The Writer's Corner
Chapter 10 - A Spring of Surprises
Written by Michelle Palmer
February 30, 1863
Margaret, It has been pretty dull around here this winter, but
the weather has been rather active. Your talk of blizzards makes
me glad I’m where I’m at. The weather has been a bit rough at
times, but not nearly as rough as you’ve had it. I’ve managed to
stay warm and some nights it’s only by thinking about you, my
sweet girl. Oh, how I wish I could see you… just hold you in my
arms and maybe kiss you…
I shiver just thinking about you girls being trapped out in that
horrid blizzard! We received a newspaper just the other day, and
even newspapers further up north are talking about the blizzard
you received over there. I read there were many deaths that
occurred, not only in Enid but all throughout the area. The
major danger was how fast the storm came up.
I will have to thank that old man someday for rescuing you. I
shudder to think that you almost died. Well, rest easy,
Margaret. March will be upon us by the time you receive this
letter. I need to gather up my men for a drill, so I must close
for now. The Captain is a bit concerned with how quiet the Rebs
are being so he’s been putting us through drill after drill.
We’re all a bit on edge here.
Oh, by the way my heart grieves on the death of your horse. I
wish I were there to help you find a different horse because I
know you need it. Please don’t refuse a horse just because the
one you loved died. I know the love you have for horses, and I
can’t see you riding just any old horse. I’ve always told you
that a special lady requires a special horse.
Take care, my love. Perhaps we’ll be together soon. We’re one
day closer than we were yesterday.
March 10, 1863
I don’t want another horse. Not right now, anyways. Maybe when
you come back you can help me find a horse. I’d just rather not
get one without you. I think that’s why Golden meant so much to
me – because you helped me break her. Remember how our fathers
shook their heads and our mothers nearly came out of their skin
at the thought of two seven year old children training a horse?
Oh, but we showed them didn’t we? We managed to train a pretty
good horse and I was so proud!
I pray for you every night, Lucas. Scott doesn’t like me to read
the paper, but I have to read it every now and then. I don’t
often find the news in there satisfying. I had hoped President
Lincoln’s Proclamation would have some sort of impact on the
war, but it doesn’t seem to be doing any good at all. Oh, how I
wish this war would end! Scott said that if the Union loses,
Andy would have died in vain, but I can’t see it that way. Andy
was fighting for what he believed, and he died for what he
believed. That makes me proud.
Things are not going any better with Pa. During the blizzard, he
got drunk again. I overheard Scott and Abraham talking about it
one day. They are both very angry at Pa for what he did. I wish
I could break through to him. Pa loves us, I know he does but he
is so broken and feels so guilty for Andy’s death. Nobody can
get through to him.
A little girl is about to have her birthday. Oh, she is so
excited! She’s going to be eight year old and she is all ready
for a colt. Your mother is a bit leery about giving in to it,
but Abraham thinks she’s ready. The party will be Friday, so I
guess we’ll find out then who will win that battle. Laura is
beginning to find ways to tug at Abe’s heartstrings so I think
Abe will give in and give her a colt. He’s been over here
looking at the three colts we have. One of them is a beautiful
black horse with a white star on her forehead. Scott says she’s
breaking gentle, so she may be perfect for Laura.
I best close for now. I love you, Lucas. You take care and
please come home soon.
It was a warm day in March. Laura slipped her shoes off when
nobody was looking and hummed as she carried her rag doll down
toward the creek. The last words her sister had said to her were
for her not to leave the yard, but like many almost-eight year
old children, Laura didn’t always do exactly as she was told.
Laura hummed as she cradled her doll and made her way down to
the creek. She paused when she discovered she wasn’t the only
one down there.
Laura recognized the man sitting under the tree drinking from a
bottle. “Uncle Sam!” she called excitedly. “Hello, Uncle Sam!”
Samuel Gibbs stood up and slowly stepped toward Laura. Laura
hugged him. “I miss ya, Uncle Sam! What ya drinking?”
Laura cocked her head to one side. “Your voice sure does sound
funny! Is whisky good?”
“Oh yes…it’s mighty good. It takes away the pain you’re
“You feeling pain?” Laura asked worriedly.
“The pain I feel is deep inside my heart. This whisky makes it
go away.” Samuel stepped back. Laura started walking on a log.
“Hey Uncle Sam, can I go out there?” She pointed to another log
in the middle of the creek.
Samuel shrugged. “I don’t care if you do!”
“Abe says when the creek’s sounding like that it’s not safe, you
shouldn’t play in the water. Ya sure it’s safe?” Laura asked
“I’m sure it’s safe!” Samuel moved his head from side to side as
he took another drink.
Laura spread out her arms as she started walking across the log.
She hummed cheerfully to herself. “Laura Rose!” A hand suddenly
reached out and grabbed her. Laura gasped and turned to face an
angry brother. “Laura, your sister’s looking for you!”
Laura shrugged at Abraham. “I figured. She wouldn’t let me help
her cut up taters, so I decided to go for a walk.”
“Your sister told you to stay in the yard!” Abraham declared.
“You disobeyed her.”
“I didn’t go far.”
“Now Laura, I…” Abraham stopped as Samuel had fallen and started
singing a barroom song. “Laura, you get on up to the house. Go
on to the barn. I’ll be in there to deal with you soon.”
“Ya gonna give me the strap?” Laura asked suddenly.
“I’m going to spank you, yes.” Abraham nodded. “I think you need
a reminder of the rules now that spring time’s here, and you are
getting a bit free with your mouth as well!”
“Can I have a warning first?” Laura asked suddenly.
“Go!” Abraham shouted as Samuel’s singing grew louder. “NOW!”
Abraham waited until Laura was gone. Then he walked over to
Samuel and lifted him to his feet. “Alright, I want to talk to
you!” He still remembered what Samuel had done during the
blizzard. Margaret had been missing, yet Samuel went and got
drunk. Since then, Abraham’s tolerance level toward Samuel was
very low. “You stay clear away from my family!”
“I was here first.” Samuel’s words slurred.
“You should be at the ranch working!” Abraham shouted angrily.
“Not out here making a fool of yourself!”
“I’ve been working!” Samuel declared. “A man needs a break every
now and then.”
“A break…a break!” Abraham shoved Samuel up against the tree.
“Now, you listen to me! I’ve given you all the breaks I’m going
to give you! What you did the night of the blizzard is…it’s
“What did I do?” Samuel asked. “How was I supposed to know my
daughter was out in the storm? Her brother shouldn’t have…”
“You don’t get it!” Abraham’s eyes narrowed. “YOU are her
father! YOU should have been there taking care of your family
instead of getting drunk! Your daughter was missing. She almost
died, and all you could do was get drunk!” Abraham paused. He
thought on his next words carefully. “You better get sober and
stay sober. Next time, you may very well kill your daughter!”
