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 Times Are Changing-Season 9 rewrite eppie 1 updated 1/21/09

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PostSubject: Times Are Changing-Season 9 rewrite eppie 1 updated 1/21/09   Thu Jul 24, 2008 10:44 am

This is how I started off Season 9. There was an idea that came up to make Jenny, Alice Wilder Baldwin's adopted daughter instead of Royal's. We can talk about that in the feedback thread and then I can make changes to this story if need be. Let me know what you think.



Times Are Changing (Rewrite of Season 9, Episode 1)

LHOP inspired fan fiction by Cheryl C. Malandrinos

Disclaimer: I do not own the Little House on the Prairie television series, book series, or any of the characters.

Almanzo’s wagon sped down the road toward the Wilder farm. Laura, who was cleaning the chicken coop, heard the “Ha!” Ha!” of Almanzo’s voice as he pushed his Morgans harder. Slamming the door of the coop shut, she raced out to meet him. The brake creaked as Almanzo’s set it against the wheel.

“What’s wrong?’ asked Laura, clutching her heaving chest.

Almanzo jumped from the wagon and scooped Laura into a hearty embrace. Twirling her around, his feet danced with excitement. “Nothin’s wrong.” Dropping her feet to the ground he reached into his shirt pocket and waved an envelope above her head. “Everythin’ is right.”

Her eyes mere slits, Laura gazed at the waving envelope. “What have you got there?”

“A letter.” Why not drag it out a bit more and see if he could make her angry.

She rolled her eyes. “Of course it’s a letter. Who’s it from?”

“Guess.” The skin in the corner of his eyes crinkled with glee and a crooked smile crept across is face.

He’s enjoying this too much. Laura’s eyebrows rose as she crossed her arms across her chest. “Eliza Jane?”


“Your parents?”

“No again. Three strikes and you’re out,” he chuckled.

Laura snatched at the envelope but Almanzo’s long arm held it out of her grasp. “Fine.” Laura’s nose in the air, she turned on her heels and headed toward the chicken coop.

Almanzo encircled her waist and pulled her close. “Aw Beth, don’t get angry. I’m just excited.” His hands slid down her arms. “I can’t believe they’re comin’ for a visit.”


He smiled. “Royal and the kids.”

On tippy-toes she pecked his cheek. “Oh Manly, that’s wonderful! I’ve been so worried about them since Millie died.”

Almanzo frowned. He hadn’t been well enough to attend Millie’s funeral. Though he had gained back the use of both legs when the wire about Millie’s passing arrived, Doc Baker discouraged such a trip after his long illness.

Tender fingers touched Almanzo’s cheek. “What’s wrong?”

“Life became hard for them so fast after they left here. Losin’ the baby and Millie findin’ out she couldn’t have any more. It was a blessin’ when they adopted Jenny, but then Millie took sick.” Almanzo hugged Laura and kissed the top of her head. “I don’t know what I would do if I lost you or Rose.”

Her shoulders rose and fell. “You would go on, just like Royal has. Thankfully Myron and Rupert stayed close to home for their studies.” Laura wandered back to the chicken coop and picked up the rake. It won’t clean itself. “It must be hard for Jenny losing her parents and then Millie.”

Almanzo folded his arms across his chest and leaned against the coop. “Royal says she’s a big help. She does all the cookin’ and cleanin’. I don’t think Royal could make it on his own.” Almanzo glanced up at the sky. “God sure knew what He was doin’ when He matched them up.”

Laura raked the last bit of soiled straw out of the coop and locked the door. Dragging the pile to a spot behind the coop, she leaned the rake against the frame.

“Pa had a hard time believing that Mary was going blind. That might have been the greatest test of his faith.” She brushed her hands off on her apron. “The night before Pa told Mary, he went to the church to pray. Reverend Alden found him and they talked. He told Pa that God must have chosen Mary for a very special purpose.”

Laura smiled and pushed a sweaty strand of hair away from her face. “No one knew what that purpose was. All we knew was that Mary would lose her sight. But God took that tragedy and turned it into something wonderful. Look how many blind children Mary and Adam have helped. She would never even have met Adam if it wasn’t for her blindness.”

