As we entered the house Betty was pulling a pitcher of tea out of the ice box. “I thought we might need this on a warm, August afternoon. Thankfully we were blessed with a slight cool down this week.”
“Harvest is starting soon so I know it won’t last for long.” Jake said as he took a long drink of the tea. “Little lady you are going to be thrown into the fire soon. I imagine the ladies will be waging their tongues about how brave and crazy you are to get married right before harvest.” Jake paused for another drink. “I assume you grew up on a farm and know all about harvest?”
Maggie cringed. What have I gotten myself into she thought? “I did not grow up on a farm. When my mother married my father she became a farmer’s wife. My paternal grandparents owned landed and my parents and I lived there until my parents passed away. I was eight when they went home to the Lord. I then lived with my mother’s parents and uncle. I did spend summers at the farm until Granny and Pop passed on.” All eyes were on her as she spoke, especially George. “I hope that I catch on fast enough that I won’t be an embarrassment to George.”
“Sweet girl, all of the new brides have to learn a thing or two, even those of us that grew up on a farm. I will take you right under my wing and teach you everything you need to know. Yes ma’am Betty will take care of you.”
“Ought oh, there is nothing more my Betty likes then a project. Now let’s cut that cake!” Jake said with a wide grin.
As I cut the cake George handed out the plates. I cut a small slice for myself and could barely touch it. I noticed George didn’t eat much of his either. Thankfully Betty and Jake were here to carry on the conversation with Pastor Dan. Betty has what my Granny referred to as the gift of gab. Thinking of Granny made me smile.
“It is almost 4:30 so I should be getting back down the lane. I have a few sermons to get ahead on. I like to work ahead so I can help out with harvest. I might be a preacher, but I love the land as much as you farmers. I also know you all have chores to take care of “ Pastor Dan stood and stretched.
Maggie said “If you wait a minute I will wrap up a slice of cake for you take home.” Betty smiled and nodded her head as Maggie began to slice the cake for Pastor Dan.
“That will be mighty nice. Since the missus passed on I don’t have as many treats as I use to. Now the ladies of the church take good care of me, but some of the ladies make a sweet treat better then others. Now Betty, that is for your ears only!” Dan said as he winked at Maggie.
“I brought over a roast for Maggie to slice for sandwiches this evening. A bride shouldn’t have to stand over a stove on her wedding day. If the George and Maggie don’t mind there is plenty to share with you.”
“I believe that is an excellent idea Betty!” Maggie said as she placed a large chunk of cake on a plate.
Maggie and Betty were busy cutting hearty slices of roast beef and making sandwiches. Maggie insisted that they go ahead and cut enough for Betty and Jake to take home for a meal also.
Pastor Dan left with a basket of two roast beef sandwiches, a jar of potato salad, pickled beets and of course the cake. He must have been happy as they heard him whistle as he walked down the lane.
“Alright Betty, this old man needs to get home. Chores await us and now that I've seen the dinner menu I am ready to get them done.” Jake let out his jolly laugh as he walked out to the back porch with George.
Betty and I got busy setting the kitchen to right. She packed her things into a basket while I cut some cake for her to take home also. She started to do the cake dished. “No Betty, leave those. I will take care of them with the supper dishes. You have done more then enough for me today. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. “
“Sweet girl, I am happy to see our George married off. To a sweet girl to boot! I have been watching you today and I like what I see. I am serious about helping you with what you need to learn. Next week it will be quiet around here as women are busy putting up the kitchen garden and the men are gearing up for harvest. If things go as planned the following week harvest will begin at my house. I would like you to come over with George and help me out. That way you can see what it takes to feed the harvest crew and what the boys do.”
Maggie swallowed hard. “How many men come?”
“Now don’t you worry it is usually six including our two boys. Usually a couple of the wives come to help. Not all of them though. I will be there to see you through this. You will be fine.” Betty said as she walked out the door.
I stood at the window looking out as George, Betty and Jake looked to be in deep conversation.
“George that is one fine girl you married today. Did you notice how she was quick to offer cake to the pastor and jumped right in the pack up a meal? That speaks volumes about the heart of a person. I can’t wait to get know that sweet girl better.” Betty linked her arm through Jake’s and they started off for home.