Abraham turned to walk away. He turned back. “I mean it. Stay
clear away from my family!”
The whisky was gone. The Gibbs’ account at the bank was
untouchable for Samuel now. In one of his sober moments, Scott
had talked Samuel into signing all his rights to the money over
to him. He knew it was for the best, but Samuel regretted it
when he needed some whisky and had no money. He was paid hired
hand wages and that was it. Scott had him on a tight string and
treated him like one of the hired hands. Samuel put a hand to
his head and groaned as he stumbled back towards the ranch. As
he walked into the yard he saw Scott chopping wood. Scott looked
up, saw his father, then turned and went back to chopping.
Samuel stopped just behind Scott. “I need some money.”
“No,” Scott grunted as he brought the ax down hard on the wood,
splitting it in two.
“You don’t understand!” Samuel declared. “I’m sick!”
“Sick…” Scott shook his head as he turned around. “You’ve been
sick now for four months. It’s the same sickness – whiskey.”
“I need it, son!” Samuel held up his shaking hands. “Don’t you
see how my hands shake?”
“You were supposed to clear out the North field today. There’s a
lot of brush that fell over the winter. It needs cleared out.”
Samuel slowly lowered his eyes and stared at his shaking hands.
He couldn’t quite believe Scott would be so cruel as to allow
him to suffer like this. Anyone looking at him could tell he was
sick. Scott suddenly turned. “Well, you best get going or I’ll
have to dock you some pay!”
Samuel slowly turned and walked away. His hands were shaking so
badly he couldn’t stand it. He stopped and slowly turned around.
“Why won’t you show me some respect?” he lashed out then. “I’m
The ax paused in mid air. Scott’s back straightened as he slowly
sat down the ax and turned around. The expression on his face
would make a polar bear shiver. Slowly, Scott sat down the ax
and took two steps forward. Samuel stepped back, the look on his
face was so terrifying. “No. You’re not my father.” Scott’s
voice was surprisingly calm at the moment. “My father walked out
on us one day. I don’t know where he’s at but he’s not here
“Scott…” Samuel mumbled as he slowly shook his head.
“Because MY father would not go off and get drunk when his
daughter is lost out in a blizzard!”
“I’ve told you I’m sorry for that. I was worried, and when I’m
“NO!” Scott suddenly shouted. “NO! My father never…NEVER behaved
that way when he was worried. My father acted…”
The door suddenly opened. Margaret ran out and hurried to her
father. “Stop it!” she cried. “He’s sick. Can’t you see that?”
“He’s a drunk,” Scott sneered as he gave Samuel a hard stare.
“He’s just a drunk.”
“Papa, come on inside. I’ll get you some coffee. Maybe that will
make you feel better.” Samuel nodded as Margaret started to lead
“NO.” Scott clinched his teeth together. “I don’t want that man
in my house.”
“He’s our father! He and Mother built up this house…and
ranch…together!” Margaret cried out then.
“Margaret…” Scott folded his arms and gave her a stern look.
“The only reason he is still on this ranch at all is because he
is that…our FATHER…but after what he did, I don’t want him in
our home. Not until he’s ready to change.” Scott turned toward
Samuel. “Are you? Ready to change?”
Samuel turned and looked at Margaret. Margaret’s eyes pleaded
with him. But his eyes grew very sad and he lowered his head. “I
can’t. God help me…I can’t.”
“Oh, Papa…” Margaret cried out softly as she took his hand.
“You’ve got work to do.” Scott turned and picked up the ax. “Get
Margaret stared as her father hung his head and slowly walked
away. She turned and looked at Scott. Scott lifted the ax over
his shoulder, paused, and turned to look at Margaret. Margaret
slowly shook her head in disbelief. “How could you? How could
you…degrade him like that?”
Margaret slowly began to walk away from him backwards as she
continued to shake her head in disbelief. “How…how could you?”
Scott felt pain and regret in his heart when he saw the agony
this was putting his sister through. Margaret had such a deep,
sensitive heart and this was just about breaking it, but Scott
had to do what he thought was best for his family. “Margaret…”
he started as he slowly lowered the ax. Tears blinded her eyes
as she continued to back away from him. He could tell she was
about to bolt. He threw down the ax, turned and reached out for
her, but she stepped away from his grasp, turned around, and ran
out of the yard. “Margaret!”
Abraham paused outside the barn door and sighed. As usual, he
looked skyward and asked God to give him strength in dealing
with Laura calmly. Then he walked inside. Laura was sitting on a
bench with her back toward him. He heard her sniffing. Abraham
sat on the bench beside her and nudged her with his shoulder.
“Why are you crying?”
“Because I’m in trouble,” Laura answered.
“You’re crying because you’re going to get a spanking?”
Laura sniffed. “No sir.” Abraham waited for Laura to speak. “I
try to be good but…there’s just something inside me that won’t
seem to let me!”
Abraham put a hand to his mouth and tried hard not to laugh, but
remembering back just about made him choke on his laughter. A
chuckle rose up from somewhere deep inside him, and he suddenly
exploded in roars of laughter. Laura was shocked and slowly
stood up. She turned and looked at her brother as she placed her
hands on her hips and gave him an annoyed expression. Abraham
grabbed at his middle trying to regain composure. “I…I’m sorry,
Laura.” Abraham swallowed his laughter and cleared his throat.
“Oh, you are so much like your brother, Luke!”
“Why?” Laura asked, still giving him an annoyed expression.
“Even the way you’re looking at me now reminds me of Luke.”
Abraham shook his head and reached out to pull her back down
beside him. “I remember one day when Luke did something bad. I
was in the barn tending to my chores and Pa was right here on
this very bench with Luke beside him. He was probably eight at
the time. Pa was yelling at him and Luke suddenly said the exact
same words you told me – that he TRIED to be good but something
inside him wouldn’t let him.”
“What did Pa say?” Laura asked.
“Oh…” Abraham frowned. “Well, you don’t want to know what Pa had
to say. And you don’t want to know what he did either.” Abraham
put his arm around Laura. “I know you are a lot like Luke, and
regardless of how much trouble he managed to not only get
himself in, but our brothers, Margaret and Andy as well; I
reckon he turned out okay.”
“So…ya gonna whip me?”
Abraham chuckled. “I think I’m softening. No. I won’t whip you.
But we are going to have a talk. Now then, why did Emily tell
you not to leave the yard?”
Laura lowered her head. Abraham cleared his throat. “Because
Peter told me yesterday I couldn’t go out of the yard until he
said it was okay.”
“Mm hm. Then what happened at breakfast?” Abraham asked.
“Well…I started complaining so Peter put me in the chair and
told me I couldn’t go outside until Mama said I could.” Abraham
nodded. “Then Mama said I could and Emily told me not to go out
of the yard.”
“Did Peter tell you WHY you couldn’t go out of the yard?”