How could anything good come put of Millie’s death? Hands tucked in his pockets, Almanzo shuffled up dirt and gazed at imaginary stones. Laura’s touch brought his gaze back to her face.

A sweet smile curled the corners of her lips. “Look at Millie and Royal. If they hadn’t lost the baby and been unable to have more kids they never would have adopted Jenny. Royal would be alone with two boys and a baby, and who knows what would have happened to Jenny. Maybe she would have ended up on the streets like Albert.” The thought sent shivers through her.

Laura cupped Almanzo’s chin with both hands. “We have to have faith that God knows what He’s doing even when we can’t understand it.”

Almanzo squeezed her close, his chest heaving as he forced back tears. “I’ll be glad when they get here.”

“Me too,” she said. “It will make Pa’s leaving easier to handle.

A crooked smile slid across his face at the inconsistency. She can’t be strong about everything. “Beth, you know your Pa has never been keen on stayin’ in one place too long.”

“I know.” Nodding, she fiddled with the hem of her apron. “I just never thought he would leave Walnut Grove.”

“Times are tough. Lots of families are pullin’ out.”

The air suddenly felt hot as emotions swirled inside her and breathing became difficult. “This isn’t like when we moved to Winoka. The whole town isn’t dying. We’ve had a few tough years but…” She shook her head. “I can’t believe Pa is giving up.”

Almanzo rested his hands on his hips. “Now wait a minute Beth, your Pa isn’t givin’ up. His family is growin’ and he needs the money. Your Pa isn’t gettin’ any younger either. Farm life is hard. You know that.”

She nodded.

De Smet is growin’ like crazy. There will be lots of jobs for your Pa. With his carpentry skills and his past work for the railroad he’ll make a nice livin’…one that doesn’t depend on the weather.”

“You’re right.” Laura’s voice cracked as the emotions welling up inside her spilled over. She snuggled into Almanzo’s arms, her tears soaking the pocket of his shirt.

He rocked her back and forth as he held her. For now, he could be strong enough for the both of them.


Last edited by bethandmanly on Wed Jan 21, 2009 1:42 am; edited 3 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Times Are Changing-Season 9 rewrite eppie 1 updated 1/21/09   Thu Jul 24, 2008 10:57 pm

Thumbsup I like it.
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PostSubject: Re: Times Are Changing-Season 9 rewrite eppie 1 updated 1/21/09   Sun Jul 27, 2008 5:03 pm

Savannah wrote:
Thumbsup I like it.

Me, too! I like how Millie's death is explained and Myron and Rupert don't just disappear, as Jenny appears LOL. It's also nice to hear some of Laura's feelings over the Ingalls' impending departure.

"It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong."
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PostSubject: Re: Times Are Changing-Season 9 rewrite eppie 1 updated 1/21/09   Sun Jul 27, 2008 8:39 pm

Thanks ladies. I tried to end that whole inconsistency issue with the Wilders because it will bug me till the day I die that they did that. LOL!

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PostSubject: Re: Times Are Changing-Season 9 rewrite eppie 1 updated 1/21/09   Tue Aug 05, 2008 8:27 pm

Good job. I like how the inconsitencies with the Wilder kids are cleared up. I also like the references to Mary, Adam, and Albert, who were all pretty much forgotten in season 9, except for "Home Again".

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PostSubject: Re: Times Are Changing-Season 9 rewrite eppie 1 updated 1/21/09   Wed Aug 06, 2008 12:57 am

Thanks John. I agree, the rest of the Ingalls family was forgotten.

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PostSubject: Re: Times Are Changing-Season 9 rewrite eppie 1 updated 1/21/09   Thu Sep 11, 2008 12:38 am

Part 2

Charles tugged at the rope securing their belongings to the wagon. It would be a long trip and they couldn’t afford to lose anything along the way.

“That’s the last of it,” he said. His frown etched sorrowful lines into his careworn face. The sparkle in his eye dimmed knowing they would be leaving the little house on Plum Creek behind forever.

