Prairie's Children, Home in Alabama -- Chapter 1

 

In a few moments, Lolus looked at Ruth and said, "Child, you are about to have a baby."

"A baby?"

"Yes, dear. A baby." 

 

Prairie's Children

At Home in Alabama

Chapter 1

 

Josh and Ruth gazed over the 40 acres near Tait's Gap, just a few miles from Oneonta, Alabama, perfect for farming and raising a family. The baby was due any day now, so the young couple was excited and ready to settle down after their unusual adventures in Kansas.

"Let's get it," exclaimed Ruth. "Uncle Grant said that he would co-sign with us at the bank and I just know that we can make a go of it." Pointing to three oak trees close to the primitive road, she continued, "And over there will be our house."

"Our house – our home," Ruth thought with dreamy eyes looking forward to a new life in a fantastic new world. She envisioned a white two bedroom house with a porch the entire length of the house in front and a smaller one in the back. Timber could be cut from the property and a one-man sawmill was close.

She had been raised on the prairie and this part of God's world she had the privilege to view was full of trees, hills, and mountains. Further more, she and Josh had the opportunity to purchase outstanding property in the valley -- flat land with good topsoil. The land had been cleared previously and that made the deal more attractive.

Josh smiled, "We will take it. Meet me at the bank tomorrow and we will draw up the papers."

Climbing back into the carriage, Josh said, "We will be quite a piece from Grant and Lolus, so we may have to buy one of them thar new fangled horseless carriages so we can go see them once in awhile."

"I don't care. I don't need a carriage of any kind. Remember, I was raised on the prairie" answered Ruth with a grin. As far as she was concerned, horses were still good enough.

Just before sunset, the couple returned to Blountsville. Josh pushed Grant's carriage into the barn by hand while Ruth took care of the horses. Lolus came out to the back porch, brushing the flour off her hands on her apron, and called out, "Come on young'ns. Supper is ready. Grant is about to starve waiting for you two."

After supper, the men went out on the front porch, Grant with a chew of tobacco and Josh rolled a cigarette. Ruth decided to go to bed. She felt very tired.

"It is okay, honey," said Lolus. "I will wash the dishes and take care of things. You have had a long day with the trip to Oneonta."

Sleep did not come very easy to Ruth. She tossed and turned during the first part of the night. Looking over at Josh snoring beside her, she smiled and said to herself, "That man can sleep during anything when he gets comfortable in bed." However, she knew very well that he was a very light sleeper when he had to be – for instance, on the open prairie.

She heard the clock on the mantle strike midnight. Strange that the sound of a clock would cause some pain – uncomfortable -- but mild. Lasting only a few minutes, she let it pass. In a few minutes, she felt it again. What was going on?

Toward morning, she began to feel anxious. Thinking it was probably nothing, she got up, washed and slowly made her way to the kitchen. Lolus heard her scream and rushed toward the young woman as Ruth bent over in pain.

"What's wrong, dear?" asked Lolus.

"I don't know. I began hurting last night and it is getting worse," answered Ruth.

"Pain? Where?"

Upon finding the source of the pain, Lolus asked, "How often apart are the pains?"

"Oh, I dunno – maybe five minutes – maybe only three.

"Come on. Lay down on my bed. I want to check something," demanded Lolus.

In a few moments, Lolus looked at Ruth and said, "Child, you are about to have a baby."

"A baby?"

"Yes, dear. A baby."

"How do you know?"

"Honey, I have seen women having babies and I just checked you. Believe me, I know!"

Ruth became a little frighten. "What do I do?"

"Well, Doctor Denton is out of the county right now, so I guess we will just have to let nature take its course."

"Nature take its course? But it hurts so bad."

"Honey, it is going to hurt a lot more, but I have helped a lot of little ones enter the world and I will be right here with you through the whole thing," assured Lolus.

Lolus stepped into their bedroom. Grant was just getting out of bed.