“No sir,” Laura answered.
“Okay…I’ll talk to Peter about that, but regardless of the
fact…an adult…two adults…gave you an order, and you disobeyed.
You have to be punished for that.” Abraham picked her up and sat
her on his lap. “But first, I want to explain something to you.
We’ve been having a lot of rain lately and the creek is flooded.
There’s some sort of…magnet…that seems to pull you down to the
creek and we all know it. Not only that, but if it starts
raining, we could have a flash flood. Do you know what that is?”
“Yes sir. We talked about that in school the other day. A flash
flood is when it’s raining and a whole lot of water comes really
fast.” Abraham nodded. “But it ain’t raining, Abe.”
“No. But when I came to the creek, you were just about to go out
onto a log on the water. That was very dangerous.” Abraham shook
his finger at her.
“Yes sir, but Uncle Sam was right there! He told me…”
Abraham closed his eyes and groaned. How did he explain
something like this to an almost-eight year old? “I know. But
Uncle Sam isn’t very well right now.”
“He said he drinks whisky to make the pain go away. Is he really
sick?” Laura asked then.
Abraham scratched his head. He wasn’t sure how to explain such a
thing to Laura, but decided honesty was the best method. “Okay
Laura.” He cleared his throat. “You are about to turn eight in a
couple days, so I reckon you are old enough to understand this
now. Uncle Sam is not sick. He has some problems…his heart is
hurting really bad and he thinks that if he drinks whisky it’ll
make the pain go away.” Laura screwed up her face, still not
understanding. “You remember when we went into town one day and
you asked about the saloon?” Laura nodded. “Do you remember what
I told you about it?”
“You said that people go in there and drink alcohol that makes
them crazy. But I saw you go inside once.”
“You did?” Abraham smiled in spite of himself. “Yes. Well…I may
go inside to drink a beer or two, but what Uncle Sam is doing
isn’t just drinking one or two. He’s constantly drinking and
doesn’t care or rather, the whisky makes him not care. Had he
been sober, he would have stopped you from walking out on that
log. Didn’t you see how he staggered when he walked and then he
fell down, didn’t even act as though it hurt him?”
“Oh.” Laura stood up. “Like what Peter used to do? I would come
out of my room sometimes and see him stumbling around. He
couldn’t figure out where the door to his bedroom was. And then
Mama and Papa yelled at him a lot.”
“I’m sorry you had to see that, Rosebud.” He rubbed his hand up
and down her arm. “You see, since Andy died, Uncle Sam is
really, really sad. He feels it’s his fault.”
“His fault?” Laura screwed up her face again. “But it’s not his
“No. It’s not. But sometimes when our minds start thinking on
something…our thoughts start to run away and before long that’s
all we think about.”
Laura hung her head. “You mean…like me thinking Lucas was dead
when you told me he wasn’t?”
“Yes. I mean JUST like that.”
Laura’s face suddenly lit up. “Then tell Luke to write him a
letter. It’ll make him feel better!”
Abraham hugged her to him. “I’m afraid it’s a little harder with
adults, honey. But until he’s better…I don’t want you to visit
him unless another adult is with you. He’s sort of dangerous
right now. But we still love him.” Laura nodded.
“Now then…for your disobeying…and for your smart mouth, what
should I do with you?” Abraham scratched his beard and narrowed
her eyes as he looked at her.
“Well…” Laura acted as if she was deep in thought. “I suppose I
could help Tiffany with the laundry.”
“And then I COULD collect all the woodchips Peter has in the
“And?” Laura squeaked out. “And what?”
“Well…I think Julie has a big pile of dirty diapers to wash. I
suppose she could use another set of hands since she and
Margaret have to take the babies in for a check-up later today!”
Laura gasped. “Oh yes! They need my help with the babies in…”
“Laura Rose…” Abraham warned.
“Oh. I guess I could stay at the farm with you and work on
washing out dirty diapers. But…you know how much I HATE that
“Yes.” Abraham nodded. “You tell me all the time. But maybe
it’ll remind you why guarding your tongue and obeying is
“So then I DON’T have to do the chore for Tiffany or Peter?”
“Oh, well…I think those would be some nice things to do for your
brother and sister in law…don’t you? “
“I guess so.” Laura hugged Abraham. “Thanks for not spanking
Abraham shook his head at her. “I’m just becoming an ol’ softy!”
he declared as he gave her a light pat on the backside and
motioned for her to get started on her chores.
That evening, Laura was finishing washing out the last dirty
diaper when Julie pulled up in the wagon. Abraham hurried toward
them and lifted one of the triplets from the back of the wagon.
“So, how are my little guys?” Abraham asked as he ticked Baby
Samuel’s nose with his beard.
Julie chuckled. “The doctor says they are all growing and
“I’ll take Margaret home tonight.” Abraham kissed Julie. He
turned to see Laura standing right behind him. “Don’t you have a
chore to finish?” Laura walked away. Abraham turned back to his
wife. “I’m going to bring home the colt tonight. Make sure
Laura’s back home before I get back.”
Julie nodded with a smile. He went to fetch Andy’s horse
Margaret had ridden over. Then he helped Margaret up onto the
wagon and they started home. They rode in silence for a few
minutes before Margaret finally spoke. “You’re giving her the
pony, aren’t you?”
Abraham chuckled. “Mother isn’t so sure it’s a good idea, but it
seems to me I remember another little girl receiving a colt when
she was seven. We’re already a year behind.” Margaret smiled.
She couldn’t help remembering that birthday. “Pa thought on
giving Laura a colt for her last birthday but…Ma had a way with
him and he decided against it.”
“I think she’s ready. She’s seemed to simmer down a bit this
Abraham laughed. “Or maybe we’ve just gotten used to her ways.”
Margaret stood in the doorway of the barn and watched Abraham
talk softly to the little black colt with the star. She was sad
to see him go, actually. She had sort of started wondering what
it would be like to have the colt for her own. There was
something that tugged at her heartstrings as she remembered back
to her seventh birthday. Luke had stayed very close to her all
evening and steered her away from the yard. She had gotten
annoyed with him, but then her father had paused and announced
there was something outside for her. She had been so very happy
to find Golden in the corral. She fell in love with the horse
that night. She and Luke had spent countless hours training that
“Hello, Margaret.” Margaret jumped and turned around. Her father
was standing beside her in the doorway to the barn. “Is Abe
buying the horse?” His voice slurred.
Margaret’s eyes focused on the bottle in his hand. “Oh Papa…”
She shook her head sadly. “Papa, where’d you get it?”
“Took a trip in town.” Samuel started to take a drink but
lowered the bottle and stared into his daughter’s eyes. “I need
it. Can’t you understand that I HAVE to have it?” Margaret
lowered her eyes. “Margaret, I’m sick. I…”
“Get out!” Scott’s voice sounded angrily from behind Margaret.
