Sunday, December 25, 2011
Pretty soon we both were coercing my exhausted Papa to get up NOW and see the gifts, then we could go back to bed. Carla-Rae and Howard were NOT cooperative about getting up at 3:00 in the morning to see their gifts. Carla-Rae was 13 and Howard was 17 and they preferred to get more sleep before the unveiling. Teenagers, they actually preferred more sleep to instant present viewing!
My mind slid back to the night before. We always had a special family Christmas Program on Christmas Eve. On that night Mama shared with us the story that her Papa had always shared with her family on Christmas Eve. It was a story of the greatest gift ever given to the world. Heavenly Father sent his precious son Jesus Christ to the world. This loving Father did so knowing that his precious son would suffer persecution, betrayal, torture, and ultimately death.
He also knew that this gift would bless all of his spirit children, that's you and I. We could repent because of the gift of Christ, and return to the presence of our Heavenly Father.
It will be hard for me to send our daughter Sarah amongst total strangers on a mission not knowing how they will respond to the message she will carry. Yet that scariness is tiny compared to Heavenly Father's...He KNEW for a fact all the hard things Jesus would face.
Christmas Gift is THE gift...the greatest ever given by Heavenly Father to his spirit children. So each Christmas morning we greet each other with the salutation of Christmas Gift to recall that sacred blessed gift.
I wish you all Christmas Gift...may you remember the sacred reason for this season.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Last night I thought back through all the Christmases that I have known in my life. That's 55 Christmases. In my young years I was sick each and every Christmas. Something about the excitement, lack of sleep, candy, dusty Christmas tree, etc. etc. always kicked in my allergies which kicked in my asthma, which triggered bronchitis or pneumonia.
Now you might think that made Christmases just awful. No, not at all. I had two remarkable parents that lived the quote without knowing it, "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain." We danced in the rain a lot in my childhood.
My medical costs had us often teetering on the brink of financial ruin, no matter how hard both of my parents worked. Yet they convinced me and everyone else that I was a miracle in their lives.
Oh, trust me, I'm far from perfect, there were times I felt sorry for myself. One particular Christmas when I was thirty-four years old especially. The day before Christmas Eve. I was busily finishing up the last touches of Christmas for our one and one half year old daughter and our 4 1/2 year old daughter. My husband had run to the store for something.
I bounced happily to the phone when it rang. My bouncing quickly stopped when Dr. MacFarland said, "The good news is that if you have cancer this is the best form to have. The bad news is that you have cancer." The world slowed, and then just stopped. I seemed to be frozen, unable to move.
This was before cell phones. I had no way to reach my husband. I couldn't bear to be alone with this darkest of news, I called my friend from across the street. She was there with me in a heartbeat. We hugged and cried, hugged and cried some more. My girls knew something was wrong, but they kept playing.
When my husband came home happy with his arms filled with Christmas joys I HATED to wipe away his happy grin with my awful news.
Now....Christmas was ruined, RIGHT? NO...wrong. We were together as a family. The knowledge that I could lose all of it, my family, my hopes and dreams for the future, my very life made everything seem sweeter. Each moment seemed crystal clear and filled with joy.
Our friends and family gathered round with meals, love, and joy. Christmas was WONDERFUL! That's the most important thing to remember, Christmas is about serving, love, and remembering what is most important in life.
Friday, December 16, 2011
So today I decided my post is dedicated to elephant jokes. If you find them boring, or cliche, or anything else that is negative I challenge you to look again, I mean, who has not at some point found the image of an enormous gray elephant painting their toenails red to hide in a strawberry patch at least slightly amusing?
Fasten your seat belts. Here we go:
What's red and white on the outside but gray and white on the inside?
Campbell's Cream of Elephant Soup!
How do you make instant elephant?
Open the package, add water, and run!
If you took away an elephants trunk how would it smell?
Trunk or no trunk it would still smell pretty bad!
What time is it when ten elephants are chasing you?
Ten after one!
What cheers you up when you are sick?
A Get Wellephant card.
What weighs 5,000 lbs and wears glass slippers?
What do elephants do for laughs?
They tell people jokes.
What game do elephants like to play most?
Why do elephants wear red toenail polish?
Hmmm....see the above for this answer.
Why do elephants paint their toenails red?
Again, see the above.
Why do elephants hide in strawberry patches?
So they can jump out and stomp on people.
Why do elephants stomp on people?
That is how they play squash.
Why did the elephant cross the road?
To squash the chicken on the other side!
What is large and gray and goes around and around in circles?
An elephant stuck in a revolving door.
What has 6 legs, 3 ears, 4 tusks, and 2 trunks?
An elephant with spare parts.
What did the cat say to the elephant?
What did the grape say to the elephant?
Nothing, grapes can't talk.
What's the difference between eating an elephant or peanut butter?
Elephant doesn't stick to the roof of your mouth.
How do you stop a charging elephant?
Take away its credit cards.
How can you tell when an elephant has been in your refrigerator?
Look for elephant tracks in the butter.
How can you tell when an elephant is under your bed?
Your nose is squashed against the ceiling.
If you see an elephant in your car, what time is it?
Time to get a new car.
Why do elephants have grey skin?
To keep their insides together.
What should you do to a blue elephant?
Cheer it up.
What should you do to a green elephant?
Wait until it gets ripe.
What should you do to a red elephant?
Quit telling it dirty jokes.
What should you do to a yellow elephant?
Try to teach it to be brave.
OK ADMIT IT...at least one of those made you smile! Now if you could just hear them in Louise or Marcus' voice I'm certain that you would be LAUGHING OUT LOUD!!! Or better yet, LAUGHING YOUR BOTTOM OFF! (that would seem to be an extremely effective means to remove extraneous fat from one's gluteal muscles!)
So....it's a new day...none of us have EVER lived this one before (OK, unless you're stuck in some time and dimensional warp, and then you probably are delusional....call 1-800-HELP, not really I just made that number up.) Lift your head up high, tuck your gluteal muscles up, your tummy muscles in, and hold it for about 2 seconds....then forget about that exercise in futility and do something fun!!!
Friday, December 9, 2011
Awake in the night she couldn't remember why her heart was racing, why she was aware of the shadows pitching back and forth through her room. "Oh, right, bathroom." She chuckled to herself. In her late 40's it was NOT unusual to need to use the restroom multiple times at night.
Without thought she sat on the bed and then stood up. Her left leg crumpled under her like the leg of a paper doll with a human weight to support. The pain...the pain was gripping. It felt as though a lightning volt was running from her lower back down her left leg, into her foot, and then it made it's relentless cycle in reverse. Groaning she managed to crawl into the bathroom.
What to do with a health emergency in the middle of the night when the only other humans around are small children that need protecting? She waited until the light of day arrived before seeking medical attention. A caregiver for disabled patients and the daughter of a registered nurse she knew how expensive an ambulance ride would be to the hospital. In addition, who would tend her children while she was in the hospital?
Diagnostic testing detected a herniated disc in her lower back. It was so badly pinching the nerves that surrounded the disc she couldn't stand. Not just because of the fiery pain but also because the leg would simply not hold her weight.
(At this point you may wonder, what does this story have to do with happiness and inspiration?) Please read on.
Divorced she lived with her two young children in a modest three bedroom home in the suburbs of Portland. She had a station wagon. Of course, both the station wagon and the home required monthly payments to keep them. Work was out of the question. Before she had been the caregiver, now she required a caregiver herself.
Somehow she managed to find ways to provide care and food for herself and her two children. Desperately she tried to sell her home. She couldn't afford to lose the equity that she had built up. It was discovered that her home had been built on a fault line and the foundation was seriously cracked. Selling the home with this flaw was impossible. The equity was lost and she had to leave the home.
