Two hens in waiting in the barn. They should hatch June 18th. Both are fenced in to keep the little goats from tromping on them. I'll put the one in the box behind the gate in the loft chicken room, because I can carry that box up the steps. As soon as the one in the hay feeder hatches I'll give her chicks to the hen in the chicken room. Setting hens don't get along when they are put together. They are territorial so they fight, but they don't mind adopting another hen's chicks. I feel lucky to have made it almost three weeks without a raccoon or opossum raiding the barn and stealing these hens. Usually, they would show up about now so I have my fingers crossed (not really) hoping for a safe delivery for both hens.
I love watching the animals and chickens at my place. My observations turn into moments in my books which add realism to the characters' stories. One morning last week I pulled foxtail out of the daylilies and bluebells. I knew about the tunnel through the bluebells, because I saw a hen using it. I'd glanced in the plants as I walked by but didn't see any eggs so I figured the hen was looking for bugs. While I was weeding I found the nest behind the bluebells. The hen is in for a surprise when she comes back to lay again. I made sure the eggs were gone. That was not a good place for a hen to start a family with wild animals roaming across the yard in the night. That afternoon about four PM, as usual, my husband and I were sitting on the front porch, me drinking ice tea and he drinking coffee. A blonde feathered hen with a bright red neck and head eased over to the bluebells and ducked into the tunnel. In a few seconds, she came back out, looking confused, as if she was wondering where she had put her nest. She walked along the bluebells to the clumps of daylilies and entered again to take another look. This time she came out of the bluebell tunnel "mad as a wet hen" and expelled some x-rated caws as she announced whoever took her eggs better bring them back. Then she stalked away. The next afternoon, the hen came back and made a trip into the bluebells to see if her demand had produced the eggs. She came back out right away and quietly left with a subdued sense that this is a hen's fate in life, laying eggs that always mysteriously disappear.
Mi versión en español de El final del arco iris – Enfermera Hal Entre el Amish Standard Fay RMi versión en español de El final del arco iris – Enfermera Hal Among The Amish – el segundo libro ya está disponible en Smashwords como libro electrónico y libro en rústica. Fay Risner, en el Libro dos de su serie de Enfermeras Hal Amish, vincula el mundo moderno con el modo de vida atemporal de los Amish cuando la enfermera Hallie Lindstrom se enamora del viudo Amís John Lapp. Esta es una mirada fascinante a dos culturas diferentes en un intrincado y rico tapiz de un ambiente Amish tradicional en el sur de Iowa. La forma de vida sencilla de Amish, basada en la fe, las convicciones y la honestidad, se entrelazan en esta historia de amor entre una mujer inglesa y un hombre Amish. Hallie Lindstrom, Enfermera de Salud en el Hogar, tiene el pelo rojo cobre, afición por los pantalones vaqueros y posee un sedán de cobre que inhibe la aceptación de la comunidad Amish de ella. Luchando con su decisión de convertirse a Amish, Hallie se da cuenta de que si le permiten casarse con John Lapp, las posesiones mundanas que ella valora tienen que ir. Viudo amish, la paciencia de John Lapp con Hallie se agota cuando ella se molesta por haber ayudado a una bonita viuda de los Amish, Roseanna Miller, en su granja. John señala que el total rechazo de Hal de las costumbres inglesas y la total obediencia hacia él es la única forma en que se casará con ella. Teme que su amor por ella no sea suficiente para mantenerla en la fe Amish si ella no puede seguir su camino. Stella Strutt, obstinada Old Order Amish, está decidida a deshacerse de Hallie convirtiendo a la comunidad en su contra. Hallie tiene que decidir si es lo suficientemente fuerte como para renunciar a su estilo de vida para ser Amish por siempre, hacer una vida en la comunidad administrando una clínica médica en la granja de Lapp y soportar a Stella Strutt hablando mal de ella y la clínica por la eternidad . Mi versión en español de El final del arco iris – Enfermera Hal Among The Amish – el segundo libro ya está disponible en Smashwords como libro electrónico y libro en rústica. https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/796790
