Story Grace, Mercy and Blessings

PacNorWest

Veteran Member
#338

If you were in the kitchen, and every one was, you had a job.

The triplets along with Lyric were sorting cabbages, it was their job to put all the small brussels sized heads in a pan for cooking later. Barry and Robbie were shucking the dirty outer leaves and then passing the heads to Eldon and Donny who halved the cabbages and passed them to the rest of the ladies who were shredding with knives.

"It looks like this is going to be the winter of pork and sauerkraut," Tess quipped brightly, sweeping around the room with a knowing glance. "That's not a bad combination, especially if you happen to like the both of them." she teased all the workers.

No body said a word. At the moment, pork was helping to banish the 'stew' food fatigue they were all feeling, but didn't dare say a complaining word against the food that was keeping them from going hungry.

Big was in the kitchen, acting as the official 'pounder' of the cabbage shreds, and Clora carefully kept track of the amount of salt used. Even Bruce was working, keeping count of the measured quarts of cabbage being stomped down in the big crocks. Personally, he detested sauerkraut, but there wasn't much else in the line of vitamin C available during the winter.

The kitchen was warm with the activity of sauerkraut making, the steaming and hissing canners sealing the goodness of the pork, while anyone in the vicinity of the wood stove was wiping perspiration's from their foreheads.

All clan members worked, because they all liked to eat. A simple concept that was well understood. Gary and Toby started digging carrots and beets; when Mark and Milo finished with the stock. they pulled onions and garlic.

When Donny and Eldon finished preparing the cabbage, they were sent out to pick all the tomatoes, dividing them into three categories, totally green, turning and almost ripe. The potatoes were next, men and boys lending their strong muscles to dig the brown treasures from the ground. It was glorious.

By dark, the living room was a mountain of produce, and no one slacked up in their jobs. Tilly had three huge sheets of vegetables roasting and caramelizing into sweetness in the oven. Pork chops, a rare treat, were frying on the stove top, and everyone was starving.

It was a harvest home supper, that intense grateful feeling when you have brought in all the bounty the earth and God have provided.

Mark gave the supper blessing with a overflowing heart, his booming voice calm and sure. There was some light hearted talking, but most everyone was busy with the wonderous bounty on their plates.

Mark and Clora sat at the head of the table, eating some, but feeling the throat tightening gratitude of blessings. They had worked as hard as possible, the weather against their every move, but with careful management, they would have enough to get them through the winter.

Big and Tilly, sitting together, noted the sheen of tears in Clora's eyes and the manly swallowing Mark was doing to keep his emotions under control. They too, felt the enormity of the blessings heaped upon them as strangers to the clan that had welcomed them so warmly.

Ivy and Eldon ate like they had been starved, and Tess and Wyatt ate together with the three work tired children between them. Toby and Milo sat together with Gary across the table, discussing how to cut the short stemmed and nearly ripe heads of oats for cattle feed.

Donny was the look out, ensuring the family that was vulnerable when they were all together, could eat in peace and safety. Eldon finished and took two heaping plates out to Donny, and the two of them shared a companionable meal. Eldon might have intended to let Donny eat both plates, but it was far too great a temptation to pass up that second plate that was just begging to be eaten.

Jerry and Abby came in from outside, where they had been moving into the barn apartment. Delighted to have a moment of privacy, they lingered moving their things in from the travel wagon. Finally hunger drove them to the big house to partake of the celebration.

Life was rearranging itself, as Chuck and Dory were gone, and new alliances were formed and strengthened. By night fall, most everyone had forgotten the couple had been there and left. They weren't missed.
 

Sammy55

Veteran Member
Bruce has always been an odd duck. His wife was better and kept him under control. I vaguely remember when he came into the situation, but don't remember if it was before or after the urns and prince....

Thanks, Mrs. Pac! Always a pleasure to read your latest!!
 