Next the car was repossessed. Unable to earn any money it was not long before her situation became quite dire. I won't go into all the sad details, but eventually she found out that to get public housing she and her two small children would have to become homeless. YUP, they had to live on the streets for months to meet the qualification to get assisted housing.
So Joni (she'd had surgery by now, but still couldn't use her leg for any length of time before it would give out), moved into a homeless shelter with her disability, and two small children. Can you imagine being that physically vulnerable and yet trying to care for two children, and protect all of you? The thought is horrifying to me, but Joniwan did it with her typical resilience.
The day that she and her kids moved into an apartment together, Joni rejoiced. She wasn't overly concerned that they had no beds to sleep in. She knew that she'd find a way to overcome that obstacle. Somewhere along this agonizing journey she had learned a phrase that she taught all who were blessed enough to know her, "To think is to create." Joniwan "Created" often, and well.
I met Joniwan when she joined my church group. I felt drawn to her with a powerful magnetic pull. I knew only a few of the challenges that she had faced. I felt connected to her by my own share of struggles, juggles, drama, and trauma.
In fact the first time I met Joni it was because I had testified in church that day about the challenges of living with not only my disability but my husband's as well. She actually told me later, "When I was listening I couldn't believe that there was someone with my problems and also a husband with even more problems!"
Of course, lest anyone feel sorry for me at this point, my husband is worth his weight in gold. (He's a rather large man and that would be lots of gold) In the hardest of times he provides the silliness, and laughter that I need to cope. He is a constant source of joy in our family, and we treasure his presence.
Back to Joni. In a very short space of time we were homies....bff's, sisters in the gospel. I felt as though I had known her forever, and we had just been parted for awhile.
She began to lovingly teach me what she called "creative financing." Lest anyone think that I'm referring to some illegal type of monetary art....I'm NOT! "Creative financing," was finding ways outside the box to get the needed things. For example, my husband and I were dedicated to making certain that our two daughters get the best possible education that they could receive. This involved driving somewhere between 1/2 hour and one hour twice a day to get them to their specialized courses of study.
On those days when we had "Too much month at the end of the money," Joni taught me to gather cans, and then take them in to the store. This would get me just enough cash to pick the girls up for that day. Along with doing all that we could do, we'd pray as though the Lord was doing it all. Between Joniwan, the Lord, and myself we always figured out a way.
I give her direct credit for helping our girls value their education. Our oldest daughter graduated with a Master's Degree from Cambridge University this last summer.
Joniwan was a giver supremo....IS a giver supremo. When you would pick her up to go somewhere (I LOVED having Joni as company), she would approach with her hands behind her back. When she would bring out those hands there was always a precious gift, a delicious cookie (she's the best cook EVER), a fridge magnet (she makes them herself,) some lovely little piece of joy.
One Christmas soon after they were able to move into their assisted living apartment they had ABSOLUTELY no funds for Christmas. So Joni had her son and daughter help her create a Christmas tree out of butcher paper. They colored on decorations, and then taped the creation to the wall. They were justifiably proud of that tree. The day AFTER Christmas Joni bought the kids some goodies at the store. Her comment to me was, "Why would I buy the treats before Christmas when they are more than 1/2 price off the day after?"
I'm writing this portrait of Joniwan as a tribute to her and her loving selfLESSNESS. She has spent hours with me in Emergency rooms, fed my family when I've had to be hospitalized, or just when I was sick of cooking. She's cleaned my home, watched over my kids, and brought unlimited sunshine into my life.
I've also witnessed hours and hours of service she gives to friends, family, and total strangers. She LOVES to serve others. She would say it's to pay back the service given to her, but I think she's WAY past that now. When she needed to clean out her small apartment she listed the things that she had to clean out as free on Craig's list. She REALLY needed the money, but knowing Joni she needed the giving more.
It was almost impossible to move from Portland to Utah and leave my beloved Joniwan behind. We still email, phone, and kept in touch.
This last year, my husband had two heart attacks. We feared for his life. Imagine my surprise when we went to the airport to pick up my daughter's "roommate," (that's what they told me), and coming towards me was Joniwan, her daughter Jessica, and Jess's son Kameron. Joniwan cried, I cried, we hugged, and hugged. It was one of the bestest surprises EVER!
I'm ending this post the way that I started, as a tribute to a beloved friend. Anyone lucky enough to be a part of her life, is blessed indeed. I LOVE YOU my Jedi Knight friend.
Thursday, December 1, 2011
my extremely visual brain processes words. In my brain usually I see a word, or several
pop out. Now one word comes from one side of my mind and another word from the other side. This results in some extremely entertaining new words. For example, pretty, beautiful came out of my mouth "Prettiful." I actually like it, although a friend said it sounds too much like
The other day I was trying to think of a word to describe a very special friend. If you have
a friend of this type you are RICH! I am rich beyond compare because I have many of these
types of friends. I was thinking to myself, this is a friend that you call when you're struggling,
and juggling, and you're crying. This type of friend listens, and loves you, but by the time you
finish the conversation you're laughing, or even laughing through your tears.
This created the word CRAUGHING...(after all we can't say laughing with crying combined lying? or Lyring?) nope, CRAUGHING it is.
One of my girlfriends, Joni, is so good at this skill that I seriously think she should be hired somewhere as a "general consultant." People should pay good money for this remarkable woman who has learned through many years of experience how to turn tears into smiles and laughter.
So....I have a challenge for any and all of my beloved blog readers today...learn how to participate in CRAUGHING! I have no doubt that you have someone in your life who
will be blessed by this skillset!
Friday, November 25, 2011
I don't think that anyone that knows me would be surprised to learn that I LOVE AUTUMN! I love the color, the crunchiness of leaves, the ability to swish through them sending leaviness upwards towards the heavens!
It seems to me that the dear Lord even put a stamp on me that assured Autumn was my favorite season. If anyone looks at me they can see that. My eyes are hazel green/brown, my skin is light olive, and my hair is brown/reddish/auburnish. YUP....I look my personal best in Autumn colors!
Speaking of the colors of Fall I had a vivid fun image that rose up in my head. I saw the leaves in their glorious robes of color, amber, crimson, russet, and rust. It occurred to me that you don't really see one image of color as you look at the trees. It's as though the colors sing a joyous chorus celebrating the transition of seasons.
To use another example for Autumn, I am currently in the Autumn of life. I read a quote somewhere that said, "40 is the old age of youth, and 50 is the youth of old age." I quite like that. Since I'm 55, I guess that makes me in the youth of old age. It also makes me a colorful leaf clinging to my brother and sister leaves on a glorious mountain hillside.
At some point I will let go of the tree's steadiness and flow, downwards into a staunch stack, where again I will be joined with my brother and sisters.
Next we will be transformed into part of this earth....this turning, whirling, twirling earth, and parts and bit of us will go into the warm inviting earth. Other parts will move downward into the water supply, where we will move forward into rivers, creeks, lakes, streams, and ever onward to the ocean.
That's not the end of the journey even then...the earth will pull us upwards to the sky where we will become rain to move over the dry, thirsty earth, and fall down. We then water seeds in the ground, become trees with leaves, that turn into brilliantly robed colored leaves each Autumn.
Then....why then the entire cycle begins anew.
Do you see why I LOVE Autumn? It's NOT the pre-cursor to a harsh earth season. It's a part of the entire, glorious ebb and flow, start and stop, beginning and renewal of life.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Into my mind came the story of the Good Samaritan from the Bible. A Jewish man was
traveling and as often happened in that time robbers ambushed him. They stole anything he had of worth and then beat him senseless.
There he lay on the road, broken and bleeding. Now it would have been pretty obvious that he was Jewish. They wore their hair a certain way, and dressed in a certain way.
Along comes one person after another that sees this man senseless and bleeding. Not ONE of them stops and does anything for or about him.
