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The Rough Life on the Frontier
Author's note: It doesn't relate to me, but I had fun with it.
“Mama” I shouted. Papa pulled me away from her.
“She’s sick, Marti. Leave her alone” My mother laid on the bed covered in sweat. She stared at me, and I wanted nothing more than just to grab her outstretched hand, but Papa wouldn’t let me. A couple weeks ago, while preparing supper, Mama cut her hand on Papa’s knife while, cutting some fish.
Papa was a brave man. He built our cabin and even cut and notched every log by himself. Of course, I tired to help him, but I just wanted to play in the pond with Grover and Blue. Grover was my yeller dog, and Blue was my black cat. Together we caught fish in the pond by our cabin. Mama often cooked the fish we caught; she cut herself flaying a fish that Grover had caught.
Money had been rough. Papa spent most of his money by putting Jake in school. Jake was my brother, but Jake had died last year. He was mauled by a pack of wolves. I wasn’t aloud to go to school. I was supposed to be a young lady. While Jake was at school Mama would teach me how to be a woman. We spend hours at a time cooking, cleaning, and she would show me how to do a women’s work. I’m thirteen, I was getting older and pretty soon I would be married and have a family of my own.
I had been distracted by the past that I didn’t realize Papa had sat me at the kitchen table. I chewed on some bread that was sitting in front of me. Papa rushed out of Mama’s room. “Papa?” I asked. He stopped at the press and grabbed his jacket.
“Where is Blue?” He asked me. I told him blue was in the barn. He rushed out the door, and I followed him. He ran into the barn.
“What are you doing, Papa?” I asked. I reckoned he was just going to fetch Blue for Mama. Blue, was Mama’s favorite animal that we had. She often fell asleep with him in her arms. Papa reached the barn before I did, of course. He was taller and older then me. He spotted Blue in the corner of the barn curled up next to Grover. For a cat and a dog, Grover and Blue really loved each other. “Marti, your Mama is sick. She has St. Anthony’s Fire.” Papa pulled his knife out of his pocket. I tried to stop him. I jumped on his back, and he threw me off like I was nothing. He slashed his knife and Blue hissed. Grover jumped up, frightened. Papa turned around to face me. “Now you listen here. I am trying to help your Mama. This,” he pointed to Blue’s ear, which was in his hand. “This here is going to help her.” As soon as Papa left the barn Blue rushed into my arms. I grabbed some bandages that I had stashed in the barn, and wrapped Blue’s head. Hopefully the bleeding would stop.
A couple hours later when I was satisfied that Blue was going to be alright, I rushed out of the barn and into the house. “Papa!” I shouted. I found him in Mama’s room. Mama was lying on the bed motionless. Papa closed her eyes with his fingers and put his head down. “I tried Marti.” He told me. Tears fell down my face because, Mama was gone. I was to take her place. She had taught me to do her job, but I was only thirteen. I was afraid, but I couldn’t let Papa know that. He would tell me that fear is state of mind, and that I should be brave, that what Mama would have wanted.
The first night Mama died, Papa and I sat up together with her. Papa explained to me that our past president issued that he wished to have somebody sit up with his body when he died. I didn’t get it but Papa told me that we were to stay up all night with her for three days, to make sure that she isn’t just in a comma. I felt sad, being around Mama like this, but I had to be brave.
The next morning I got up and prepared to cook breakfast. I went to the barn and grabbed some eggs from the chicken coop. I milked Bessie, our cow, until I had a bucket of fresh milk. I fried the eggs in a pan I had found in the press. “Papa.” I called. He was in the other room napping. He stayed up the entire night with Mama, but I fell asleep on his lap. He sat up slowly and scratched his head. We ate our breakfast in silence.
After breakfast, Papa went out to the field and plowed. I went to the barn and played with Blue and Grover. Blue was very sensitive about his ear. He gave you a bad look if you even looked at the big bandage on his head.
The second night, I stayed up with Mama. I let Papa rest in his room. I laid there on the floor, and stared at the ceiling. I hummed my favorite song. I hummed the song that Mama used to sing to me when I was a growing up. The song made me cry. I wiped away my tears and fought the urge to make more. I needed to stay strong for Papa. He needed me right now.
I slept the whole day. When I awoke Papa had been sitting at the kitchen table. “Why didn’t you wake me Papa?” I asked him.
“You were tired, Marti. I will stay up with Mama tonight. You need to make dinner. I’m starving. I shot a rabbit today, its hanging on the porch.” He explained.
I jumped up at his command. I skinned the rabbit, carefully so that I could keep the hide, dipped the rabbit in flower, and fried it. I figured it would be gross, but Papa seemed to enjoy it. I fetched some water from the well, and Papa and I drank it.
I told Papa that I would stay up with Mama again, but he told me no. I went to bed early, because I was still tired. When I woke up in the morning I was hoping to see Mama’s warm face staring at me, but she wasn’t there. I walked out of my room and found Papa sitting by Mama. “Marti, go fetch a shovel from the barn.” He ordered. As I ran he picked Mama up and followed me out the door. I got the shovel from the barn, and found him behind the house. Mama was lying beside him on the ground. I gave them the shovel and he buried Mama. “I love you.” I whispered to Mama.
Now four years later, I still live in the same house. I am married and have two kids. A girl named Anna Beth, after Mama, and a boy named John. My husbands name is Clark. I married Clark two years ago. I have been happy. I thank Mama, every night I come out to where Papa buried her and talk to her. Papa died a year after I married Clark. I don’t know what happened to his body, but I’ll always miss him. Sometimes I think that one of these days’ lives will be a lot simpler.
Chapin, South Carolina
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Reality is a form off writting, that comes straight from the soul