Every quilt has a story. Most quilts made by homemakers is made from scraps of material. In my case, I’ve been using material inherited from my mother as well as my own pieces. The quilts I’m putting together now will be wedding gifts for great nieces and nephews. Some times I think I should have started sooner. They have grown up way too fast. This quilt's story is packaged with the quilt as part of the gift. On the back of the quilt is the Made With Loving Care from Fay Risner label and the date embroidered beside it. It was my thought that this quilt and the others might serve as heirlooms for the recipients. This queen size Iowa Wild Rose quilt pattern was designed by Fay Risner. The wild roses and leaves were hand embroidered by Fay Risner and blocks constructed to match the size of the diamond blocks. This was done in February and March of 2016 while Fay was confined to her recliner due to a foot injury. The wild rose is Iowa's state flower. Years ago, wild roses bloomed alongside the roads and in the ditches. Over time, the roses have disappeared after the ditches were sprayed with weed kill. So if you come across a wild rose bush, stop and take a good look at it. That plant will be gone the next time you pass that way. Or, you can do what I did. Dig that plant up and transplant it into your yard where you can enjoy what is now a rare flower. A forgotten embroidering stitch called twilling is now making a comeback and was used as a frame around the rose blocks. Fay saw the twilling stitch for the first time while at the Rose Festival Quilt show in State Center, Iowa with Kathy Wisecarver in 2017. She googled the stitch on the computer, and practiced it so she could use it to frame the roses. The diamond blocks were made from vintage, fifties and sixties material and passed on to Fay Risner by her 97 year old aunt in Centerville, Iowa who had been given the blocks by a friend. They were constructed in to a twelve inch block by that friend which sped up the sewing on the quilt top. It took Fay Risner three weeks to cut the rose block pieces and sew the quilt top in her spare time in 2016. Working in the evenings while watching television, Fay hand quilted the quilt in two months time - November and December 2017. It took her another week in January 2018 to buttonhole stitch with embroidery thread the butterflies in the diamond blocks. It's Fay's belief, since she loves butterflies, that every flower patterned quilt should have a few butterflies in the design. May this quilt keep you warm and give you fond memories of Fay Risner
I am Fay Risner, an independent author. Over the years, I’ve built up a fan base for my books. The positive comments from readers please me and bolster my ego. I have email contact with many of the people who buy my books. Sometimes, we chat about what is going on in our lives. We have become cyberspace friends. Some of them send me Christmas cards. It makes me smile when the card says Merry Christmas followed by when will your next book be ready to buy. Don’t forget to put me on your mailing list. The feedback from people after they read my books let me know they enjoy my writing. That spurs me on to self-publish another book. Years ago, I came across a list of one hundred and fifty agents that I could email three chapters of a manuscript. I did it. I had many replies from agencies that didn’t handle Amish romance fiction. Five agents replied they liked my story but had as many authors as they could handle at the moment. They had to turn me down. That was my first and last try to find an agent. I have remained independent with my bookstore online and my books for sale in the usual places. I became a legit publisher and published two books for relatives. In each of my books is written Booksbyfay Publisher with my email address. Not too hard to do a little searching, and anyone who is interested can find my phone number. In May of last year, I found a message on my answering machine from a man who said he was a marketing agent for a publishing company. The company’s name was muffled, but the man’s name and his phone number weren’t. He said his book scout pointed out one of my books in a foreign language had potential. The agent stumbled over pronouncing the title of the book and apologized for that. For one second, I thought the man wanted to talk to me about being my agent. Before I called him back, I decided to google the man’s name and research him. His name would be connected to the publisher he worked for so I would have that information, too. You would think the head marketing agent for a publisher would be easy to find. He wasn’t so I ignored the call. Now fast forward to August of last year. Another marketing agent called and left a message. I clearly heard the publishing company, his name and phone number. This agent wanted to discuss the same book the previous agent was interested in. His book scout told him the book had potential. Much of what the man said sounded as if he used the same script the other agent used. More google searches and I came up empty handed so I ignored the call. That is until I answered the phone one day and found I was talking to the agent. He said foreign books were in demand. He wanted me to fly to Miami, Florida to a book fair and talk to people about my book. I listened politely, and my answer was no. He didn’t estimate what this promotional trip was going to cost me or what I would owe his company and him. As we talked, he brought up my books on Amazon. Maybe if I wasn’t interested in the trip, I might hire his