.”

We are all worried about Janet. She was getting so much better and stronger and now this set back. Rand told me that Ken seems to think that the “spells” might be an arrhythmia but he’s not for sure because as soon as the “spell” is over with all of her vital signs are normal and he’s never been there while she is in the middle of one of them.

Good brown gravy it is hot. Too hot to write as much as I feel like writing. I’m going to be the one having a spell if we don’t get some cooler weather soon. I feel like I’m being roasted alive. Not even sitting in the shower is helping any more.


  1. Thank you for sharing another chapter.

  2. I heard from a little zombie that we have been left for the crazy squirrel cage and a new story!! I'm heart broken at the thought of being abandoned! I must know what happens with Kiri and Rand! Does she have twins?! Do they wipe out the river pirates?! Does she become a full fledged member of the Lady's Aux?! Do they both become Leaders in the community?! * oh and does she ever learn to drive a car??? lmbo!*

  3. Kathy I am really hoping you are going to pick this story back up. It's been over 2 months now since the last update. Can you give us an idea when an update may be posted?