“Get out of here now!”
“Scott!” Margaret turned and looked at her brother. Scott gave
her a stern look and frowned before looking back up at Samuel.
“Scott, he’s sick!”
“He’s drunk!” Scott said. Margaret threw a hand to her mouth.
“Get inside, Margaret.”
“No, Scott. I want to talk to him…I think I can…”
“I said get inside!” Scott’s voice this time was sterner.
Margaret turned and looked at her father. “Go on.”
“Oh…Papa…why? Why?” She shook her head as her eyes filled with
tears. “We all lost Andy! Why is it so…difficult for you?”
“I’m leaving.” Margaret knew he’d rather leave than answer her
questions. She cried as she watched him slowly walk out of the
“I’m sorry, honey,” Scott said as he put a hand on her shoulder.
“I wish things were different.”
Margaret nodded. “So do I. I just want him back.” She suddenly
bolted forward and ran to him. “Papa!” Samuel stopped. Margaret
threw her arms around him and hugged him. “I love you, Pa. No
matter what…I love you.”
When Friday morning arrived, Laura was practically bouncing off
the ceiling with excitement. Tiffany and Emily stood in the
kitchen working on breakfast and laughed as Peter demanded Laura
sit down and start behaving like a lady. But she wanted the
whole world to understand that she was now eight years old.
“Alright!” Peter declared as he picked up the newspaper. “Then
act like it!”
Tiffany came from the kitchen and sat the maple syrup on the
table. She bent over and kissed her husband. “You’re just
jealous because you don’t have a birthday today!”
“Humph!” Peter declared as he pulled her down onto his lap and
poked her in the ribs. “I’m twenty-one. I don’t NEED another
Emily smiled at the two love birds. She had noticed a change in
them ever since the blizzard. Before then they hadn’t acted like
a married couple, but more like friends. She almost felt as if
they were on their honeymoon, the way they acted.
Emily cleared her throat. “Uh…Laura, go get ready for school.”
“School?” Laura groaned. “But it’s my birthday!”
“And your party’s tonight!” Emily declared. She turned and
looked at Peter. He leaned forward and kissed Tiffany again.
“Peter McCain! You let your wife get back to the kitchen and
convince your sister she has to go to school today!”
“Okay.” Peter smiled into Tiffany’s eyes. “Emily, you have to go
to school today.”
Tiffany giggled. “That isn’t funny! It’s your ‘other’ sister who
needs convincing she needs to go to school!” Emily declared as
she put a hand on her hip.
Peter sighed as Tiffany stood up. “Why does she have to go to
school on her birthday?”
“Yeah.” Laura declared. “It’s my birthday! Why do I have to go
“Because Ma said so!” Emily shook her head. “And you just may be
finding yourself having mush for breakfast, Peter McCain!”
“Oh…honey…” Peter called. “Emily’s being mean again!”
“So…” Laura looked from her sister to her brother. “Do I have to
go to school today?”
“Yes!” Emily declared.
“No!” Peter answered.
Brother and sister glared at each other. Just then, the door
opened. Abraham walked in with Charlie right behind him. “How’s
the birthday girl?”
Laura ran over to Abraham. Abraham swooped her up and gave her a
great big bear hug. “Do you need a birthday spanking?” Laura
rolled her eyes. “Julie can’t come for breakfast this morning,
Emily. She’s a bit under the weather.” Abraham smiled at Laura.
“Emily and Peter are fighting!” Laura declared.
“Oh?” Abraham raised an eyebrow and sat Laura down in a chair.
“I don’t think Laura should HAVE to go to school today,” Peter
declared. “It’s her birthday.”
“And Mother wants her to go. We’re having a party for her and
we’ve lots to do!”
“Hmmmmm…” Abraham scratched his beard. “I see. Well Peter, Ma is
her mother and she has say so.” Peter studied Laura as she got a
hopeful look on her face. Abraham sighed. “Where is Ma?”
“I’m right here,” Ruth answered as she came from the bedroom.
“What’s all the bickering about in here?”
Abraham turned toward Ruth. “Can we talk outside for a moment?”
Emily, Peter, and Laura watched as Abraham and their mother
walked outside. Only a couple minutes later, Abraham came back
inside. “Laura Rose, how’d you like to spend the day at our
house helping Julie with the kids?”
“Honest?” Laura asked as she jumped up and down.
Everyone laughed at her excitement. Abraham assured her they’d
go right after breakfast. But as they ate, nobody missed the
excitement in her eyes of her approaching party.
That day, Laura talked excitedly as she helped Julie with the
chores and care for the children. Margaret came over that
afternoon. Julie had just ordered Laura to lay down with the
children for a nap. Laura declared she didn’t need a nap, but
when Abraham lifted an eyebrow and started to stand from the
table, Laura bolted toward the door and suddenly decided a nap
was a good idea.
Laura was happy when the moment finally arrived for her party.
She received many gifts, but when she looked at the smile on
Abraham’s face, she knew he had something planned.
Julie nudged her husband to get on with his surprise. Laura
stood before him with a smile of anticipation on her face.
“Well?” she asked.
“Let me see now…where did I put it…” Abraham started feeling
around his shirt and pants and scratched his beard as he
pretended to think.
“Stop joshing!” Laura demanded with fists on her hips. “What is
Abraham chuckled as he picked her up and carried her out to the
corral. They stood beside the corral as Peter slowly walked out
Laura gasped. “Oh, a colt!” She slid from Abraham’s arms and
slowly stepped through the corral fence. “She’s so pretty!”
Laura immediately stroked the star on her forehead. “Is it for
me? Is it really for me?” Abraham nodded as he chuckled at her
excitement. “Oh Abe!” Laura jumped into his arms and hugged him
tight. “Thank you!”
“What will you name her?” Margaret asked as she patted Laura’s
“Starbright!” Laura declared. “I’ll name her Starbright!” Laura
bent over to hug Starbright’s neck. “When can I learn to ride
“I’ll start teaching you tomorrow,” Peter declared as he
chuckled. “Then in the evenings when your homework’s done, we’ll
work on riding.”
“Oh, thank you!” Laura said again.
Margaret watched the scene as a tear left her eye and slowly
made its way down her cheek. She was remembering another time
when another little girl behaved just like Laura. But that time,
Luke had been right beside her. She treasured all these things
in her heart. She couldn’t wait to tell Luke.
Laura could hardly concentrate on anything else that evening.
She was so very, very excited about the horse. Even after the
day was over and she lay down to rest, Laura continued to chat
about the horse she had received. Her mother finally ordered her
to hush and go to sleep. Peter came in and again promised her
he’d teach her to ride the horse the next day. Laura finally
went asleep with a big smile on her face.
My Dearest Lucas,
Oh, I just HAD to write you and tell you about your sister.