George had noticed all of that and more. He was also looking forward to getting to know his wife.
As George was waving good-bye I realized that the table cloth was still here. I stepped out the door and yelled. “Wait! Betty you forgot your table cloth.”
As I walked out Betty yelled back that it was her gift to me. “Your mother-in-law, George’s mom, made that and gave it to me the last birthday she spent with me. I have been saving it for George and you.”
“Oh Betty!” I said as I rushed over to give her a hug.
“It was nothing now we must scoot. Jake likes to keep his evening schedule.”
As Jake led Betty away he called over his shoulder to George, “I bet you will be happy to not sleep on a lumpy couch tonight.” He turned and I could hear his jolly laugh.
“I’ll be inside.” George stated.
“I am going to get a little air and then I will be in.” I hadn’t given much thought to the sleeping arrangement. Oh boy!
When I started to step inside George was standing at the table fingering the crochet border on the table cloth. I stepped to the table and also touch it. “It is beautiful. I am honored to have something that your mother made. I will cherish it.”
George weakly smiled. “I hope that I will cherish you as much. I need to change and tend to the evening chores. Will you have the sandwiches ready when I come in?”
The thought of being cherished by George made me feel funny on the inside. “Yes George, I will have supper ready. “
As George walked out the door to the barn he stated “The evening chores take about half an hour. Then I like to take a quick bath. “
I was putting the plate of sandwiches on the table when George returned from his bath. “I love farming, but not necessarily smelling like a cow all night.”
I laughed out loud at this comment which make George smile.
As we finished up our meal I noticed that George didn’t touch the pickled beets. I didn’t either as they are not my favorite. Maybe George was still full from the afternoon cake. As I ran the dish water George brought the dishes over and set them on the counter. “Would you like for me to dry?”
“That isn’t necessary.”
“I don’t mind.” George picked up the towel and dried as I washed the dishes. When the dishes were complete he retired to the living room while I finished up in the kitchen.
I put the dried dishes away, wiped down the table and counters before I pulled out the broom. As I was doing this, George pretended to read the paper. I could tell he wasn’t reading as I caught him sneaking a peek at me when he thought I wasn’t looking. It made me smile and feel all nervous on the inside.
“George, do you like evening coffee?”
“Only when the weather is cool, I don’t think I will have any tonight.”
Maggie searched for a few things for breakfast and then also retired to the living room.
The chair was comfortable and Maggie was happy for the ottoman. It felt good to put her feet up. She would need to find something to do in the evenings as they sat. Tonight she was tired and glad for the rest.
“Maggie, do you mind if I read from aloud from my Bible.”
“I would like that.”
George began reading from Psalm 100. As he finished “Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting. And His truth endures to all generations.” George sat in silence for a moment. “I feel like I have plenty to be thankful for today. “
Maggie smiled, feeling the same way.
After a long, comfortable silence, George cleared his throat. “My parents” George said “use to pray together each evening. They had a great marriage. I believe it was because their faith was strong. Would you mind if we made it our habit to also pray together each evening?”
“I would be delighted! “ George came over to sit on the ottoman. He took Maggie’s hands and together they prayed. George prayed for their life together, for them to build a strong marriage and friendship, for the Lord to be center of their lives. . He prayed for the farm, neighbors and for the community that was now Maggie’s. She couldn’t be happier that this was the man the Lord has chosen to be her husband.
George went back to his paper and Maggie sat deep in thought. She must have dozed off as George woke her. “Maggie. I think you should go to bed.”
“I am tired. I think that is a great idea. Good night, George.”
Maggie washed up and changed. Once she was in bed she was wide awake and uncertain. She laid there for what seemed like forever before she heard George enter. He undressed and then climbed into bed. Maggie held her breath. George was lying on his back and Maggie had her back to him. She knew he could probably feel her tremble.
“I know that we don’t know each other well and uh, uh, I want you to know that I think we need time to get to know each other. “
Maggie could feel herself relax.
“I would never make you do anything that you aren’t comfortable doing. I meant what I said in my prayer about wanting a strong marriage and friendship. I, uh, just wanted you to know. Good night, Maggie.”
“Good night, George. I hope you sleep well.”