Winds of Change Part 1
“Children,” Elizabeth Carter exclaimed one evening at the supper table. “Look who I received a letter from! You’re Uncle Benjamin. I haven’t heard from him in years!”
Andi put down her fork and looked over at her mother. She had thought something had been on her mother’s mind today.
“What does the letter say mother?” Mitch wondered.
“Here Justin, why don’t you read it” Elizabeth said handing the envelope to her oldest son.
I hope this letter finds you well.
I was wondering if my son Daniel could stay at your ranch this summer while I am on a business trip. He needs to learn some of the values of hard work and the fun of living simply. He has had a disagreeable disposition lately and a lot of pressure from the town boys. A change of scenery would do him good. I know this is a lot to ask of you and your family and I appreciate you prayerfully considering this proposition.
Sincerely, Benjamin Carter
Everyone was quiet for a bit taking in the news. Mother can’t possibly say yes….. Can she? Andi thought. If Daniel came then she would be obligated to take him everywhere she and her friends went.
But the look on Elizabeth’s face told her she was seriously considering it.
“I agree, he could help me and Mitch out on the range.” Chad said.
Elizabeth considered for a moment. “That’s exactly how I feel. I couldn’t turn away my own nephew. I’ll send Benjamin a letter tomorrow, telling him Daniel can come. It would be exciting to have family visit again.”
The family conversation turned to other topics but Andi sat silently picking at her roast. Life was going perfect of late. Now a letter from an uncle she hardly knew had just changed everything. Resentment built up inside her.
“Why does he have to come anyway?” She burst out. “He’ll probably just make more trouble for us.” The last words were barely audible and Andi immediately regretted what she had just said.
Chad’s eyebrows rose and Andi knew he had caught her last words.
“Andrea!” Elizabeth’s voice was stern. “I am surprised that you feel like that. Usually you’re the quickest to help someone in need.”
Andi sighed. “I’m sorry mother.”
She stirred the mashed potatoes around in her plate, why can’t I ever learn to keep my mouth shut? She sighed and picked up her fork. Oh well, maybe Daniel wouldn’t be as bad as she suspected. Andi knew she should give him the benefit of the doubt. Lord, help me to be kind and loving to my cousin….
A few weeks later Andi found herself among the crowd at the Fresno train station, waiting for Uncle Benjamin and Daniel to arrive.
Suddenly she heard the shrill blast of the train whistle braking the quiet morning. A black cloud of smoke billowed from the engine blocking, the bright blue sky.
The train came to a screeching halt. The passengers began to unboard. Andi smoothed her sweaty hands over her dress, and bit her lip. Her stomach was tied up in knots. What would her cousin be like?
“Hey Andi!” a familiar voice called out. Andi turned and saw Cory waving for her to come to the far side of the platform. Andi slipped away from the rest of the family and pushed her way through the crowd.
13 year old Daniel Carter stepped from the train and glanced down at his wrinkly suit with distain. What an unpleasant trip, having to be crammed in with a crowd of unwashed people for five days.
Daniel looked up and glanced around the small town. This didn’t look like much of anything……. Suddenly someone nearly knocked him over. He grabbed onto a crate to keep himself from falling.
“Hey, watch where you’re going!” he said crossly.
“I’m so sorry!” A voice said from behind him.
Daniel turned and came face to face with a girl who looked to be roughly around his own age. Her long dark braids were coming apart, and her face looked hot and flushed. She was probably just another one of those poor immigrants he had heard about.
“You nearly ruined my new suit!” He exclaimed. “Why don’t you leave us civilized people alone and go pester someone else!”
The girl’s checks grew bright red. “Civilized people, huh? I’ll have you know that my family owns one of the largest ranches around here, and I know lots of poor folks who are much more polite than you’ll ever be!” And with that she stormed off.
“Come along Daniel,” his father said, coming with their luggage in hand. “Let’s go meet the family.”
Suddenly a voice from behind them said. “Benjamin?”
“Elizabeth! How good see you!” Daniel’s father said to who Daniel guessed must be his aunt. They exchanged a fond hug and then she turned to Daniel. “Hello Daniel. Did you have a pleasant trip?”
“I guess,” was his sullen reply.
He saw his father look apologetically at his aunt.
Elizabeth brushed off his rude remark and continued. “Come, I want you to meet my family.”
Daniel and his father followed her through a maze of people. She stopped by a young man.
“Benjamin, Daniel, I would like you to meet my eldest son, Justin.”
“Hello, it’s nice to meet you.” Justin said.
“Now,” Elizabeth continued. “My next two, Chad and Mitchel are home at the ranch. They’re extremely busy today.”
“I’m Melinda.” A pretty, young woman said smiling. “It’s awful nice to meet you both.”
“And this is my youngest, Andrea.”
Daniel turned around. No it couldn’t be! It was the girl he had bumped into a few minutes ago!
Andi nearly choked. This was her cousin? The rude insolent boy she had nearly knocked over? But yes, he had the same large brown eyes and sandy blond hair. She stifled a groan and pasted a smile on her face.
“Hello, it’s nice to meet you.” Her voice dripped with sarcasm. Daniels face turned a scarlet shade of red. Good, let him be embarrassed. After all he had insulted her. She wasn’t going to let him forget that for a long time.