company to publish my books and make my book covers. I declined. So far, I am out very little upfront by publishing at Create Space and designing my own covers. The agent wasn’t ready to give up on me yet. He said he might call back. I said I’d be glad to talk to him, but my answer would still be no. He hasn’t called. Recently, a woman agent from California called. Her book scout pointed out one of my western books had potential. She asked if I knew Amazon was giving my book a favorable ranking. I said no, but I didn’t bother to point out to her that book hasn’t sold a copy in years. The rank on Amazon would match my book’s no sales. She wanted me to go to a book fair in New York. I could meet someone who wanted to turn the book into a movie? I shouldn’t pass up the chance to promote the book. I’d only be paying a share of the expenses. She didn’t say what the dollar amount might be. I told her I wasn’t interested several times. Finally, she asked if she could send me her proposal by email so I could look at it since she went through the information fairly fast. I said sure. I’d like a chance to look at what she emailed me. That proposal didn’t come. This was a friendly, persuasive young woman I was talking with, but I politely said no thank you. Did I believe her sales pitch about my western with the great ranking getting published or made into a western? My thought was she needed her book scout to have suggested one of my other books if the agent wanted to sound creditable. Anyone can look up the ranks for their books on Amazon and find out she wasn’t telling the truth. Besides, western movies are rare these days. A script writer would have to work hard to turn my G-rated western book into a manuscript a movie producer would approve for today’s western movies. So my final words were thank you for calling, but I’m not interested. Right away I googled the agent and her publisher. This time I found the company has a site, and the agents are noted for their scams so stay away from them. If you, the writer, didn’t contact an agent about a manuscript, beware of agents that calls you and seems eager to help you sell your book. You will hear repeated phrases like great rating on Amazon, book scout, book fair, no limit to the book’s potential even a movie. If you are interested, ask the agent questions. Hang up and research the agent and publisher. You can always call them back if you decide they are legit. My last words to the agent from California was though I had to turn her down, I’d be sure to tell others that an agent called me. That’s what I’m doing. Although, I’m afraid I mislead the agent to think my conversations about her call were only going to be with family and friends.
I'm excited to tell readers about the sale of my books for half price -for this week only- at Smashwords.com. I have a wide variety of books so check out all of them and see if any interests you. My Amish series starts with A Promise Is A Promise - set in Iowa. The book is in German and Spanish now. If you like that book there are nine more that follows about the Lapp family near Bloomfield, Iowa. My Amazing Gracie Mystery series is set in early 20th century in Iowa. Join Gracie Evans and her friends in her quest to solve mysteries in her small town. Find Christmas stories, romance, westerns and if you want a short read try my novellas. Now is the time to see if you like my books while they are all half price for this week. Enjoy Fay Risner
During the Great Depression, Rachel felt lucky to be teaching school in Oklahoma. She was eager to start her second year as soon as summer ended. She tried to think positive. She was one of the lucky few to have a job even though she was sadden by the circumstances everyone in the United States faced. Travelers were on the road going from place to place, looking for work. Migrants were hopping on and off trains and camping in a grove of trees near Rachel's house. She felt nervous when they knocked on her door asking for a handout. The bright moment that summer was when her friend, Mary, came to visit for two weeks. The confusing times were when the good-looking sheriff showed up, using the excuse he wanted to keep Rachel safe or ask her out on a date. The sad times were how life ended violently for discouraged people that were Rachel's neighbors. What worried Rachel most was how to During the Great Depression, Rachel felt lucky to be teaching school in Oklahoma. She was eager to start her second year as soon as summer ended. She tried to think positive. She was one of the lucky few to have a job even though she was sadden by the circumstances everyone in the United States faced. Travelers were on the road going from place to place, looking for work. Migrants were hopping on and off trains and camping in a grove of trees near Rachel's house. She felt nervous when they knocked on her door asking for a handout. The bright moment that summer was when her friend, Mary, came to visit for two weeks. The confusing times were when the good-looking sheriff showed up, using the excuse he wanted to keep Rachel safe or ask her out on a date. The sad times were how life ended violently for discouraged people that were Rachel's neighbors. What worried Rachel most was how to cope with the appearance of UNEXPECTED VISITORS! Book and ebook can be purchased at Amazon, kindle, Barnes and Noble, Nook, and smashwords.com
