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Kathie and Cousin Mandy IV - Making a New Friend

Jackie tells of the many adventures and emotions of a little girl growing up in a large family in the fifties.

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A Home Away From Home

Mandy would be going home in about three weeks, back to the city and her mother. Her mother, Kaitlin, is almost mended now from her fall, breaking her arm. When Mandy's mother is unable, her father knows, that only leaves his two stepdaughters to look after her. Although his relationship with them is well enough, he can see the jealousy at times they have for his and their mother's daughter. She is their sister, of course, but with too many years between them, a sisterly relationship just never formed. It was too bad but that was just the way things were. In fact, Kaitlin was, as it became clear after marriage, not the mothering type. Yet she loved her girls he knew, in her own way. She had more in common with her older daughters and that sometimes left Mandy feeling neglected, he knew, since her sisters did not want her included in much they were doing. They called her "the baby" when her father was not around. Yet he was well aware Mandy lacked much at home that she needed.

This was why he gladly let Mandy stay with his brother' family in the south, where he grew up, as often as possible. She had a cousin Kathie who was Mandy's age. He could tell how much happier this made her and he knew himself what a good environment the country and farm life was. She seemed to be much happier at home now and although none of the rest of his family had an interest it gave Mandy and him many enjoyable conversations of this place he sometimes missed very much himself. He had grown up there and although wanting away from it in his youth he sometimes now had regrets. The conversations kept Mandy and her father content and kept Mandy from missing Kathie and the farm so bad when she was home.


A Home in the Making

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Step Sisters

Living Life on Sassy Creek

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A New Way of Thinking

Mandy lived up north and did not mind at all not seeing snow and cold weather for she had plenty of that. She loved visiting her cousin in the south and seeing so many beautiful flowers and trees she had never seen in the city. She loved the country and openness. She loved sleeping with only a light blanket up past Thanksgiving.

The animals and business of survival here made her aware of things she had never given thought to. They never ran out of milk or eggs and went to the store for practically nothing. Mandy could live here all year round. Everyone here felt just like family.

Kathie had taken her cousin Mandy who was spending the summers with her to meet Callie and see the beautiful farm two years ago and of course, the three sat together in church, but just going to someone’s house to play was not something that was done in these days. If you had time to play you did after some chores and before others. Who was to know when Callie might be busy though or when she had time to relax or play? Callie had invited them home with her after church for a meal and walks around the Sassy Creek Farm a couple of times in the last two summers though, and swimming in the cool clear pool her dad and brother had made from the springs that ran off the mountains to form Sassy Creek. They had hoped it would happen again this summer and they could go back.


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Dogs

Each Farm Pretty Much the Same Way of Life

Some of Kathie and Mandy's walks took them near to the Sassy Creek Farm where they may spot their new friend, Callie. Usually, Callie's dog spotted them and gave big growls but Callie seeing who it was would shush him making him go on and behave. That was the great thing about a good dog on a farm for they warned of all things showing up. Human or animal, they alerted everyone to look. If an animal, he would have been hard if not impossible to stop, but he was well behaved around people. He looked very mean to protect this family but once he was given a command he quietened and went away. Kathie was glad of that. Katie's brother's dog Bounce was rarely seen unless it was with her brother. He did spend summer and all but cold nights on the porch protecting all. He could hear just as well on the inside in winter though, it seemed.

Callie was in the barn spreading down the clean straw. Her brother's job was to clean the barn floor which was a much harder job than hers so she did not mind at all.

She was finishing up and joined these new friends she had met at school and liked so much. They were hoping she would have some time to ramble in the woods today but she sadly told them her mother would be canning tomatoes and had no one to help her but Callie. Katie and Mandy would be helping do the same for Katie's mom in a couple of days so Katie wondered if they helped Callie if she might be allowed to come over and help them when they were ready. It was work but more like play if they could all be together. There was joy in the plan in all three faces but it had to be put to Callie's mom for deciding. Katie thought Callie should go on her own to ask her mother to be embarrassing to no one if the answer was no.

In just a couple of minutes, Callie's mom stepped out onto the porch to ask if they were sure Katie's mom would approve of this, without asking her also. Katie assured her it would be fine since they had a couple days of play anyway waiting for her mom and brother to get all the tomatoes in and cleaned for the canning. Katie's sister now was washing up the many, many jars that would be needed.

Callie's mom said she would really appreciate the help, having fallen behind so bad in canning. Now her husband worked away from home she was naturally doing twice as much and even with her children's help it could get to be a bit much.

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Having Fun Helping Out

Kathie and Mandy helped Callie wash up the last of the tomatoes outside while her mother brought out pans of scalded tomatoes to cool with knives to peel and dice and buckets and bowls to put them in.

Finally, the girls were sitting and peeling and cutting as if they knew just what they were doing, which of course they did. Even Mandy, who had only last summer learned to do this, was every bit as efficient as the other two. The girls talked and giggled without slowing at all. Work could be so much fun like this!

Callie's mom came out to gather up the tomatoes to put in huge pots to cook as quickly as they were filled. Thankfully the back porch where they sat was shaded and overlooked the large creek. There was also a well-water pump on the porch there and they all washed up once they were done and drank long from the dipper. The porch had to be cleaned good and the peelings dumped in the almost bare garden.

They would have loved to have gone inside and looked at Callie's beautiful room she had told them about, but it was getting near suppertime and they would be expected home soon.

