Storytime with Stidmama

Chapter Thirty Five

Storytime began at about 9:10 on September 1

Andy had been excited when Doris recovered.

He was astonished, and not entirely sure what to think and feel with Nan's being able to see.

He liked that she could run anywhere she wanted without needing him and so he was free to fully participate in the games.

He wished he had gotten to see the pretty bird that turned into a person.

And he was a bit jealous that Nan got the sparkly vial AND the casket.

Still, he loved his sister and was happy that her talent of loving people was finally being rewarded.

He was proud when his father chose him the next day to drive with him to the market. After all, he was nearly twelve! So he sat proudly next to Paul as they drove into the village and carefully pulled the wagon up where his brothers indicated.

He was really angry with the merchants who taunted his father with snide comments behind their backs. When he stood up to the loudest (and biggest) of them, he was a little frightened.

The reaction of the other adults told him he had done the right thing -- and before they left the market, the big loud man had brought a peace offering to Andy in the form of a fine sweet roll.

"If only my own children were as loyal and brave as you," the man had said as he handed the goody to Andy.

When they reached the doctor's small shop, Andy had known instantly that something was amiss. The door was always wide open or shut tight... never ajar.

He was really worried when his father sent him back to get his brothers.

Otto and Owain had tried to calm his fears, but even they looked solemn as they drove up.

He was somewhat satisfied when they left Otto at the doctor's and drove Owain to his apartment.

On the short drive home, Andy was full of questions.

"What is wrong with the doctor?"

"Can Nan help her with her special box?"

"Can I go with Aunt Cathy tomorrow when she goes to help the doctor?"

Paul smiled, and reassured Andy that all would be okay. But there was something in the set of his mouth that told Andy he was worried also.

After supper, Andy and Nan went out back and fed the chickens and hogs; watered the livestock and then walked out to the edge of the field.

Nan was full of her own questions and chattered easily as they climbed up and sat on the edge of the corral.

Nan pointed to the big tree in the middle of the fields. "What is that big flower?"

Andy laughed, "That's a tree, Nan! it's a little bit more than halfway to Uncle Peter's."

Nan was surprised and her mouth formed a round O.

"Remember when we walk on Ancestor Day to put flowers on the graves?" asked Andy.

Nan nodded.

"Well, that is under that tree."

"I see," said Nan slowly, then laughed. "Really!"

Andy joined in, and pointed toward the top of the mountain. "Do you know what that is?"

Nan looked carefully. "I know that is where Mother always turns when she says 'The Mountain' -- so I guess that must be it. It seems to go straight up!"

Andy climbed back down and helped Nan hop down too.

"It's really tall. Much taller than our house. Even taller than the trees," said Andy.

Nan looked again. "Then those aren't little flowers either?"

"No, they are more trees. The flowers are so far away we can't see them from here."

They walked toward the house. Andy stopped suddenly and gave Nan a quick, rough hug.

"I am glad you are able to see, Nan, but I am going to miss helping you."

Nan pulled away and gave him a little shove. "Who says you're going to stop helping me? Who else is going to explain all these things to me?"

She scuffled her feet in the ground.

"You know that Mother is always busy, and Polly and Meg and Doris are always busy."

"Even Grammy and Grampy get tired of always helping me and telling me things. It takes too long for me to figure things out."

She sighed and twisted a strand of hair she had been sucking on into a little ring.

Andy shrugged, "They don't mind helping you, Nan -- they never have!"

"But," he conceded, "I suppose sometimes it has been hard for us, wanting to tell you about things and not being able to explain them because you couldn't see."

"It's okay though," he added quickly. "You have been patient with us, too, when you could smell things we couldn't or hear things we couldn't."

They walked up the back steps and into the light of the kitchen as a cool breeze began to pick up.

Gilly was just setting out some warm squashbread with syrup and pouring tea.

Paul was sitting in the corner with a leather palm on one hand, mending a strap for the rake they would drag behind the horses after the harvest was done, to push some of the left-over stalks back into the soil.

Polly, Meg and Doris could be heard upstairs, talking excitedly with Anna.

Gray and Olivia were sitting on John's knees at the table, watching every move Gilly made with the plates.

Nan took it all in, then held out her arms. "This is what seeing is for!" she exclaimed.

Andy laughed, and said, "No, seeing is so you can avoid being hit with a snowball!"

Paul and John laughed, and their guffaws brought the "girls" down from upstairs, still dressed in fancy aprons and hats they had been trying on.

Nan was astonished. She had worn fancy hats, but had not seen them. She walked up to her sister-in-law first, and touched the pretty ribbons and laces.

Polly took her bonnet off, and set in on Nan's bedraggled hair.

Andy watched as Nan disappeared up the stairs with her sisters to look in the mirror and try on the pretty things.

Gilly caught his look and came over to give him a hug.

"It's okay," she whispered, "Nan will have a bigger world now, but you will still have your little sister."

And she served the dessert and the evening closed in.