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When the Corn Died: Chapter One of a New Short Story Series

Welcome to a New Series

Thanks for joining me as I continue to hone my craft. Last week I put to bed the Dale Saga, so this week I will introduce you to a new family, the Harpers, and life on their farm, in Iowa…the year, 1933. Let’s see how they are managing to get along during the Great Depression.

Let’s peek in on their farm and see how things are going for these hard-working folk.

when-the-corn-died-chapter-one-of-a-new-short-story-series

Another Day, Another Heartache

One-hundred and twenty acres of knee-high corn under a rising June sun, a sea of green rippling with the early-morning breeze, weighing me down with worry. The sight used to fill me with wonder. Now, well, all I can see are crop prices falling faster than my hope.

There’s a lot of irony out there. It’s going to be a good harvest, no doubt about that, but that good harvest will net eight damned cents a bushel, down from eighty five years ago, and it cost twelve to plant and grow. It don’t take no damned genius to tell that ain’t no way to run a business.

I slop the hogs, three cents per pound on the hoof, losing money for me daily, and crank up the John Deere. Seems like a waste of time, you ask me, but I don’t know what else to do. This farm has been in the Harper family for seventy years. Grandpappy first dug a furrow here after the Civil War, and his son after him, and by God there were some good years with the corn growing so high and the demand rising, rising, rising….and then it all went to hell in a handbasket.

Forty-eight years old and stuck between a rock and a hard place. Listen to that engine, running rough, probably needs new plugs and where the hell is the money coming from for those, or anything else, for that matter?

My son walks out the backdoor of the farmhouse. Pete Junior, named after yours truly, eighteen years old last month, a strapping slab of beef just graduated from high school, no plans for the future in a country beat down and struggling just to breathe. He’s a good kid, hard-worker, takes after his mother, Evelyn, much more than me. He’s got an artistic side to him, a gentle soul in a six-three frame, and if this were another place, another time, I could see him writing a novel and talking philosophy with similar folk along the Left Bank in Paris….but this is Charles City, Iowa, about as far-removed from the Left Bank as a man can get.

“Morning, Pa,” he says to me as he tosses a couple crumbs to our old hound, Trusty. The boy always has a smile on his face, like he don’t recognize the fix we’re in, but I know he does, he works a dead-end farm right alongside me. He knows the prices are falling. He knows the bank wants the loan paid and the interest keeps adding up and egg prices dropping fast along with just about everything else. He knows all that and yet he smiles, again his mother in him, and I can’t get mad at him for that. Sure enough can’t!

“Good morning, son! Feed the chickens for me, will ya, then head out to the southeast corner and mend that hole in the fence. It’s supposed to rain tonight, God knows we need it, and I want to get as much done as we can before this dust turns into sucking mud.”

“Sure thing, Pa,” and there’s that smile again, and I figure I may not be much of a farmer these days, but I raised me one fine son. Well, maybe I’m taking too much credit. His Ma deserves the bulk of it, I think, and the breeze carries with it the smell of bacon frying. I might as well head in for breakfast and save Evelyn calling me.

when-the-corn-died-chapter-one-of-a-new-short-story-series

UNCERTAINTY

She’s forty-two now, hard to believe as I look at her dishing up the meal, long, auburn hair, tied in a ponytail, still a fine figure, little crows-feet the only sign that the years are advancing on her. She’s put up with me now for twenty-four years, hard to believe she chose me, God’s own truth, best-looking girl at Charles City High School, then or now. She had bankers’ sons, lawyers’ son, doctors’ sons, all sorts of money heritage courting her back then, but she only had eyes for me, Peter Harper, a farmers’ son, gangly, shy, and completely lacking in social graces. Truth is she did the courting. She explained, after we were wed, that she figured if she didn’t take the bull by the horns nothing would have happened between us, and she may be right and by God she’s still a beauty and I’m a lucky man.

I walk up behind her, put my arms around her waist, pull her to me and smell the lavender in her hair, lavender, her favorite scent, always with her, a part of her, her signature. She turns, smiles and kisses me gently.

“Peter Harper, you stop it now. We’ve got a ton of work to do today and no time for such foolishness.” But she’s smiling when she says it, and I see our son in that smile and I realize just how damned lucky I am. “Now wash up and sit yourself down. Eggs and bacon are waiting.”

I do as I’m told. Daddy didn’t raise no fool. He always told me to find a good woman and listen closely to her. More often than not, he said, she’ll be smarter than you and a damned sight stronger as well. He was right. Evelyn was proof.

