Monday, October 22, 2018

Andi's Journal July 21, 1887


July 21, 1887

            Jared is most definitely my dream baby. He’s quiet, sweet, and content. He loves being in Mama’s arms, but he’ll lay in the cradle without a fuss.
            I have to admit, I still stare at him at times, thinking he’s suddenly going to disappear. I just can’t believe he’s mine.
            Taking care of a baby—your baby—is a lot of fun. I hardly mind the diapers I have to change and the baths I have to give. I could spend the whole day in the rocking chair with Jared on my lap.
            Sadly, I can’t do that.
            There’s still housework…a lot of it, considering how much I’ve neglected it in the past few weeks. Well,  okay, I admit it’s been more like a few months. Dusting, sweeping, washing. The list goes on and on and on.
            I pushed it off as long as I could, but the longer I backed away from all that work the worse the load got. Finally, I knew I couldn’t pull away one more day.
            This morning, Riley commented on the horrible shape our house was in. “I’ll help you clean it as soon as I can,” he told me, but neither of us can forget the fact that Memory Creek Ranch is busy, and Riley has not been able to get a single day off (well, except for Sundays) in a long while.
            Nope, I had to do this myself.

            I’m no longer carrying this baby on the inside. I feel almost back to my normal, healthy self. Quite capable of a couple of hours of cleaning.
            Maybe. I still feel so tired all of the time.
            This afternoon, I laid a sleepy Jared in his cradle.
            “You be a good boy,” I whispered, drawing a light blanket over his tiny body. “Mama’s gonna do some cleaning. You go to sleep and not utter a peep, all right?”
            Jared’s eyes were already closed. He seemed all too content to leave his mama with the cleaning while he slipped into a peaceful nap. Wish I could take a nap.
I smiled and kissed his little cheek. “Soon enough, you can help me, young mister.”
I stood up and looked around. There were so many places that needed a good scrub. I cringed. Where to begin?
Then a thought hit me. I should write a list. Not only would I feel organized, that would put off the actual cleaning for a few more minutes.
Brilliant!
Bringing out a piece of paper and a pencil, I sat down and wrote, Windows, floor, kitchen, curtains, bed sheets.
            I tapped the pencil against my chin. Mending the holes in Riley’s socks. I shuddered. The list was getting longer and longer. Maybe I should wait until Riley can help me. He did promise.
            Then I set my jaw. I could do this. I’d have the whole house sparkling clean before Riley came in for supper. What a nice surprise!
            I grinned. Yep, that’s what I’ll do.
            I gripped the pencil firmly and added to my list. Supper.
            As a treat for the both of us, we could eat supper down by the creek. Cleaner for the house and more fun for us. I smacked my lips. Sandwiches and lemon meringue pie for supper.
            There was still half a loaf left from the care basket Mother had sent over. And pies. I excelled at making pies. Then the “meringue” part stopped me cold.
I suddenly remembered how long it takes to beat 3 or 4 eggs with a fork. Probably 20 minutes. My arm ached thinking about that.
Scratch the lemon pie. Maybe I could come up with fruit pie. I peeked into the peck basket, half full of Circle C peaches. The early crop was well on its way.
Thank you, Mother, I whispered quietly.
That decided, I tied back my hair and pulled on an apron.
            “I’ll start with the windows,” I declared, then glanced at the clock. “I have four hours to get the house looking spic-and-span.”
            I filled a bucket with water and soap. Then I took down the curtains and laid them out neatly on the bed. Grabbing an old, tattered dishrag I dipped it in the water and set to work.
            The windows had never been dirtier, I was sure. The lower panes cleaned up nicely. I felt pleased.
            “The sun looks so pretty shining through clean glass windows,” I told myself.
            The sun cast beautiful golden rays in the room, but by the time I’d finished the top window panes it had also warmed me clean through. Sweat trickled down my face.
            “Boy, it’s hot!”
            It stayed hot for the rest of the afternoon. By the time I’d finished all the chores on my list (well, half the chores. I didn’t get to the socks), I was beat. I took a long time feeding and rocking Jared while the pie was in the oven.
Like the little angel he is, Jared fell right back to sleep. It was so hot I gulped a glass of water from the kitchen pump and looked out the window toward the creek.
Surely there was still some water trickling by. It was one of the best creeks on the Circle C (and Memory Creek) rangeland. It always dried up last in the hot California summers. I was pretty sure it was spring fed up in the mountains. Only late summer conquered that creek.
And it wasn’t late summer . . . yet.
            Maybe I can dip my toes in what’s left of the creek. Anything to cool down.
            I settled Jarrod back into his cradle. Babies like to be swaddled, but I used the lightest cloth I could find. Poor baby!
I refilled my glass and headed for the creek.
Like I figured, the creek was a trickle, but I tore off my stifling shoes and stockings and ducked my bare feet in the clear sections. Ah! Very nice.
            “Howdy, Andi.”
            I whipped around and looked up. My glass fell over. The water drained away. “You startled me!”
Riley, straddling Dakota, loomed above me. He’d sure snuck up quiet-like.
“Cooling down a mite, I see.” He tore off his hat and swiped his hand across his forehead. “It’s hotter than the inside of a kitchen stove.”
“For sure.” I nodded. “You ready for supper?”
            “You bet.”
“Then put your horse away and come on inside.”
            Riley grinned and gave me a snappy salute. “Yes, ma’am.
            After watching him head to the barn, I started to pull on my socks. Then . . . no. Today I would be a hillbilly girl. I got up, wadded the stockings and stuffed them inside my high-topped shoes. If Melinda could see me now! I giggled.
The dry, stiff grass prickled my feet, but I ran across the yard and into the house.
Mmm! That cooling peach pie sure smelled good! Maybe we should just skip the sandwiches and go right to dessert. My stomach rumbled.
            Riley came in. “Mm, something smells good.”
            “Supper. Well, more like dessert, unless you’re in the mood for a supper of pie.”
            Riley didn’t seem to hear me. He was too busy looking around him. Then he whistled. “Did you clean up?”
            I nodded proudly. “Yes, sir. I spent the entire afternoon scrubbing from ceiling to floor. Looks wonderful, doesn’t it?”
            Riley kissed me. “Sure does. How’s the baby?”
            “Fine. He’s asleep, I think.” I reached for the plate of sandwiches. “You want to eat down by the creek?”
            “Sounds good. I’ll get the pie—”
            “You’ll do no such thing,” I said, pretending to be stern. “Knowing you and your love for pie, you’ll eat it all before we get there. You can pick up Jared.”
            Riley’s eyes twinkled. “Whatever you say.” He scooped Jared out of his cradle, still sleeping.
We made our way to the creek and sat down. Chattering like two happy chipmunks, Riley and I helped ourselves to the sandwiches and munched for several minutes.
            Suddenly, Riley stopped chewing. He sniffed the air. “Do you smell something?”

