Monday, October 29, 2018

Andi's Journal July 21, 1887 Part 2


 Although I'm continuing this entry under the same date, I haven't had even a minute to write in this journal. I've been so busy. I'll have to catch up on those happenings as soon as I get the rest of this entry finished. Now, let's see. Where did I leave off? Oh, yes! We were having a picnic supper down by the creek, where it's maybe two degrees cooler than in the house. Riley just asked me if I smelled something.

July 21, 1887 Part 2

My brow furrowed. “I just smell the heat rising from the ground.” I made a face. “And the occasional stink of a stagnant part of the creek. Why?”
            “Something’s burning. Did you leave a fire in the stove?”
            “Of course not. It’s hot enough in there without—”
“Oh, no,” Riley whispered. “Please, God, no.”
            Riley’s whispered prayer sent prickles racing up and down my arms.
“Andi, look.”
            I turned…and gasped.
            Fire! And it was nearby. Something was burning right where I’d been sitting before Riley interrupted my toe-dipping. What in the world? 

There was no time to ponder. The small, smoky place burst into flames. I looked at Riley. We both knew how fast a summer brush fire could burn.
            Riley placed Jared into my arms. “Get on the other side of the creek.”
            Despite the heat, I felt like a block of ice. Frozen. Clammy. Inwardly cold. I hugged Jared to my chest.
“Go! Now!” Riley called over his shoulder.
I stumbled to my feet—my bare feet—and scurried across the muddy remains of the creek. Ick. Squishy mud oozed up between my toes. When I got to the other side, I turned and watched.
Riley disappeared into the barn. A moment later he burst out carrying two empty feed sacks in one hand. He held a bucket in the other and ran to the creek. 
He soaked the feed sacks in our creek's trickle. It took longer to fill the bucket.
And the fire was not waiting for him either. It grew fast! When we’d discovered it, only a patch the size of my hand showed.
Now it was the size of our sitting room! I blinked back tears and held Jared closer. Hurry, Riley! I shouted inside my head.
But I knew Riley could not win this battle alone.
I found a shady spot and gently laid the baby down. Then I ran across the creek and grabbed one of the soaking feed sacks. I attacked one side of the fire. Riley took on the other side.
The fire was out in five minutes, thank God.
            We stood side by side and stared at the blackened circle. It had crept close to where we had spread the blanket for our picnic supper.
“How did that happen?” I said, panting. I was hot and short of breath. Only lightning could start a fire so unexpectedly. I looked around for an explanation.
Nothing.
Riley crunched his way through the blackened ashes. Then he stooped down in at the far end of the black circle. Using the wet feed sack, he lifted something and brought it over to me.
            Dropping down beside me, he showed me…
A cracked, blackened drinking glass.
            My mouth went dry. My heart thumped.
            “I think this was the cause of the fire,” Riley said. “The sun must’ve caught it at just the right angle and started a flame. Like a magnifying glass. One of the ranch hands may have dropped it.” His expression grew hard. “I’ll skin him alive.”
            “No,” I whispered. “I brought it out. Then I forgot about it.”  It’s all my fault. I should have known better. That fire could’ve—
            A thin wail jerked me from my musings, but before I could cross the creek and retrieve Jared, Riley took off.
He returned and put the baby in my arms.
I held Jared close and began to cry. “I’m sorry, Riley.”
            Riley grinned. “Like your mother says, ‘all’s well that ends well.’” He hugged me tight. “What am I going to do with you?”
            I bowed my head. Lock me up so I can’t almost burn our house down, I thought.
            “Andi.”
            I looked up. Riley was regarding me with his you’d-better-do-what-I-say look. “Accidents happen to everybody, not just to you.”
            I flushed. What about the racoon? Or that cake I made Cory and Jenny? Or the hoop skirt episode? Or the—
            “Just take this mistake and learn from it,” Riley finished. “No harm came about. The fire didn’t get a chance to do any damage, thank God. We got it put out quickly. It only got a small circle of grass. The creek was right there.” He rolled the glass around in his hand.
“But what if I’d left it out there and we’d eaten inside tonight?” I gulped. Horrible thought!
Riley grabbed my hand and squeezed. “But it didn’t. God kept us safe.” His lip twitched. “God didn’t want the fire to burn down that freshly cleaned house you worked all afternoon on.”
            I couldn’t help it. I smiled. “Thanks, Riley.” I returned my gaze to Jared’s little face. “I’ll for sure never do that again. I’ll keep my glassware safely in the house where it belongs.”
            “Good. For now, how about we skip the sandwiches and go right to the pie?” 
 

10 comments:

  1. Thank you Mrs. Marlow!!!

    -Patience

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow! Amazing!!!!!! Thanks so much!

    ReplyDelete
  3. The pictures help make this story come to life! So glad the fire was stopped before it did too much damage, but yikes! I wonder what Chad will say when he hears of Andi's latest mishap? (LOL) Thanks for posting!

    ~Ellen

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great story! Thank you Mrs. M!
    -Alyssa

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow! Poor Andi, I'd hate to think I nearly burnt my house down. Love the last line, so sensible : )
    Emily

    ReplyDelete
  6. Savannah Musser 🌺October 29, 2018 at 7:28 AM

    Thanks for the story Mrs. Marlow! I enjoyed it.

    ReplyDelete
  7. That was amazing!!!! Thank you so much for writing these!!!!!!! Can’t wait for next week!!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I loved this! Riley is so sweet. Thank you for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  9. THIS IS SO GOOD! I love it;)
    mari

    ReplyDelete

Let Andi know what you think!