She joins me at the table.

“Mrs. Crawford stopped by while you were in the barn,” she said between bites. “She says the Pinkers are selling out and moving out west. That’s five families since the first of the year. She also said Peterman Mercantile on Main Street is closing. I guess the Petermans have relatives in Chicago and a job waiting for them, so no sense losing more money in that store of theirs. That means just one store left in town where we can buy staples and such. Tough times for sure, Peter. President Roosevelt says we shouldn’t be afraid, but seems that’s easy to say sitting back in the White House. Still, he seems like a good man and he has our best interests in sight.”

“I’ll bet you’re thinking, right about now, you should have married Josh Bancroft when you had the chance. You’d be sitting in that big house of theirs on the banks of the Cedar River, drinking mint juleps and talking to the other fine women about the latest New York fashions.”

She gave me that look that still stirred my loins.

“I married the best man in town, Peter Harper, so you shush up and stop your foolishness. Times are tough for sure, but we got each other, and a fine son, and I have no regrets at all. Besides, I don’t like mint juleps.”

when-the-corn-died-chapter-one-of-a-new-short-story-series

The Day Drifts By in the Dusty Wind

Peter Junior and I got about as much done as possible for two men under the warm Iowa sun. By sundown we’re dirt-streaked and dragging ass back to the farmhouse. There’s rain in the air and it’s coming soon. After cleaning up we join Evelyn for some ham hock soup and fresh bread just out of the oven.

Junior hasn’t talked much all day long. I figure he’s got something on his mind and he’ll say it when the time is right. That time arrives as we’ll all enjoying some ice cream.

“Ma, Pa,” he says. “I was talking to Lucas the other day, and he told me there’s work down in Missouri for those willing to head down there. Seems they’re hiring for the lead mines, a couple hundred men, about six month’s worth of work, but it’s first come, first serve. He’s going to ride the rails down south and he wants me to ride along with him, look out for each other. I figure I could do that for six months, send home money that will help out here. I’m guessing I might do that. Just wanted you to know. I know, Pa, it’s going to make things hard for you, but we need the money and it seems right stupid to pass it up.”

What’s a man supposed to say to that? We all know the day will come when the chicks leave the nest. I just wasn’t expecting it to come so soon. Evidently Evelyn wasn’t expecting it either because she damned near breaks my fingers squeezing my hand. I look at her and tears are glistening, the first one slowly rolling down her cheek. I can’t talk. She’ll have to.

“I don’t like the thought of you riding the rails, Junior. I’ve heard stories of yard bulls cracking skulls in many of those rail yards. Still, son, you’re a grown man now, and I got no hold over you. Your pa and I will support you no matter what you decide. When are you thinking of leaving?”

“Tomorrow morning, Ma,” he says, and just like that I’ve lost my appetite.

The tears are really flowing now.

Fireflies Dancing and Lightning in the Distance

I hold my wife tightly in bed as thunder drummed the skies. My mind is jumbled with thoughts, with worry and with love. He’s a big boy, he’ll be fine, a good head on his shoulders, a good experience for him, no sense worrying, thinking back to those downy cheeks eighteen years ago, so damned proud I was then, so damned proud I am now, not sure how the hell times moves so quickly, the blink of an eye, from cradle to the great unknown and me with no control over any of it.

“He’ll be fine, Peter.”

“I know he will,” I say, almost convincing myself of that fact.

“We’ll be fine, Peter.” And then she kisses me, and the words of my father echo in my mind, and her strength flows through me and allows me to finally sleep.

Thanks for Joining Me

I hope you enjoyed the first chapter. I’ll be back next week and we can find out, together, what’s happening with the Harper family of Charles City, Iowa. If you don’t mind, I think I’ll dedicate this one to my mother’s family, the O’Dowds, good people who lost their Iowa farm during the Great Depression. It’s the least I can do for all they did for me.

Until then, do all things with love.

© 2016 Bill Holland

Comments

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 27, 2018:

Thanks so much, Rodric! I miss writing short stories. Need to find more time in the day.

Rodric Anthony from Surprise, Arizona on April 24, 2018:

I just started this. I love the way you start off a story! I cannot wait to get into it more and read on!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 29, 2016:

Thanks once again, Peg. Maybe someday this will become a book. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy them as they struggle through some tough times and always remind us to love one another.