I really do want to finish this journal entry, but Jared is crying to be fed, and it's very late. I'll finish it the next free moment I have. 
           

25 comments:

  1. Great story!

    -Patience

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  2. I was afraid Andi was going to burn the peach pie😂

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    1. haha, me to it is so very rare that she gets to end up eating the pie she made!

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  3. Oh boy, Andi's burned the pie, right? either that or the house is on fire...that's a distinct possibility! I do love these journal entries!

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  4. Poor Andi! I don't like being responsible either : )
    Emily

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  5. Love your writings Mrs. M! Love how you leave your readers in suspense! It makes for AMAZING books, and journal entries!

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  6. Oh this is so good! Im dying to know what happened!*Scream**

    mari

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  7. Oh no! Andi has done it again! At least she did some house cleaning =)
    -Alyssa

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    Replies
    1. unless she burned the house down! *nervous noise*

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    2. My lips remained sealed. You will all have to wait until next Monday.

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  8. Oh Mrs M!! This is hilarious. I can’t wait for Monday😩

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  9. This is awesome!! =) I can't wait to find out what happens! =)
    -Hannah Miller

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  10. Just as a guess, it's not the baby's diaper, is it? :)

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  11. I love the story Mrs. Marlow! I think I know what the smell is!

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  12. I LOVED it! Can't wait to see what happens next!

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    1. And I can't wait to see Wyatt, the new pasture pal for Lacey! You looked good in the video!

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  13. She left the oven on, didn't she? I can't wait!
    Sage

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    Replies
    1. Oh come on Andi! Can't you just give us a hint??

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  14. Just to let you know--I think you meant to spell it Jared but in this entry you spelled it Jarrod just to let you know! ;-)

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Let Andi know what you think!