"You and Josh will have to take care of yourself today. Ruth is having a baby and she is scared. It is her first one, you know."

Grant had just finished preparing breakfast as Josh came into the kitchen. Looking up, he said "Son, Ruth is sick and Lolus is taking care of her, so we will fix our own meals before we go to the field. Later on in the day, we can see about going to the bank. Maybe Ruth will be better by then."

"Sick? I need to see about her," stated Josh as he started to the spare bedroom.

"No, son. It is one of those female things. Let Lolus handle it. There is nothing you can do." Grant knew that the best thing was to keep Josh out of the way until the baby was born. "But, we will ride over to our neighbors and get some more women to help."

Josh scratched his head and wondered what female sickness could Ruth be experiencing. The fact that he was about to become a father did not occur to the young man.

Occasionally as the men worked through the morning, Grant would listen carefully for the familiar sound of the dinner bell. He knew that Lolus would ring the bell when it was okay to come home and that everything was all right. She always did that if an emergency arose.

Josh’s concern was evident, also. He loved Ruth with all his heart and, if anything happened to her, he felt that it would destroy his young life. He continued to try to think positive – that everything was all right, hoping nothing was seriously wrong with the woman he loved. More than once, he suggested checking to see if there was anything he could do. Grant reassured him each time that Lolus knew how to handle sickness almost or better than most doctors.

Finally, the bell could be heard in the distance. Since it was close to noon, Grant suggested that it must be time for lunch. The men put down their hoes and began the walk toward home.

"Whee –it’s about time," remarked Josh. "I thought dinner time would never get here. I am as hungry as a skinny coyote in the desert."

Grant smiled without commenting. Hopefully, there would be good news and Josh would forget about his stomach; that is, if Josh could do such a thing.

As the men approached, Lolus stood on the porch.

"Josh, go inside and see your daughter," Lolus said with a big smile on her face.

"Wh–att?" Josh stopped and stood there with his mouth open, eyes wide open staring at the woman proclaiming the news.

"Your wife just had a baby." Lolus paused a moment before continuing, "and they are both doing fine."

 Josh ran with long strides, projected himself upon the porch, barely touching the middle step, rushed into the bedroom, stopping as he reached the foot of the bed. He stood there a moment, observing the most beautiful sight he could imagine – his wife, her head propped upon two pillows and a pink little person cuddled in her arms.

Tears swelled up in his eyes as he looked at Ruth saying, "I love you" with the emotion only a proud father and husband could exhibit.

Softly Ruth replied, "I love you, too." Looking down at the baby with her face beaming with joy, she added with a smile, "Her name is Maudie Mae. That was my grandmother’s name. Lolus delivered her with some help from the two women you and Grant sent over."

Josh glanced around the room and saw two elderly women standing next to the chest-of-drawers.  They were smiling and nodded their heads in union.

Pulling Grant aside, Lolus whispered, "Now that she is a mother maybe that will stop all the nonsense about her being a female gunslinger."

Grand nodded. "Yes, maybe."

Lolus added, "I think she ought to stay here with us since the kids know almost nothing about farming. They have a kid to raise now and I think it will take both of those young'ns working together to make something of their place. By staying around here, we can help them make a go of it."

"I think so, too," answered Grant. "They want me to sign with them at the bank to buy that property at Tait’s Gap. After thinking about it, I don’t think it is such a good idea -- Maybe later. Those kids have got a lot to learn. This isn’t Kansas, you know."

"Yes, we have some good land around here."

"Well, I will speak to Josh about that later. Right now, I see a proud papa," said Grant as he looked toward the room where a smiling father stood. He paused a moment and added, "I'll betcha he forgot that we were supposed to go to the bank today."

 

 

–To be continued

 

Copyright 2010 by Starla Anne Lowry

 

 

 

Prairie's Children, Home in Alabama -- Chapter 1

Glad to see another chapter. Best of all, this story takes place in my backyard. May Your Light Forever Shine

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