Thanks, NaNoWriMo! For the seventh year in a row you have jump started me into writing a book, finishing it within the deadline and editing it in December. Now that book is published. My Historical Cozy Mystery is titled Who Killed The Schoolmarm. It is book number 10 in the Amazing Gracie Mystery Series. Gracie Evans and the other elderly residents living at Moser Mansion Rest Home for Women in Locked Rock, Iowa aren't happy with the school board's pick for the new schoolmarm. The young woman has been seen dating Locked Rock's eligible young bachelors. Lois Harwood said Cecee Morgan claimed she caught the new teacher flirting with her husband. They live next door to the teacher. Lois Harwood drove past a buggy rocking back and forth late one evening in the country and recognized Hubert Hadden and the schoolmarm acting unseemly so she said. Lois spread the news, and from what she heard from others, she says the schoolmarm had been ridden more often than all the horses in the town's livery. The town's respectable ladies are up in arms enough to go to the school board members and complain before school starts. The board needs to fire Connie Greene and hire another teacher. Too late! The Moser Mansion women go for an evening walk and find the schoolmarm's body in a marsh outside of town. Now if that young woman was getting along so well with the men in Locked Rock, Who Killed The Schoolmarm? The book is in large print and ebook at the following locations. Smashwords has the ebook and paperback https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/769617 Amazon paperback https://www.amazon.com/Who-Killed-Schoolmarm-Amazing-Mysteries/dp/1981849351/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1513959517&sr=1-2&keywords=Who+Killed+The+Schoolmarm Amazon paperback large print https://www.amazon.com/Who-Killed-Schoolmarm-Amazing-Mystery/dp/1981893016/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1513959517&sr=1-3&keywords=Who+Killed+The+Schoolmarm Kindle edition https://www.amazon.com/Who-Killed-Schoolmarm-Amazing-Mystery-ebook/dp/B078GWTVJZ/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1513959414&sr=1-1&keywords=Who+Killed+The+Schoolmarm
Having written a book during NaNoWri Mo contest for seven years, I love the challenge of writing 50,000 words by the last day in November. This time I was had over 51,000 by the sixteenth day. According to the site's stats, I have 363,754 words written for the contest in the last seven years. Before I published each of those books, the total was more. Email from the staff of NaNoWriMo We're so proud of you. This November, you set a goal to write 50,000 words in a month... and now, here you are, in December, goal achieved. The great Ursula K. Le Guin said recently, "One of the troubles with our culture is we do not respect and train the imagination. It needs exercise. It needs practice. You can’t tell a story unless you’ve listened to a lot of stories and then learned how to do it." We don't know anyone who respects the imagination quite as much as y'all do. You've dedicated the last thirty days to training your imagination, strengthening your diligence, and honing your creative perseverance. And now, with your imagination freshly exercised, the great, boundless, natural question: if you can do this, what else could you do? The sky's the limit. Thank you for writing with us. We hope to do it again soon (the "Now What?" Months are coming up, wink wink, nudge nudge)—after your well-deserved rest. Proud to be your writing sidekick, Tim, and the NaNoWriMo staff Coming soon Who Killed The Schoolmarm Synopsis Gracie Evans and the other elderly residents living at Moser Mansion Rest Home for Women in Locked Rock, Iowa aren't happy with the school board's pick for the new schoolmarm. The young woman has been seen dating some of Locked Rock's eligible young bachelors. Lois Harwood said Cecee Morgan claimed she caught the new teacher flirting with her husband. They live next door to the teacher. Lois Harwood drove past a buggy late one evening in the country and recognized Hubert Hadden and the schoolmarm acting unseemly so she said. Lois spread the news, and from what she was hearing from others, she says the schoolmarm had been rode more often than most of the horses in town. The town's respectable ladies are up in arms enough to go to the school board members and complain before school starts. The board needs to hire another teacher. Too late! The Moser Mansion women go for an evening walk and find the schoolmarm's body in a marsh outside of town. Now if that young lady was getting along so well with the men in Locked Rock, Who Killed The Schoolmarm?
