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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

IT DON’T MATTER Chapter 3 Alice

Alice Helped Milk the Cows
courtesy Free Clip Art
I wanted to ask Jake what happened after I left but I knew Pa would hear of it and he would age me a little with the aging belt.

Ma has been paying some extra attention to the new girl which meant I had to do all the milking by myself.  And then there were the hogs to feed.  Little sister got back to her job of gathering the eggs.

I was wondering if this new girl knew how to either slop the hogs or to do the milking. As it turned she was named Alice and she was twelve years old.

Little sister Elle was a little stand offish at first but then they became close friends. They were always whispering when they were around me and then giggling.  I tried to not pay any attention to them but that kind of foolishness can get to a fellow.

Ma told the girl she could stay with us, but would have to do some of the chores.  She said she would like to stay and she was used to doing chores. Ma said she could help me with the milking which pleased me to no end.  I didn’t mind the whispering and giggling so much after that.

With the crops harvested we had to haul the rest of them to town and sell what we didn’t need for feed ourselves.  Pa got more than enough to pay our bills we had charged. He wanted to put in a large garden and orchard this next year and finally had enough money to do so.

Both me and little sister had birthdays and we each felt a lot older.  Being ten meant this time I would get new overalls when the rest of the family did. Before I always got the hand-me-downs which I didn’t mind them for working but now I intended to do some dancing and being with the older boys.

Pa said he was going to buy us completely new outfits which meant shoes, sox, shirts, and the overalls.  I must say we all looked good at the next church tent revival and the pot luck dinner afterward.  We didn’t get to church much but always went to the revival meetings.  We felt if we went every night for two weeks that would hold us until next year.

As the weeks went on we had cut enough wood to see us through till next summer. The older brothers had worked up a lot of the blocks into wood for the stove and kindling.  

I ended up having to dig some big holes for the potatoes.  After lining them with straw the older brothers filled them with the potatoes and then we covered them with more straw and dirt. This kept them from freezing and spoiling, of course the ground was hard digging when we were ready to use some of them.

We killed and butchered some of the hogs and the loaded up the rest to take to the stock yard to sell.  I got to go to the sale for I had raised them.  I didn’t mind the butchering and selling for I never got personal with any of them. The nearest I got to that was I could recognize the different squeals.

Pa gave me a little money for I had fattened them up pretty good.  Winter was for hunting of every type.  The older brother Linus was the best trapper among us.  He made a lot of spending money for himself.  Pa let him keep most of it for he said it was time for him to get married and he needed money for courting.

I did pretty good trapping but since I wasn’t courting so Pa took most of the money the pelts brought and said we needed it for the new orchard.  

I was noticing that Alice was beginning to look more womanly and older. Brother Sammie was noticing her also.  She were thirteen now but my noticing and Sammie’s noticing were different.  

Ma don’t miss much so she had Pa take Sammie aside and have a talk with him.  I don’t know what Pa said to Sammie and he didn’t feel it were necessary to talk to me since I was just going on eleven.

After Pa’s talk Sammie acted a bit different but was still cutting his eyes in her direction quite often.  I kept bothering Ma till she told me Pa had said something about waiting until he was four years older which would make him seventeen and she was a full grown woman.

It was decided there would be one more dance before winter fully set in so we loaded up some wood for the two big pot belly heaters at the hall and others brought some to.  It wasn’t long before the fire was roaring and the sides of the stoves were red hot. You couldn’t stand next to them without turning around continually.

The people put everything they had into this last dance.  I was afraid Ma and Pa were going to hurt themselves for they were really stomping.  Sammie and Alice danced most every dance together.  I thought I might aggravate him by asking her for a dance but decided not to for he had that ‘I’ll get you’ later look in his eyes. I knew he could whip my butt and dancing with her wasn’t worth that.

I saw a skinny gal named Sue about my age so I danced with her most of the night.  I had seen her at school when I went but never talked to her in fact I never talked to her much that night, we just danced.  She tried to cut loose a few times and hit some fast steps but I kept her down and we didn’t attract much attention.  All in all it was a good finish to the dancing season.

Of course I had to endure the teasing that the older sibs laid on me and I wondered if the skinny gal was worth it… on second thought, yea, she was.  I was surprised at my feelings about that.  I figured it had to do with the cold weather coming on.  

I saw Elle dancing with boys older than her and I wondered what attracted them to her for she was a lot skinnier than the girl I was dancing with.  It must have been her face for she is pretty even if she is my sister.

Alice and I did all the milking now which relieved Ma from that chore.  The milk truck would pick up the milk once a day in the winter and twice in the summer.  We had some extra ten gallon cans to store the milk in if the weather was just too bad to make the trip.  

