Chapter 18A Chapter by Shep
“You boys are all the same” as she smiles. “Your mother is right you could use little sun, you been in the house too long.” Ma said shaking her head. “Need to do something about those shoulders and arms. Get some muscles into them. Maybe we should make you an Indian,” as she looked at his long white legs.
Richard looked from Robert to Mrs. Downing. “No ma’am! I will not be an Indian!” He said more determined.
She smiled. “Alright Richard, how about just young farm boy,” she asked.
“Do I have a choice?” He asked.
“No,” she said.
“No Indian!” He gave her and Robert a hard cold stare
Ma and Robert laughed "it's ok, we have enough of those,” Ma hands him another pair overalls. “The lotion is on the table. I cut off and sewed up the pant's leg a little so you won’t trip.”
“Ma’am I can't find my shoes,” he said.
Sorry Richard she took those with her to, now change your clothes. I've got some sewing to do so you won’t run off to far. It will take me few days to make you a shirt, but I'll have something for you by lunch time,” she said as she closed the door.
Richard falls on the bed mad, talking to himself. “And they want me to relax, and have fun. How? When I'm stuck here in middle of nowhere…mother!” Looking over toward the table where the lotion is a note was left behind from his mother.
* * *
“Dear Son: By now you have realized that I have left you and Danny here with the Downing's. I'm sorry I tricked you, but I did it out of love. You have forgotten what's like to be young and were gowning up too fast. Ever since your father passed away, you have forgotten what it is like to be the little boy inside and have fun.
I don't want you to be like your brother Jim who is so unhappy with his life, but more like your brother Steve who has found a better life who is happy and full of life. So stop moping, and make the best of things. I've gone to my sisters to be with my granddaughters and will be gone for two weeks.
I've locked the house and will return your shoes and clothes in couple of weeks. Mr. Downing will get you some overalls from the store in few days and your brother Steve will check in on you in a couple of days. Take care of EJ and Danny and mind Mr. and Mrs. Downing and get some fresh air, some sun and try to have some fun, love Ma.”
“P.S. sorry about your car.
The nearest parts store is
But I also have your wallet too, sorry.”
“Just great!” As Richard fell back onto the bed with note in his hand, “I am screwed!”
“Yes sir?” He replied.
“Worse then this? You got to be kidding! Everyone around here is dressed as Indians as if it is perfectly normal. I am stuck out here in middle of nowhere with nothing and mean nothing. While my mother,” showing him the note. “Is visiting her sisters and my brother thinks its great idea!” He said as he rolled his eyes shaking his fits in the air. “Tells me to relax and have fun.”
“Richard you are not as bad off as
you think,” as
“Yes sir,” he replied and gets off the bed and follows him as if was a death sentence and he was about to be hanged.
“Ma?” Julie asked washing her hands at the sink and turned seeing her mother come into the kitchen setting down her setting down her sewing basket on the counter as she tacks Richard measurements to list of things to do today.
“What's going on? Richard looks so miserable and angry. Did his mother do something?” she asked.
“Yes Julie, she felt he needed to unwind a little bit and have some fun. She says all he does is stay in the house, never laughs anymore. Like all the fun has just gone out of him and was afraid he was becoming like his brother Jim, EJ's father. So she thought we could help by giving him a chance to unwind, try something new. Give her chance to visit her granddaughters before they went back home in a couple of weeks. So she left Danny and Richard here with us.”
“I have to say one thing for Grandma. She no dummy when comes to her boys, they’re all the same.” As she watched Richard and Pa go out the door and shook her head. “Poor Richard I bet his feet are going be sore,” Julie said.
“I just hope he remembers to put on the lotion or that won't be the only thing sore,” Ma replied. Placing her apron around her and begins cleaning the house, starting with floors and Julie and Anna dusted.
“Well boys have you finished your chores?” Pa asked.
“Then let's get started. EJ, I have new job for you son.” Handing him the list, “I need you to put a check mark on every item, making sure that it goes where I want it to and we have everything we need. While at the same time you are working on your wooden blocks. That way we keep everything organized. Richard have you ever driven a wagon before?” He asked.
“No sir.” Caught off guard as he stares at all the empty space of nothing besides field and orchard as far the can see. It was if he had dropped off the earth with no signs of city life or the noise of it at all.