Isaiah watched in silence as his dearest friend looked around the farm his family had called home for over ten years. He knew it broke Charles’s heart to leave. That was part of why he bought the old place. Charles would feel better than if strangers had bought it. Isaiah remembered how Charles spoke of the Carters who had come to look at the farm just a week ago. A nice family, but they would be living in his house. Charles’s mood had darkened and he confided to Isaiah that he could never imagine strangers living in the same home where he and his family had created so many memories.

Charles cupped Isaiah’s shoulders. “Look after my family for me?”

“Of course,” he said, the wad of tobacco held tightly in his cheek causing a bulge on the side of his face. “Proud ya asked me.” Eyes glistening with unshed tears they embraced.

“I’m going to miss you friend,” said Charles. Isaiah broke the embrace and planted his hands on his hips. His single nod the only response he could manage.

Their heads turned toward the sound of wagon wheels traveling down the road. Laura sat next to Almanzo on the seat, Rose clutched against her chest. “Morning Half-pint.” A smile curled the corner of Charles’s lips.

“Morning Pa, Mr. Edwards.” Laura’s eyes were swollen and a hint of red still glowed on her nose. She handed Rose to Charles before letting Almanzo help her from the wagon.

Charles oohed and aahed, speaking baby talk to Rose as he bounced her in his arms as he walked toward the house. “Your Ma’s inside. She made some corn bread and eggs for breakfast. I’m sure there’s plenty.”

Laura walked alongside Charles looking at the barn and the creek through moist eyes. She dare not speak, lest her voice betray the emotions she struggled to hide.

“Oh Laura,” said Caroline. “I’m so glad you came. Breakfast is ready.”

Laura swallowed away the lump that formed in her throat as she glanced at her mother. Ma’s sweet tender smile shone back at her, but she gazed at Laura with troubled, sad eyes. “You could have eaten at our place this morning.” She pulled an apron out of the basket she brought with her and tied it around her waist.

Caroline scooped up eggs out of the frying pan and piled them high onto Charles’s plate. Only risking a quick glance at her daughter, “I wanted the chance to do it this one last time.”

Laura whispered into her ear. “I understand.” The two women stared at each other, their breaths ragged as they labored to quell the mix of emotions stirring inside. “At least let me help serve.” Laura walked across the kitchen and placed the plate of eggs and cornbread in front of her father.

“Thank you darlin’.”

The time quickly passed as the Ingalls and Wilder families and Mr. Edwards shared good food and laughter meant to mask the tears hiding in their hearts. It would be a long time before they were together like this again.


After a healthy round of hugs and tears the Ingalls family piled into the wagon. Laura’s mind wandered back to the day they left the Big Woods and traveled in the same wagon to Kansas. Only Laura and Mary knelt in the back amongst the belonging then and it was Baby Carrie, not Grace, nestled in Ma’s arms next to Pa on the seat. Albert, James and Cassandra had never even been dreamed of. Her parents certainly managed to pack a lot of love into that little house.

Charles embraced Laura one last time. “You take care of my granddaughter,” he said, his voice raw with emotion.

“I will Pa.” Laura squeezed her beloved father closer, as if that could prevent him from leaving.

The sound of racing wagon wheels made them all turn toward the hill. Nels Oleson pulled the horses to a quick stop, jostling Doc Baker, who slid off the back of the wagon and forcing Reverend Alden to grip the seat to prevent from falling off.

“We thought we might have missed you Ingalls,” said Doc Baker.

Charles extended his right hand. “We were just pulling out.”

Nels held a box wrapped in brown paper and tied with a string. “Then I guess it’s a good thing we caught you.”

“What’s this?” Charles brow crinkled.

“A little going away gift.” Reverend Alden grasped Charles’s arm. “You’ve been a part of this town for a long time.” The reverend blinked quickly to keep the tears at bay. “And we wanted to help start your new life in De Smet off right.”

“Oh, and Mrs. Ingalls,” interjected Nels. “I’ve got a couple of sacks of flour and cornmeal for you and some white sugar.” Nels handed the packages to Albert to secure in the wagon.