During the winter I was thinking about a way for me to make some money next year. Of course I had to pay my way by doing my chores but this was my new venture.  Pa gave the older boys part of the crop money and I wanted to earn some money also.

After doing my thinking I needed to talk to Pa and convince him to let me go forthwith my plans.  One day when things were quiet, I found Pa out to the barn and told him my plans and answered his objections which I knew would come.  

I wanted to cut down a few trees and haul the logs to the saw mill and have then cut up into lumber.  I would give the mill owner part of the lumber for his fee so it wouldn’t cost anything to build a large hog pen.  Big enough to feed a hundred hogs.  The sows we have should have thirty or so piglets to start with.  Then we could pickup another fifty or so from the stock barn.  

Then I wanted to build a large chicken house, big enough to raise a thousand chickens. We could get the chicks free from the feed store if we buy some feed from them.

Pa wanted to know who was going to do all the work.  I said mostly me and I knew a couple of older men who I could put up in the barn and they will work for next to nothing.  I could fix up a couple stalls for them until I could build them a shack next to the barn.  They will be glad to get food, a place to sleep and a little bit of money.  I told him about all I will need is some money for chicken wire, nails, and some hinges and I’m in business.

Pa said, “Whoa now Son them’s big ideas you have there.”

I told Pa I had been thinking this through all winter and maybe after you think about it your mind will change.  It was a week later before Pa said anything about my idea and when he did he said I think we should take it slow but I will get the boys and we will cut the trees and have it sawn into lumber.  
Free clip Art
If we don’t go any farther we can always build a new barn in fact maybe we’ll cut enough to do that anyway.

We had to get the logs out while the ground was frozen otherwise the wagons would sink up to their axels.  We managed to get the logs to the mill and talk the sawyer into starting the mill up.  Since it was a big order and he hadn’t made any money for a while he finally consented to do it.  We were well on our way and so far we hadn’t spent a cent.  

There is something about the winter when nobody is buying some things they are cheaper to buy.  We went to town and when we would say we are going to another store they always brought the price down.  Especially when we promised to buy some other stuff later they said they would deliver it to our barn.

It was cold and the brothers complained to me and not to Pa.  I just said this is necessary for us to double our earnings next year and once the job is finished we will have the buildings for years.  It took all the money Pa had set aside for me earned from milking and the hogs I raised last year but it was worth it.  Everyone was glad when we finished.
The brothers got back to sitting around the heating stove and talking about their potential girl friends and their competition.  While listening to their bragging I thought about the gals a little also.  

After milking one morning I decided to ride over to where the skinny gal lived.  My legs were cold by the time I got there.  They welcomed me in and told me to stand by the fire place.  Her mother gave me some broth she had warming on the cook stove. She said she was making some hominy that would be ready soon and I could have some if I wanted.  

I sat down and talked to her Pa for some time about the weather and the crops for the coming year.  Then after a while her Ma said you young people can sit in the parlor if you keep the door open.  I thought that would be nice for they had a big fire in the fire place.  

I started to the parlor and all the rest of the family started to follow when her Ma said only those who are courting can go in there.  Upon hearing talk about courting I was ready to leave but decided to be polite and sit on the settee.  The skinny gal came in and sat on the settee with me.  After all the rest of the family finally went about their business she started to talk to me.

One of the first things she said was; “I ain’t been courted before.”  For a while I was too shocked to say anything.  When I regained my voice I said; “That’s too bad I guess.”

She then asked if I had ever done any courting and I said; “Yes quite a bit.”

She then moved over next to me and said; Court me.”

I didn’t know what else to do so I gave her a “kiss your mother kind of kiss.”

She said, “You do know how to court don’t you!”

I said. “Yes I do but I got to be going for I have milking to do.”

She said, “When are you coming back, soon I hope for I liked your courting style.”

I just said, “When I can for I am very busy.”

She blocked the door and I thought she wants another kiss so since we were behind the door I did the best I knew how to kiss her again which seemed to satisfy her.

I said my goodbyes and they said, “Yawl come back soon, ye hear.”

I just nodded at that and was glad to get out of there.

When I got home Elle wanted to know where I went.  I told her the whole thing for I knew she wouldn’t stop until she got the whole story out of me.

Alice was listening and teased me a bit and then she asked me where I learned to kiss. This embarrassed me to no end but I said, “I guess I don’t know how.”

She said, “Since you have been nice to me, I’m going to teach you how it’s done depending on what you want it to mean.”

I thought “It don’t matter” if I don’t know how to kiss… or maybe it does matter.


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