Now I recognize there is a logical reason for this. Robbers would sometimes put one of their own number out looking wounded. This they would do as bait. So someone would stop to assist the wounded person only to be ambushed. So....these passerby's were thinking of their OWN safety.
Yet I am sad to think that a Jewish Rabbi....a man of the same faith as the wounded would not only pass by but he crossed on the opposite side of the road.
Then comes a Samaritan. Now the Jews and the Samaritans had a long history of dislike for each other. I don't remember the historical reasons but trust me, they did NOT like each other AT ALL.
Yet of all the Jewish people that passed this poor man by the Samaritan stopped. He put the man on his horse and took him to an inn. He paid for the man to be nursed back to health, to be in a nice room. He even left extra money in case the man needed more.
Now you may wonder, what does a red leaf amongst a HUGE pile of golden leaves have to do with the good Samaritan? The good Samaritan was the red leaf and the people that ignored the wounded man were the golden leaves. They were probably good people, and they had a good reason to ignore him, their own safety. Yet this Samaritan, (remember Jews and Samaritans did NOT like each other), risked his own life, and used his own means to save this man's life, and health.
Now I am NOT saying, "Ok, let's pick up hitchhikers, and bring the homeless into our own homes. I AM saying, let's find ways to lift up the wounded amongst us. The amazing part about that is that when we serve others, WE are the ones most blessed.
So.....let us all be red leaves today. Let us look for ways, even small ways to love each other, and help the wounded in our midst.
I can't end this post without thanking the myriad plethora of people who have made my life so much richer, and better. Even in medical situations there are always those other patients who reach out with love and caring. Thank you to all of you that I am grateful to call family, friend and neighbor.
Sunday, October 23, 2011
with lots of family. We started an annual tradition of driving up the Alpine Loop
every fall to rejoice in the glorious colors of Autumn.
It's impossible for me to see the craggy rocks bent, and folded with trees growing
everywhere and NOT believe in God. Maybe it's because I LIKE to believe that
the created can NOT exist without a Creator.
I always have enjoyed the analogy that saying the earth came about by chance
was like taking a box filled with the letters of the alphabet A through Z, tossing
it in the air and having it come back down as an organized, bound, dictionary.
How I LOVE to sit comfortably in a well built automobile, with climate controls
as I witness God's splendor. As we travel smoothly along I think of my ancestors
who climbed over, and through mountain passes without the benefit of automotive
I also am grateful for the wonderful family that I enjoy. Being in their company
makes everything better...both the good and the bad.
I want to end as I began. I saw God's glory as I traveled through the craggy
beauty of Autumn in the mountains. I also saw his glory in his children,
and even in the amazing automobile that carried us through!
Thursday, October 20, 2011
May I just express that discouragement is driven by the circumstances that you are living through. You may be discouraged because your team just lost a football game. Or you may be discouraged because your children refuse to tidy up the house.
This is a HUGE difference from CLINICAL DEPRESSION! Clinical depression is often NOT even related to circumstances. For example Marilyn Monroe, was a world famous celebrity with any possible material things that she could desire yet she suffered from clinical depression.
Clinical depression is a physical disease...every bit as much as diabetes. With diabetes your pancreas quits creating insulin to control the sugar absorption of your body. With depression your body quits creating one or all of the three chemicals, neurepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin that your body needs for you to feel content....at peace. With an imbalance, or deficiency of these chemicals comes CLINICAL DEPRESSION.
What an AMAZING age that we live in where we know so much more of our brain and how it works. I like to think of the brain as the director of a huge play with thousands of actors. Our brain is impacted by the many, many processes going on in our bodies at any one time. In addition our brain impacts the many, many processes going on in our bodies at any one time. YUP, our brain is the director, and all of the things that our body does automatically (like breathing, or having our heart beat) are the many, many actors.
I am NOT ashamed that I have faced clinical depression. Why should I be? Would someone be embarrassed that they had diabetes, or asthma, or allergies?
Another important thing to understand about clinical depression is that it often IS triggered by other physical issues in your body. If you have heart disease, it affects the chemicals that the brain needs to function properly, VOILA, on top of heart disease you are now suffering from clinical depression.
Some people think that someone is BLUE, or DISCOURAGED, because they now have heart disease. That IS a normal reaction to something that radically changes your life. On the other hand there is a BIG difference again between situational discouragement and CLINICAL DEPRESSION. With clinical depression your body has messed up those three chemicals in some way or another and you may need antidepressant medication, and DEFINITELY some time to get the chemicals in balance again.
My beloved nephew Marcus killed himself a week ago. NOBODY knew that he was battling clinical depression. He was filled with light this beloved man. It was known that he had battled with this disease in the past but nobody knew that he again was in it's throes.
It needs to be understood that clinical depression is a POWERFUL LIAR! It tells you, "Nobody cares about what you're feeling!" "You're crazy, you're nuts, there's nothing wrong with you physically, you're just crazy!" "You need to die, you're a burden on your family, your friends, etc. etc." Clinical depression lies to you, and it's extremely hard to battle.
We didn't know that Marcus was battling....many people with clinical depression are good actors...until they are discovered dead from suicide.
Now for the good news....THERE IS HOPE! With a combination of support, from family, and friends, counseling from a professional (and you may need to interview a few counselors to find one that you connect well with, and feel that they understand YOU), and medication you can again feel good about life. You may never be CURED from clinical depression, but if you can find a combination of treatments that bring back color, and joy into your life...what a wonderful thing!
Of the three issues I faced in 1990, breast cancer, Fibromyalgia, and clinical depression, Clinical Depression has been the hardest battle. It's no sissy sprint, it's a marathon. On the other hand, ANYONE CAN survive this struggle!
If you know of anyone battling Clinical Depression DON'T JUDGE THEM. DO LOVE THEM! I have lost one of my favorite people because nobody knew that he was depressed. We need to love more, and judge less anybody fighting the demons of depression.
I will end on a positive note. I believe that Marcus is now getting powerful professional care in the spirit world. I believe that he understands himself, and the demons that were driving him well. I also believe that we will be again together as a family after I have finished this life. Our family will pull closer together than ever. I am eternally grateful to be a part of this amazing family.
In addition if my struggles with this disease and the lessons I have learned, and the success I have had in battling can help even ONE person...I will be grateful. PLEASE if you are battling this enemy GET HELP! Tell someone that you trust, and then get medication and professional counseling! I'm praying for you.
Previously I used it for everything from recipes to posting my newest novel. I have decided that I'm going to create a new blog.....Driftinganchroranch.blogspot.com...and on it I will post all kinds of info about my series and the sequel that will come after the series. My first series is Women of the Drifting Anchor Ranch. The sequel will be Children of the Drifting Anchor Ranch.
The first series will take place between 1850 and 1890. The second will take place from 1890ish to 1920. I LOVE HISTORY. It fascinates me to see different people in different settings. People ARE endlessly fascinating, but place them in different time with all the variables that exist there and I am SO HAPPY!
Objoyful44.blogspot.com will be a forum for some of my life's journey. I have traversed a wide variety of experiences in the 55 years I've lived. I am hoping to lift some others in the broad world who may be going through struggles and juggles. IN ADVANCE I WARN YOU, my information may not be for the faint of heart.
So...all those who are brave, or struggling, or both, please read, and comment. I LOVE to connect with others.
Look for my new Blog, and my first self-published book sometime in the year 2010. Remember, driftinganchorranch.blogspot.com will be the address of my new Blog.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
family throughout Europe. This is my first trip and I'm loving it! We've seen plays at
the West End in London, traveled into Scotland, and ever so many other wonderful
experiences. This week we will watch our daughter graduate with a Master's from
Cambridge. Pomp and circumstance at it's best!