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Turn About Fair Play

Callie was true to her word and showed up to help Kathie and Mandy with Katie's mother, Mary's, canning. Just as at Callie's they used the back porch with the well for cooling off and have dipper drinks after finishing up their containers.

They all got to be together at school and church on Sundays but this was so much more fun, getting to relax and talk to their heart's content. Kathie's older sister would collect the full containers and bring out clean ones and always give them looks of contempt. It was shocking at first (not so much to Katie) but when she got out of earshot they all burst into fits of giggles. Little hurt their pride. Big sisters were always a pain.

Mary brought the girls big dinner rolls with ham for lunch and a tall glass of apple cider. Katie's brother had two rolls at least with a big hunk of cheese in a paper sack tucked under his. He tipped his hat and was gone. He had his rifle and big dog right at his heal. He would be gone until he caught a buck or maybe a couple of rabbits, so he could be late for supper. There were springs in the mountains so he did not have to worry about anything to drink. He could even run into some juicy blackberries if the deer had not finished them off. He had brought a big pailful home last time, so they could be getting scarce.

Callie had to head home as soon as the job was done as her mother had said she must. It had taken a good part of the day and all three were so full of joy from the laughter and fun it seemed a shame to see it end.

Kathie and Mandy walked Callie far into the woods so she had little to walk on her own. They waved her out of sight shouting sorrowful goodbyes. Having friends was such a good thing. It was nearly as good as having extra sisters. Ones you could pick for yourself. Callie would make a very good sister, they both agreed.

They had made plans before Christmas to hunt beautiful pine cones and ground pine. The thrill of this kept the cousins from thinking that the time was running out quickly. The day after Christmas, Mandy must leave for home!

© 2018 Jackie Lynnley

Comments

Jackie Lynnley (author) from the beautiful south on December 01, 2018:

Thanks so much Nithya! Always a joy to have you visit and read me!

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on November 30, 2018:

Enjoyed reading, I could picture every scene and how I wish I was on the farm with them to enjoy.

Jackie Lynnley (author) from the beautiful south on October 02, 2018:

Thanks Nell, always great to see you no matter how many times you stop by.

Nell Rose from England on October 02, 2018:

I love your stories, read it before but its so interesting

Jackie Lynnley (author) from the beautiful south on June 22, 2018:

Thanks Peggy, I always loved peeling tomatoes and doesn't make sense with it being such a messy job. I guess knowing how good it would be come cold wintertime made it fun!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on June 21, 2018:

Somehow working together on projects always does seem like more fun. I enjoyed this episode. My mother and grandmother used to can tomatoes as well as other things from the garden when I was growing up. Later I learned to can tomatoes out of our Wisconsin garden. I can definitely relate to this chapter.

Jackie Lynnley (author) from the beautiful south on June 10, 2018:

Thank you Dora! If I sort of took you there is my main goal!

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on June 09, 2018:

You make the story really true to life with your details: attitudes, chores, pets etc. The pleasant atmosphere you create makes very pleasant reading.

Jackie Lynnley (author) from the beautiful south on June 07, 2018:

Thank you Peg! So pleased you enjoyed it.

Peg Cole from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on June 07, 2018:

I love these stories and the memories of childhood. The canning of tomatoes and the bonding between friends brought back such fond thoughts of being in the kitchen with my grandmother, her sister and my mother when we made strawberry preserves. Thanks so much. I love the photos, too.

Jackie Lynnley (author) from the beautiful south on June 02, 2018:

Thanks Bill. The story made me crave fresh tomatoes from the garden. I used to take the salt shaker out with me and eat my fill. I cannot imagine anything better than a warm, ripe, juicy tomato!

William Kovacic from Pleasant Gap, PA on June 02, 2018:

I sitting here thinking about the lunch Mary brought. Now, I'm hungry. Thanks for another wonderful tale from the life of Katie and Mandy.

Jackie Lynnley (author) from the beautiful south on June 01, 2018:

Thanks Ven, so very much. This is well before that wild rock and roll! But just barely!

Jackie Lynnley (author) from the beautiful south on June 01, 2018:

Thanks Linda. Hope you think you would enjoy this life!

Venkatachari M from Hyderabad, India on June 01, 2018:

Very interesting story. This series wonderfully portrays the life at farms and villages during the sixties. A beautiful reflection into those wonderful days.

Jackie Lynnley (author) from the beautiful south on May 31, 2018:

Thanks, Rachel. Always great to see you.

I do have one more with Mandy, not really sure past that.

Jackie Lynnley (author) from the beautiful south on May 31, 2018:

Thanks Eric.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on May 31, 2018:

The girls seem to have so much fun, even while they're helping their families. It's lovely to read about their experiences. I enjoy learning about country life, too.

Jackie Lynnley (author) from the beautiful south on May 31, 2018:

Hi Bill, I am looking for that perfect picture. If I find it, it will go up! Thanks!

Rachel L Alba from Every Day Cooking and Baking on May 31, 2018:

Hi Jackie, This is the first time I had to sign in to leave a comment. As usual, I loved your story. It's so easy to read and I could picture everything in my mind. I'll be looking forward to more.

Blessings to you.

Jackie Lynnley (author) from the beautiful south on May 31, 2018:

Ah, not sure about that Nell, but thanks for thinking so!

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on May 31, 2018:

Cool

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on May 31, 2018:

A lovely romp through farm life. I want that farm pictured....what an exquisite place to grow up and live....the life I dreamed about as a child.

Nell Rose from England on May 31, 2018:

What a lovely story! You should make these into an ebook Jackie! You would make a fortune!