Sometimes writing short stories seems as hard to write when trying to keep to a word limit as writing a book. When a theme is needed for a short story that's to be submitted to a contest that makes my mind search even harder to come up with the story. I entered the short story Teapot On Whistler Street, which I have enlarged for this book, in the Arkansas Writers' Conference in 2004 in the Geneva Crook Memorial category. Tea Was A Predictor Of Many Things In days gone by when brewing a pot of tea, all sorts of predictions were made. If the lid of the pot was inadvertently left off, then a stranger was expected to call at the house. If you forget to put the tea into the pot before pouring in the boiling water, it was a very bad omen indeed. The rest of the day you would wait for something to go wrong. If you make the tea too weak, you would lose the friendship of someone close to you. You never wanted that to happen. If you brewed it too strong, you would make a new friend. So bitter though the tea was, you eagerly awaited the appearance of this new friend. And it was very unlucky to stir the tea in the pot. If you did you would certainly quarrel with someone. Synopsis for Book Anna Winters buys the cottage of her dreams. The yard is full of blooming roses which lends color and fragrance to the place. When her elderly mother, Joyce Winters's dementia worsens, Anna takes her in. From the start, Joyce says the house has bad vibes and doesn't like living there. When she finds a china teapot covered with roses at the back of her closet, she is adamant a woman named Emily wants the teapot placed on the fireplace mantle. One night behind Joyce's closed bedroom door, Anna overhears her mother in a conversation about the teapot with the imaginary Emily. She worries about her mother's failing mental health. To prove her mother is imagining Emily, Anna investigates the house's previous owners. She finds thirty years before a woman named Emily Carson owned the house. One old newspaper in the library's archive has the front page headline Emily Carson Murdered In Her Home. Town's First Murder In A Decade. Does the teapot have the power to present its deceased owner, Emily, to Anna's mother? Is there really a Haunted Teapot On Whistler Street? Look for Haunted Teapot On Whistler Street in Amazon ebook in Kindle store https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Haunted+Teapot+On+Whistler+Street paperback in Barnes and Noble ebook in Nook paperback and ebook sold on smashwords.com www.smashwords.com/books/view/740342 Enjoy your summer reading Fay Risner
Joyful Wisdom - Nurse Hal Among the Amish book 10
As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.
The back screen door banged behind Jim Lindstrom. He stopped on the top step and greeted with gusto, “Good morning, world.”
The crisp March wind compelled him to tighten his straw hat on his thatch of gray hair and tug the corduroy collar on his denim jacket tight to his neck
As if in competition with the wind, the blue sky held up the brilliant sun while it sent glowing rays to warm him and his surroundings. With pleasure, Jim surveyed the landscape. The red, driving horse, Daisy, grazed in the dew-sparkled pasture. In the pig pen, grunts came from the two pigs fattening for slaughter. In the hen house, the rooster heard Jim's shout. He crowed robustly, begging to be turned loose with his cawing hens.
The milk cow, Gloria, nosed her calf through the space in the boards on the barn's corral. At the sound of Jim's voice, she raised her head and bellowed, eager to be milked and eager for her calf to nurse. That bellow jolted Jim into action. He had work to do. Chores he enjoyed. He swung the aluminum milk pail beside him as he hurried to the barn.
In the meantime, Nora, his wife, smiled from ear to ear as she pumped water into the steaming aluminum dish pan. She didn't believe she could ever be happier. She finally felt confident they made the right decision when they moved from Titonka to Wickenburg, Iowa. Listening to her husband greet the morning told Nora that Jim was happy with the move. That meant a great deal to Nora. If asked what she enjoyed, she'd say it was time spent with their only daughter Hallie and her Amish family.
She recalled some years back. Jim and she faced the bitter pill of retirement. They sold the dairy cattle and the hogs when the animals were ready for market. Jim rented out his farmland to a young man down the road. That left her husband with nothing to do. That's when she noticed Jim lost his energetic drive. Nora worried about him until she saw him come to life each time they visited their daughter's farm.
Now they lived practically next door to Hallie and John Lapp on the Fisher place. Jim not only had animals and chickens to care for, also had time to enjoy his grandchildren. When John needed extra help on his farm, Jim was quick to volunteer. What made Jim content made Nora happy.
