Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Day #414 Farm Wife Story

Yesterday, as I’m sure you recall, I promised to give my sister’s side of the story about the fire on my Grandma’s farm. I’ve talked about my sister before in this blog (on 11/20/10 and 9/25/11). She’s an incredible fabric artist, who created a series of quilts and art pieces that show what depression feels like. Then she wrote a book about it Depression Visible: the Ragged Edge.

Now she’s writing another book (Farm Wife Story) about what life is like on a wheat farm in eastern Colorado, from the point of view of the woman on that farm. She agreed to let me give you a taste of that book by quoting this little vignette of the same story I told, but from her point of view. This excerpt is from the introduction to Farm Wife Story. I'll let you know when the book is available.

All the grownups were outside trying to put out the fire in the field across the road. We heard them shouting. They sounded scared. Was Mama okay?  She said not to move, that she would come back for us. The windows were turning red now. I wondered if she would get burned up. No, she said she would be back.

I wrapped my arms around Fran and we sat there waiting and rocking until Fran said to quit because her tummy hurt.
We knew what they were doing because we had seen them before, slapping with the backs of shovels and wet gunny sacks at small fires they had set to burn weeds. My job was to take the sacks to the pump and rewet them as quick as I could and carry them dripping back to the grownups. But that was in the yard and during the daytime.
I wondered how they could keep the gunnysacks wet clear across the road. I could be out there helping them because I was the Big Sister. But Fran was still little. I had to stay in the chair with her. The red glow slowly turned dark, but Mama didn’t come for a long time. We stayed in the chair, not getting out even to turn on the lights.
Finally she came. “What took so long?” I asked as she hugged us. “I had to stay,” she answered, “to help put out all the little spots that were still burning. I’m glad you stayed here safe in the chair.”
It’s funny that Diana writes, “We knew what they were doing.” This half of that we hadn’t a clue—or at least not one that I remember all these years later.
Do you have an older sister (or brother) who might have protected you at some time or other? Do you even remember it?
I’d encourage you to ask, today. After all, there’s no telling what sort of great story you’ll hear.
Thank you, Diana!
BEEattitude for Day # 414:
       Blessed are the sisters, for they shall all work together to keep the hive healthy.

The teeny details:
     Dec.   3       1-3 p.m.         Books for Less, Buford GA
     Dec.   4       1-3 p.m.         Humpus Bumpus Bookstore, Cumming GA
     Dec. 10       2-4 p.m.         Peerless Bookstore, Alpharetta GA       

my books: Please buy them from an independent bookstore or directly from my website.
my eBooks for Kindle: 


AggiePete said...

What a wonderful story - thank you for sharing with your friends here. Yes, I had a 'big sister' -her name was Florence or Flo to us. We lost Flo in 1997 but she always knew Katie & I loved her like no other. We're originally from New Orleans and every summer Mother let us go back there to visit with Flo, Jack (her husband) and their 6 children for our vacation. Those summers are lifetime experiences. Treasured for sure. Thank you again, dear Fran.

Fran Stewart said...

When I was e-conversing with my sister about this story, I asked, "Was I totally clueless growing up? How could I not have known what was going on? I had no idea you'd carried wet bags for putting out grass fires."

"You weren't clueless," she replied. "You were just little."

What a kind response.

And thanks for sharing about Flo. How lovely that you have such good memories of her.