PacNorWest

Veteran Member
Folks,

You are correct; Bruce has always been the odd duck. He entered the story when Warren, Clora for her foot and the assorted pawns of the devil needed healing. Could it be, that after all this time, good ole Bruce from the tenements of Chicago in all his former drugged up glory; finally remembers he was cold, stone furious at Mark and Clora for keeping Tricia from him and thwarting his temper tantrums?

Let's see, isn't the saying; revenge is a dish best served cold?

Or maybe it's because Bruce is a most brilliant doctor, but a screwed up human being. Always has been, always will be. Perhaps. Who but the shadow knows?

Cue ominous music and a evil laugh. LOL. Pac.
 

PacNorWest

Veteran Member
#339

Tess and Wyatt were in the midst of a fragile truce. To outsiders, they might have seemed a happy couple, finally getting reunited after a long absence. However long they had been apart, they hadn't had the opportunity to just sit and talk and get to know one another.

Add three lively youngsters and never ending chores into the mix, and both Tess and Wyatt were frustrated and irritated at the slow progress they were making. It didn't make them pleasant people to be around. And of course when Mom was short tempered and antsy, the three boys picked up on her attitude and behaved poorly.

At the end of supper, Mark announced the next day was Sunday and no work was to be done beyond the necessary chores of living.

Wyatt perked up immediately. A chance to get Tess alone, perhaps a ride or a drive' Even if the boys were along, the opportunity to do something different would keep them occupied and allow the grownups to talk.

Wyatt's mind went into overdrive and he smiled at Tess, the wheels in his mind turning at an astonishing speed.

Tess, for her part, couldn't help but laugh at the expression on Wyatt's face, and just like that, the two of them relaxed and lost the stilted manner they had been carrying.

Mark looked up when Tess laughed, and then at Clora who had a soft smile on her face. She patted his arm, and just like that, made the situtation for Mark acceptable.

Honey, Rennie, Abby and Ivy gathered up the dirty dishes and proceeded to wash them, giving Tilly a rest. The cook was banished to her chair with hot coffee and a goofy look from Big.

Tilly conferred with Clora, planning what the Sunday meal would be. Both Big and Tilly were pleased to hear that there would be church services, usually ending promptly at 12:30. Scalloped potatoes with pork chunks and small carrots was planned, Tilly asking if there was cornstarch to make a milk pudding for desert.

There might have been a considerable amount of noise in the room, but mention the word dessert and all ears attuned to the cook. The kids were excited, they missed the occasional treat, and looking forward to tomorrow's sweet meal ending.

Eldon and Donny along with Robbie had become the milking crew, caring for the two old cows as the treasurers they were. They nodded, there was enough milk with cream rising to make dessert.

With all the eyes and smiles turned her way, Tilly decided she had better wait until the morning to make the pudding, considering the immense amount of interest in the dessert. That way there was a running chance some of the dessert would make it to the table.

Both Honey and Rennie asked for an escort home, husbands settling hats and rifles as the families moved across the open area to the homes with candles burning in the windows. Houses were cleared, and the families entered for the night.
 

Texican

Live Free & Die Free.... God Freedom Country....
Both Honey and Rennie asked for an escort home, husbands settling hats and rifles as the families moved across the open area to the homes with candles burning in the windows. Houses were cleared, and the families entered for the night.

This will become normal in the future on your own property.

Texican....
 

Sammy55

Veteran Member
Sounds like you had a "ruff ruff" day! LOL!!

Get a well-needed rest tonight, Pac!! We'll wait! We ain't going anywhere! We're addicted to you, ya know?? LOL!!
 

nancy98

Veteran Member
Folks, we gathered and shipped calves today, and I'm one tired puppy. See ya tomorrow. Pac.
Hey PAC, the Turkey Trot Ranch here in Texas is for sale. Be perfect for you and your brood. ;)


 

PacNorWest

Veteran Member
Gee Nancy,
I hope you have the gumption to be a hired hand on that ranch!! Not for us, thanks.

Since we had all the stock gathered in, we did a severe culling of the older cows, sent two to the butcher and the rest of the oldies to the sale.