Caroline’s lips curled into a smile. “Thank you Mr. Oleson. Please give Harriet and the children my regards.”

Nels handed a small bag to James. “There’s some licorice and gum drops inside.”

James’s eyes widened with excitement. “Oh boy! Thanks Mr. Oleson.”

Nels laughed. “Now don’t forget to share those with your brother and sisters.”

James ogled the bag of sweets as if it were the finest gold. “I will.”

“Do you like it Ingalls?” Doc Baker tapped Charles’s shoulder. An emotion filled gaze met his. “Nels picked it out. Says all the preacher and I know how to wear is black.” A wide smile slid across Charles’s face and his infectious laughter floated through the air making everyone else laugh.

Charles placed the top back on the box and handed the box to Albert. “It’s a fine suit. I’ll be proud to wear it.” Charles turned toward the small opening in the wagon’s cover. “Be careful where you put that son. I don’t want it getting crushed.”

“Yes Pa,” Albert’s voice floated out from inside the wagon.

“Good luck.” Nels embraced his friend. Doc Baker slapped his back before Reverend Alden suggested a short prayer for traveling mercies.

Moments later Charles prompted his horses forward and they trotted up the road. Laura, her skirts hiked up to her knees, ran behind the wagon as the distance between them widened. Her tears reflected the bright sunshine on their journey down her face. Her hand waving wildly at the covered wagon, she saw her brothers and sisters waving back and the nod of Charles’s head as he glanced back at her one last time before the wagon disappeared over the hill.

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PostSubject: Re: Times Are Changing-Season 9 rewrite eppie 1 updated 1/21/09   Thu Nov 27, 2008 2:01 am

Part 3

Laura and Almanzo stood on the platform of Nellie’s Restaurant and Hotel. It seemed ridiculous that the establishment still bore Nellie’s name on the sign and Caroline’s name on the window when neither woman lived in town any longer, but even if they changed it’s name, Laura would always call it Nellie’s. Maybe in some strange way she needed that tie to her childhood that thinking of her archenemy brought about.

Laura’s reddish brown hair poked out from her green hat, contrasting against the white lace at its edges. Bouncing Rose in her arms, Laura glanced anxiously toward the bridge coming into town hoping to catch a glimpse of the stagecoach that was already fifteen minutes late.

Almanzo paced the platform behind his wife. It had been a couple of years since he had seen Royal and the thought of this visit filled him with excitement and dread. Would seeing Laura and Rose remind his brother of all he had lost?

The clip-clop of hooves against the road reached their ears sooner than their eyes caught sight of the horse-driven coach. Almanzo and Laura glanced and each other, wary smiles curling the corners of their lips.

A young girl around ten years old stepped out of the coach. Her raven black hair was pulled back in tight braids the way Laura used to wear her hair. The skirt of the girl’s navy blue dress fell to just below her knees and the white flowers speckling the dress looked stunning alongside her dark hair.

An older man walked down the steps behind the girl. Crows feet were permanently etched into the corners of his eyes and lines creased the sides of his mouth. His suit was rumpled from the journey, but the girl’s dress had nary a crease.

Almanzo stepped forward with an extended hand. Could this really be his brother? “Royal?”

The older man embraced Almanzo, his head only reaching Almanzo’s chin. “It’s good to see you again little brother. It’s been a long time.”

Almanzo cleared away the lump in his throat. “Yes, it has.”

When Almanzo turned he saw that Laura had descended the stairs and now stood by his side. He grabbed her elbow and nudged her closer. “You remember Laura, don’t ya Roy?”

“How could I forget a face like that?”

Laura flushed immediately. Royal leaned in and kissed her cheek. “Nice to see you again Laura.”

Royal dug in his jacket pocket and pulled out a handkerchief to dab his brow. Tucking it back into his pocket, Royal turned to the young girl who had been staring sheepishly at the strangers before her. He brought the girl in front of him and cupped his hands on her shoulders.

“Laura, Manzo, this is my Jenny.” His smile was filled with pride. “Jenny, this is your Aunt Laura and Uncle Manzo.”

“Pleased to meet you,” said Jenny. Her smile revealed a perfect row of straight, white teeth.

