by DiVoran Lites
More Nancy and Ellie
Nancy’s voice had become full of controlled groans and sighs. She sounded so burdened with the memory of her husband’s death that Ellie didn’t know what to say.
“Aldon was still gone, Bill had left for California, so I woke Molly who was living with us and she saddled Ribbons and rode for help. While she was gone, I sat with Robert and said goodbye. My brothers came and built a coffin from lumber we had on hand to repair the barn. Molly and I washed and dressed him in clean clothes. Then we buried him on the ridge in the spot where he liked to sit on his horse and look out over the valley.”
“You just buried him, you didn’t have a coroner or an undertaker? There was no death certificate?” Having come from a large city Ellie had never heard of folks dealing with their dead in this way.
“At the time we didn’t have a doctor or even a courthouse nearby.” Nancy fingered a quilt knot.
“Did Aldon come home then?”
“By then, the war was over, and they let him muster out. He was so war-weary I feared for his health. He’d lost Paul and many of his young friends and now his father was gone. He did the outside work, and Molly and I helped while keeping up the cooking, laundry, and house work. You can’t let things go or they’ll get into such messes that you’ll never get them straightened out. We raised whatever vegetables we could. Several years later, Trudy asked me to live with her in town because her husband had died and she was lonely. It was okay with Bill and Aldon. Aldon leased the ranch to the Solanos, and Bill headed west. Molly stayed on enjoying the excitement of the foreigners when they came.” She smiled when she mentioned Molly and Ellie wondered whether she was thinking about the wonderful time they’d had taking Molly to dinner and the moving picture show.
The next thing Ellie was aware of was light streaming through the lace curtains. Someone had spread another quilt over the bed and, oh, there was Nancy. When she realized she had missed coffee time with Aldon, regret caught her by the throat. She coughed lightly, which woke Nancy. Remembering the conversation from the night before Ellie suddenly recalled her anger with Aldon.
“Good morning,” said Nancy.
Ellie got out of bed so Nancy could come from out from her side which was against the wall.
“What’s wrong?” Nancy asked.
“I remembered how mad I am at Aldon.” Ellie picked up the robe hanging over the desk chair.
“Last night was completely unlike him. He would have protected any girl, but I’ve never seen him so mad. What’s going on between you two?” Nancy’s began making the bed. “Maybe if you’d talk to him…” she said softly.
“We’d better start getting ready for church. Hopefully the chores got done without me. Aldon and I usually do the milking together, but I don’t suppose he really needs me. He could milk both cows in the time it takes me to get the stool under one of them.” Ellie had never been so disheartened.
“Does Betsy still stick her foot in the pail?” Nancy’s question followed Ellie’s hint to talk about something else.
“I thought I was the only one she did that to. She got so good at tormenting me that Aldon traded milkers. Spot didn’t like me either. Aldon is the one who has a way with animals.”
“He’s a good man,” said Aldon’s mother.
“Yes, he is, but now that he’s been fighting over me, I’m afraid I’ll be considered a floozy by everyone in the valley. I understand they already thought I was a flapper. Now they’ll think I’ve been leading Enrico and Aldon on,” Ellie hated that her anger with Aldon was making her sharp with Nancy.
“Aldon will be sorry that you’re angry with him, but he may not be sorry he dealt with the other young man the way he did. Please talk to him my dear, he’s never cared for a woman as he does for you and I think you’re in love with him too. It’s not always easy for a man and a woman to communicate. Wouldn’t you be sorry if a quarrel kept you apart for the rest of your lives?”
Ellie, seeing the truth in what Nancy said, nodded thoughtfully, got up, and pulled the blue suit from its hanger in the trunk.
DiVoran’s Promise Posters, Paintings from Go West as well as other art can be purchased as note cards and framable art