Abraham gave her a colt for her birthday last night. You should
have seen the look on her face, she was so very excited. She
named the horse Starbright. I know it’s a funny name, especially
since the horse is black with a white star but she was pretty
insistent on the name.
Last night as I stood there and watched Laura’s excitement, I
was remembering the day I got my horse, Golden. I still miss her
so badly, Luke. Its funny how we become so attached to an
animal, isn’t it? I watched Abraham come to our home and take
the pony the other day. I must admit that I had a bit of sadness
watching her leave our barn. Somehow I’d been thinking how nice
it would be to have her for a horse, but then I wouldn’t miss
watching Laura’s exciting eyes for anything!
Peter is going to teach Laura to ride today. I may find an
excuse to go down to the farm so I can watch and remember you
and me out there in the corral.
I think about you always.
The rain continued to fall. March grew later and later. Margaret
received another letter from Lucas near the end of the month and
she excitedly walked to the creek to read his letter.
My Dearest Margaret,
I’m afraid the letter will be quite short tonight. I’ve had a
very long day and long to only go to sleep. One of my soldiers
today got out of line and we ended up almost in a dual over
something that was so trivial. I know everyone is getting testy
and homesick; and they are beginning to take it out on those at
a hire rank.
I’ve been in the saddle a lot lately. The Cavalry saddles leave
little to be desired. After just a couple hours my backside is
very sore and my legs ache. Oh, how I long for those days of
leisure when we used to sit on the bank of the creek and talk. I
wonder if we’ll ever have those days again.
It’s quite discouraging right now, Margaret. We’re losing a lot
of men…not to war, but to disease. We have every kind of disease
imaginable out here right now. They get in the food, the bugs,
everything. We had to bury three good soldiers from our own
group just this week.
I guess what I’m trying to say is…pray for me…for us. We’ve
quite a burden on our shoulders.
I must close for now.
The remainder of March quietly slipped by. Lucas McCain turned
19 near the end of the month, but nobody noticed because they
were too busy planting between rain storms. Oklahoma seemed to
be getting an abundance of rain that year which made planting
season difficult, but the families welcomed it knowing it could
be dry later and they would be once again begging for rain.
And as April quietly slipped in, seeds were planted in the
ground. Peter even managed to get the potatoes planted on his
own. All three of the McCain brothers worked diligently on the
planning. It was such a busy season that their wives hardly even
saw them. By the time they got home, they were all so tired that
they went right to sleep.
At five months pregnant, Tiffany was beginning to show outward
signs of the life growing inside her. One morning Peter stared
at his wife as she stood in their bedroom with just her under
things on. He paused on the side of the bed and called her name.
She turned and smiled when she saw Peter staring at her as if he
saw her for the first time. It had been nearly a month since
planting season began and he had hardly had time to look at her.
Peter slowly stood from the bed and walked over to her. He
dropped to his knees in front of her and touched her belly. “Can
you feel him?” he asked softly.
Tiffany giggled as he continued to run his hands around her
growing belly. “A bit. He lets me know he’s in there, but it
feels more like…butterflies fluttering around then a baby.”
Peter’s hands paused on her belly and he lifted his head and
looked at her. “…butterflies?” He asked as he raised an eyebrow.
Again, Tiffany giggled. Peter stared back at her belly. “There
really IS a baby growing inside you…”
Tiffany slowly got to her knees in front of him. He put his
hands on her shoulders as they stared into each other’s eyes.
“Did you have doubts, husband?” Tiffany asked with a small smile
and a sparkle in her eye.
“Not exactly. I just…” Peter grinned. “…I just couldn’t quite…”
He kissed her softly as he laid a hand on her cheek.
“Tiffany…the baby inside you was made on our wedding night.” He
lowered his head, no longer able to look in her eyes. “I must
admit I’m a bit ashamed of that because…”
Tiffany suddenly reached out and placed a finger to her
husband’s lips. “Don’t. What’s done is done…Maybe…maybe he…or
she…wasn’t made out of love. But I think this baby is doing
something for us…”
Peter slowly nodded his head. “I love you, Tiffany McCain. I
Tears filled her eyes. “That’s the first time you’ve said that.”
She kissed him softly as she laid a hand against his cheek. “I
love you too.” They wrapped their arms around each other as
their kiss deepened. They slowly stood up to their feet as they
kissed, but suddenly a knock sounded on the door.
“What?” Peter hollered out in an annoyed voice.
“Mama said breakfast’s on the table!” Laura announced.
“I’m not hungry!” Peter declared. Tiffany nudged him with her
elbow. “Ouch!” Peter shouted.
“What’s wrong?” Laura called from the door.
“Nothing. Nothing at all,” Peter answered as Tiffany hurried
over to get her dress on. He walked up behind her and started
buttoning her dress. “You know…we could spend a couple hours
alone this morning. Just you…” Peter kissed the side of her
neck. “…and me…”
Tiffany turned around and put her hands behind his neck. “With
your mother and sisters just outside the door? I’ll pass.” Then
she gave Peter one last kiss before hurrying out the door.
Peter sat down on the bed as he finished dressing himself. He
rolled his eyes. “What does a man have to do to get some privacy
around here anyhow?” he grumbled.
That same morning, Jeremiah was sitting at his table eating
breakfast. Em had gotten up late and had paused in her rushing
around to stare out the window as her hands clinched the side of
the counter. “What’s wrong with you this morning?”
Em turned and looked at her husband. “Nothing. I just wonder
when I’ll get to see you longer than to say ‘hi’ and ‘bye.’”
Jeremiah sighed as he looked down into his bowl. “We don’t have
too much more planting to do. I think we’ll try to get it all
done soon. You have Sunday’s you know. Ma won’t let us do a lick
of work on Sundays.”
“Sundays…” Em looked down into the sink and closed her eyes as
another spell of nausea came over her. “We rush around and get
ready for church, then go to your family’s house. That afternoon
you work on getting your own chores done…” Her voice held anger
and impatience in it.
Jeremiah slowly sat his fork down and stood from the table. He
cocked his head to one side as he made his way into the kitchen.
“What’s wrong? I’ve never heard you complain before.”
Em suddenly pressed the palm of her hand to her forehead and
sighed deeply. “I’m sorry. I guess it’s just the busy-ness or
something…I feel so…different.”
“Sick?” Jeremiah asked, suddenly concerned as he grabbed her
“No.” Em forced a smile as she lifted her head to look at him.
“Just missing my husband.”
“Oh.” Jeremiah gave her a quick kiss on the lips and turned to
grab his hat. “I best get going. The other’s are probably
wondering where I am.”
“Oh, Jeremiah…before you go could you hitch up the team?”
Jeremiah slowly turned from the door and looked at her. “I know
my oversleeping has already slowed you down, but you won’t teach
me how to hitch up the team.”
“No I won’t. It’s no job for a lady!” Jeremiah declared.
