Emilie stretched tiredly, and longed for the end of this very long day. Once again she was at the sink peeling vegetables, and getting ready for yet one more meal. Anne-Marie played quietly at the table, and the other children were outside playing ball. She could hear their shouts of encouragement to one another, and once in awhile the crack of the wood bat hitting the ball, then the cheers, and whistles, and laughter.
Was there any better sound in all the earth than that of laughing children, she mused, as she returned her thoughts to the last meal of the day. In two hours she would be serving more meat than her entire family consumed in a week, and as she set the vegetables on the stove to boil, she wondered at this practice of hiring threshing gangs to complete the harvest.
Karl had told her that to buy a threshing machine was much too costly for most farmers, and if you were lucky enough to be able to afford one, you could not operate all the machinery by yourself. It took two crews of men to operate the machinery and keep the process moving from field to threshing machine. It sounded complicated to her, but she supposed Karl knew what he was talking about.
She called the children in early from their play, and after washing them spotlessly clean and feeding them their supper, she ushered them upstairs to their beds. She regretted that she had no spare moments to sit and visit with them one by one, as had become her habit every evening. But she kissed them all soundly, and told them she loved them, and promised that very soon things would be back to normal, and by the time the men arrived at eight, she was ready once again to act as hostess to the fourteen hungry men.
“Sure smells good, Mrs. Wright,” the crew boss complimented her as he took his seat at the table that was rapidly filling with hungry workers.
“Well let’s hope tonight you’ll all have enough,” Emilie quipped spiritedly, as she set the steaming bowls of food on the table. “I’m very sorry that last night’s meal was so poor.”
“Oh that’s okay, Mam; you are new at this your husband tells us. We’ve eaten all kinds of meals on this job, but it still beats anything we’d be able to cook for ourselves.”
The men all chuckled in agreement, and as soon as they were seated tucked into their supper. The conversation around the table turned to crops and the weather, and the mounting apprehension about the economy of the country. The depression was affecting many countries and people all over the world were experiencing the same hard times as right here on the Canadian prairie. The tales of hardship to the farmers in the community lasted through the long meal, and while Emilie worked in the background, she learned much about the people of the community around her.
By midnight, all her chores completed, Emilie was ready to retire for the night. Exhaustion had hit her hours before, and now all she longed for was the softness of the mattress beneath her body, and the firmness of Karl’s arm about her waist. He lay behind her and pulled her close, tucking her long strands of hair over her shoulder, as he curled his arm around her waist and lifted her backward until she rested against his groin. He buried his face into her pillow and inhaled her scent deeply into his lungs, and he knew only the joy of a day well completed.
“What a day, eh Em?” he whispered tiredly, and waited for her soft reply. But there was none; for already she slept even before he’d had a chance to wish her a good night, or tell her he loved her.
“I love you, Em,” he closed his eyes and smiled.
“I love you . . .”