As quickly as the smile crossed her face, it faded. Trepidation took its place. As she looked out the window, she swiped the last of the silverware and put the handful in the rinse pan. Oh, oh! Her sister, Tootie, tromped across the yard from the grandfather house she lived in. Usually Tootie didn't move fast enough to make her silver curls bounce unless she had something ruffling her feathers. But what else was new! Seemed like Tootie was unhappy about things as often as she was content. Then again how bad could her problem be this early in the morning.
Nora watched Tootie's curls spring out in the breeze like she'd had a finger in an electric socket. Feeling the length of hair on the back of her neck, Nora knew her once bobbed do was no longer short. Tootie and she needed to find a beauty shop in Wickenburg soon. Nora grinned as she thought the other alternative was to ask her daughter, Hallie, if they could borrow prayer caps to hide their hair.
Tootie had a fine house in Titonka. Her women's groups and church work kept her busy. That's the only activities she had. She'd never had children, but that didn't seem to bother her. Still she wasn't very agreeable about anything since her husband, Art Klinefeld, died seven years ago.
On the Lindstroms first visit to the Lapp farm for Hallie's wedding to John Lapp, Nora offered to take Tootie with them. Tootie accepted, because she was very fond of her niece, Hallie. She wasn't keen on farm life, but she was very curious about Hallie's Amish family and also a little nervous. That's why she bought a book to learn about Amish customs.
Nora flinched when the front door slammed shut. She dropped her dish cloth in the pan of sudsy water and dried her hands on her apron. Footsteps treaded heavily across the living room's hardwood floor, Nora headed to the kitchen door to find out what Tootie's dire problem was this time.
At the doorway, Nora came face-to-face with her sister. The short, chunky woman stopped short and leaned against the door facing, puffing to get her breath.
A look at Tootie's flushed face warned Nora that something might be physically wrong with her. “Are you all right? You're not ill are you? Is it your heart?”
“No, I'm fine.” Tootie brushed past Nora. She headed to the dish cupboard to get a coffee cup.
Since they lived in the same yard now, Nora was used to Tootie coming over for a cup of coffee early each morning. She suspected Tootie didn't want to dirty up her coffee pot and be bothered to wash it and a cup just for herself. So why not drink her coffee at her sister's house. Knowing her sister as well as Nora did, Tootie might reason Nora's pot was already dirty. Instead of second guessing Tootie, Nora decided she should give her sister the benefit of the doubt. Maybe she was lonely living in the grandfather house and just wanted Nora's company.
One thing was sure. Nora didn't think she'd ever seen Tootie in such a dither. “You don't look fine, but I'll take your word for it. If you aren't sick, it must be you're just in a real hurry to get at my coffee.”
Tootie walked slowly and steadily over to the table to keep from spilling her coffee. She set the full cup down and plopped into a chair. “You aren't funny. Never mind my drinking this coffee which I do every morning while we visit. That's nothing new. You ought to be used to it by now. What is new is I'm not going to take that child in no matter what that social worker says.”
Now Nora was confused. Tootie really was upset about something new. “Excuse me. I must have missed the explanation part of this conversation. Want to repeat it for me?”
Tootie rubbed her forehead like she'd worked herself into a headache. “Sorry. You didn't miss anything. Hang on. I'm just about to fill you in. Can you at least sit with me like you usually do and have a cup of coffee? I'm too worked up to watch you flit around this kitchen while I talk.”
“I can see that.” Nora helped herself to the coffee and came to the table.
Tootie looked around her. “Jim already doing chores?”
“That man is one happy camper since we moved here. He can hardly wait for breakfast to be done so he can get outside.” Nora sat down across from Tootie and let out a long sigh. She might as well bite the bullet and get Tootie back on track. “Now tell me what this is all about. What social worker are you talking about? What child?”
“I'm going to get to that. The nerve of some people to think they can just impose on my life,” Tootie fumed and sipped her coffee.
Nora narrowed her eyes at her sister. “For goodness sakes, Tootie. Quit worrying me to death and tell me what has you so stirred up.”