We always set back one of the oldest cows, as she knows the routine of the ranch and teaches the younger cows what to do. We have a Charolais cross cow that's not ours. No brand, no ear tags, so we called all the neighbors and notified the sheriff. So far, no one is claiming her. I believe I know why; I wouldn't want to admit to any of our rancher friends, that I had such a breachy cow . She keeps trying the corral fence every once in a while, but it was made with old gals like her in mind.

I'd call her a stupid heifer, but she's older than that.
 

PacNorWest

Veteran Member
#340

Tilly was a good cook with a calm and pleasant personality. A much better cook than Helga and with none of the hysterics and superstitions. Clora liked Tilly, and Tilly liked Clora.

Big was just as easy to get along with, worked on projects with serene confidence and always had time to stop and help a youngster if they had a problem.

The days were almost boringly the same, until a fresh wave of wild hogs came through. Then it was all hands on deck to process the bounty. Even Rennie was happy that the main focus of the butchering had shifted to the kitchen in the big house.

Rennie was just a naturally more private person that didn't enjoy a mob of people in her house; no matter what they were doing. Toby understood, shrugged in good nature and did his best to keep the butchering work away from his house.

Tess had called him on the not unnoticed omission, and Toby simply grinned at his sister. "There are some compromises that every couple has to go through; that's life Tess. If you weren't so obnoxious and loud about your preferences, you might discover that Wyatt has other, legitimate views on how life should be lived and handled. He's not Ben," Toby warned, "he won't take your constant steamrolling."

That bit of reality sent Tess into a deep introspection, and slowly she began to ask Wyatt his ideas and reasons for this and that. The two of them went walking through the pastures and grounds every chance they had free from work, the boys running and using pent up energy.

Ivy had become the teacher for the clan's youngsters; with Eldon schooling himself with the available books. He had missed out on so much school, as his uncle had him working; and he was finding math, reading and writing to be difficult. It was more difficult than ever, when Donny went hunting without him, and Eldon watched dejectedly as the hunter rode away.

Milo, Gary and Jerry planned a scouting party to the camp of the 'flesh eaters' as they called them. When Wyatt found out about the trip, he asked to go, citing the desire to learn more about the countryside. He was invited in, and the group left the next morning.

The camp was empty, the bodies of the depraved humans gone and not much of anything had been disturbed. The evil feeling permeating the area was cleansed by a huge fire that destroyed all the evidence of human occupation.

Wyatt and Jerry found it difficult to understand the amount of sickness that had happened in the cleared area by the river. The tales of the wolves completely astonished Wyatt, who felt the other three were feeding him a fancy tale designed to spook him through and through. Wyatt did see wolf tracks in the river's muddy banks, and marveled at the size.

The road was clear of travelers, and Milo and the group were past the place where the prince's camp had been located, when Milo realized there was no trace of the camp or the bodies.

"That's strange," he muttered more to himself that to anyone in particular. "When they opened fire on us, I would have bet that they lost twenty or so men, more if you count the men that were killed as they collapsed sick . Yet, there's no trace." he glanced around at the ground, trees and terrain that marked the land between the front of the retreat and the river. To his eye it was undisturbed.

"Let's ride over toward the river, I'll show you men where we had the fish trap set. Maybe we can repair the trap and catch some fish. I don't know about you guys, but I'm as tired of pork as I am of stew."

They all nodded, as nobody wanted to voice discontent about the wealth of food they had in the pork. But the sameness was getting wearisome.

The track they followed toward the river, seemed well beaten down and traveled. Yet there was no evidence of people, and the closer to the river, the more traveled the 'road' appeared.

"I don't understand what I'm seeing," Jerry complained. "This path, track or road, whatever you want to call it, has been worn down by hundreds of feet, yet where are they. They haven't gone past the retreat, and the dogs haven't alerted that there are strangers in the area. C'mon guys, give me some ideas to work with."
 

Texican

Live Free & Die Free.... God Freedom Country....
Tess and Wyatt seem to be working things out.

Where are all of the people that made the tracks?