My contest winner is Emily Claire.....hands down....she was a faithful reader and
commentor. Thank you SO MUCH Emily Claire. Your comments were very
As soon as we return home I will send you pictures of the afghans you have to
choose from. If there isn't one that you like, then we'll discuss other colors, and
patterns that are option.
In the meantime, I am still working on Wilhelmina Elizabeth, "Women of the
Drifting Anchor Ranch." The book will be self-published online in the fall.
Thanks again for any that read.
Friday, June 17, 2011
Forgive my lack of posting for the last three days. I believe that in life we all experience those times when it feels like we get up, run, run, run,and then fall back into bed, only to repeat the experience.
I promise first thing tomorrow I WILL post several chapters. Don't quit reading, whatever you do!
Thank you all readers. I really do appreciate the encouragement. I am shooting for the middle of September to self-publish.
I hope that wherever you are you have enough sunshine to make you smile, and enough rain to keep things growing!
Thursday, June 2, 2011
Yanked out of sleep by two strong arms, Beth was in the air before she knew what was happening. She couldn’t decide if she was awake or dreaming. As she looked up and saw Jamie’s face she knew reality. “So, my new wife, I spent the day in terror, looking everywhere for you. You spent the day in the bosom of your family. Then you had a pleasant nap!”
“Luckily for you, I stopped at the ranch before I came here. Maman explained to me that young women sometimes are embarrassed after intimacy. She said that you didn’t mean to terrify me. Is that right Beth? You wouldn’t want to embarrass me or make me worry, right? Oh wait, did you think about me at all? Hmmm, the old Willy would only consider herself, but Beth, well she’s not like that, right?”
At this point Jamie had carried her out of her room, down the stairs, and into the kitchen. Jamie kissed Lucille on the cheek. “Thanks Mom, we’ll be back for dinner tonight.” Lucille kissed Beth on the cheek as if it were the most normal thing in the world for Beth to be in Jamie’s arms.
“Bethie, it was wonderful to be with you. Remember what your Papa and I said. We have faith in you dear. I’ll have roast beef, potatoes, and fresh rolls ready at six.” Jamie sniffed, “Oh my goodness I think I can smell them already. See you then, Mom.”
As they walked out the door, Beth still air born, she was struck with a sense of unreality. She couldn’t believe that Jamie Calkin had just called her formidable Mother, Lucille Bond, Mom. The craziest part was hearing her Mother giggle like a love struck teenager.
Jamie lifted Beth up into their buggy. “Upsy daisy, my sweet.” He nodded at a couple of elderly ladies crossing the street, “Afternoon ladies.” The ladies twittered, and waved. Beth was finally awakening to the awfulness of her state.
Jamie looked over. He saw Beth with her head down in her lap. He pulled her up, “Phew, you look terrible. Come on Beth, things aren’t that bad. You have to admit you enjoyed yourself last night.” Beth lifted her hand to slap Jamie. Jamie intercepted her hand before it met its’ intended object. “Tut tut, Willy, let’s not get into a snit. Look you are on Main Street. You don’t want people to talk, do you?”
Beth growled, “I hate you, you’re common, and crude. How can you talk about IT like that?" Jamie looked puzzled, “It?” His face cleared, “Ohhh IT! Is that what well-bred young city girls are calling sex these days?” Beth blushed, “Stop it Jamie. I will not participate in this degrading conversation.”
Jamie grinned, “Well that’s probably just as well. I have plenty of things to say to you, and I don’t need the interruption.” He grinned, waved and called, “Thank you Mrs. Simmons,” as an august citizen of 89 called out “Congratulations!”
“The first topic. You married me to get revenge on Eric, and Angela, is that right?” He looked casually at Beth. She didn’t respond. “That’s true, or you’d be going crazy denying it. Next topic. I spoke to your Father. He informed me that there would be no divorce, at least not for a year. He wanted to make certain that under these circumstances I was willing to stay married to YOU.”
Beth turned swiftly, “You are such an arrogant, pompous…” Again Beth struck at Jamie. Again he grabbed her hand. Jamie smiled grimly, “The reality my dear Willybeth is that you need me! Without me, there is NO marriage. If the marriage ends before a year you will be a poor working stiff like the rest of us.”
Beth spat out, “I will never be as common, and low as YOU! You have Indian blood flowing through your veins.” A tight muscle twitched in Jamie’s jaw but he showed no other reaction.
“That didn’t seem to bother you last night, my dear! Hmm, it must really gall you that even now you could be carrying our child. That child would mix your blood with the blood of a common, low, Indian!” Beth started to cry.
Jamie didn’t feel much compassion. He was exhausted. He had spent the entire day searching high, and low for his bride. When he found out the truth his future had shattered in his face. He was ready for HIS vengeance now. Willybeth would have her year of married life. JAMIE would be the one in control. She had wanted to hurt him and his family. Beth had lost that opportunity. He would make certain of that.
They were at their cabin. Jamie was saddened. He had wanted to bring his beloved bride home here. He had created the beauty of this place with the labor of his two hands. He had worked on it for years. The dreams he had dreamed as he chopped, sanded, and painted were gone now. He believed that he would never feel the same way about his cabin again.
He lifted Beth down. Next he swooped her up in his arms. “Jamie, put me down. This is becoming a most annoying habit of yours.” “On the contrary, MRS. Calkin, it’s the tradition to carry your bride over the threshold. I am just doing what any good husband would do. I don’t know if they taught you this at your fancy Swiss school. There was a group of Roman men who captured Sabine women. Since the women were captured they were forcibly carried into their new homes. The experience became a marital tradition.” Jamie carried Beth over the threshold. He then put her down clumsily. Beth growled, “Watch what you’re doing.”
Beth snatched her skirt away from contact with him. Jamie’s eyes narrowed, “There are going to be some rules, sweetheart. The first rule is that I’m going to make all the rules. If I divorce you before a year is over you will be left with nothing but scandal.” Beth folded her arms. Then she moved to a chair and sat.
In a small voice Beth spoke, “Fine, what are your rules?” Jamie smiled thinly. “You WILL do the housework. That means you will wash dishes, wash clothes, sweep, and keep this cabin as clean as it is right now. You will also cook our meals.” Beth protested, “I’m not your slave. Find another cleaning woman, and cook.”
Jamie said, “If I divorce you, you will get nothing from me, or your family. What will that leave for you? Hmm, I guess YOU could be a cleaning woman, nanny, governess, or a seamstress. No, you probably don’t know how to sew. You would be a miserable child caregiver.”
Beth picked up a vase of wildflowers. She launched it at Jamie’s head. “It landed on the ground by Jamie with a splat. Water, flowers, and glass rained everywhere. Jamie brushed his hands off, “Tsk, tsk, tsk, it’s too bad you’re such a poor aim. At least you would have had the satisfaction of hurting me before you clean up the mess you made!”
Beth screamed, “I hate you Jamie Calkin. I won’t be married to you for one more minute! You can’t make me!” Jamie stood very still while that little muscle played in his jaw again. Finally he spoke, “Beth, you have spoken truly. I can’t make you stay married to me. Indeed, unless I’m a glutton for punishment, why would I want to?”
“The truth is, that I want revenge. You took the love that I had for you Beth. You took from me some potent powerful possibilities. You turned them into dust. I want revenge Beth. The good thing is that I WILL get it. You know full well that you will never be willing to work for your living. So, if you’re not willing to do any of the trades that I mentioned, well that leaves, what did you call….oh yes, IT. Frankly my dear I don’t think men would pay very much for you.”
Beth picked up another projectile but Jamie pulled it out of her hands. “Beth, I am going out to take care of the horses. You WILL clean up the mess that you created. Trust me, you DON’T want to make me angrier. I have NEVER spanked a woman in my life, but that might change!” “You wouldn’t dare beat me!” Beth screamed in distress.