“Well it's about time you learned,” Mr. Downing said.
“Pa?” EJ asked.
“Wouldn't the pickup be easier?”
“No son it runs on gas, the wagon doesn't and we can do lot more with it and horses need the work to. Ok Robert take Richard and go get the wagon and let’s get started,” Pa picked up EJ and sets him over in the corner in the shade where he can observe with his blocks of wood and placed the list in his hands showing him how and where things go and how to count each item as they come in.
Will climbs in back of the wagon. “This ot'a to be fun,” as Robert handed the reins over to Richard, as Will, Robert brace themselves.
“Richard just lightly flick of your wrist because if do it to harrrrrddd,” Robert replied.
The horses came to life with a hard start and a jump leaving the barn then started to gallop, Richard trying to pull back on the reins. Robert, Will hanging on tight as they go past the house and down the road a few paces, Pa and EJ laughing, as they watched Richard and the boys fly past them. Robert yelling back “Pa will be back in a minute.” As Richards face turned white as a sheet, trying to get control of the wagon and the horses. Martha and girls with the boy's right behind her, coming out to see what all the fuss is all about.
Pa turned and chuckles at Ma. “Richard's learning how to drive that's all.” As she watched the boys come back to the farm with smiles on there faces.
“Mr. Downing sir, it doesn't drive like a car.” Richard said as he wiped the dirt and sweat of his face, “and it doesn't smell like one either.” As the horse lifted his tail waving his hand in front of his nose… EJ grabbed the side of his ribs from laughing so hard.
Ma shook her head paced her hands on her hips and said. “You silly boys,” and went back inside.
“Richard welcome to farming.” Mr. Downing said as he grabbed his knees bent over from laughing so hard and wiped a tear from his eye. “Now let's get to work.” EJ counts all the boards before they can cut them, checks off the supplies, they need for the day. Saws, hammers, nails and such placed a checkmark by the item, gives Pa and the boys the ok. Pa and the boys go over the plans laying the new foundation first with picks and shovels as they leveled the grown where Pa indicated with markers and string.
Ma and girls came out checking on the progress after an hour or two.” You know dear,” Ma said as she looked at the house. “While you are added it, a bigger dinning room would be nice since you are already here and all, it’s just a few more feet that I can see. Now drink your ice tea,” and walked back into the house. Pa watched her leave then looked at the boys and then looked back at the house.
Robert whispered over to Richard.
“You think your mother throws curve balls? Sometimes I think all women are cut
from the same cloth,” he said as they watched
“Robert?” Pa asked.
“Looks like we need to make a few more changes.” He said as he shook his head looking towards the house and sighed. Taking his pad and pencil, grabbing his measuring tape, “Will can you hold this?” he asked.
“Robert you stand there, Richard you stand right over here.” Pa making some more calculations and scratches his head went back over to his floor plans with his ruler and draws some more lines. “I might as well just build a new house why I'm at. It would be a whole lot easier.” He said with gruffer voice, turning around. “You boys didn't hear me say that,” he said as he checks make sure she was well inside.
“Well it looks like were going have to gets some more lumber, but we're going to need it anyway so what the heck, your Ma's right.” He said moving the ropes of the foundation guide, “Alright boy's put your backs into let’s get back too work.”
“EJ?” Pa asked
“How you doing over there?” As Pa comes over to examine couple more of the blocks.
“It's getting a little easier Pa, but my hands sure hurt.”
Pa watched him for minute. “You are holding the handle to tight, don't force it EJ use it the handle like this don’t take out such large chunks at a time,” he said taking his hand. “No still to hard. Wait a second, I got an idea.” Pa runs into the house and grabs a few boxes of soap and cubes of wax and EJ Swiss Pocketknife. “EJ I want you to carve me something.” Pa said quickly draws a shape of a horse in the wax then one in the soap. “Ok crave me these shapes using your knife,” he said then placed his knife into his hand.
EJ looked at the Swiss Pocketknife. “Pa I thought I lost this down at the creek,” he said.
“I been holding onto it for you son with rest of your stuff, well except for the stuff you were wearing at the time of course, Ma had Robert burn that,” as he rubbed his hair.
“Thanks Pa, it would have scared all the fish anyway.”
