Tuesday, March 06, 2018

At the Widow's Warehouse: A Story

This story has a few limbs that all must be examined if it is to make any sense. I admit, it's a stretch, even then.

1. I want grandchildren someday. Some obvious miracles need to occur before these gifts can arrive, and I'd like them to happen in the proper order, if possible, so I pray about all this. My faith does better with visual reminders, so I've collected a few little animals, from garage sales and such, as faith seeds. Someday I want to keep them in my purse, as grandmas do, and pull them out at the right times to entertain the little descendants.

2. Meanwhile, I keep these animals on the desk in the little corner where I do my Bible study and prayer every day. With time, they have taken on personalities, and they always seem to be in the middle of a story. When I rearrange them, another story takes place.

3. I have a really terrible time with the discipline of writing, so I set a timer and reward myself with some kind of visual reward every 15 minutes, whether it's coloring in a square on a chart or pinching another clothespin to the top edge of my laptop. Today the only place I could find some peace and quiet to finish my column was in my Bible study corner, so I transferred one little animal from the pasture on the right to the one on my left whenever the timer beeped.

4. So, of course, their story began and progressed at the same pace as my column, in 15 minute intervals, one animal after another, a bit unevenly. Also it was supposed to be a bit of "Amish" fiction (covering strings and the name "Emory") but it was hard with all the trucks and combines that showed up.

5. Just for fun, I decided to share each chapter on social media as it developed. Just to be clear, this was not the same writing I was doing for my column. That was something else entirely.

6. It is very hard to follow five different posts on Facebook or Instagram, so I'm sharing them here for the people who wanted to see all of them in the right order.  I'll try to fill in a plot hole or two while I'm at it, as pointed out by my daughters.

7. If you are thinking I'm actually a small child in a 55-year-old body, you would be correct.

At the Widow's Warehouse

Characters, left to right:
Sadie, the young widow.
Her son Emory.
Uncle James.
Henry the truck driver.
Mary the farmer's fluttery wife.
Cousin Randy from the pellet mill.
Amanda the combine driver.

Chapter 1--
Sadie looked on with a mixture of curiosity and concern as Henry, the big and strong (but not handsome, to be honest) new truck driver and warehouse manager showed her son Emory how to clean the pit before the next load came in. 

It wasn’t easy for a young widow, raising an adolescent and running her late husband’s business. Emory thought Henry hung the moon, that was for sure, Sadie thought as she tucked her dusty covering strings down the back of her dress and tried not to look like she was listening.

Would Henry’s influence be as good as his gear-shifting on the old Ford, that was the question. Ach vell. There was another load of fescue coming and dinner to put on the table.

Chapter 2--

Slowly, Henry turned and shuffled back to the truck with his dusty jeans sagging. Emory looked around for the broom as Sadie turned to leave.

“Ooooooh, Sadieeee!” It was Mary, John Yoder’s young wife who drove the seed trucks when John was on the combine. She hopped out of the truck, fluttered her hands and giggled. “You won’t believe what I just heard on the field radio! You know I told you how Jacob Miller hired that skinny little girl from Idaho that’s here visiting Sam and Ella for the summer because she teaches in the winter and wanted to work in the harvest this summer and I don’t know what Jacob was THINKING because here she was in that 80-acre field over by Pete and Carol’s and of all things she. . .”

Blessedly, Uncle James showed up beside Sadie just then, clearing his throat. “Uhhh…excuse me…Sadie…” he said in his slow deliberate way, “…but….are you aware…..that the….cleaner….hopper….appears… to….be…..overflowing…..??”

What?!? Sadie shrieked and ran, leaving Mary standing there, mid sentence, still fluttering her restless hands.

“Chapter 3--
"Relax, Sadie, it’s ok, I took care of the cleaner hopper,” said Cousin Randy just as Sadie puffed to a stop by the bagger. “It was my fault. I had asked Jason to bring the forklift over and help me load a truck, and he didn’t realize how full the hopper was. We got it cleaned up. It was only a little bit of seed, really.”

“Thanks!” was all Sadie could manage to say. She liked Randy, who ran the pellet mill next door and was always ready to help but didn’t make her feel stupid. “In…my…day….,” said Uncle James with a chuckle, “my…father…was known…to occasionally…take a nap…and…overflow the…hopper.”

“Ooooooh, Amanda!! Are you ok?? What in the world, sweetheart?!” 

Good grief, why was Mary still here? And who had showed up beside her but Amanda herself, Jacob’s skinny little combine driver from Idaho! “What did I HEAR about you almost dumping your combine in Muddy Creek??” Mary exclaimed.

Poor Amanda looked about to cry. “Has everybody in the valley heard about this?!” she said.

Mary just giggled.

“It was that clutch!” Amanda wailed. “I’m serious, there’s that little bit of slope in that field, and all of a sudden I was rolling, and I COULD NOT get it in gear, and I was trying to radio Jacob with my other hand, and …” She was really crying now.

“Dear me,” said Sadie. She walked over, patted Mary on the arm, and said, “Didn’t you get a call from John that the next load is almost ready?”

Then she turned to Amanda.

Chapter 4–

Mary ran for her truck, knowing what John was like when he had a full load on the combine and she wasn’t back yet.

Randy went back to the pellet mill, and Uncle James headed home for dinner.

Henry parked the truck and checked the scales. “We’re losin’ a lot on that ryegrass,” he thought. He was not thinking about Sadie even though you, dear Reader, hoped he was.

“Listen, Amanda,” said Sadie, “we all do dumb stuff our first year on the combine. Mary set her dad’s orchardgrass field on fire when she wanted to make the combine pretty and lit a candle and propped it by the gearshift and it fell out when she turned a corner.”

Amanda smiled shakily. "Oh! I almost forgot!" she said, "I have something in the car for you. Jacob asked me to drop off the tags for his Marshall while they're pulling my combine out."

"Thanks," said Sadie. "I was wondering when they were coming."

“Mom! I’m hungry!” said Emory.

“All right,” said Sadie. “Let’s go eat.”

So they did. But first Emory turned and waved at Henry, who grinned and waved back with a large and hairy arm.

The end.


  1. Dorcas, Just wondering why the last post about American culture was not viewable?

    1. Someone thought it was divisive and a few other things, and also that I was not qualified to talk about rural culture.
      Long story.
      I might put it up some other time.

    2. I hope you will put it up again. You have as much right to share your views as anyone else and many of us agree with your views and feel very encouraged by them.