“Oh Beth, a spanking is not considered beating in any court in this U.S. of A. Since I married an emotional child, well just don’t push me too far Willybeth!” “Don’t call me that!” “I’ll be back, and make sure this mess is cleaned up,” a long pause and then Jamie added, “Willybeth!” Jamie was gone before Beth could make a parting shot.
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Beth rode the old horse slowly up the road towards Calkington. She tried to get the nag to speed up. This proved to be impossible. The poor old creature was just bones and skin. Beth finally took pity on him. They just plodded along. At one point where the road was steep she got off the horse. Carefully she pulled him after her. Beth was cruel, and manipulative towards humans. The best of her nature she gave to animals. Instead of whipping the old horse, or coaxing him beyond his strength she spoke to him softly, patting his gray muzzle.
As they walked along in the earliest, dark, hours of morning Beth found comfort talking to the creature. “When I first got home from Switzerland I thought that everybody would be the same. Somehow I thought that I was the only one who would change in those three years. So I was REALLY surprised to find that Mother and Papa looked older, and Bertie, and Alexa didn’t let me boss them around any more.”
With nothing but time on her hands Beth remembered out loud the whole situation. “Bertie, we need to hold an emergency meeting in the parlor please go get Alexa.” “Queen Bee’s fly again,” Beth said. “Queen Bee’s,” Beth murmured to herself as she picked up a pad of paper, and a pencil. “I haven’t heard that name for three years. I feel a little silly using it, now. Still, it can be very useful.” Beth thoughtfully walked down the stairs.
Bertie, and Alexa, were expectantly waiting for Beth in the parlor. “We want you to know that we have proudly kept the Queen Bee tradition alive since you’ve been away at school.” Alexa smiled brightly. Beth spoke up, “That’s good, but I think it’s time to change the name. We’re getting older now. I think it’s time we make the name more mature, like the Sisters Club, or something like that.” Both girls protested loudly at once. “It just wouldn’t be the same,” Bertie cried. “We like the name. That makes the vote two to one,” Alexa chorused.
Beth nodded in a way that she hoped made her look more adult. “Remember I have the power of veto, which I only use when I think it’s important.” “Not anymore,” Bertie protested. “You’ve been gone for three years. The power of veto has been passed to the next officer, that’s me. If I go away to school next year, it will be Alexa’s turn.” Beth spoke sharply, “My veto power is absolute. I don’t know how you think that has changed.”
Alexa said, “I remember that it was your idea to cut Angela Butler’s braid off. Bertie, and I both got in trouble and you didn’t. Strange since it was your idea!” “Alexandra Bond that was a long time ago.” Beth sniffed most unattractively, “Besides, I know that Mother wouldn’t care anymore.” “Maybe not, but Papa would.” Beth sniffed again but she didn’t feel as confident as she was trying to act.
“Papa wouldn’t do anything. You both know that Papa doesn’t do anything about the family or the home. He always says that he and Mother are a team. He takes care of the bank. Mother runs the home, and family.” “He would be upset, nonetheless. After all, Blake Calkin, her guardian, is the biggest investor in the bank. If he withdrew his money because of what you did….well I really don’t think you want Papa to know anything about it. Do you remember his reaction when you and Mama vetoed Celeste Calkin from joining the Calkington Lady’s Society?”
Beth recalled quite vividly that unpleasant experience. Her Papa had been LIVID with anger. She had never seen his face turn bright red, and he shook all over. He was quite honest in explaining that they would lose everything if Blake Calkin withdrew his substantial funds in the bank.
Taking a deep breath Beth said, “I guess you two were pretty busy while I was away, weren’t you? You took over our little organization!” Anger brought a red blush to Beth’s porcelain fair cheeks. “Fine, Bertie, you have the veto, for now. This isn’t the last time we’ll discuss this. I’m only putting it aside for now because we have much more important things to talk about.”
“The emergency that I called you here for is my marriage. You both know that I told Angela about the effect her unfortunate choice to marry Eric Calkin would have on his future.” Beth smiled a malicious, grim, little smile. It hardened her features very unattractively. “Her leaving town was the best decision she has made since she was twelve.” “You mean it was the best decision for you, so that you could marry Eric. Too bad he left the next day and hasn’t come home since.” Bertie spoke quietly. Beth turned swiftly, “You remember the oath of loyalty that we all took, don’t you Bertie?”
“Blood to blood, under the full moon, I’m not liable to forget that, or the trouble that I got in with Mother when I was being loyal to you. Alexa, and I think that it’s interesting that the oath of loyalty, always somehow meant that WE got in trouble. Especially since you are the one that planned the ideas. Then you would make us help you carry them out. An oath of loyalty SHOULD mean loyal to EACH OTHER, not just you. It doesn’t just mean that everything is all for you, and none for us.”
“Well, well, you two have certainly forgotten some important details since I’ve been gone. I can see that I shall have to remind you.” “It won’t work anymore Beth.” “I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Bertie shook her fist at Beth. “Oh yes you do. You know very well that you used to break things, or steal something from Mama. Then you would blame us for those things that YOU did. We’re not going to let you do that anymore.” “You never could prove that I did any of those things.” “The very fact that all of ‘those things’ as you call them quit happening as soon as you went away to school, speaks for itself.”
Beth’s tone changed. Beth was the mistress of manipulation. She changed her tact. “You’re right. That was very childish of me to behave in that manner. I know that we’ve all grown up a lot in the last three years.” Bertie and Alexa were both dizzy from Beth’s rapid-fire change. “Wait just a minute, Miss Beth,” Alexa said, “Being chummy sweet isn’t going to work either.”
Bertie spoke up, “As the current Queen of the Queen Bee’s, I will explain to you the way this will work. You will tell Alexa, and I in simple terms what new idea you have cooked up. Then Alexa, and I will decide whether or not we want to be involved. You will have NO vote in the matter. IF we agree to your idea, we will decide how to plan the matter. Under no circumstances will we EVER take responsibility for it. Now that you understand, tell us what you are thinking.”
“Well, my goodness. If I weren’t so proud of the way you two have matured, I would be angry. How can I possibly be angry when you have become almost as sneaky and bossy as I am? I did, after all, teach you everything that you know.”
Without waiting for an answer Beth continued. “I doubt that I will be able to marry Eric. He is ridiculously attached to that white trash, Angela.” Beth’s face was as pale as snow. She seemed so cold that Bertie thought she looked as though she were encased in ice.
“Instead I WILL have revenge. Since I can’t have Eric vengeance will have to console me over his loss. Jamie WILL succumb to my womanly wiles. He will grow to love me. Then I’ll leave him. I will break his heart. The entire family will be heartbroken by Jamie’s sorrow. I will now take suggestions on creative ways that I can accomplish this goal.”
Bertie, and Alexa were silent for one full minute. Then at the exact same moment they began to speak. “That’s rotten even for….” Beth smiled smugly. “You have to work hard to get what you want in this world.”
Bertie spoke up, “This idea of yours is too horrible for the Queen Bees. While you have been gone we have changed the mission of the Queen Bee’s. We now work together to do good anonymously. We have taken food to the Shelton’s when their Mama died. We have cleaned houses when someone was sick. Sometimes we volunteer at the clinic with Dr. Cloyd.”
“We work to do our deeds anonymously as much as possible. After all, the Bible says that it’s best to do your ‘alms’ in secret. Alexa, how do you feel about helping Willy get revenge on the Calkin’s?”
Alexa smiled slowly. “Beth did you just see what happened? Bertie asked MY opinion. You NEVER did that. You rarely even asked Bertie’s opinion. You just commanded us to do what you wanted. Well that’s over Willy….I mean Beth. Bertie, and I have changed the nature of our organization. It’s not going back to what it was when you were President. You should try serving sometime. You’d be surprised by how good it feels!”