Pac to reveal in a soon to chapter?

Texican....
 

PacNorWest

Veteran Member
#341

Milo pushed his hat back and rubbed his forehead with his sleeve. "I know for certain that this beaten down road wasn't here less than two weeks ago. But I'll tell ya something, I think this is where the original road was that circled Raleigh was located. The beltway, and look, there are patches of bare ground running way down the track, like a road would do."

Gary and Jerry looked at one another and nodded. "It's almost like civilization is trying to reclaim the places it has been." Gary felt the disturbed vibes in the air, and shifted in his saddle uncomfortably.

"If that fish trap thingy is around here, let's get it located and get for home, I don't care for the feeling I'm getting. Have you noticed how much warmer it is here, suddenly, like there is some sort of cold trap hanging over the retreat, that we rode out of?"

"Ahh, you're being fanciful," Wyatt scoffed, starting to roll up his sleeve against the heat of the sun.

"See," Jerry pointed out, "what ya doin that for? Are ya over warm?"

"Well, yes, I guess I am hot."

"If you gents have no objections, I believe we should make tracks for home," Milo settled his hat on firmly and turned his horse and cantered off.

"Well, I guess if we want to go, we'd better." Gary looked puzzled at the moving off Milo. "Someone lit his tail feathers afire." he observed.

"I agree that there is a funny feeling in the air, so let's go," Wyatt spoke up as his horse wanted to follow.

The unusual warmth followed them all the way back to the retreat. The icy fingered cold had vanished, leaving cool but normal feeling temperatures for North Carolina in the fall.

Mark was there to question the riders when they unsaddled, asking for their take on the sudden warmth and increasing moments of sunshine happening.

"Dad, the only thing we did was to burn the camp of the flesh eaters. Other than that, we were just riding, but we did find the beginnings of a road starting to appear. No other reasons that I can think of, except we noticed the heat right away. It must be twenty degrees warmer than when we left."
 

djones54

Member
#341

Milo pushed his hat back and rubbed his forehead with his sleeve. "I know for certain that this beaten down road wasn't here less than two weeks ago. But I'll tell ya something, I think this is where the original road was that circled Raleigh was located. The beltway, and look, there are patches of bare ground running way down the track, like a road would do."

Gary and Jerry looked at one another and nodded. "It's almost like civilization is trying to reclaim the places it has been." Gary felt the disturbed vibes in the air, and shifted in his saddle uncomfortably.

"If that fish trap thingy is around here, let's get it located and get for home, I don't care for the feeling I'm getting. Have you noticed how much warmer it is here, suddenly, like there is some sort of cold trap hanging over the retreat, that we rode out of?"

"Ahh, you're being fanciful," Wyatt scoffed, starting to roll up his sleeve against the heat of the sun.

"See," Jerry pointed out, "what ya doin that for? Are ya over warm?"

"Well, yes, I guess I am hot."

"If you gents have no objections, I believe we should make tracks for home," Milo settled his hat on firmly and turned his horse and cantered off.

"Well, I guess if we want to go, we'd better." Gary looked puzzled at the moving off Milo. "Someone lit his tail feathers afire." he observed.

"I agree that there is a funny feeling in the air, so let's go," Wyatt spoke up as his horse wanted to follow.

The unusual warmth followed them all the way back to the retreat. The icy fingered cold had vanished, leaving cool but normal feeling temperatures for North Carolina in the fall.

Mark was there to question the riders when they unsaddled, asking for their take on the sudden warmth and increasing moments of sunshine happening.