“It’s wonderful to meet you,” said Laura. “Your Uncle Almanzo and I have heard so much about you.”

Almanzo placed a hand on Jenny’s shoulder. “Your Pa says you’ve been a real big help around the house.”

Jenny’s cheeks tinged red.

“I don’t know how I would have made it through the past year without her.” Royal pulled Jenny closer.

The heat of embarrassment dotted her hairline with perspiration. “Oh Papa.”

“You look good little brother.” Royal shook his head. “Can’t even tell you’ve been sick.”

Almanzo took in the deep lines traveling across Royal’s face and the dark purple circles under his eyes. He looks so old. The past two years had changed Royal and Almanzo could hardly believe this was the older brother who had once beaten him in an arm wrestling match.

“I still have days when I don’t feel as strong as I used to, but thankfully those days get fewer and fewer as long as I keep up my exercises.” Almanzo curled his arm around Laura’s waist. “And luckily I have Beth to help me.”

Royal nodded. “Are you still teaching Laura?”

“No, Almanzo and Rose need me at home. I tutor some of the children when they’re struggling, but I like being home.”

Royal ran his fingers down Rose’s soft cheek. “She’s beautiful.”

“Thank you.” Almanzo shuffled his feet as he thought of the baby Royal had lost. “Well, you must be tired from your trip. Let me get your bags in the wagon and we’ll head off toward home.”

Royal reached for his bag the same time Almanzo did. “I was figuring we would stay at the hotel.”

Almanzo held tight to the bag. “No brother of mine is staying in the hotel while he’s here.”

Royal’s fingers were wrapped around a tiny corner of the handle, his much smaller hand lost next to Almanzo’s. “Really, it’s no trouble at all.”

“Roy, you’ll be much more comfortable at our place.”

“A young married couple doesn’t need company all the time.”

Laura blushed instantly. Her eyes met Jenny’s, sensing her discomfort. “Royal, Almanzo just added onto the house to make a place for you and Jenny. We would love for you to stay with us.”

A chuckle escaped Royal’s lips. “Father always said you were as strong as an ox, even when you were sick.”

“Please come home with us Roy.”

Rose reached over and tapped Royal on the arm. The group laughed.

“See, even Rose wants you to come,” said Almanzo.

Royal’s hand dropped from the bag’s handle. He knew there was no way of getting out of this. “Well, I sure can’t refuse an invitation like that.” He patted Rose’s head. “Just promise you’ll let me know if we get in the way.”

Almanzo grabbed Jenny’s bag and the group strolled toward Almanzo wagon. “How long do ya think you’ll be staying Roy?”

“I’m not sure. Jenny and I needed some time away from the city. If we’re here a while, Myron and Rupert might join us.”

Almanzo and Laura stared at each other. Dread filled them as they remembered the havoc the boys created during their first visit to the Wilder farm.

Royal laughed as he watched them. Don’t worry, the boys have grown up these past two years. I don’t even think you would recognize them.”

Laura’s eyebrows lifted. “That’s probably a good thing.”

The three looked at each other and burst into laughter.

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PostSubject: Re: Times Are Changing-Season 9 rewrite eppie 1 updated 1/21/09   Fri Nov 28, 2008 8:31 pm

I'm liking this so much more than the episode! Good job Cheryl Thumbsup

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PostSubject: Re: Times Are Changing-Season 9 rewrite eppie 1 updated 1/21/09   Fri Nov 28, 2008 9:18 pm

Thanks Christina. I think I have two other parts written, it's just a matter of getting them into the PC an edited.

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PostSubject: Re: Times Are Changing-Season 9 rewrite eppie 1 updated 1/21/09   Wed Jan 21, 2009 1:42 am

Part 4

Laura’s eyes rolled as Mrs. Oleson rambled on about all the new people arriving in Walnut Grove.

“Just yesterday,” said Mrs. Oleson shaking her head. “I heard a black family speaking to Mr. Edwards about buying his old place. Can you imagine!” Harriet’s hands flew up in the air then smacked down on the counter top.