Lucille called out, “Come and get it!” Beth’s face was blush red with frustration. “This isn’t the last of this. I can’t believe my very own sisters would turn on me!” Alexa said, “Believe it Beth. We won’t do your dirty work anymore! We love you but it’s time for you to grow up!”
Bertie, and Alexa left to have dinner. Beth stayed behind a moment. She suddenly had the direst feeling that her life had ended. She had no idea what she would do with her future. She started to cry but she wiped the bitter tears away with the back of her sleeve.
Beth had made good on her idea of revenge. She had used her considerable talent to convince Jamie that she was in love with him. During their courtship she had always enjoyed his kisses, and his caresses. Jamie was a romantic man, tender, and loving.
Shaking her head Beth came back to the present. Sometimes she cried on the old horse’s brown, rough, coat. Other times she would be very quiet, convinced that she had heard a wild animal of prey coming to attack. It was a very, VERY, long trip back to Calkington.
When she arrived at home she found her family seated at the breakfast table. Her parents jumped up in surprise. They ran towards her. Her Mother reached her first. “Bethie, darling, are you all right? Where is Jamie?” Beth hugged her Mother hard. She said, “Mother, I will go put the horse I rented, Old Jacob, in the barn then I’ll come visit.”
Willard was dressed for work in a beautiful pinstriped suit. “I’ll come help you Beth.” “No Papa, you are dressed too nicely. You may spoil your suit or shoes!” Willard just smiled, “All of those things are washable. Besides, I’ll cover up. No excuses, I’m coming with you.” At the doorway, Willard changed into his work shoes. He put an old pair of overalls over his suit.
Silently they walked together towards the barn. Beth was so tired she felt like she was going to faint. When they walked in the barn Willard closed the door. He got a feedbag. Next he filled it with grains. Beth got the brush and began to brush Jacob, long, soothing strokes. When Beth was through Willard lifted a blanket onto the old horse. Beth thought she heard the old creature sigh audibly with relief. Comfort filled Beth as she performed chores that were familiar.
After the duties were finished Willard said, “Beth, before you go in to your Mother, and sisters I want to know what is going on. Just tell me the basic facts, don’t use lots of emotions or flowery words.” “What do you mean, what is going on? I just came to visit my family.”
Willard took out his handkerchief and wiped his face with it. “Beth, I mean it, don’t waste my time or yours with machinations.” Beth broke down in tears. She twisted her hands nervously. “Papa, I can’t be married. I need to get an annulment.” “Beth there is a very private question I must ask. Did you have sexual intercourse with Jamie?” Beth was shocked at her Father’s frankness. “Beth, this is no time for maidenly modesty, I need to know the truth here.” “Yeeess Papa, I did.”
Willard took Beth by the arm. He led her to an old chair. “Beth you cannot get an annulment once you have consummated your union with Jamie.” Beth wailed in little girl voice, “Papa, I can’t be married to Jamie.” “Beth, it seems that yesterday would have been a better time for this realization.”
Beth whined, “Oh Papa, I can’t be married to Jamie, I waaaannntt Eric.” Willard stopped her. “Please do NOT tell me that you actually married Jamie Calkin to hurt Angela or Eric!” Beth continued crying, “I thought I looooovvved him but IIIII…..”
Willard scratched his head. “No Beth, you didn’t love him. If you loved him you would have cared about his wishes and feelings more than your own. All that you thought about was your own feelings. Well my darling, you have made your bed, and you will lie in it.” “Papa, what do you mean? I can’t live with Jamie. I WON’T live with Jamie. If I can’t get an annulment, I’ll get a divorce.”
Willard pulled Beth up from the chair. “Oh my little girl, you will NOT get a divorce. Listen very carefully to me. Your Mother and I have established a trust fund for you. I was afraid that you would do something foolish of this nature. If you do not stay married to Jamie for one entire year you will never receive a penny of your inheritance.”
“What? Papa how could you?” Beth’s face was contorted with anger. “Beth, how could you marry a man to hurt his brother, his family?” Beth started to splutter, “You’re my Papa you can’t do this to me.” Willard stopped her; “I should have been regularly paddling your backside for the last twenty-one years. Then maybe just maybe you wouldn’t have gotten yourself in this mess.”
“Understand Beth, there is nothing that you can do. You WILL live with Jamie Calkin in the house he provides you for one year. If I hear of you living elsewhere, or being unfaithful in any way, you will be cut off from your inheritance. That means you will not come back and move into our home. You would have to find a job. Like most of the rest of the human race you’d have to support yourself.”
Willard pulled Beth into his arms. “Maybe someday my sweet you will realize that I’m doing this because I love you. I can’t let you go on hurting others, and yourself. I will always love you no matter what. Still I must do something to help you learn a better way to live.”
“Beth, does it occur to you that you might be carrying Jamie’s child?” “Yes, and I’m sickened at the thought. I can’t carry a child that has Indian blood. I simply couldn’t allow it to happen!” Willard spoke grimly, “Again, Beth that would have been a very important point to consider before yesterday not after!”
Willard pulled Beth up so that they were face to face. “Did he beat you? Did he force himself upon you?” Beth’s face lightened, “Yeeesss,” There was a long drawn out awkward pause. She sighed raggedly, “No, no he didn’t. I can’t lie about that.” Willard shook his head, “Thank the good Lord. I would hope that you can’t lie about ANYTHING, but I guess I’ll take what I can get.”
Beth began crying again, “Papa, he didn’t hurt me. The worst part is that I liked it.” Willard put his head close to Beth’s head, her words muffled by her crying. “What did you say, Beth?” “I LIKED IT!” Beth was mortified, realizing that she had shouted the words.
Willard smiled. “Beth, honey, that’s good news not bad news!” Beth cried harder, “Mother said, that it’s a duty, good women don’t like it!” Willard shook his head again, “Beth, your Mother is a good woman. She’s a dear wife, but she told you wrong. It’s something that both husband and wife should enjoy. It’s a God given gift.” “What?” Beth looked confused.
Willard took Beth by the hand, “I know I’ve given you a lot to think about my sweet. Just one more thing, intimacy is reserved for after marriage. In marriage it’s a joyous celebration of your love. I pray that sometime you WILL understand that.”
“Come along dear, let’s go in the house. You look exhausted. I know your Mother will want to feed you, and ask a million questions. I’m surprised that she hasn’t come out to the barn by now.”
“Just remember Beth, you WILL live with Jamie for one year as man and wife. Don’t try to get around me on this with your mother. We made this decision together. I think you have finally met your match my Beth. You are not going to squirm out of this marriage. The best thing for you to do would be to honestly strive to love Jamie. Any two people can make a marriage work if they both think more about each other than themselves.”
Beth was relieved when she got inside to see that her sisters were gone. She had no desire to discuss this mess with them. Her mother had cleared away all of the dishes on the table but one. She had carefully made a place setting that looked inviting. “Come sit my darling. I made Swedish pancakes. Here are bacon, and eggs. You look like you’re starved. Eat and then we’ll talk.” Beth was happy to dig in to her mother’s excellent cooking.
When she was done Lucille sat down by her. “Tell your Mother, Beth. What is going on?” Beth started sobbing. Lucille pulled Beth’s head onto her ample bosom. “Oh now, shh, shh, it can’t be that bad. At least I hope it can’t! Did Jamie force you? Did he beat you? Oh not that, he seems like such a nice boy!”
Finally Beth managed to say, “Oh Mother, he didn’t beat me or mo…mo…molest me.” Beth put her head down and said in a tiny voice, “Mother, I like IT!” Lucille looked confused at the “IT” to which Beth was referring. “You liked what?” “I like IT! I liked the whole intimacy thing between Jamie and I. He was thoughtful, considerate, and it was amazing. I knew when I woke up a little later that I can’t possibly stay married to him!”