Peg Cole from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on July 29, 2016:

Quite an exciting beginning to your new series, Bill. I love the setting and the father - son relationship that is evident along with the keen love for his bride. Brings to mind the old homestead where my own Grandpa tinkered in the old weather beaten barn inventing a new kind of plow for the acreage. What a great story this will prove to be.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 09, 2016:

And I really appreciate that, Flourish. I love that you went back to catch the beginning.

FlourishAnyway from USA on May 07, 2016:

A very good first chapter. I've read later chapters and wanted to return for what I missed.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 22, 2016:

Maria, thank you so much! The Harper family mirrors my family, and many like them, who soldiered on despite horrific times and circumstances.

love,

bill

Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on April 22, 2016:

Dear Bill,

I'm caught up on student papers (for now) and ready to read something wonderful...is it any wonder I've headed to this series.

I'm already wishing I could share your work with my dear Momma, as she lived and taught me of The Great Depression.

Your first chapter has piqued my interest. I've fallen in love with the Harper family from the get go... Love, Maria

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 17, 2016:

Nadine, it's always nice to hear from you. I'm so glad you enjoyed this story. Best wishes to you on your other projects.

Nadine May from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa on April 16, 2016:

Hi Bill what an amazing first chapter! I now have to catch up reading your following chapters on what’s happening with the Harper family of Charles City, Iowa. I've been very scares at hubpages but very active with other projects.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 13, 2016:

I am, Zulma....we can all laugh together.

I like you....thank you!

Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon from United Kingdom on April 13, 2016:

As if we'd let you not write about these fine folks. You must be having a laugh. :D

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 12, 2016:

Thank you so much, Eddy! This is not my usual style of writing and the response has been wonderful. Almost makes me not want to stop writing about these fine folks.

Eiddwen from Wales on April 12, 2016:

Oh how glad I am that I returned. I loved this first chapter and can't wait for the second.

Take care my friend.

Eddy.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 09, 2016:

Skyler, I appreciate that very much. Thank you sir!

Skyler Saunders from Newark, DE on April 09, 2016:

The story held me throughout. Particularly, the idea of the son wanting to "man-up" and strike out on his own in Missouri solidified the solemnity of the scene. Evelyn and Peter's sincerity shines through with their emotional response to their son aiming to leave home.

Well-crafted and heartfelt, "When the Corn Died: Chapter 1" is a gem.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 24, 2016:

My grandparents lived then, as did my parents, and they said it was tougher than any of us can imagine....thanks for being here.

Shannon Henry from Texas on March 24, 2016:

I used to wonder often what it would have been like to live through that, especially since I grew up in the Midwest.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 12, 2016:

For sure, Larry, for sure!

Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on March 12, 2016:

The uncertainty of farming. Life is a gamble no matter how you look at it.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 07, 2016:

Shyron, thank you so much! I suspect this family will conquer all obstacles that come their way....love will find a way, my friend.

blessings always

bill

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on March 06, 2016:

I love you new series Bill, it reminds me of Pampa's farm, he raised cotton for support of the family and corn for feed for the livestock, and a garden for our food. I remember going with Pampa to the gristmill to have the corn ground into fine cornmeal.

The day the corn died

With enough to take to the gristmill

There would still be bread that night

But what about the harvest with no profit in sight

All help and hope is gone taken by the blight

Blessings always.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 04, 2016:

I agree with you, Sha. I don't think we parents are ever ready for that moment....come to think of it, I don't think our five ever really left. LOL

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 04, 2016:

It never dawned on me either, Chris, but it was pretty common back in the 30's. Our kids never seem to lose, so I don't know what that empty nest feels like. Hope springs eternal, my friend.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on March 04, 2016:

I love the setting and the theme, Bill. I can imagine how surprised Peter and Evelyn were when they learned Junior planned on heading out the next morning. What he's doing for the family is admirable, but I don't think parents are ever prepared for the day their children actually leave the nest.

I'm looking forward to following this story and the lives of the Harpers.

Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on March 04, 2016:

I remember when my sons left home. I had always thought that being empty nesters would be kind of cool, a little like turning back the clock or calendar. Well, such things happen whether we want them to or not, and you have communicated the emotions involved very well. Sending money back home? That never dawned on me when I moved away.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 24, 2016:

Thank you Deb! I wanted them to be the neighbors everyone would like to have, so I appreciate your comment.

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on February 24, 2016:

I like the Harpers, and definitely want to find out more.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 22, 2016:

I'm glad, Michael. Thank you!