“Well…the fact is I need to go into town today. I’ve a few
supplies to pick up. Could I use the team and take Tiffany with
me?” Your mother isn’t feeling well…doctor says it’s just
everything that’s been going on lately…and Emily is very busy
with all the chores at the main farm. Peter wants Tiffany to see
“Alright.” Jeremiah agreed. “I’ll hitch up the team.”
Em watched him hurry out the door and shook her head. This was
her first year to experience life as a farmer’s wife and she
wasn’t sure she liked spring planting too much. It seemed that
was worse than harvest time! But perhaps she would have some
news for him later that would slow him down a bit and he’d stop
to take notice of her.
As they rode into town, Tiffany announced to Em that Peter had
told her he loved her that morning. She blushed as the baby
growing inside her moved. “I know that sounds odd coming from a
woman in my condition…”
Em shook her head. “We all know your marriage wasn’t through
“Peter feels awful about it now, but I can’t share his opinion.
After all…a life was created, regardless of the reason. I…”
Tiffany blushed as they pulled up to the General Store. “Peter
wants me to see the doctor while I’m here. I don’t think it’s
necessary but he does.”
Em paused as she wrapped the reins around the break. “Oh…Well,
it just so happens I was headed there myself. How about if we
BOTH go down there together?”
“You?” Tiffany’s face turned concerned. “You aren’t sick?”
“I don’t think so. I’ve just been a bit under the weather lately
and just want the doctor to take a look at me out.” Em smiled.
“Hello, ladies!” Scott Gibbs walked up to the McCain ladies as
they sat talking on the seat of the buckboard. “Let me help you
Scott gently helped Tiffany down then helped Em over the wheel.
“How’s your family?” Em asked after her feet were planted firmly
on the ground.
“Busy. Planting’s done. My two ranch hands are staying in line
now, so I’m able to give this lame leg of mine some rest. I came
in for supplies.”
Margaret stepped out of the General Store and waved at Em and
Tiffany. “And your third ranch hand?” Tiffany asked. “How’s he?”
Scott frowned. “Not too dependable, I guess.” He turned and
looked at Margaret as she started picking out a bucket of
apples. “I uh…would fire him, but Margaret wants him to stay.
She thinks he’s in less trouble if he stays there and I reckon
“No change at all?” Em asked, disappointed. Scott shook his
head. “I’m sorry. We’ll keep praying.”
“Thanks.” The girls walked into the General Store to deliver
their list of supplies to the store keeper.
The three ladies stood and talked for a few minutes. Finally, Em
cleared her throat. “Tiffany’s going to see the doctor. We’ll
come back for our supplies.”
Scott tipped his hat to them. “I’ll wait to help you load your
“Oh…that’s not…” Tiffany started.
“Nonsense!” Margaret declared. “I can remember many times Scott
wasn’t a gentleman. Let him this time!”
“Speaking of gentleman…when’s the wedding?” Em asked suddenly.
Scott smiled. “In two weeks. Ann and Hal are getting married at
the end of June. Ann’s going all out so Hal has to wait a
“Well…it’s good for him!” Tiffany turned and looked at Em.
They made their way to the doctor’s office. Doc Stevens looked
up from stitching a little boy’s arm. “Good morning! Have a seat
and I’ll be with you in a minute.”
As they sat down, Tiffany didn’t miss the nervous look on Em’s
face. “Alright…what’s going on?”
“Well…” Em sighed. “When you first started feeling…pregnant…how
did you feel?”
“Well, I was really nauseous. It was constant but increased at
certain times of the day. I felt light headed – like the room
was spinning and I…” Tiffany stopped and suddenly gasped. “Do
you think you’re pregnant???”
Em held up her hand. “I don’t know, but you can’t say a word to
anybody! Promise?” Tiffany nodded. But Em didn’t miss the
question in her eyes. “Well, it’s just that it seems everybody
finds out your pregnant at the same time in this family. I want
to share the news privately with my husband before announcing it
to the world! So you MUST be quiet!”
“Oh, it’ll be hard but…mum’s the word!”
Johnny Williams held his arm as he walked out. He was crying a
bit. “Oh Johnny, does it hurt?” Em asked, concerned.
“No, but it sure will soon!” Johnny declared.
The women turned and looked at the doctor as Johnny walked out.
Johnny was the marshal’s eight year old son. Doctor Stevens
smiled. “It seems the marshal told Johnny he couldn’t climb up
on the old shed behind their house, but he did just that. He
fell and cut his arm but his folks don’t know yet. The Marshal
will give him a licking, and Johnny isn’t looking forward to
telling him.” The ladies laughed. “Now then, I’m supposing you,
young lady, are here for a checkup,” Dr. Stevens smiled at
Tiffany turned and looked at Em. “We both are,” Em nodded.
Dr. Stevens nodded. “Well now…how about if I examine Tiffany
first, then we’ll talk about your…er…problem.” Em paced the
waiting room impatiently as she waited. She knew Jeremiah would
be happy, had told her on their wedding night that he wouldn’t
mind having a whole dozen children. The possibility had grown on
her too. She had seen the love Abraham and Julie had for their
children and had a desire for her and Jeremiah to share the same
The door opened and Tiffany walked out. “Well?”
“We are both fine!” Tiffany declared as she sat down. “Now we’ll
see how you are!”
Em turned and looked at the doctor as she raised her eyebrows.
Her heart started racing as he motioned for her to go into his
examining room. She paused and turned to look at Tiffany,
suddenly wondering what if it wasn’t true. Maybe she had been
imagining things all along. “He won’t bite!” Tiffany declared.
Then she smiled. “There’s only one way to find out.” She nodded
toward the room.
Em nodded. She took a deep breath then walked into the room. She
gasped as she heard the door behind her close. “Just step back
there and undress for me. I have a sheet here for you to cover
“Undress?” Em suddenly squeaked out. “I just came to…”
“I know what you came for,” Dr. Stevens declared as he turned to
wash his hands in the basin. “I have to examine you to be sure.”
Emily did as she was told and soon laid on the table waiting for
him to examine her. As he started the process, he began asking
her some questions. “Do you know when you could have conceived?”
“Not…exactly…” Em answered. She closed her eyes and took a deep
breath as her heart continued to race.
“Alright. You can get your clothes on now. Then we’ll talk.”
Em slowly sat up. “That’s it?”
“That’s it,” Dr. Stevens answered. “I have your answer.” She
waited. “After you get dressed!”
Em quickly dressed then stepped out from behind the partition.
She waited for Dr. Stevens to finish writing on the sheet of
paper. Then he stood up and turned around to face her. “Does
eight weeks sound about right?” Dr. Stevens picked up the
calendar. “That would put it around…oh…” He scratched his head.
“Say, I do believe that was around the time of the blizzard.”
Em blushed. “Uh…” She smoothed her skirt. “That’s about right.”