Lucille now looked totally confused. “You liked sexual contact but you don’t want to be married to him? What?” “Oh Mother, you said that intimacy was a woman’s duty. You said that I wasn’t supposed to like it. Decent women don’t like it.” Lucille’s eyes widened. “Oh, I did say that, didn’t I? I’m sorry Beth, I didn’t mean that YOU wouldn’t, or that I don’t, well I did a pretty bad job! Oh my sweet, come here.”
Lucille led the way to a white rocker in the corner. This was the family rocker. Many of life’s challenges, and confusions had been solved in this chair. Beth followed her mother. She sat in Lucille’s lap. It didn’t feel odd. Even though Beth was much taller than her Mother Lucille would ALWAYS be Beth’s Mother.
“Beth, my beloved daughter, I guess I just said to you what I was told on the eve of our wedding. I was given that talk by a stiff, unloving, bitter, Aunt. She had never been married. There was nobody else to give me the talk. Considering it her duty she wasn’t one to shirk responsibility. I should have had the wisdom to revise that talk.”
“The truth is my first married daughter, that intimacy can be a genuinely, pleasurable, experience. Your father and I, well, let’s just say that we enjoy each other in many ways.” “Mother!” Beth sat up in surprise, and embarrassment. Lucille just pulled Beth’s head down against her heart. They rocked silently for a few moments.
“Mother.” Lucille muttered, “Hmmm,” “Mother, Papa says that I have to stay married to Jamie.” Lucille sat up with a jerk. “Is that what you are trying to do?” Lucille stood up. Beth fell to the floor. “You’re trying to get around your Father through me aren’t you?”
Beth stood up wiping off her bottom. “No, I wouldn’t, why Mother!” “It’s no good Beth. Papa and I have talked a lot about this subject. As I raised all of you I totally lost perspective. I was spoiling all of you. You were becoming the kind of people that I hate. Willful, manipulative, deceitful, you were becoming that type of woman. The worst part is that you were learning from my example. I had to do some pretty serious introspection. I didn’t like a lot of what I saw. The good news is that I’m still young enough to change. You’re still young enough to change.”
“You’re also old enough to know what a covenant is.” “A what?” “A covenant, Beth, it’s a two way promise. That’s what you made yesterday. You promised Jamie that you would love him as he loved you. In return he promised to love you as you loved him.”
“You made that covenant before God. I have not done a lot of talking about God in our house. I regret that too. You don’t make a promise before God lightly. If you do you will come to regret it. Is that what you did, Beth?”
Beth’s head was lowered. Tears were flooding her face. Lucille was devastated. “Oh my Bethie, how could you? I know that you are bitter about Eric and Angela, but oh Bethie! Did you stop to think about Jamie? He’s a nice young man.” “Mother, how can you say that? He’s a half-breed, not all of one race. You always taught us to hate Indian’s! What about your Grandma and Grandpa being murdered by the Indians!”
“Oh Beth, that was a long time ago. They were different times. Here in Calkington I like to believe that we don’t worry about what color our skin is.” “Mother, I can’t believe you’re saying these things. What would you think if you had a grandchild with brown skin?” Lucile clapped her hands, “I would think, goodie, goodie, look this child is as beautiful as his Mother and Father!”
“Now listen to me dear, this is what is going to happen. You’re going to go upstairs to your bedroom and have a nice rest. When you wake up I’ll help you saddle your horse, and you’ll go back to Astoria.”
“I agree with your Father, Beth. I signed that trust that stated you have to stay married for one year before you could receive your inheritance.” “Mother, how could you do that to me?”
Lucille smiled. She briefly hugged her daughter. “I told you Bethie, I did it because I knew that it wasn’t too late to help you change. So, scoot, get on upstairs and sleep. Hurry along now!” Lucille gently tapped Beth on the bottom. In shock, Beth went upstairs to her old room.
Everything in her room was the same. She couldn’t believe that she had left it, was it just yesterday? She looked at herself in the mirror. Beth was not the same person that the looking glass had reflected for all her life. She pulled the covers down on her bed and climbed in. She sobbed herself into a fitful sleep.
Monday, May 30, 2011
REWARD As my family and friends know I LOVE to knit. I like to call myself a "knitwit." So I'm offering a prize....one of my lovely hand knitted afghans. There will be a choice from three different colors and styles.
The contest is this....I'm posting a chapter of my book online everyday for the next 24 days. To win you simply have to make a comment (one word will do), everyday for the next 24 days. Of course I would LOVE it if you actually read the material before you commented. You can earn extra points...see below.
1. No more than one comment per person per day
2. Extra points will be given for posting about the contest and book on your Facebook wall, email, BLOG, or website. You can receive one point for posting on each of these places.
Wilhelmina Elizabeth....Women of the Drifting Anchor Ranch - should not be read by anyone under 16. There is NO explicit sex, but human sexuality is discussed. Beth (shortened version of her name) is a miserable, mixed-up mess. She marries a man to get revenge on his brother and family. She believes that the Calkin family has cheated her out of her biggest life goal....to marry Eric Calkin. To make matters worse, Eric is marrying her WORST ENEMY, Angela Butler.
Thanks in advance for your participation....enjoy reading!
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
WILHELMINA ELIZABETH...WOMEN OF THE DRIFTING ANCHOR RANCH
“White hot evil joy sliced through Beth. She knew that her desire for revenge would carry her through this day. Her mother was taking Beth’s hair out of rag curlers. Beth felt like she was outside her body watching everything that was happening.
Beth couldn’t accept that she would never have Eric Calkin. As long as she could remember she had a life plan to marry Eric. Angela Butler had ruined her plans. Her plans had changed. Beth would marry Jamie, Eric’s half brother. Then when she broke Jamie’s heart it would hurt the entire Calkin family.
How could they have ruined her perfect plans? She was a much better match for Eric. He needed a woman of refinement, and breeding. Eric needed a woman who could help him move forward into a positive future.
Jamie was a half-breed. Beth was convinced that he wasn’t good enough for her. When she revealed her spite for Jamie, when she made him as miserable as he deserved, well that would show Eric, and Angela. It would wouldn’t it? Sometimes in Beth’s darker moments it seemed that the only person that would be hurt by her twisted, bitter plans was herself.
For a moment Beth remembered her sister’s words of the night before. “Beth, Alexa asked me to speak for both of us. We feel very strongly that we should stop this marriage from taking place.” Alexa nodded her face grim. “We know that you aren’t in love with Jamie. You’re marrying him to get revenge. That type of marriage will never succeed. As your sisters we feel duty bound to stop you…” Bertie never finished.
Beth cut her words off. “You will do nothing of the kind. If you say one word to anyone I’ll let Richard Cloyd know that you were an opium addict.” Alexa frowned, “It won’t work this time WILLY. We’re not falling for your lies and blackmail anymore!” Beth turned towards Alexa. “You’ll change your mind when the school you want to attend finds out that you’ve cheated to get good grades!”
Bertie turned towards Alexa, Alexa towards Bertie. They stood and chatted in low tones for a few moments. Finally Bertie said, “Isn’t there anything we can say that will change your mind?” Beth frowned and nodded her head no. “This is my decision. I will live with the consequences. You have no business interfering.” “It’s NOT just your decision. Jamie, and his family will also live with the consequences.” Beth smiled a truly nasty grin, “If I work it just right I WILL make them ALL miserable.”
When Angela and Eric became engaged, Beth had convinced Angela that she must leave town. She told Angela that Beth could and would ruin Eric’s life if Angela married him. Angela left town with no note or word left behind. The entire Calkin family had been torn apart by Beth’s vicious plan to make Eric her own.
Her scheme had backfired. Eric left town. He searched high and low for Angela. When he found her he convinced Angela to marry him. When they returned from Baker City, Oregon they were husband and wife.