“All right, but I tell you right off I am not taking in a kid.” Tootie thumped the table with her finger on every word for emphasis. “I don't have room for her in my small house. I'm too old to be a mother. Are those enough reasons for you?” Tootie listed with an edge in her voice.
Nora's brow furrowed. She'd seen her sister get nerved up many times. She was good at dramatics, but at least, most of those time she made sense.
Speaking slowly and calmly, Nora said, “Those reasons might be all right if I knew what on earth you were talking about?”
“I just had a call from Bernice Wittstone in Algona. You remember her,” Tootie said.
“Yes, very well. She headed every church committee and bossed the other women into doing the work. For which she took the credit, I might add,” Nora drew out every word like she had a bad taste in her mouth.
“That's her. She woke me up early this morning. How rude of people to call so early. Now that I use a cell phone I keep it on my bedside table so it's handy if I need it in the night. Guess that is a blessing. If I'd still been living in Titonka, I'd have ran to the wall phone in my house. I might have broken my neck getting there.” Tootie waved her hand over the steaming cup and took a sip of coffee.
“Try turning the cell phone off when you go to bed. Solves that problem,” Nora said dryly. “Now will you please get on with this story? You've got me worried. I have a feeling something awful has happened. Just skip to the important part and tell me quickly.”
“Something tragic happened. Peter's son, Jeff, and his wife, Megan, have been in a car accident,” Tootie said bluntly.
“That is awful,” Nora gasped, patting her chest.
“You know how our brother used to complain that his son should never have married that gypsy woman,” Tootie declared.
“Tootie, for Heaven sakes, Megan isn't a gypsy. Peter called her that because Jeff and Megan liked to travel. He preferred to blame it on his daughter-in-law. Our brother was like us and never went far from home so he couldn't understand why Jeff and his wife didn't stay home like the rest of us.” Nora paused to think about their own recent move and finished, “Like us anyway until now. Are we gypsies, Tootie, because we moved to the opposite end of Iowa to live?”
“Peter would have thought so,” Tootie retorted.
Nora pursed her lips and nodded. “Perhaps, but that was his problem not ours. How do you manage to get us off track? Please tell me what Bernice told you. Are Jeff and Megan all right?”
“No, they died,” Tootie said flatly.
Nora's head whirled with plans that needed to be made quickly. “Oh, dear! It's a four hour drive to Algona. We have to leave right away to travel back for their funeral. They don't have anyone except us and their little girl as family.”
“No need,” Tootie said remotely.
“No need,” Nora repeated. “Why on earth not?”
“The funeral took place a month ago. It took Bernice all this time to find me. She finally thought to call the minister. I left my phone number with him,” Tootie explained.
“I see.” Nora's face saddened then she remembered her nephew had a child. “Jeff's daughter! Was she in the car?”
“Well, she is the problem,” Tootie drew out.
Nora's empty cup collided with the table. “Oh, for Pete's sake, Tootie. Will you stop torturing me? Did she die or not?”
“No, because she stayed with a friend while her parents went on vacation,” Tootie explained, heading for the coffee pot again.
Nora rolled her eyes at the ceiling. This was going to be a two cup morning for Tootie. She'd wind up having a nervous breakdown, trying to drag out of Tootie what happened to their great-niece. She twisted around in her chair. “Praise the Lord for the fact the girl wasn't with her parents. Wait a minute. That's a very good thing not a problem.” She glanced at Tootie now back at the table, pouting over her coffee cup. “Hurry and tell me the rest.”
“The woman the girl is living with happens to be a daughter of Bernice's. The child is friends with Bernice's granddaughter. Bernice told me social services says the girl needs to be with relatives if they can find any. Bernice was only too willing to help out by hunting my telephone number for social services. Probably trying to get shut of the girl for her daughter. Coming from parents like she had, I can imagine the child is a handful.”
“Oh, Tootie! How can you say that about a child sight unseen. She just lost both parents. That's so unkind of you,” Nora scolded. “What will happen to the poor child now?”
“I'm trying to tell you if you give me a chance. That is the problem. Bernice says I'm the only living relative. She tried to make me feel guilty by telling me the girl will wind up in a foster home if I didn't take her in. She completely forgot I have a sister. Not that it matters. We're both too old to put up with a child.