She stopped as her eyes opened wide. “Are you saying I’m…”
Dr. Stevens nodded. “Congratulations.”
“Oh!” Em threw her hands to her mouth and her eyes filled with
tears. She hurried from the room and hugged Tiffany. “I’m eight
weeks along!” she declared suddenly.
“Eight…” Tiffany smiled. “So you ARE pregnant!”
“I’m going to have a baby!” Em declared. “I’m going to…” Her
voice grew louder.
Tiffany reached out and clamped her hand over Em’s mouth. “You
wanted it to be a secret, remember? Something about wanting your
husband to be the first…er…third to know?”
“Oh, but it’s going to be so hard to keep it quiet!” Em
declared. “How do I ever…” She turned and looked at the doctor.
He shook his head. “I’ll send you a bill at the end of the
month. I like to do my business that way. Seems I’ll be earning
a lot of McCain money this year.” He smiled. “Congratulations
Em and Tiffany hurried out. They walked toward the General Store
to find Scott loading their wagon. “Oh, you don’t have to do
that!” Em declared.
“Nonsense!” Scott grunted as he lifted the heavy barrel of oats
on the back of the wagon. “This is no chore for ladies.”
Scott brushed his hands. “All done. Now, are there other things
you ladies need or…”
“Not today,” Tiffany answered. “I think we’re anxious to get
home.” Scott helped them up into the wagon. Em picked up the
reins and they started for home.
Em could hardly contain her excitement. She talked about her
hopes and dreams all the way home. She stopped outside the
McCain house. Peter and Abraham hurried over and helped them
down from the wagon. “Well?” Peter asked Tiffany anxiously.
“The doctor says everything’s fine. I told you not to worry.”
“I know, but it’s a husband’s job…among many, many others…”
“Some more obvious than others,” Abraham declared as he grinned
at Tiffany and pointed to her growing belly.
Emily had stepped out in time to hear Abraham’s declaration.
“Abraham McCain!” Emily shouted as she placed her hands on her
hips. “You should be ashamed of yourself!” She wagged a finger
at him. “I just finished making a new batch of Ma’s lye soap!
I’d be much obliged to wash your mouth out!”
“No thanks, sis!” Abraham said. “Julie’s already threatened
“Well then, you just keep a guard on your tongue!”
“What did I say?” Abraham lifted his arms to his shoulders and
Tiffany and Em looked at each other and smiled. Em shook her
head. “Nevermind, Abe. We know exactly how the male mind works!”
She looked around. “Where’s my husband?”
“Oh…” Abraham stepped forward. “He cut his hand while working on
the plow this morning. We sent him home to take care of it and…”
Em gasped. “Oh my…we’ll be back for the wagon!” She lifted her
skirt and hurried toward her house.
“It’s just a little scratch!” Abraham shouted after her. But Em
was already half way up the hill. Abraham shook his head. “Gee,
I wonder what’s wrong with her?”
Tiffany smiled. “Oh you…you…MEN!” She declared as she hurried
into the house.
Em hurried into the yard to see Jeremiah step outside. Jeremiah
immediately became concerned when he saw her rushing toward him.
“I heard you cut your hand. Let me see.” She grabbed his hand
and removed his kerchief.
“It’s okay, honey. I ran it under the water,” Jeremiah assured
“Under the water? That’s it?” Em shook her head at him. “Come
on, let’s get it fixed up proper!”
Jeremiah couldn’t help grinning as she started working on his
hand. He stared at her face the whole time. “What would I do
without you?” he asked with a grin.
Em dabbed the moist cloth on his hand. “Not very well, I’m
afraid. Probably lose your hand to gangrene!”
“You know…You are beautiful today.” Jeremiah touched her face.
She paused and looked up into his eyes. “You are more beautiful
than I’ve ever seen you before.” Their eyes locked on each
others. “What makes you glow like you are?”
Em smiled as she snapped the medicine box closed and put it back
in its place. “Would you like some lunch?”
“Emily’s fixing sandwiches for everyone. I’ll eat down there.”
Em suddenly hit the counter with her fist as she stared down
into the sink. “Can’t we have lunch together just once?” she
shouted impatiently. She immediately closed her eyes in regret.
Jeremiah hurried over to her. “What’s wrong? Why are you so…so…”
he hesitated to say the word, unsure of how she’d respond.
“Moody?” Em allowed herself to smile. “I suppose it goes with
“With what?” Jeremiah asked. “There’s something you aren’t
“Will you have lunch here? I’ll tell you after you eat.”
Jeremiah agreed and sat down at the table. He ate his sandwich
in silence as Em busied herself in the kitchen. Finally, she
came over and sat down on his lap. She bent her head over and
laid a long, lingering kiss on his lips. “I have a confession to
“Oh?” Jeremiah breathed as he stared at her lips.
“I wasn’t completely honest with you on my reason for going to
town this morning.” Jeremiah moved his eyes from her lips to her
eyes. He waited for her to go on. “I had someone to visit.”
“Oh?” Jeremiah waited for her to go on.
“Yes.” Em toyed with the top button of his shirt. “Well…” she
bit her lip. “You know how Abe was talking the other day about
adding on a couple rooms to his house?” Jeremiah nodded. “Well,
when you men finish his house, maybe you should uh…work on
Jeremiah looked around their house. “I thought we agreed one
bedroom was plenty for now.”
“That was last spring when we got married,” Em pointed out.
“Things are different now.”
“How are things different?” Jeremiah asked suddenly. “With just
the two of us, we don’t need any more room!”
Em shook her head. “Well…suppose it’s not just the two of us?”
“Who’s moving in here? Is there someone in town who needs a
Em rolled her eyes. “Oh you men!” she declared. “Do we always
have to spell everything out?” Em bent over and kissed him
again. “Do you remember the afternoon you came home from the
blizzard?” Jeremiah nodded. “Do you really remember that
afternoon?” Em bent over and kissed his cheek.
“I remember that afternoon.” Jeremiah answered. “And several
evenings similar to that since then.” He stopped. “Ohhhh…you
want another afternoon like that?”
Em rolled her eyes again. “No…something really, really special
happened that afternoon.”
“Oh?” Jeremiah grinned. “I think so too.”
“Jeremiah McCain, I’m going to have a baby!” Em declared
“A…” Jeremiah’s eyes grew wide. He stood her up beside him and
slowly stood from the chair. “A baby? You mean we’re…”
“The doctor confirmed me this morning. You have 32 weeks to get
ready for the occasion!” Em nodded her head.
Jeremiah just stared at her as he allowed the news to sink in.
“We’re really going to…Oh Em!” He suddenly took her in h is
arms, lifting her from the floor, and hugged her as hard as he
could. “Oh…I am so happy!” He put her down and suddenly
apologized. “Oh, I’m sorry…I shouldn’t…” He kissed her.
“Are you happy?” Em asked then.
