I have 2 computers - I know spoiled, but not really. Last December my trusty Toshiba Laptop misbehaved and because I had so much of my writing on it, I panicked and decided to get a new machine. While all this was going on my husband had switched from a PC to a Mac, and all I heard day in and day out was how wonderful the Mac was. So we went out and bought a Mac for me.
Because I had never used one before I decided to work with it a bit before I moved my documents over. So instead Gary backed all the files from my PC up on to a portable drive.
Fast forward nine months (nine months of no writing or even thinking about writing). Last night I decided to fire up the Toshiba and don't you know it ran beautifully - and well it should it has had a good rest! I went to my documents... empty. Plunk plunk goes my heart....
I go to the Mac - check My Documents that's not called My Documents, and again, it's empty! Now my heart is Rattling...plunking doesn't even cut it! Talk about panic... I'm now thinking( for the first time in 9 months) about the writing I had been doing prior to my computer woes!
Good thing someone in my house has some memory (that would be Gary) when it comes to computers and files and such he's like an elephant (Thank Goodness). As I'm flipping out all over the house, he calmly informs me that all "My Documents" are backed up on his portable drive.
So I un-backed "My Documents" on to both computers, and started going through the files. Well don't you know I have 3 novels in various stages of completion, another one completed and lots and lots of poems and short stories. And the sequel to Winter Wheat is already started... well, sort of...
Someday I really have to get organized!
Chapter 24 continues...
It was so cold, that one’s breath resembled the smoke stack of a west-bound locomotive, but it was after all the perfect morning to tend to the butchering and processing of Emilie’s seventy well-fed chickens. Annie had arrived early and had already set two drums of water over the fire-pits that Karl had dug that morning. By the time Emilie appeared outside, dressed warmly in her winter clothes, the water in the drums was just coming to a rolling boil.
“Well about time you made it out here, lazy bones,” Annie winked to soften her words, as she bustled around and set up the area where the chickens were to be plucked of their feathers.
“I’m sorry I’m late, but you know I really don’t think I can do this Annie. I’ve raised these birds from chicks – how am I going to be able to see them killed?”
“Well why did you raise them, if not to kill them in the end,” Annie stood with her hands on her hips and waited for Emilie’s answer. When none was heard she continued. “These nice fat chickens and geese are going to fetch you a nice sum of money, and after the harvest we just had, I’d think you’d be more excited about that prospect, young woman!”
Fredrich moved behind his wife, and threw his arms around her shoulders startling her silent. As he watched Emilie spin on her heels and hurry away from the area, he regretted his wife’s ill-spoken words.
“What is wrong with everyone today!” Annie spouted, before turning on her husband.
“Wooha there Annie,” Fredrich took a backward pace, and held his feisty wife at arm’s length. “Before you say anything else that’s going to get you in trouble, you’d better listen to what I have to say first. Karl just told me that Emilie’s expecting, and has been having a pretty sick time of it. That’s why she was so late in getting out here, and probably why she just left running to the house bawling her eyes out!”
“Well why didn’t someone tell me! For heavens’ sake Fred – how was I to know?”
Fredrich threw back his head and laughed at his wife’s troubled expression. “Annie you don’t always give a person time to explain a thing. Now you go on in there and have a talk with that poor girl, and Karl and I will knock some heads off!” He swiveled his wife in the direction and gave her a push.
“Of all the stupid, foolish, women,” Annie berated herself as she hoofed her way to the house. “When are you going to learn to keep your big trap shut, Annie Barnes?” she muttered to herself as she opened the door and entered the house.
Emilie was making herself a cup of tea, and was just sitting to drink it when Annie entered the room.
“There you are…”
Emilie didn’t answer but continued stirring her tea as if she had no time for her visitor.
“Well I wouldn’t blame you if you never spoke to me again – I wouldn’t speak to me if I were you, but how in tarnation am I to know what is going on around here, if no one tells me!” Annie rambled on and on.
Emilie smiled at Annie’s distress and dropped her teaspoon to the table. “I have no idea what you are talking about, Annie.”
Annie pulled the chair beside her friend away from the table and threw herself onto the seat. She sat forward and pinned Emilie to the chair with her eyes. “Why didn’t you tell me that you’re expecting?”
“You never gave me a chance . . .”
“Yeah well, I already said I was sorry about that!” Annie bristled, as her chubby face reddened.
“How far along are you?” Annie leaned close again, and inspected her friend from head to toe. Sure enough, the girl looked mighty peaked if one took the time to look carefully enough. Emilie’s sun-bronzed skin had lost some of its healthy luster and the purple smudges under her eyes made her look like the mamma raccoon that had been plaguing Annie’s storage shed all summer.
“I’m not sure; Karl and I are going to see the doctor next week. I’ve only had one period since we’ve been married, so Karl thinks I’m about two months along.”
“Yep that would be about right. You are having a rough time with morning sickness, are you?”
“Oh am I ever. I can’t keep anything down until dinnertime, and then I eat because I’m so hungry, only to get sick again . . .”
“Some say that will go away after you’re about three months along, I’ve heard it helps to eat dry toast in the morning . . .and tea,” she nodded to Emilie’s steaming cup of tea, “Tea’s good too.”
“I’ll try the toast. . .”
“Awe, come on over here to Annie,” Annie saw the tears gather in her friends eyes and opened her arms to receive the weeping young woman.
“Oh Annie, I can’t seem to stop crying either!”
“Hormones, they say. . . just hormones,” She squeezed Emilie’s shoulders in reassurance and patted her back. In a few weeks you’ll probably be feeling much more like yourself, but right now you should just rest, take it easy and forget about foolish old women like me harping like an old hag. You need anything, anything at all you just let Ole Annie here know, and it’s done!”
Emilie moved out of her friend’s embrace and smiled her thanks. “About those chickens and geese, Annie – I just don’t think I can take that smell right now. I’m sorry but I don’t think I’m going to be much of a help to you today. Do you think we could wait another week? Maybe I’ll be better able to help then.”
Annie gazed out the kitchen window and shook her head negatively. “By the looks of those birds flopping around out on the ground out there without their heads, I’d say it’s too late to change the day now. I’ll just have to get the men to help with the plucking. Don’t worry – they’re both capable of doing a good day’s work. I’ll just have to watch that they don’t ruin the feathers – you’ll want the feather for quilts won’t you?”
“Yes I had planned on making some new pillows and ticks. Are you sure you can do this without me?”
“Don’t give it another thought,” Annie rose from her chair and stretched her round body. “You make us a nice hot lunch, and a decent supper and that’s all we’ll require of you. I’ll send your man to check on you once in awhile, and if you could put Warren down for a nap when Anne-Marie goes, I’d appreciate it.”
“I’ll make sure the kids stay out of your way and don’t worry about Warren – he’ll be fine playing with Anne-Marie. I’ll keep them both busy.”
Annie left the house and returned to the area that had been set up for the plucking. With a voice like a sergeant major she looked up to both the big men who waited for her return, and issued her orders. Neither man thought of disobeying her instructions, or for that matter, wanted to. Both were more than happy to fall into order, knowing that Emilie would be spared the gruesome chore of getting her precious fowl ready for market.