Bernice no sooner hung up and the social worker called. I told her she couldn't send that child here to me. I don't have any place to keep her.” She sipped her coffee as she eyed Nora over the cup. “Foster homes can't be as bad as I've heard.” Tootie looked guiltily into her cup when she saw Nora's narrowed eyes. “Can they?”
Nora was fuming as she tried to keep her voice steady. “Tootie, did the social worker leave a phone number?”
“Yes, she said she wanted me to take her number down in case I changed my mind which isn't going to happen,” Tootie said obstinately.
Nora shook her head. “Tootie, you call the social worker back and tell her Jim and I will take that child. She's our kin, and we're all she has. She deserves to be with us. Make arrangements and call Bernice. Have her tell her daughter we'll pay her back for expenses of the bus trip. Do you hear me?”
“I can do that only if she will be staying with you. I don't want her under foot at my house,” Tootie said as if this was a negotiation.
“Of course, she can stay with Jim and me. We have plenty of room. It will be fun to have a child in the house to liven things up again, and the poor dear needs a home and family,” Nora declared.
“Give this some thought. You best discuss it with Jim before you leap into a responsibility like this. He might think different. Besides, the child won't be a thing like you remember Hallie was when she was young. This is a modern day city raised girl with all those doodads like laptops and earphones plugged in her ears. They like to play music loud enough on their boomboxes to rattle the windows,” Tootie warned.
“Listen to you. For someone who claims she doesn't have any experience with children, you certainly know a lot about them. In case you've forgotten, we don't have electricity. It will be hard for the child to use boomboxes or computers here,” Nora said in exasperation.
“Most of that equipment comes with battery backup,” Tootie informed her.
“Is that so? How old do you suppose the girl is?”
“Bernice said she's about to turn fifteen, which is a difficult age, I think,” declared Tootie. “I know, why don't you asked Hallie if she will take in this girl. After all, Hallie is a relative, too.”
“I will not do that and neither will you. Hallie has a large enough family and a baby to care for. She doesn't need one more mouth to feed,” huffed Nora.
“All right, I agree. It was just a thought.” Tootie paused. “I know. What about Emma and Adam? The girl might be able to help her with the babies.”
“No, no, no! Emma has her hands full with twin babies, and one of them so very ill. You're just trying to get out of the responsibility of taking care of Peter's granddaughter by palming her off on someone else.”
Tootie puffed up. “Fine, Miss Know It All. What do you suggest?”
“We have no choice. We're sending for her.” Nora amended, “if Jim doesn't object. So, Sister, get used to the idea.” Nora dropped her cup into the dishpan. It was better to keep busy and not look at Tootie's stubbornly-flushed face.
Tootie looked out the window and perked up at a cloud of dust on the road. “Oh, no! Something must be wrong.”
“What is it now?” Nora asked, drying her hands on her apron as she walked to the window.
“Noah coming in at a gallop,” Tootie said.
By the time Nora got to the window, Noah raced past the house to the barn. The women headed for the back door and watched. Noah dismounted and talked to Jim. In a few minutes, the two of them headed for the house.
Nora and Tootie went to meet them. “What's happened?” Nora saw sadness on her grandson's face.
“Baby Joesph died in the night. Mama Hal sent me to tell you.”
Tootie groaned. “When it rains it pours. Poor Emma and Adam. So sad for them.”
“Do we need to go to Emma's right away to help her with anything?” Nora asked.
“Nah, nothing to do right now. Mama Hal was going to make Emma go to bed for a rest. We have been up all night. Adam is already building the coffin. Mama Hal just wanted you to know tomorrow afternoon and evening is the visitation. You can come early if you want and help.”
“Of course, we will,” Nora declared.
“The funeral will be the next day, so be there early for that and bring food for the fellowship luncheon after the funeral.” Noah shrugged. “That's it. I need to get back to help Daniel and Daed with the milking.”
Jim patted Noah's back. “Thanks aplenty for coming to let us know.”
“Yes, and tell Emma and Adam our prayers and thoughts are with them,” Nora said.
Tootie nodded she agreed with Jim and Nora as she wiped her eyes.
A woman that has worn many hats in my life time. Join me here and find out about those hats.