“Walnut Grove had a black doctor for a while Mrs. Oleson.” Laura dug inside her bag to find the coins to pay for the coffee and sugar. Then she could make a quick exit. “And last I knew, Hester Sue works for you over at the restaurant.”

Harriet’s eyes scrunched into slits and her mouth puckered up into a scowl. “I know that Laura, but if we keep letting them in we’ll be overrun with those—“

The tingling of the bell over the front door halted Harriet in mid-sentence. A huge smile curled the corners of her lips and she smoothed her dress as a tall, thin woman, around Laura’s age entered the mercantile. The woman’s wavy dark blond hair was pulled back in an elegant bun and her pinstriped shirt was edged with a delicate, expensive looking lace. A basket swung from the woman’s arm as she made her way up to the counter.

She nodded at Laura. “Good morning Mrs. Oleson,” she said with a full smile that revealed a mouth of perfectly straight, white teeth.

Harriet’s voice took on that sugary sweet lilt it had when she was trying to impress someone. “Good morning Mrs. Carter.” Harriet rushed around the counter to stand next to the two women. “Mrs. Carter, this is Mrs. Wilder.” Her extended hand pointed in Laura’s direction. “Laura, this is Mrs. Carter.” Harriet’s voice took on a look of sheer glee as the name rolled off her tongue.

Laura extended her hand. “It’s nice to meet you Mrs. Carter.”

The woman’s handshake was warm and firm. “Please, call me Sarah.”

“I’m Laura.”

“The Carters,” Harriet interjected, “just moved into the Widow Thurman’s house.”

Laura’s eyes widened with excitement. “Oh really! I spent a few afternoons inside that house growing up. It’s a beautiful place.”

“Thank you, though I don’t think I have the Widow Thurman’s knack for decorating.”

“Oh, don’t worry about that Mrs. Carter. We have everything you need. Some of our finest pieces come all the way from Paris.” Harriet’s gaze looked down upon Laura. “Though we do have less expensive pieces for those on a tighter budget.”

The heat rose up Laura’s face and she bit her upper lip to prevent embarrassing herself in front of Sarah. Did God think about those of who have to deal with Mrs. Oleson when He told us to love our enemies?

Harriet grasped Laura’s arm as if she was about to share the latest town gossip. “Did I tell you that Mrs. Carter is going to be starting up a newspaper here in town?”

A paper in Walnut Grove? “How exciting? Manly will be thrilled to hear about it.” Laura blushed when she saw the confused look on Sarah’s face. “Manly is the nickname I call my husband, Almanzo.”

Sarah’s eyes widened when she heard the name. “Oh, my husband John mentioned that he met an Almanzo at the Feed and Seed the other day.”

Laura’s face beamed as she smiled. “That’s Manly. He’s worked there since he and his sister moved to town a few years ago. His sister used to be the teacher here. I took over after she moved to Minneapolis.”

It felt nice to talk to someone close to her own age. Most of the wives in Walnut Grove were older than Laura and she didn’t always have much to talk about when she and Manly went to socials. Almanzo wasn’t much of a talker during those events either, so they usually went home early.

Sarah rested her fingertips on Laura’s arm. “Are you still teaching?”

Laura shook her head. “No, I stay home now and help Manly run the farm and take care of our daughter Rose.”

Harriet took a step in between the women. “Well, that’s all nice, but I’m sure Mrs. Carter is way too busy to talk about all that now.” Harriet tugged at Sarah’s arm, trying to move her away from Laura.

Sarah pulled her arm back and Laura’s eyes widened in surprise. “Actually, I would love to invite you and your family over to supper once we get settled in. I haven’t met very many couples our own age in town.”

Laura’s shoulders rose and fell. “That’s because we’re it.” A chuckle escaped from her lips. “Most of the families around her are a bit older and many have grown children who have moved away.” Laura pointed at Harriet. “Mrs. Oleson’s daughter and her husband moved to New York a little over a year ago.”

Whenever Sarah smiled it was genuine. Her smile reminded Laura of her Ma and how much she missed her.

Sarah turned toward Harriet. “My father lives in New York. He runs a newspaper there. He taught me almost everything I know.”