Michael-Milec on February 22, 2016:

Yes, Bill "close to home" as well close to heart, must admit .

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 22, 2016:

Michael my friend, I suspect this story is "close to home" for you....I'm so glad you enjoyed it. There is so much inspiration in the "normal" people, as you well know.

blessings my friend.

Michael-Milec on February 22, 2016:

Bill, my friend, your 'real ' story of a true life's experience is still running through my blood. A picture of many families even on the other side of the pond, -( I know one fifteen year old leaving family in search for a " bread") - a struggle for surviving , loving and still creating the world a better place....

Thank you for free educating. Blessings and peace.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 21, 2016:

Thank you Frank! This is me mellowing a bit. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on February 20, 2016:

Billybuc this was indeed a worthy triumph and a good start.. enjoyed the read my friend look forward to more of this thanks for sharing :) Frank

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 19, 2016:

Surabhi, I am honored. Thank you so much for loving my story. The Harpers send you blessings.

Surabhi Kaura on February 19, 2016:

I love your story-telling skills, Billy Sir. The Harpers have created so much curiousity. You have portrayed an awesome setting and brilliant descriptions. Bravo! I'm off to Chapter 2.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 19, 2016:

Besarien, you had me laughing out loud with your comment. Fantastic! Let's hope at least part of your wish comes true.

And thank you kindly! See you next week with a new episode.

Besarien from South Florida on February 19, 2016:

I love the Harper family already and want them to pop their corn and sell it at current movie theater prices while the Gates Foundation travels back to '33 to buy all their hogs with gold and donate them to an educational petting zoo somewhere in Washington or Oregon in 2016 that only admits kind, polite, well-supervised vegan children. Is that too much to ask? For the love of Joads no sad little grapes dying in a dust bowl with shriveled corn and definitely no wrath at all- aaargh...

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 19, 2016:

Thank you Vellur. Not much catching up to do...only one previous chapter. I appreciate you reading.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on February 19, 2016:

Enjoyed the read and have catching up to do. Pete Junior wonder what the future holds for him. Looking forward to reading more.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 17, 2016:

I'm glad you like them, Rasma. Thank you!

Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on February 17, 2016:

Thank you for the intro to the Harpers. Looking forward to reading more about life on this farm.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 15, 2016:

Bill, thank you. Loved your reference to Tom Joad. It did not go unnoticed and yes, I thought of him when I wrote this. I'm so glad you enjoyed it....more coming soon.

Bill Russo from Cape Cod on February 15, 2016:

Depression era stories are always interesting to me, this one more than most. As usual you have written the work in a manner that stirs all the senses. Smell: that bacon frying in the morning made my stomach call for brunch. Touch: I could feel the corn brush against my knees. Then there's the spiritual side: you dredged up memories of my own boys going off to school one year and to war the next. Keep this going Bill, for the O'Dowds, for Tom Joad, and all of us who love homespun tales.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 15, 2016:

Thank you for joining us, DDE. I appreciate your loyal following.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on February 15, 2016:

A new story and you manage to draw many readers. I enjoyed the unique story.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 15, 2016:

I'm glad to hear that, Rajan! Thank you for being here at the start of this new story.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 15, 2016:

Thank you Zulma! Have a great week ahead.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on February 15, 2016:

An interesting start and makes me want to know how things go from here.

Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon from United Kingdom on February 14, 2016:

I knew you wouldn't let me down really. Happy Valentine's to you as well.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 14, 2016:

Thank you Nell! Always appreciated.

Nell Rose from England on February 14, 2016:

Great start Bill, and you hooked me right in, can't wait to see what happens next!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 14, 2016:

That is my goal, Dora, so thank you very much.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 14, 2016:

Thank you Manatita. I'm glad you came back too. This story is simply a story of love, a message I think most of us can appreciate.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 14, 2016:

Zulma, what kind of friend would I be if I didn't provide you with reading material over coffee and toast? :) Thank you, Zulma, and Happy Valentine's Day to you.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on February 14, 2016:

I'll be back also. I'm impressed with your story-telling skills. You make me want to know these people.

manatita44 from london on February 14, 2016:

I see a man worried about his crop, his business, and he tells this story well. A sweet gentle, romantic touch. This one reads like a good book ...a well brewed, perhaps even Japanese-styled cup of tea. Shinto ceremony like. Sit back, enjoy …sip slowly …ah! Feels good, sort of tea (story).

