Saturday, August 23, 2014

Part 55


I nearly gave Mr. Swenson and the two men with him a heart attack when I came out of the trees with my bat and shouted, "Hey!  That's mine!"

A man with a very bushy beard growled at me and said, "That's a good way to get shot you little fool."

"A good way to get shot is to take stuff that doesn't belong to you."  And before they could give me a snappy comeback I told them, "At least when you don't have someone watching your back while you do it."

Mr. Svenson leaned on the porch railing and started chuckling, then he was laughing, then he was just about to bust a gut.  I didn't see what was so funny.  Neither did bushy beard but the other guy was wiping his mouth with a faded blue bandana which gave me the idea he was trying really hard not to smile.

Mr. Svenson finally stopped and moaned as he sat down on one of the stairs.  "Oh Girly, you've grown into a firecracker.  Reminds me of my Ava.  She would have just been about your age when I took notice of her the first time I came in off the boat."  He wiped his eyes and blew his nose.

When the trumpeting was over with I asked, "How is Mrs. Svenson?  You said her lumbago was starting to act up."

He nodded, "Laid up with it as we speak though Carter's bride has got some god-awful goop brewing to help her get the kinks out.  She sends her love and says when its time she'll try and arrange to see you."

I tried to keep my face blank but bushy beard man's scowl was menacing.  To him I said, "I can't tell who is under all that fur.  Are you Mr. Owen or Mr. Carter."

"Owen you infernal brat.  Now come here and get a proper hug."

"Yeah right.  Not with you looking like you want to paddle me first."

The other man snickered again but tried to look away.  Knowing it could only be his twin I said to the other one, "Hello Mr. Carter."

"Hello DeeDee," he said still snickering a little bit.  Owen was built like a bear ... like Mr. Svenson and that side of his family.  Mr. Carter, though only half a minute younger that his twin, was his complete opposite all the way down to his personality.  Mr. Carter liked a good laugh, sometimes too much so just like Mr. Owen could be too gruff and serious.

I stood there waiting to find out what they wanted and Mr. Svenson took a long look at me and then sighed.  "Where's my little noisy bumble bee?"

Trying not to hurt the old man's feelings I said, "Oh, she's around.  She just tries to have more sense than she used to.  But it's taken quite a bit to get her this way."  Mr. Svenson nodded.  Mr. Owen suddenly got an interested look on his face, one that said he hadn't expected to.  And Mr. Carter mentioned that he might as well go back to chopping wood if I was going to get boring.

"And why are you chopping MY wood?"

Mr. Carter smiled and shook his head before saying, "Because I drew short straw of the day and am stuck with the scut work.  And today's scut work is getting you some wood so Uncle Joseph here will stop pestering me about it."  I never had decided whether I had liked Mr. Carter or not.  Part of me wanted to but Dad told me to mind my p's and q's around him because he was kinda wild and was always leading the kids in the Durant family into trouble of one sort or another and he liked most of the family too much to want to get into a ruckus with them over an incident if it could be avoided by using some ordinary caution.

I looked at Mr. Svenson and he reminded me, "I told you I'd see you'd get some wood Child."

"Yes sir.  I just didn't figure you'd take a whip and chair to the grown ups to get it done.  Besides, I'm already chopping wood."

"So I see.  Glad to see you've turned into a go-getter like your mother.  Now, have you eaten today?"

That brought a glower from Mr. Owen and I decided I wasn't going to get drawn into their family politics so I told him, "Yes sir."  He hiked an bushy eyebrow up to edge of his tobaggan cap so I explained, "Broth with dried chives in it and pickled eggs.  Not great but better than starving and more than alot of people I know are probably eating.  And speaking of, I'm not a charity case, what do I owe you for help with the wood?"

"Humph!" I'd whoopsed and offended someone I had no business offending.

Mr. Owen looked at his uncle's sour face and then turned to me and said seriously, "Nothing this time DeeDee Phillips.  I won't even take exception to you throwing our Christian duty back in our face."

"If it's Christian duty then I'll accept with thanks Mr. Owen," I told him remembering how religious some of the family was.  "But I've found that even that duty some people like to put strings on to.  I'm not saying you or your family but people aren't all who they used to be and ... and I've learned to not ... not take so much for granted in the last little while."

Mr. Owen gave me a searching look and then nodded.  "As an apology that was a fine one."  He sighed.  "And you're right to be cautious girl.  Even here there are some, even some in our own group, that prefer to go their own way."

I thought about that, nearly said something about what I'd heard that first night though I still couldn't say who the other Durant brother was that had been with the man since there were several.  In case it was Carter - and I couldn't tell at all - I decided to keep that to myself, at least for a bit.  What I did ask was, "You make it sound like Singing Waters people aren't the only ones around."

Mr. Owen looked at his uncle uncomfortably then said, "I'll leave you to it Uncle Joseph.  I want to see what Carter is up to."

My uh-oh meter spiked.  Mr. Svenson patted the stair beside him and I sat down cautiously waiting for the hammer to fall.

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for the chapter Kathy
    Wayne

    ReplyDelete
  2. Interesting story, and getting better, men with real beards, I approve.

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  3. Great update. And that reminds me I need to shave.LOL.

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