Blair Family Fiction

three families on Summer Street…

Dear Rosa,

Hunting season meant survival for you and Henry. Food in the cold of winter, venison stew with roasted potatoes and turnips you grew in your garden. Pumpkins were for eating, not decoration as they stored well through the long season.

But I wonder, did Henry celebrate it’s arrival as my father and brothers still do? Did he oil his gun and load his shot in the weeks just before that blessed day arrived? I’ll take a flight if you don’t mind… and paint a picture of some 70 years ago.

*******************

The leaves were long gone, even the color on the ground had faded to brown. And cold, Rosa shivered, this cold meant the blasted rain would be converted to something coveted by her husband.

Cold would bring the snow and snow meant the deer would leave tracks.

She’d risen early that morning to see Henry off. He’d need a good breakfast to get through the long day ahead.  Pancakes with the syrup they’d put up that spring and ham from the pig they’d just slaughtered. Everything on their table was grown or raised by their hands. There was just no other way…

The front door opened and she heard Henry’s simple greeting.

“Good mornin.”

Henry, her son-in-law, answered, “It will be if we both get a buck.”

She heard their quiet chuckles.

More would come soon so she hurried to set the table. Freddie, her brother and Earle, Everett, Roger and Hiram, her grandsons, were to work together today.

“Morning, Rosie.” Henry stopped inside the door. “You’re looking pretty, and just look at this spread-” Her son-in-law could be such a sweet talker.

“Shush now and come sit down.” she softened the harsh tone a bit. Mary’s husband was not her favorite. A marriage that had driven two families apart – and how could she like the man? All arrogant, as if the Ferrys were something more than the Blairs…

She let the thought drift away when the door opened and her grandsons arrived. A special hunt this was, what with it being little Hiram and Roger’s first.

Breakfast was consumed with the talk of strategy.

“We’re to go to Dole Hill. I’ve set a stand there amongst the apple trees.” Her Henry would be the leader, she thought with pride. Her Henry always got a deer. Freddie would too if he’d just let off that damn bottle for a minute…

“We’ll leave Henry and the two youngest lads there and drive the deer to them.”

Roger squirmed in his seat at that. He’d chafe against the word “youngest” – wasn’t he eleven now? Rosa turned to the dishes to hide her smile. A fierce little man, Roger was short but stocky and probably would be the strongest of his lot one day…

“I’d go with you, sir.”

Henry met Roger’s intense blue eyes.

“No son, not this year. Hiram needs you close by. Next year you can join the drive team.”

He’d not argue, he couldn’t. No one challenged the quiet authority of her husband.

“Right,” he continued and drew a map on the table with his finger. “We’ll head off in different directions – you, Freddie to the west, Earle takes south, Everett the east and I’ll come from the north. Together we’ll move in and drive them to the center – to the stand.”

Each knew the task assigned, each understood the first deer taken would be Henry’s. If they were lucky this season, enough meat would be provided for the three families on Summer Street. If not, well, Rosa knew they’d share as much as they could.

“We’re off then.” Henry gave her a quick peck. “Thanks for the breakfast, love.”

“Go on with you,” Rosa pushed him away. There’d be no room for familiarity when surrounded by the grandsons.

As she watched them leave though, she whispered a silent prayer. For a bountiful harvest and safety and such. That her boys would all return home, tired, a bit cold, and successful. Tomorrow, God willing, there’d be a deer or two to dress in the front yard. One that would sustain them through the endless, brutal winter that was to come.

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14 thoughts on “three families on Summer Street…

  1. Woman have had to endure so much worry through the years. We women today really are fortunate. this was another great read..You do have such a good talent for these short stories that leaves the reader wanting more..

    1. Yes they have – and in many rural communities, they still do. I never thought of blogging as creating short stories til recently – now I’m forever hooked. Thanks for swinging by Lynne, I always enjoy your thoughtful comments!

  2. Loved the story reminded me of so many times I hit the woods with gun in hand I swear my Springer Spaniels loved the smell of gun oil oh the memories you have brought up with telling your story LOVED IT!
    Eunice

    1. I should’a known you hunted, too, Eunice! Oh my gosh – is there anything you DON’T do? Such an amazing lady… as to your dogs loving the smell of gun oil – now I’m laughing… you’ve no idea how much I hate that smell! Ah, well, it’s that time of year again. Wish hunters the best – just hope they stay smart in my woods – don’t want any accidents.

      1. Oh I know this well. Hunted in MA one year 20+ years ago now and I heard so much shooting beside me I HIT THE DECK! Good thing too as they had all seen a DEER they said REALLY and not one left a PRINT it was time for me to say goodbye to the CRAZY ONES! lol

        There are very few things I never did. Ski was one of them but loved sledding and snowmobiling 🙂

        I have not been in a hot air balloon but jumped from a plane JUST ONCE ! I have had 3 balloons touch down beside my home along the river in a field took my liver and white spaniels and off we went to lend a hand.

        I love US travel loved Canada but no reason to get passport as I love MY COUNTRY

        Hunting yes and fishing love fishing and tying flies to catch them on yes you can say I have lived a wonderful life with maybe 15 years of real hell and 32 self inflicted as well but LIFE was lived 🙂

      2. Some of these hunters are scary… still, I was glad when they thinned the black bear population in our woods – took 6 bear in one season. That’s a lot of bear.
        What an amazing life, Eunice – wow. Only jumped out of a plane ONCE? Come again? Even though time passes and we often regret some of the things we put ourselves through – it seems as though you’ve found a way to stay positive and upbeat. Maybe that’s why I enjoy your blog so much.

      3. Thanks honey you are too sweet 🙂

        I am very thankful for each and every aspect of this life I have lived it really did make me who I am but I think I had to be in the bad spots I found myself in to appreciate the joy I feel each day I open my eyes even if it is 3 AM 🙂

  3. Have you ever gone hunting? Does your hubbie?
    My bro and I went with Dad once–traipsed all over the mountains, both of us worrying that Dad would shoot a poor deer and we’d have to pack it out. Dad fell down a rock slide–good thing he wasn’t hurt because me and Markie couldn’t have found our way back to civilization.

    1. Nope. No hunting for this gal. Too squimish – I can barely kill a spider. No fishin either – aint’ nothing on God’s green earth gonna get me cleaning that poor fish. I buy mine pre-done and ready for the frying pan! Good thing your dad feel down that rock-slide (I guess?). Killing a deer’s a pretty big deal.

      1. I don’t like fishing either. I feel so sorry for the sorrowful-looking creature–trying to breathe out of water before you kill it. Sad.

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