Nice! Glad I came back, took my time...nice feel to this Hub. Sweet vibes. Happy Valentine's to you both! Have a great Day!

Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon from United Kingdom on February 14, 2016:

Sounds like another great story in the works. I was a little concerned I wouldn't have anything to enjoy my coffee and toast with. Now I can rest easy. I'm looking forward to seeing story unfold.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 13, 2016:

Yes it is, Sis! Stay warm and safe, and Happy Saturday to you. I remember cold snaps like the one you are having when I lived in Vermont....ungodly cold...and then I spent that year in Alaska and realized I had no idea what cold really was. LOL Anyway, good luck with the cold, and thank you!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 13, 2016:

Missy, it's always about love for me. It's probably the most prevalent thread in 90% of my stories. With love all things are possible...without it...well, I don't really want to think about that. :) Thank you for appreciating my writing. I feed off of comments like this one.

Suzie from Carson City on February 13, 2016:

Hmmmmm It's quite obvious that you LOVE writing bro......Your writing loves you back & WE love reading what you write! It's all magical.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 13, 2016:

Genna, I can never hear it enough, so thank you, my friend. These people represent all the millions of people who struggle daily just to get by, but who manage to keep moving forward because they love each other....as you can probably tell, love is an important message in my stories. :)

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 13, 2016:

Venkatachari M, thank you so much. I'm so glad to hear you like this new family of mine.

Missy Smith from Florida on February 13, 2016:

I could hardly wait to finish it, so I could tell you how much I was enjoying reading this one. It was as refreshing as I bet a mint julep is. Although I've never had one, it sounded delicious. I smelled the lavender and I could taste that julep.

I love stories like this, Bill. I love to visit the past whatever era it may be, and you take us there so completely with your vision. I absolutely love this and feel excited to read the next one.

I kept thinking all the while reading it that they were in this great depression, but they had so much to be thankful for, and they knew how to stop and take notice to that fact.

Listen, I just can't say enough about it. I loved it that much. I was inspired by every word you wrote about "The Harpers." Thank you for being such a talented and inspirational writer! :)

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on February 13, 2016:

Bill, I know I've written this a dozen times before in my comments, but I just love how you bring your characters to life, and us closer to them and their surroundings, in the process. We genuinely care for these engaging inhabitants of your stories. We empathize with the hardships and challenges they face, and we can feel the love and hope -- both spoken and otherwise -- that texture their finely drawn days like living tapestries. This is beautiful writing.

Venkatachari M from Hyderabad, India on February 12, 2016:

Great story with a beautiful introduction of the scenery. Very interesting and engaging. Look forward to next part of it.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 12, 2016:

Alicia, I appreciate that. Thank you! I have the feeling these good people won't disappoint us.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 12, 2016:

Thank you Mike! I'm ready for the journey. Well we'll end up is anyone's guess, but I'm looking forward to it.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 12, 2016:

Thank you Bill! I've got a farmer's heart and soul. This one is for all the farmers who do whatever they have to do to make it work.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 12, 2016:

Thank you Eric! Some good people find a way despite the obstacles....it's always about love with me, buddy.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 12, 2016:

Sis, you're just an old softy! I'm so glad you enjoyed this. I love writing....the dark, the light, the ugly, the inspirational...I love writing. I love it when characters come alive, when they speak to me, when they demand that I turn them loose to tell their story....I love writing.

thank you

bill

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on February 12, 2016:

This is a great beginning to your story, Bill. I'm looking forward to the next installment!

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on February 12, 2016:

Hello Bill. The stage setting is readied and you have prepared all of your readers for another meandering journey. I wish you all the best with this series and may the words flow.

The Depression was an interesting period in our history. You have many options here with this beginning.

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on February 12, 2016:

Hi Bill. As a kid I wanted to buy a farm and work it. We lived next to a small farm and I was always interested in what was going on over there. So this story is of particular interest to me. Can't wait to read the next chapter. Have a great weekend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 12, 2016:

Thank you MizB. I figured it was about time for me to pay tribute to my grandparents.

May you have the weekend of your life!

bill

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 12, 2016:

Bill, no matter what I do, trying to hone my skills is a challenge. This gives me a chance to use some of the old information family members told me....my little tribute to some good people.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on February 12, 2016:

Well the way ain't sunny but don't you fret, we'll get there yet. I look forward to seeing how your good people make the best of the worst.