“Everyone else too by the smell,” Robert and Will laughed remembering that day when they found him.
Richard of course did not know what they were talking about, his Ma left out this part of the story out. Robert and Will seeing Richard not having a clue what's going on decided to fill him in as they worked.
Pa watched EJ carve away the horse in the soap and smiles watching him. Remembering how his dad taught him and each of his boys. He chuckles to himself remembering how he himself went through several bars of soap and wax, and how frustrated he got when the legs broke off when carving the horses. It didn't take long before the first bar soap was carved. "Snap" fist leg, then two, then three, then four.
EJ doesn't give up. He just kept on carving the horse. Then sets it down, then picks up the wax and begins the second horse, but this time only one leg breaks and sets it on the table and smiles. Pa walked over to examine the horse and rubbed his chin. “Pa the soap horse was tired so he wanted to rest and second horse threw his shoe,” he said.
“Oh, I see! I was wondering why he only had three legs, that would explain it son,” he said as he chuckled. “Would you like some more?” He asked as EJ smiled.
“Sure Pa,” he said.
Pa picked up the horse and the wax and legs and took them in the house and hands them to Ma. “Present from EJ,” he replied and grabbed couple more bars of soap and wax. “He says the soap horse was tired and needed to rest and wax horse threw a shoe. So I need some more soap and wax to make more horse's dear, that's all,” he said leaves here standing there as he left with a merry old tune.
Ma looked at the two horses in her hand, puts one wax horse in the kitchen window and smiles and takes her little pen knife and carves EJ name it and puts other in the bathroom by the tub. Julie and Anna take’s Sam and Danny outside around the back of the house with a tray of sandwiches for the boys for lunch and some ice cold lemonade. Ma right behind them with EJ's medicine and lotion for the boys and carried a basket full of cookies and a quilt for them all to sit on.
“You boys ready for some lunch?” She asked as she looked at their progress as Ma spreads the quilt on the ground in the shade of nearby tree. Ma looked at the boy's hands and faces. “Go wash up first, I've placed some soap and water by the door you silly boys.” She said then shook her fingers at them, thinking they were going touch her food with those hands.
Pa picked up EJ and cleaned him up and brings him over and leans him under the tree for Ma. “Now that's better,” she said as she turns each of boy’s hands over including Richards. “How's your feet dear?” She asked him.
“Little sore ma’am, not use to not wearing shoes,” he replied.
“Oh, you'll be fine. She just wanted make sure you stay put that's all.”
“I guess so, but I never thought she would do something like this ma’am. Then again she has always been a…little odd.”
Pa and Ma laugh. “Your mother odd... Now why would you say that?” She asked
Richard looked at them thinking they got to be kidding if they haven't noticed her odd behavior scratched his head. Whispered over too EJ, “are they all insane around here or is just me?” He asked.
“Richard I think it’s just you.” EJ said as he cracks up and slaps him on the back noticing his sunburn and smiles.
“Ouch that stings,” Richard replied.
“Sorry,” EJ laughed.
Robert noticing it too didn't want to miss out on the fun; leans over whispered in his ea. “Did you forget to put the lotion on?” He asked.
“I thought you were kidding about the lotion.”
Robert said. “Nope...So how was your ride on the wagon Richard?” As he slapped him on the back.
“Ouch that stings,” he said.
“Sorry,” Robert replied laughing.
Will noticing the fun too laughs. "That wagon drives like a car I hear, right Richard?” … “Slap.”
“Ouch!” Richard replied,
”Sorry.” Will said laughing along with his brothers.
“Ok I get it, I get it.” Richard replied.
“Alright boys,” Ma said and handed Richard the lotion. “I've hemmed up your overalls, they are on your bed Richard so go put on the lotion and put them on,” and giggled; “you silly boy.”
Pa chuckled as he watched Richard run towards the house, Ma stares them down. “Martha the boys here just having a little fun and wanted make sure he was taken care of before it got worse, right boys?” He asked try hard not to laugh.
© 2013 Shep
Added on June 8, 2012
Last Updated on April 30, 2013
Whats Behind the Looking Glass?
AboutUpdated January 23, 2013 I have started a New Book Titled: My Life And How It Has Changed Me. Listed under my single books. I would love to have lots of friends that review my hard work. Please .. more..