Beth was angry and bitter. She had lost Eric for now, but she was convinced that she would win him over in the long term. There would be a way to make good on her threats to Angela. She knew that the Calkin’s were a very tight-knit family. If she broke Jamie’s heart, it would hurt the entire family. If Beth couldn’t have Eric, she could still make the entire family as miserable as she was.
Lucille Bond, Beth’s Mother, was all-atwitter. Her oldest daughter was marrying Jamie Calkin. She would have preferred to have her marry Eric Calkin. After all, he was the oldest son. In addition, Jamie had the stain of being a half-breed Indian. Lucille convinced herself that it didn’t matter. After all the young man had breeding, and money. In addition, his Mother had been the Leader of the People, a very prestigious tribe of Native American’s.
Lucille helped Beth dress from skin out in her wedding raiment. Her under clothing were of the finest materials. Delicate lace trimmed them. Lucille had knitted the lace whenever she could snatch the time. As Lucille had stitched she had dreamed of this day. Beth wore a chemise, bloomers, corset, petticoats, and a white satin wedding-dress.
Celeste, Jamie’s Mother, had made the dress. Celeste was a seamstress with her own shop. The dress was designed from a new French pattern. There were rows, and rows of tucks in the bodice. There were tiny seed pearls sewn on the tall collar. In the back was a full bustle.
Beth looked elegant in the sophisticated gown. Her long thin neck looked graceful. Her small bust was camouflaged within the elegant tucks. The dress nipped in sharply at Beth’s tiny waist. Beth’s white blond hair was arranged in a lovely French Twist with gentle curled tendrils at the side of her face. Her fair skin, blond eyelashes, eyebrows, and soft gray eyes made her look like the Queen of Ice, lovely, but cold.
Beth looked at the mirror, and saw a reflective stranger facing her. She wondered who this woman was. Facing an uncertain future the lady in the mirror blinked back at her in seeming serenity.
All too quickly Beth was alone with her mother for the infamous, talk. Lucille was perspiring. It was obvious that she was uncomfortable about this discussion. “Wilhelmina Elizabeth, as your mother it is my duty to explain certain um, er, aspects of married life. You know that as a wife it will be expected of you to give your husband children. The creation of children can be an unpleasant experience. Indeed, it can be described as odious. Yet, it is a woman’s duty. She must make certain that her husband is pleased in all aspects.”
Now Beth was perspiring. This stiff, disconcerting, vague discussion of “odious duty” was not improving a nightmarish day. Lucille continued, “I have already explained to you the basics of childbirth. I have taught you about your body and it’s functions. I have taught you how important proper hygiene is.”
“You know that a man is created differently than a woman. It is necessary to be in umm, hmmm, well private positions. I’m certain that Jamie will know the duties that a husband has. This will make it easier for you to understand what you should do. Initially it may be painful. After that, well it may be unpleasant most of the time. Again, it’s simply one of life’s necessities to create life. You will also need to keep your husband satisfied. Men find this experience desirable. You will need to put Jamie’s needs ahead of your own.”
Lucille took her hankie out of her pocket, and wiped her perspiring brow. “Do you have any questions Wilhelmina Elizabeth?” Beth couldn’t have said a word if her life depended on it. Now she was not only heartbroken that she was marrying the wrong man but terrified of what was expected of her.
Lucille began to cry. She threw her arms around Beth. “Oh my precious baby. Where did the years go? I love you so much my darling. Don’t be frightened. You’ll find that there are great joys in loving a man, and bearing children. I am very happy that you will still be close. I couldn’t bear it if you married and moved far away.”
Willard, Beth’s father, knocked on the door, and stuck his head in. “Ladies, we have an impatient groom waiting at the altar. Oh my,” Willard’s breath came out in one loud sound. He walked into the room with his arms open. Beth walked into them. “Oh Papa.”
Beth began to cry. Willard was concerned, “Here, here, darling, what is all this about?” Beth took several deep breaths, “Oh Papa, I’m just now realizing that I’m grown up. I loved being your little girl.” Willard suddenly looked old. He bravely put a smile on his face. He was determined not to sadden this day for the child he loved more than life itself.
“Oh my sweet, wipe your eyes. This should be the happiest day of your life.” Beth realized that her father was right. It should be the happiest day of her life. Willard, and Lucille could just not know what she was about to do.
She looked in the mirror, pinched her cheeks, put a dash of rouge on her lips, and walked to Willard. “I’m ready now Papa, and Mother.” Lucille, and Willard Bond followed closely behind their oldest daughter. Beth had requested that both of her parents walk her down the aisle.
When they reached the door to the chapel Willard, and Lucille each put an arm through Beth’s. They walked with her ceremoniously. Beth saw Jamie standing before Blake Calkin. Blake was the town Justice of the Peace. He had been asked to perform the service since his two sons were the grooms.
Eric was on the other side of the wide aisle waiting for Angela. Beth nearly fainted. She pretended that she was walking towards Eric, and not Jamie. The ruse got her down the aisle. When she was next to Jamie; Lucille, and Willard each kissed her on the cheek. Then they put her arm through Jamie’s.
Jamie turned. He looked at her, and grinned. He was incredibly handsome. Jamie’s face appeared as though it was the creation of an artist. Chiseled his nose was not too long, or too wide. His teeth were perfect, even, white, gleaming when he grinned. Bronzed by the sun and his heritage his skin was a warm coppery color. Jamie’s thick, black, hair was shiny as the wing of a crow. When he grinned a faint dimple winked in his right cheek. The soft dimple kept Jamie from appearing too perfect. It made his heart stopping handsomeness more approachable.
They made a distinctive couple, her fairness, his darkness, her coolness, the warmth and passion of his glance. Beth did not understand the longing in her heart for the less handsome brother to the left of Jamie. Eric was not attractive in the traditional sense. His features were not even. His rugged face belied his charismatic personality, refined sensibilities, and many talents.
Beth’s long held dream had been marriage with Eric. She couldn’t change her dream this quickly. So, as she stood beside one man, and promised herself to him she imagined she was promising herself to his brother. It didn’t occur to her that by doing this she was committing many sins. She had become so used to manipulating life to achieve her desires she couldn’t imagine failing now.
When Blake Calkin told Eric, and Jamie to kiss their respective brides Beth imagined it was Eric that kissed her. She imagined that he kissed her with the hint of unknown passions to come. When she opened her eyes it surprised her to see Jamie looking down at her. Quickly she shifted her reality to fit her dream.
The reception was large, loud, and lonely. Crowds of people surrounded Beth. Still she felt completely, and utterly alone. She had never been hugged so much in her entire life. Jamie seemed uncomfortable. Beth refused to look at the other side of the room. Well-wishers surrounded Angela, and Eric. Beth made no move to congratulate the other couple. She simply could not bear speaking to them. Their obvious happiness deepened her anguish.
Within an hour Beth longed for a long, hot, bath. She felt dirtied by the contact of so many people. She had been hugged, over, and over, and over again. Others kissed her on both cheeks, and lips. The oldest man in Calkington, proudly one hundred years old kissed her soundly on the mouth.
Finally, her mother escorted her upstairs to help her change into her traveling suit. She and Jamie were leaving to stay at her families second home in Astoria. Astoria was a small town twelve miles southwest from their town of Calkington. Beth was very happy to slip out of her wedding dress. Soiled by the crowds of people and her vengeful motivation in marrying Jamie Calkin she knew she didn’t want to see the dress again.
A moment of panic swept through Beth as Jamie helped her into the buggy to leave for their honeymoon. The buggy had been decorated with large bows of ribbon. There was a sign that said, “Just Married.” Strings of tin cans, and old shoes dragged from behind the buggy.
Jamie said, “Giddiup.” The horse jumped forward. Beth kept her face trained on her Mother, and Father. She looked back at them until they were lost in shadow.