“It so nice to have some dignified people from proper society coming to Walnut Grove.” Harriet’s voice had taken on that condescending tone that Laura had heard since childhood. Somehow Laura thought one day it would no longer bother her. But even now, her anger raged under the surface and a drip of perspiration trickled down her back.

Laura took her basket off her arm and clasped it in her left hand. “It was a pleasure meeting you Sarah. Maybe I’ll see you at church on Sunday/”

A wary smile of embarrassment curled the corner of Sarah’s lips. “Most definitely. I look forward to it.”

Laura turned on her heels and the bell tingled as she opened the door. “Goodbye Mrs. Oleson,” she said flatly, shutting the door before Harriet could respond.


It felt like they had been traveling for months instead of weeks. The wagon rolled across the prairie, edging ever closer to De Smet. The children, who had been so excited at the beginning of the journey, now spent each day moping through their chores and lessons. And while Charles enjoyed the freedom of being on the move again, he couldn’t help thinking back to all they left behind. Yet, every morning, Caroline’s smiling face greeted him, giving Charles the strength to get through another day of travel, while their faithful dog, Bandit followed close behind, his ear pricking up at the slightest noise.

Caroline was washing dishes in a creek near their campsite when Charles wandered down to fill the canteens.

She tucked a stray tendril of hair behind her ear. “It looks like a fine day for traveling.” Her bright eyes crinkled in the corners when she smiled.

Charles bent down and removed the top from the canteens. Bubbles formed on the water’s surface as the cool liquid flowed in. “U-huh,” he mumbled without looking up.

Caroline’s fingers instinctively roamed through his thick mane of wavy, dark hair. “What’s wrong?”

He never could hide anything from her. “This sure was easier twelve years ago.” Charles glanced over at her and saw the laughter behind her smiling lips.

“The other day, I caught a glimpse of Grace sitting in the grass while Carrie and Cassandra recited their lessons.” Caroline wiped the clean dishes with a towel. “It reminded me of our trip to Kansas when Laura and Mary would find a big tree to sit under and recite lessons while Carrie played with her doll.”

Both their minds wandered back to a time when their family was younger and smaller.

“For a brief moment, it was like time had stood still.”

Charles nodded, the lump in his throat hard to swallow.

“Laura and Almanzo will be fine—“ she waited for him to glance up at her, “and so will we.”

He leaned over and placed a tender kiss on her cheek. Her lips sought his and they lingered there together until the sound of children grew closer.

“Now, help me up,” she chuckled. “And we can get moving.”

Charles pulled her up and embraced her. “I love you Caroline Ingalls.”

Her sideways, demure glance reminded him of the young woman he fell in love with. “I love you too.”

He grabbed the corners of the tablecloth that held the dishes and tied them. Flinging the tablecloth over his shoulder, he circled his free arm around Caroline’s waist and they walked toward the campsite.

Caroline’s right. It’s going to be a fine day.


“We would like to welcome some new members to our community this morning.” Reverend Alden smiled from his place behind the pulpit. In all the years he had been the minister of Walnut Grove, he never tired of seeing new faces. With each new family he saw the opportunity to watch God’s Kingdom prosper.

He extended his right hand to the side of the church. “John and Sarah Carter with their boys, Jason and Jeb, recently moved into the Widow Thurman’s house. How wonderful it will be to see that house full of life again.”

The Reverend’s gaze then focused on the other side of the church, where Laura sat with Rose on her lap next to Almanzo, Royal and Jenny in the bench behind them. “Almanzo’s brother, Royal has come back to visit us and he’s brought along his daughter Jenny.”

As Reverend Alden gazed out upon the congregation, his bright smile filled the room. It gave him great joy to see the faces of young and old coming together for worship and thriving as a town of God fearing people. His mind drifted away for a moment to his good friend Charles and his family as they traveled to their new life outside of Walnut Grove.

Reverend Alden lifted both arms. “Let’s close this morning with one of my favorite hymns, “Onward Christian Soldiers”. The congregation rose and quickly the room filled with singing.

Wherever you are Charles, may God be guiding your path.

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