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Kathie and Cousin Mandy V - Thanksgiving

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

Mandy had been spending recent summers with her cousin Kathie. This year because of an accident the vacation had been much longer. Her mother had fallen and broken an arm and could not look after Mandy. She had been in a lot of pain and Mandy's father just thought this was a good idea once his brother and wife offered to let Mandy stay over.

Mandy was experiencing all the work and excitement of gathering in crops and canning and survival for the winter she had never been aware of before! She had never dreamed everyone did not run to the store for all they needed. She never thought of families making their own clothes and trading for everything they could not raise or make on their own! These few extra weeks had helped Mandy grow up so much!

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Newfound Love

What work a farm was and how much fun! Mandy got up with all the others before daylight and ate a quick breakfast and as Kathie's father and brother harvested the crops everyone seemed to know what to do. Many would be hung to dry, some would be put back into the ground such as the potatoes and turnips, parsnips and well...Mandy could not remember them all! She did try and this family would laugh at her when she sometimes got them mixed up but it was all in fun. She was learning.

Not everything made a lot of sense to her but she was so anxious to know all there was about farming. No two ways about it, this city girl had turned country fast! There was never any excitement like this in the city. Apparently, Mandy would never be like her mother and two older sisters to only take pleasures from shopping for clothes, going to teas and all the city things she just found so boring!

She would not breathe a word of her new found love to her mother or sisters but she knew her father would be pleased and would give them so much to talk about. He had talked to her some about being raised on a farm but of course, words could never let her visualize the reality of it and now she was living it. By staying late this summer she got to experience the harvesting and canning and the hundreds of things it seemed that went into survival here in the country.


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It's not love that is blind, but jealousy.

— Lawrence Durell

A Hint of Jealousy

Kathie was so amazed at Mandy being so thrilled at what she considered work. Of course, it was nothing that strenuous or hard for her but she never thought of it as fun, until Mandy became a part of it. She could not quite get it straight between a turnip and parsnip, but she was trying so hard and clearly loved every minute of it.

Through the summer much was canned and put away such as the many tomatoes that kept coming up until frost. There were so many things drying too in the pantry already her mom used for seasonings.

The only bad part of Mandy's visit was Kathie's jealousy of her with her dad. She didn't blame her and knew Mandy was just who she was and she so loved her too. The attention her dad gave Mandy burned a hole right through Kathie's heart and as bad as it made her feel, she just could not get around it or change these feelings.

Her dad was going out of his way even as busy as he always was to make time for Mandy, as he never had for her. He even asked her to go fishing with Kathie's brother and him and he had never once asked Kathie to go!

Of course, Mandy squealed with delight and jumped in the boat and Kathie went about her work for an hour or more listening to Mandy squeal and laugh when she caught a fish.

It was so hard not to cry even being so happy about Mandy's fun.

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Vacationing with Cousins

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Mother Knows Best

As Kathie went on listening to all the noise from the lake she wondered why even from the fish bank when her dad was fishing she could not be loud or noisy. Yet, it was alright for Mandy to be loud and no doubt even jumping up and down in the boat from the looks and sounds of things. She hated these thoughts and yet they just kept coming and would not let her alone.

Mary yelled for Kathie to come help hang up some clothes to dry so she ran around back to help her mom. glad for something to take her attention away from the sound of Mandy's fun. The basket of clothes was full and Kathie hung them on the empty line from her mom, whipping each piece a few times to remove wrinkles before hanging.

Her mother said Mandy sure seemed to enjoy the fishing. Kathie agreed but could not help mention all the noise that might scare the fish away. Well, her mom said, Mandy was new to all this and acceptions could be made for her, just learning everything. Kathie agreed, she guessed, her dad would hardly fuss at his niece who was fishing for the first time. That did make her feel some better. She could even manage to smile at Mandy's continued squeal when she got a nibble on her line or actually caught a fish. Actually, Mandy was proving that fish didn't mind noise at all!

