Yankee Burrow Storytime

(you can read all of my short stories on my other blog, Debbi's Shorts.)
It's been a while since I shared a story, mostly because I had writers block.  But a new story has been tickling the back of my brain for a few weeks, so today I start...

Time for a New Life

Chapter 1 - The beginning of the end

butterfly photo
Sitting here at my kitchen table, I watch the dust float in the air, caught shimmering in a beam of sunlight streaming through the window.  Watching them, I wonder, how can such a sunny beautiful day be so full of sadness?  I glance down at the letter in my hand, again, hoping against hope that this time it will say something different.  But it doesn't.   We're losing the house.  Our house.  The dream house that we planned, and designed, and worked so hard for, gone, just like that.  I get up from the table, rinse my coffee cup and place it in the shiny stainless steel dishwasher, and turn to look at my kitchen.  The granite counters, handmade cupboards, custom tile floor.  So much work went into this kitchen, and I don't even cook.  I hear the back door open, and watch my husband of 13 years walk in the house.  I can tell by his face that the news was not good.  "How did it go?" I ask him, but he just grunts and pushes past me and heads to his den.

vintage mini bar
I follow, just in time to see him pour himself a drink from his personal mini-bar he had added to his built in bookshelves.  What a laugh, John doesn't even like to read, yet he filled the shelves with classics.  Just to look like he fit in with the crowd at the office.  I sit next to him on the leather sofa and hand him the letter.  He just glances at it briefly, then lets it fall from his fingers.  I reach for his hand, but he pulls away and tells me to leave him alone.  Inside I'm screaming "I'm tired of being alone", but instead I just stay quiet, and leave the room.  I go to my sitting room, and mindlessly turn on the television.  Sitting in the bay window seat, I let my mind wander....and wonder, how did we ever get here?  John and I don't talk, and the kids?  Well, they just talk back.  I feel tired.  So tired.  But I don't have time to feel sorry for myself, I heard the bus pull up in front of the house, and my children come running up the long driveway.  Laughing and yelling.  Time enough to worry about the house later, now it's time to worry about dinner.

Chapter 2 - Packing up the memories

baby brag book
"Mommy, where are we going to live?"  My youngest child, my little girl, still my little baby, so full of fear and uncertainty, asks me this question while helping me to put our family pictures into boxes.  I don't know how to respond. I can't respond because I don't know where we will be at this time next month.  I get up from the floor where I am surrounded by boxes, sorting and packing up my broken hopes and dreams.  I grab my little girl up in my arms, move to my favorite spot, and plop down on the window seat and just hold her as she softly cries.  Janie is only 5, she should be playing and laughing, but instead my sensitive little girl is frightened so I just sit and hold her, because that's all I can do.
baseball pendant
I hear John come in the back door, followed by our son Jacob.  They are laughing and joking, talking about Jacob's baseball game.  How can they joke and laugh today?  I feel a rush of anger spring up in me, the heat rushing to my face as I try to push down the feelings.
"Sarah, where are you?  You should have been there, Jacob was amazing.  Yankees, here we come."  John enters the room, and stops when he sees me, and sees the boxes all over the room.  "What are you doing?  I told you to stop packing.  We are not moving.  This is our house and they cannot take it away, not without a fight."  John's yelling causes Janie to cry even harder.  And I say nothing.  Again.  John storms from the room, and I hear him go to his study.  I hear the bottles clink as he prepares a drink.  During all this I'm watching Jacob, watching the smile leave his face, his shoulders slump as he turns and leaves the room.  At only 12 years old, Jacob is losing his childhood too quickly.  I tell Janie to go and find her sister, then I go into the study only to find John throwing back his drink.  I cringe when I hear the glass shatter after John throws it against the wall.  And my heart breaks even more when I see him start to cry.  Finally.  I walk to him, and softly touch his arm.  He turns to me, holds me tight, and apologizes.  For his anger.  For losing his job.  For not taking care of his family.  And we both cry.  But this time, we cry together.
cake topper
Chapter 3 - Where do we go from here?