Suzie from Carson City on February 12, 2016:

Entry into another fascinating Holland tale, already drawn like a bee to honey. Hooked as always, falling into the middle of it all and already forming attachments to the people. Real, down to earth and salt of the earth families I can connect to in that moment I recognize them.

Loving this and knowing I'm part of it all as I feel my feet planted on this farm, working alongside and opening my heart as they tackle what struggles come their way. I may cheer them on and fret with them....take my guesses at what comes next. But one thing's for sure...I just met my new friends, the Harpers.............Keep it coming.

Where ever Bill takes us, that's where I am! Peace, Sis

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on February 12, 2016:

This one sounds like it's gonna be a good one, Bill. I heard so many stories of the Great Depression when I was growing up to know that it was a very interesting period in our families' lives. Well, most of us, anyway. I will eagerly await your next chapter. Have a great weekend.

William Leverne Smith from Hollister, MO on February 12, 2016:

You've taken on a tough challenge, to 'hone your skills' again. Good for you. Delicate period to write about. Enjoy writing... I know we'll all enjoy reading!! ;-)

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 12, 2016:

I appreciate that, Ann. I do love developing characters and trying to make them come alive.

I hope your weekend is everything you want it to be.

bill

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 12, 2016:

Thanks Clive. I'll see what I can do.

Ann Carr from SW England on February 12, 2016:

Great story; definitely keep it going! You have a way with characters that makes them palpable.

Have a great weekend, bill!

Ann

Clive Williams from Jamaica on February 12, 2016:

nice, lets see some more

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 12, 2016:

Thank you Deb. I appreciate it.

Deborah Neyens from Iowa on February 12, 2016:

Great start to the new story, Bill!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 12, 2016:

Marlene, I tossed that in for you. :) I knew you'd enjoy it.

Bev and I drive around looking at farms and barns, too....I love everything about farms, as you might suspect. :)

Thank you my friend.

Marlene Bertrand from USA on February 12, 2016:

This is the kind of story that I read slowly so that I can take in and experience every moment. I felt the heartbreak Peter and Evelyn felt when Pete, Jr. broke the news to him. I'm a real fan of farm stories and I absolutely enjoy looking at farm photos. Every time I see a farm, I make my husband pull off the road so I can take a picture. I'm fortunate he understands. Oh, and don't let me forget to mention how thrilled I was to read about Evelyn's lavender fragrance. Love me some lavender!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 12, 2016:

Thank you so much, Jackie. This one is near and dear to my heart.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 12, 2016:

Pop, I'll gladly hear it as often as you want to say it. Thank you!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 12, 2016:

Manatita, I appreciate you stopping by at 75%. Take care, stay well and I'll talk to you later. Blessings and thanks!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 12, 2016:

Thank you Messenger....there was nothing romantic about farming during the 1930s. My family members lived it, survived it and lucky for me, shared the stories with me..and now I share them with all of you.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on February 12, 2016:

Going to be a favorite of mine I am sure Bill, just love stories of the past and especially struggling farms and all that goes on there. Looking forward to the rest!

breakfastpop on February 12, 2016:

I have said it before, and I will say it again. Billy, I love the way write.

manatita44 from london on February 12, 2016:

Thanks Bill.

You've been busy, and lucky too, as you say. Once a farmer, always a farmer, and it's ecologically friendly two.

I think I may stop here again tomorrow. I feel about 75% myself, whereas I'm usually 85%, so that can colour my outlook. Until. Have a great day!

James C Moore from Joliet, IL on February 12, 2016:

I like how farming is described here as the tough risky business that it is as opposed to the nostalgic way in which it is so often presented. Farming was particularly hard during the depression at that. I appreciate the Harpers' outlook on things. Fast forward to the 1980's and I find myself working alongside farmers in Iowa not on a farm but in non farm employment. Apparently, then as likely now farmers are employed at other jobs to guarantee a cash flow. I look forward to chapter 2.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 12, 2016:

Thank you Linda! This one is for my ancestors, who sacrificed so much so that I could have so much.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on February 12, 2016:

Thank you Bill for what I believe will be another wonderful story. The cadence and tone of the dialogue is perfect. I feel that I already know (and love) these people.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 12, 2016:

Thank you Colin! I really appreciate it, my friend.

Colin Garrow from Inverbervie, Scotland on February 12, 2016:

Great start, Bill - I love your descriptions and the way you set everything up. It's all there. Can't wait for the next one. Keep on truckin'.

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