Mi Amor, Mi Corazon--Part II (story)

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As usual, she was the first to meet the new day, very early before sunrise, up before the rest of the family. She had a breakfast to prepare! The dark morning hours were spent making dough for biscuits, collecting fresh eggs, peeling potatoes, and boiling coffee. An hour or so later, her groom of 25 years followed her to the kitchen area. "Mornin', my love," she said as he approached the table. "Mornin', my heart," was his reply as he bent down to kiss her. He would sit at one end of the long hand-hewn plank table feeling content, smelling the satisfying aroma of rich, dark coffee. He was amazed at her grace and strength as she rapidly carried that huge speckled coffeepot, filled with gallons of brew, to serve him his first hot cup of the morning.

Eight places were set at the heavy wooden table, three on each side and one at each end. He sat on one end and she on the other nearer to the wood cookstove and cupboards. "Where are those youngin's this morning," he asked in mock-bewilderment as he drank black coffee, "seems they sleep later and later everyday. I have something mighty important to discuss this morning." This surprised her, he had not mentioned anything to her about whatever it was on his mind.

She curiously waited as each of the remaining family members eventually took their place at the breakfast table. The tableís surface was hidden under heaping plates of steaming buckwheat flapjacks, black pan cornbread, scrambled eggs, smoky, thick strips of bacon, sourdough biscuits, slabs of ham, and pitchers of aromatic, strong coffee, cool, fresh buttermilk, golden honey, and sweet maple syrup. Before anyone tasted even a morsel, the family held hands around the table and Pa gave the blessing.

Near the end of the meal, Pa put down his cup, placed his forearms on the table, and quietly looked up at Ma and the rest of the family. They all knew that this was a signal from Pa. As if on cue, the hum of the raucous family banter silenced. Everyone stopped eating and wiped their lips with a square of checkered cloth. They all gave Pa their full attention. "Our family is growed," he said, "some of ye will soon be thinkin' 'bout cuttin' loose, startin' a new life of yer own, findin' a wife or a husband and settlin' down. Don't know 'bout the rest o' ye, but I'm gittin' this closed in feelin' myself...this place is gittin' too small...neighbors are gittin' too close....game is gittin' too scare....and land is gittin' too s'pensive. I have half a mind ta pack up and go west!"

The family was slack-jawed stunned, all they had ever known was this place, it was comfortable, it was familiar, it was home. The oldest son, Jay, was first to break the silence, "I think Pa's right. I kain't trap me nothin', t'ain't worth the effort inymore. The beaver theyís gone, the mink and otter pulled out years ago, 'tis dern hard to trap a measly rabbit 'round here. And heck, everyday I hears 'bout new neighbors movin' inta the territory from out east. I see thar tracks on our land! I ketch them trespassin'.... more'n one of our cattle bin rustled in the last year. Ah'm ready fer a move, I'm with ya Pa!"

Susan, the oldest daughter chimed in next, "Pa, ya know we girls are as good as iny of our brothers, or iny man fer that matter, at shootin', ridin', ropin' and trackin'. Sípecially me, ya know me on old Norsesman kin track down a snowshoe hare in a blizzard...heck, ah'm a better tracker then Jay sittin' over thar and everyone knows it. What I'm sayin' is Pa, you and Ma, didn't raise iny sissified gals, nosirree! If iny one thinks we'd be skeered to go West, or couldn't take the hard life of the trail, well you ain't seen nothin' yet...count me in!"

One of their sons, who was normally quiet and reserve unless he had something important to say, spoke next. His name was Gail. "Yep Pa, I hear tell that the land out west kin grow crops the likes of which we'd never even dare dream 'bout! I fer one hev had a hankerin' for a long time to go West. I wanna cut thet thick sod and sow me a wheat field that would rival thet of iny man's....I wanna feed the world, Pa...I kin do it, ya know I kin....ya know I got the green thumb of the family. When do we leave?"

"Pa, if we go West do ya s'pose I kin start me a horse ranch?" asked Nanaboo, the second daughter, "I've always dreamed of havin' my own ranch in the mountains where I could ride my horses wild and free on endless trails twixt the mountain pine, with my hair flowin' in the breeze and all. Do ya sípose tharís eagles out there?Ö.I love eagles. Pa if we head West, ya kin count on me ta take care of our horses out on the trail. I'll be in charge of feedin' and waterin' them, I'll brush 'em and doctor 'em if need be. And I'll mek sure their hooves and shoes are always proper, I'll check 'em every night. Yep Pa, I'll pull my weight fer sure, let's go!"

"I hear tell thar are giant, curly-haired beasts out West thet taste better than beef," chimed in Grizz who was the very disputed best hunter of the family, "and thar's silver-tipped grizzle bears the size of cattle out thar. Why me and my rifle kin keep the family fed on the trail, don't have ta worry Ma 'bout ever goin' hungry with me around, nope I'm the best shot of the whole dern family, I am!" This last statement caused a great commotion among the six young adults since each one was an expert marksman and skilled hunter....one skill Pa had worked with them on since they were old enough to hold a gun.

The red-haired, freckled-face daughter that worked harder than any other family member asked dreamily, "Do ya s'pose thars iny tall, handsome cowboys out thar in the West thet mebbe I could git my claws inta?" With a tone of authority, Ma immediately responded, "Trina! you quit sech talk afore I hafta worsh yer mouth with my lye soap. Why I brung up you girls ta be proper ladies and I spect ya to act like sech!"

"Ah Ma, sorry," she forlornly replied, "Thar's jes not iny hard-workin' boys thet live 'round here, jes those city-boys in town...I'd shoot 'em if'n ah hed my gun! Never has iny of 'em ever asked me ta dance at the barn-raisin' hoedowns....I think it's on-accounta my hands are rougher than thars. Mine bein' all dried and cracked from doin' all the warshin' fer the family. All the boys 'round these parts ain't like my brothers, they don't werk much....they just lie 'round all day gettin' porky and soft....jes not my type, if ya ketch my drift. But I wanna go West, too.....(and she said under her breath so Ma didn't hear)...ta find me a rugged, hard cowboy!"

Pa then asked, "Well, Ma what say ye....it really meks no difference what the children say, the decision is yor'n." Ma was silent for a few moments and then said, "My love, you're the anchor of this here family, I'll abide by your decision.

"My heart," replied Pa as he got up from his chair. He walked over to Ma and said, "My heart, if I'm the anchor then you're the rope....what use is an anchor without a rope? I dearly want to know how you feel inside about goin' West." Ma arose to the man now standing by her chair. She did the same thing she had always done when they were this close..... she slid her hand between his arm and ribcage and wrapped it around the crook of his arm, then laid her head on his shoulder....she could feel that comforting rock-hard bicep, he could feel the warm curves of her body on his arm....in a soft warm voice she said, "My love, my home is wherever you are."

To be continued......

-- Cabin Fever (cabinfever_mn@yahoo.com), February 04, 2002

Answers

When does the next part come out? Your keeping us hanging by a thread!

-- Sherry (tlnifty@ecenet.com), February 04, 2002.

Why Mr. Cabin Fever. I sure do enjoy this yarn your a tellin.. so when will the next installment be posted:> You are a very good writer, I have seen your work posted on another board I used to frequent and enjoyed your stories imensly.... hmmmm this hear ole country gal cant spell a lick either:>

-- Trina (trina@ccountry.net), February 04, 2002.

Keep it comin', yer all I got.

-- Susan in Northern Michigan (cobwoman@yahoo.com), February 05, 2002.

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