"John, come quick!" I yelled for John as I came running into the house holding the mail.  Another pile of bills and letters from collection agencies, but one envelope held my attention.  The return address was a lawyers office, one I had never heard of before.  One from our old home town.  I had already read the letter on the walk into the house, and now I'm walking with a lighter step.  "What is it?  Is the house on fire?  We should be so lucky."  John jokes as he comes out of the bathroom.  He frowns when he sees the pile of bills, and starts to turn away until I hand him the letter.  He looks at it, then he starts to read it.  I see his face go from confused to surprised, and then a smile spreads across his face.  "Kids!  Kids, come in here, quick."  In runs Janie, followed by her big sister Anna, and then slowly, sullenly, in comes our oldest, Jacob.  "What is it Dad?  I was busy." Jacob growls.  Seems like that is all he does now, growl and sit in his room, alone.
John just tells everyone to have a seat, we have great news for everyone.  To my surprise, he hands me the letter and sits down with the kids.  "Well, Mom?  What is it?  Is that an important letter?  Do we get to keep the house?  Did we win the lottery?"  Janie is full of questions and starts to giggle.  "Don't be stupid, just shut up."  Janie's eyes fill with tears at Jacob's comment, but John just picks her up and holds her on his lap.  So I  read the letter...for the family.

"Dear Mrs. Wright,
barn photo
      First let me extend to you my condolences on the loss of your grandmother last year.  While you and I have never met, I visited your grandmother often while I was enrolled in the local university, and she was the most loving and amazing woman.  After I graduated, I left town to start my law firm.  Imagine my surprise when she contacted me two years ago and asked me to handle her estate.  I assumed that she would have used your family lawyer, but she wanted the matter of the family farm handled separately from the rest of her estate.  As per her request, I have sold off most of the farmland, but kept the homestead and the surrounding 3 acres, for you.  She used to regal me with stories of the summers you would spend with her when you were just a child, picking berries and making pies, feeding the chickens, and learning to drive a tractor from your grandfather.  She also shared with me the time you knocked down the barn door with that very same tractor.  She wanted you to have this property.  It has taken me all of this past year to clear up this part of her estate, but it is now ready for you.  The house and barn and property is debt free and repaired and ready for you.  The only requirement of this inheritance is that you live in this house for one year, after which you may sell it if you wish.  You can contact me at this number at any time.
Matthew James Smithe, Esq."

barn yard quilt
"WHAT???  A FARM???  YOU WANT ME TO LIVE ON A FARM?  YOU MUST BE NUTS.  I WON'T GO!!!"  Jacob jumps up from his seat and screams at us as he runs from the room.  We can hear his bedroom door slam.  John and I just look at each other and I try not to cry.  Janie is quietly sobbing in her daddy's chest, then I feel a small hand in mine.  Anna, quiet little Anna takes my hand and looks up at me.  "Don't cry Mom, it's going to be ok.  Jacob didn't really mean that.  Once we move, he'll realize that God answered our prayers.  We now have a place to live.  We now have another home."
I kneel down and squeeze her tight.  "You're right Anna.  God has answered our prayers."  I look up and find John just looking at me, and then he smiles.  Janie smiles.  And then I can feel a smile sneak up on me.  And it feels good.

chapter 4 - Moving Day

Jeweled Picture Frame
It's here.  It's finally here, moving day.  John and I just spent the last week, moving the last of our boxes into the moving van.  In those boxes was the remnants of the first 13 years of our lives.   Some clothes, family photos, vacation souvenirs ..the rest is all gone.  The big house, the cars, the boat, the furniture, the fancy clothes and expensive shoes.  I should be sad, but instead I feel...relieved.  While filing bankruptcy was hard, it was also a relief.  The phone calls have stopped  (of course, we had to turn in our very expensive smartphones and take a loss when we cancelled our cell phone plans), but the burden of wondering how we would continue is gone.  A weight has been lifted.  I can see it in John's face now, he's smiling and laughing again.  Last night, we all camped out in the empty living room, talking about our future.
Early this morning we headed home. When we had left Caryville, Pennsylvania all those years ago, we never looked back.  Oh, at first we made the required visits for family weddings, funerals, and reunions.  But with our new, busy, upper class life, we just couldn't find the time anymore. 
Main Street print
Now we're back, full circle.  Life is funny that way.  Most of our families have either left the town, or passed away, so there was no one to tell that we were back.  Driving down Main Street, the memories came rushing in.  Nothing much has changed.  The school that housed all the grades still stands, and City Hall still holds court in the center traffic circle.   We saw the signs declaring the recent craft fair at the local fairgrounds.  On the other side of town, we turned left and headed out of town, to our new home.  It was hard to find...it had been so long...but finally, after many stops, and u-turns, we found the old wooden sign at the end of the long dirt road that would take us home.  Jacob was quiet most of the drive, while the girls couldn't stop chattering in their excitement.  When we pulled up in front of the old clapboard farmhouse with the big barn out back, I could see his frown.  But when we all piled out of the moving van and stood in the slightly overgrown front yard, he couldn't stay quiet any longer.  "I hate this place.  It's old and and it smells out here.  Where are the stores?  The movie theater?  Just WHAT AM I SUPPOSE TO DO OUT HERE?"  Jacob runs behind the house, but John holds me back when I start to follow him.  "Sarah, let him go.  He needs to come to terms with the new direction of our lives.  He needs to make peace with himself."  
Spiced Vanilla Syrup