"Dad, the only thing we did was to burn the camp of the flesh eaters. Other than that, we were just riding, but we did find the beginnings of a road starting to appear. No other reasons that I can think of, except we noticed the heat right away. It must be twenty degrees warmer than when we left."
 

djones54

Member
PAC I’ve been following your epic since June of 2013. I joined TB2000 then just to be able to read your story(s) from the beginning. Members only. My personality keeps me from reading a little of your story every day or so. Instead I let you get ahead so I can binge read all at once. My wife reminded me that’s also how I shell and eat peanuts. All at once!
I have been moved by Clora’s spiritual dependence on God, praying through good times and bad.
I try to consider God’s will for me, but darn, my will just loves to take over. You and Clora, (maybe you are Clora!) have at least, taught me to be more mindful of God’s Will. For that and for so much more, I thank you. David
 

PacNorWest

Veteran Member
As we were blessed to meet you and your mister, Moldy.
If I can lead one person to be mindful of our Lord's will, I will feel blessed to be in His service.
The Bible tells us that the "Great Commission" is to go out into the highways, byways and hedgerows and speak of Jesus and His salvation. Imagine what the world would be if those so moved would talk to one person.

We have been doing a major renovation on our church and parsonage. It needed weatherization, and painting, gutters cleaning, ya know, the usual. We have measured the floors for new flooring, and polished the pews, put up November type decorations and praised the Lord for the time and energy to get the work done.

Am I Clora? Possibly, but I do know that a lot of her thoughts have been mine over the years. It's been quite a journey, from the beginning; it will end eventually, when God directs. Pac.
 

Texican

Live Free & Die Free.... God Freedom Country....
The evil in the cannibal camp was eradicated when the camp was burnt allowing the light to shine again. Are the foot steps the released souls returning home from the burnt cannibal camp.

Texican....
 

PacNorWest

Veteran Member
#342

Sunday morning was like the first day of true fall. Fog hung in the low lands and there was an almost cold chill to the air. The air smelled different; and even though it was early in the morning, the clan seemed more alert and alive. There were more smiles and pleasant greetings, it was as if a depressive pall had been removed from the retreat.

The state of the weather was the main topic of chatter; and Mark addressed the very noticeable change in his sermon. "I have to believe that eradicating the camp of the ..." he almost said flesh eaters, at the last moment realizing the young children present.

"The camp of the unusual people," he quickly amended. " was a task that we needed to do for the sake and safety of us all. The immediate change of the weather and the unusual return of old familiar landmarks give strength to that idea. Please open your bibles to the first book of Revelation, I believe we had better familiarize ourselves once again with the outcome of the last days."

Nobody objected, there were so many unexplained happenings; it was a comfort to know the lord was preparing to come.

When the service was concluded, there were potatoes to mash, gravy to make and all hands hopped to so the table was set for a glorious family Sunday dinner.

The meal eaten, people scattered to find rest or distance from all the togetherness.

Soon, all the couples were walking in different directions, exchanging confidences and re-tying bonds that had missed the togetherness that was lost in the larger group.

Tess and Wyatt walked out toward the back of the barn pasture. The three boys running here and there, using up energy, shouting and laughing as they chased one another. "It's so good to hear their laughter," Tess confessed. "I was afraid the gloom and doom I felt when Ben passed, would affect them into depression."

"Tess, I don't want to rush you. My being here is because I'm right where I want to be. If you need more time, I expect you to be honest and tell me. I want you to be sure and clear in your mind, what you want going forward in life." Wyatt was holding hands with Tess, and his speech cost him a lot.

"I'm not a fancy man, and I get too involved in my sheriff's work, or at least I used to, and it can consume me. But, in my defense, I've never had a person to balance me out, and I don't know if you want a job such as that?" Wyatt finished with a troubled look.

Tess tucked her arm in Wyatt's and walked closer with him. "I've done a lot of thinking about my future, the boy's future and a future including you in our lives. I have a very calm peace about all of us being together. I am not suggesting that we rush into any type of commitment, .....yet." Tess added with an impish grin. "I'd like to get to know you better, and the same for you, to get to know me."

Accepting one another's interest, they walked to the end of the fence where the horses were gathered. "Boy's," Tess called out. "Please come back here to us, I don't want you lost in the horses if they get to milling around. You'll get stepped on."

The boys minded and Tess smiled at them and Wyatt. It was such a fantastic afternoon, it had been a long time since she had felt this alive and hopeful for the future.
 
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