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Food for Thought

All the food had been canned, dried or cured. The cellar was so full there was barely room to go in. There were two big barrels that held cucumbers and corn that were pickling for wintertime. It looked like enough potatoes to feed an army in bins that Mandy could not see the end of them! That was not even including the ones buried outside in freezeproof holes. Much had been stored in the food pantry off the kitchen, too. Just like Kathie’s mom, Mandy would walk by and look at all the shiny colorful jars. She realized this family was used to this and it was a part of their life, but she just could not get used to it all. Having been such a big part of it this year having stayed later let her experience so much more. This way of life was so wonderful, she had to make it her life one day, she knew!

She couldn’t wait to show it all to her dad when he came for her and brag that she had helped in as much of it as she could. She had even learned to churn butter! Next summer Mary had promised her that she and Katie would learn to milk a cow. How exciting and frightening!

As her father had suggested, Mandy was just going to enjoy the best of both worlds. Secretly, though, she hoped when she became a mother, she would be able to live it in this world, where you raised your own food and lived off the land. It was truly amazing to her. It would be hard to ever forget this country living with such beauty and the fun of the wild woods, rivers and lakes and gardens dripping with ripe delicious foods.

It was like Christmas every day!

Parents not quite normal.

© 2018 Jackie Lynnley

Comments

Jackie Lynnley (author) from the beautiful south on December 26, 2018:

Hi, Bill. Yeah I am so behind. I also have the Christmas one that will probably end these I just am not getting any time on. Hopefully soon. Thanks so much for stopping to read.

Missed a Merry Christmas to you, but Happy New Year!

William Kovacic from Pleasant Gap, PA on December 26, 2018:

It's so nice to see you again, Jackie. You've been missed. glad to see the story is continuing. Thanks a bunch!

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

Thank you, Peg. Pleased you enjoyed it.

Merry Christmas!

Peg Cole from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on December 22, 2018:

What a delightful description of childhood discovery living on a farm. I can relate to much of what Mandy saw and learned from my few experiences visiting my Dad's childhood home. You've made it sound so interesting and full of wonder.

Jackie Lynnley (author) from the beautiful south on December 21, 2018:

Thank you Pamela. Merry Christmas!

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on December 21, 2018:

I am enjoying this story and Mandy is such a good character. The farm live is hard work, but the benefits are great. I enjoy reading details about the farm.

Jackie Lynnley (author) from the beautiful south on December 21, 2018:

Thanks Dora, I better hurry on the Christmas one huh? Running behind here lately. Great to see you!

Merry Christmas to everyone!

Jackie Lynnley (author) from the beautiful south on December 21, 2018:

Thanks Eric! You make me laugh. Pleased I could make my characters seem real to you.

Jackie Lynnley (author) from the beautiful south on December 21, 2018:

Thanks Linda! Always great to have you stop by and pleased you are enjoying it.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on December 20, 2018:

I was hoping that you would continue this story. Thanks for sharing another interesting chapter, Jackie. I enjoyed reading about country living.

Jackie Lynnley (author) from the beautiful south on December 20, 2018:

Thank you Dora! Always pleased to have you stop by to read me!

Merry Christmas!

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on December 20, 2018:

The situation is very true-to-life. Mandy's understanding of country living and the cousin rivalry are relatable to many. Thanks for a good holiday story.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on December 20, 2018:

OK call me a weirdo pervert but I am in love with Mandy. What a spark of life you have created. Souls can be plopped in our lives by excellent writing. Now I must get back down to earth. But I will be helping bringing in the harvest all day.

Jackie Lynnley (author) from the beautiful south on December 20, 2018:

Thanks so much Bill for always catching my new publishings! I really appreciate it.

Have been watching for your holiday article, being pretty sure you will have one!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on December 20, 2018:

It's always a nice bonus to the day when I see that you have posted something. A lovely look at the holidays, nostalgic and hopeful.