Then behind us we heard the crunch of tires on the dirt, and turning we see about 10 cars and trucks pull up and park.  People start getting out of their vehicles, and surround us.  Men, women, old, young, they all came and shook our hands, introduced themselves.  Some brought us canned fruit and vegetables.  Some brought us cakes and cookies.  And one older woman directed a young man carrying a large covered pan.  "I'm Grannie Mae" she says, and with a gleam in her eye she continues,  "the boss of this here town. I cornered that young man, the lawyer  and got him to give me the keys to this place to bring to you.  Well, we all wanted to check out the new family, so here we all are, ready for a good old country picnic.  Your gramma was my best friend, so now I'll be yours."   The smell of bbq pork and the sights of these wonderful strangers brought tears to our eyes.  We knew now that this was where we needed to be....home again.

chapter 5 - One Year Later

handmade rocking chair
Here I sit in my gramma's rocker on the front porch of our home.  I'm holding a letter that I just received from Matthew James Smithe, Esq., the lawyer whose first letter changed our lives.  It's hard to believe that it's been a full year since then.  Our old life seems like it belonged to some other family, or perhaps a movie I once watched on television.  The big house, the designer clothes, the scramble to stay on top of the bills, the backstabbing from the others in the country club.  Today, there is just a small farmhouse, jeans and t-shirts, and a town full of people that are more then friends...they are family.
"Mom, we won!  We're the county champions!"  I hear my son yell as they pull up the driveway.  It took many months, but with the help of new friends in school, Jacob has settled into his new life.  His grades in school have gone up, and he's the captain of his baseball team.  Jacob jumps out of the back of the truck and come running up the porch, as the rest of the players also get out of the truck.  "Mom, it was great.  It was the top of the 9th inning, and we were ahead so Dad let little Tommy take a turn in the outfield.  The other team got the bases loaded, and with 2 strikes, their best batter stepped up.  He hit a hard drive right up the middle, right to Tommy."  With a laugh, Jacob continues his story, "with his eyes closed, Tommy just puts his arm up in the air and the ball dropped right into his glove.  And that was it, game over, and we're the champs!"  I hug my son and then he runs off to play with the rest of the boys.  John comes up on the porch and takes a chair.  "Sarah, what a day.  What a good day."  He bends down to kiss my head, and rubs my every growing belly where the newest Wright resides.  Then he stretches out his legs, and promptly falls asleep, with a smile on his face. 
goat's milk soap
John has worked hard this past year, fixing up the house, planting a garden, and then opening his own shop in town.  It may not be what others would consider much, but John is once again very proud of himself.  And happy to have time to spend with his family.  The girls took to their new lives as if they had always lived on a farm.  The first thing they did was bring home a puppy that a friend gave them.  Then another puppy.  Then we got some goats for milk and chickens for eggs.  The girls help me make soap and cheese, to sell at our shop, and Jacob drives the tractor and helps with the garden.  In fact, the very first time, he ran that tractor right into the barn door, just like I did when I was his age.  I glance down at the letter I was writing to Mr. Smithe.  The response to his letter reminding us that the one year condition of my grandmothers will has expired and offering his assistance in selling our property.  I smile  as I fold up the letter and slide it into an envelope.  We have decided to stay here, home.  The future is bright and full of possibilities.

I hope this story reminds us all that our happiness does not come for the things in our lives or the amount in our bank account.  Our happiness comes from good friends and loving family.  And every little moment that makes up our lives...together.
Please click on the links under the pictures to visit some wonderful handmade shops where you can purchase these items, or so many other wonderful handmade items.
(You can find my other short stories on my other blog, Debbi's Shorts.)
Be blessed,

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