“Happy?” Jeremiah kissed her passionately. After he parted, he
paused. “I would LOVE to show you just how happy I am but…” he
turned and looked out the window. “I’m afraid that will have to
wait until tonight. I’ve work to do. Here comes big brother to
“Don’t tell him!” Em begged. “Please…I want this to be our
little secret for awhile. We can spend some time
celebrating…just the two of us.” Em kissed him again as she ran
her hand down the front of his shirt.
“Mmm…” he put his arms around her and pressed her against him as
their kiss deepened.
Abraham banged on the door. “Come on, Jeremiah! We’ve work to
do! That hand ain’t that bad!”
Jeremiah moaned as he allowed his lips to part from hers. “Go
away! I’m busy!” He turned and smiled into Em’s eyes. “A baby…”
Abraham opened the door. He folded his arms and leaned in the
doorframe. “Yes..I see that…” He smiled. “Em…I promise you can
have him back in a few days. We don’t have that much more
planting to do.”
“I’ve got to get a lock for that door!” Jeremiah grumbled as he
gave Em one last quick kiss. “Need to keep the pests away!”
“Just wait until kids come along, little brother. Then you
really WON’T get much privacy!” Abraham declared as he turned
and walked out the door. Jeremiah turned back to look at Em.
They shared a knowing smile. He suddenly felt Abraham grab his
arm and pull him out the door. “Come on. If you’re lucky, we’ll
be done by supper tonight and you two can have the whole evening
to celebrate the good news.”
“Good news?” Jeremiah turned and looked at Abraham. “What good
“That Em is expecting.”
“I thought it was a secret!” Jeremiah declared. “How did you
“You learn to look for the signs,” Abraham answered.
“You know…” Jeremiah sighed as he folded his arms and shook his
head. “A brother can’t help but feel really…blessed…to have a
big brother like you!”
“I know…” Abraham shook his head. “It’s a curse!”
“Yeah…” Jeremiah mumbled. “…It certainly is!”
Abraham quickly finished his chores in the barn. When he exited,
he saw his mother, Emily, and Laura hurrying down back toward
their place with his kids. He turned and looked toward the house
wondering what was going on. Julie smiled as she exited the
house carrying a towel. “You get cleaned up in the barn tonight.
I’m still working on supper.” Her face was beaming.
Abraham took the towel from her and nodded. “I’ll take a bath if
I stink that bad. But…” He turned and looked toward the hill.
Julie had started back towards the house, but stopped and turned
back toward him. “But what?”
Abraham scratched his head. “Never mind.” He shook his head.
“I’ll take a bath then be in.” He admitted that he probably
really did smell pretty bad. He shook his head, but after being
married for four years he had learned that sometimes asking
questions got you only more questions. He knew he’d find out
what was going on in time.
When he came inside, he found Julie dressed in her Sunday dress
and two candles lit on the table. They were having cinnamon
chicken with new potatoes and fresh squash. This was a meal
Julie never fixed except when it was just the two of them.
Abraham paused as he closed the door. He looked his wife up and
down from head to toe. “Well…now I know why the children are
staying at my mother’s house tonight.” He grinned as he moved
Julie held up a finger in front of his face. “Let’s eat first.”
Abraham nodded as he scooted the chair out for her. He pushed
the chair back in to the table then sat down beside her. He took
her hand and said a blessing, then she served him. This was
indeed a special occasion. After they were first married Julie
had served him, but once the children arrived their lives became
pretty hectic. These days, they were lucky if they could eat a
whole meal without being interrupted.
They ate quietly, each enjoying the peace that surrounded their
usually hectic home. “How was your day?” Julie asked in a soft
“Fine. It was fine…” Abraham lifted his eyes and smiled at her.
“How was yours?”
“Pretty crazy as usual. The children seemed to be more trying
today.” Julie picked up her glass of milk and took a small sip
from it. “Of course…it could be more me than them.”
“You?” Abraham lifted his head and looked at her. “What do you
Julie cleared her throat as she took another bite. “Planting
“Soon. If we get plenty of rain this summer, we won’t have to
work so hard. I’m hoping that’s the case. I know I’ve been
neglecting you and the children lately. I’m sorry.” He smiled.
“I guess this is your way of getting me to yourself?”
Julie smiled. “Would you like some pie?” Abraham bent over and
kissed her lips softly. “It’s cooling in the kitchen…” Julie
mumbled after their lips parted.
“Oh…” Abraham stood up. “I’ve a feeling you have something to
tell me.” He pulled her up to stand in front of him.”
Julie lowered her head. “I do.” Abraham put his hand under her
chin and lifted her face to his. He kissed her one more time. “I
think you are going to be busy once the planting’s done.”
“Oh?” Abraham lifted an eyebrow. “Doing what?”
“Well…you’ve been promising me for some time you would build a
couple more bedrooms. We can’t expect all four boys to share the
same room, and soon we’ll need more room with our growing
Abraham’s eyes grew wide. “You mean…” Julie smiled at him. “How
did that happen?”
Julie rolled her eyes. “Why do you say that every time I tell
you I’m pregnant?”
“It’s a shock response, I guess…” Abraham stared into her eyes.
“I was afraid to tell you in front of the kids…” Julie toyed
with the button on his shirt. “I wasn’t sure how you’d take the
news.” She laid her head against his chest and sighed. “I
remember that night after we made love…we discussed how we could
end up pregnant again if we weren’t careful.”
“That’s the night it happened, you think?” Julie nodded. “That
was six or seven weeks ago.”
“Eight.” Julie smiled. “Dr. Stevens confirmed my suspicions
“Oh.” Abraham rubbed his hands up and down her back as he tried
to take the news in. “Wow.”
“Are you upset?”
“No…I’m not upset…” He lifted her head and kissed her. “How can
I be when you’re carrying my child?” He sighed. “It’s just…We’ve
been married for four years and expecting our fifth child. Wow…”
“I feel the same way but…” Julie smiled. “Maybe it’ll be a girl
this time. You would like a daughter, wouldn’t you?”
Abraham heard the tension in her voice. He smiled as he rested
his hands on her cheeks. “Honey, I will be happy with as many
babies as God chooses to bless us with. Please…don’t think I’m
upset…I’m not…It’s just a lot for a man to take in.” He kissed
her softly again.
“I know…” Julie smiled as she heaved a big sigh of relief.
“Well…” Abraham smiled into her eyes. “Since there’s no kids
tonight…maybe we could take dessert late and uh…” Abraham
grinned knowingly. “…Celebrate.”
“Oh…well, I guess there’s no reason to hold back tonight, huh?”
Abraham picked her up in his arms and kissed her passionately as
he walked into the bedroom.
The Years Before —
The Wedding that Almost Wasn't
This is a story based on the TV series The Rifleman
Here are some other great stories. Enjoy!
around The McCain Ranch