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 A Thanksgiving Promise (Sequel posted)

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bethandmanly
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PostSubject: A Thanksgiving Promise (Sequel posted)   Wed Nov 24, 2010 12:35 pm

This story takes place in Season 9. It's not my best work, but I wanted to write something up to share with my prairie buddies this Thanksgiving.

I hope you enjoy it.

Cheryl

A Thanksgiving Promise

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.

The front door clicked open and Almanzo strolled into the house.

Laura looked up from plucking the feathers off a turkey lying on the table. “Hi Manly. Chores all done?”

Almanzo hung his Stetson and coat on the hooks next to the front door. “Yep. All set until dinner time.” He pecked Laura on the cheek. “I didn’t realize how big that Tom was when I shot him.”

Laura smiled. “Good thing too. Now I’m just worried about where everyone will sit.”

“Oh, I didn’t tell you.” Almanzo walked back into the kitchen from the pantry, where he had stolen a slice of bread. He pulled off a corner and stuffed it into his mouth. “I started making a small table and four chairs a few weeks ago. They’re sitting inside the barn.”

“Wonderful! It will be so special to have everyone here.”

Rose sat on the floor next to the fireplace playing with her doll. She undressed and redressed the doll over and again. A set of wooden blocks Mr. Edwards had carved for her, lay scattered at her feet.

“What time will Eliza Jane be here?” Almanzo bent over and picked up Rose and her doll. He kissed the girl’s cheek. “Hi Rosie Posie.”

Laura gathered the feathers into a cloth bag. The pillows could use some additional stuffing. “She’s coming in on the morning stage. Will you take Jenny with you into town?”

“Where is she?”

“She went off to the Carters.” Laura salted the huge bird and then slid it into a bag, which she tied. She would put it in the root cellar overnight to keep it fresh for tomorrow. “She made a pie for them and wanted to bring it over.”

“Maybe she just wanted to see Jeb,” teased Almanzo. He sat in the rocking chair in front of the fireplace, bouncing Rose on his knee.

“They’re only friends.”

“Good thing too. He’s too young for me to punch.”

Laura spun around. “Almanzo Wilder! Why on earth would you say such a thing?” She planted her right fist firmly on her hip.

The corner of his lip lifted into a crooked grin. “As I recall, your pa punched me a couple of times when he thought I was getting fresh with you.”

The mention of Pa reminded Laura of the miles separating her from the family. It had only been a few months since Ma, Pa, Carrie, Grace, and Albert had moved to Burr Oak, Iowa, but it seemed like years since she saw them off that late summer morning. Thankfully she had gotten one last chance to see Pa when he came to pick up the rest of the family’s belongings; but it wasn’t enough. Who knew when they would see each other again? She had been pregnant with Rose when she last saw her sister Mary and brother-in-law Adam.

Letters from her family brought with them a mixture of joy and sadness. She looked forward to hearing about the goings on in Iowa and New York, but it made the distance between Laura and the others seem wider.

Lost in her thoughts, Laura didn’t realize Almanzo had put Rose down on the floor and stood next to her until his hand touched her shoulder.

He lifted her chin. “Did I say somethin’ wrong?”

Laura sighed. “No, it’s just—”

“You miss them.”

Laura sank into his open arms. “Oh Manly, I wish Pa hadn’t moved so far away. It was hard saying goodbye to Mary and Adam, but at least the rest of the family was here. But now—”

She found the lump in her throat impossible to swallow. Tears swam in her eyes and she tightened her grasp around Almanzo’s waist. “And God help me, there are times when I visit Sarah that I find myself angry they live in the house I grew up in. I walk through the door and expect to find Ma in the kitchen and the china shepherdess sitting on the mantle…but instead there are these strange belongings that seem so out of place.”

Almanzo kissed the top of her head. “I sometimes think of the farm in New York. Goin’ down to the Trout River to chop ice for the ice house. Sheering sheep and breaking in the calves. The time I threw a blackening brush at Eliza Jane and hit the parlor wall. Royal poppin’ popcorn while Mother sat in her rocking chair and knitted.” He paused and swallowed hard. “ I’m not so sure I would wanna go there now and see other people making memories of their own in my house.”

He stepped back so he could gaze into Laura’s chocolate eyes. “But I know I’m enjoyin’ making new memories with you; memories that we can share with Rose when she’s older—the good ones and the bad ones.” He blinked back tears. “I don’t think I ever realized how much I looked up to Royal until I found out he was gonna die. I miss him.” His voice hitched on the last words.
They stood in silence for a few moments, their arms wrapped tightly around each other. Rose looked up at them. She picked up a block and smiled. They couldn’t help but laugh.

Almanzo and Laura knelt down on the floor next to their daughter. Rose crawled up into Laura’s lap. Almanzo’s gaze took in his two lovely ladies. When his eyes met Laura’s, the warmth of the fire was nothing compared to the warmth of their love.

The door flew open and Jenny ran inside. “I came back as soon as I could,” she said. When she saw their faces her mouth turned into a frown. “Is everything all right?”

Almanzo’s crooked smiled covered his face. “Don’t fret, Jenny, everythin’ is fine. Come on over here a minute.”

Coat and all, Jenny plopped down on the floor next to them. A devilish glint danced in Almanzo’s blue eyes.

“Now, I hadn’t said anythin’ about this yet, but considering how much your Aunt Laura is missing her family, and how we really want you to get to know them, I was thinkin’ next Thanksgiving we would take a trip to Burr Oak and spend a few days there.” He tugged Jenny’s braid. “Would you like that?”

“Oh, yes, Uncle Manzo.” Jenny’s lips parted over her buck teeth.

“Can we afford to make such a trip?” asked Laura. She didn’t even want to get her hopes up. Almanzo’s illness had put them deeply in debt. He was fully recovered now, but who knew what type of harvest there would be next year.

Almanzo folded his hands in his lap. “Royal gave me some money he had saved up from selling his house. I didn’t say much about it because I wasn’t quite sure what we should do with it.”

Rose squirmed off Laura’s legs and picked up her doll again. She banged it on the floor a few times before handing it to Jenny.

“But isn’t that Jenny’s money?” asked Laura. “Shouldn’t we save it for her?”

Almanzo shrugged. “Royal told me to use it however I needed to. I’m hoping we’ll have a good enough harvest next year that we can pay the bills and still have enough money to make the trip. The Farmer’s Almanac says winter will be mild again this year, but if somethin’ unexpected happens, we might need to use some or all of the money Royal gave me if we want to go to Burr Oak.”

Laura shook her head. “I don’t know. I wouldn’t feel right about using that money just because I’m missing my family.”

Almanzo chuckled as Rose grabbed her doll and smacked Jenny’s arm with it. “Rosie Posie, you need to be a good mama. Treat your baby nice.” Rose wrapped her arms around the doll and squeezed.

Everyone laughed.

“I guess it’s up to you, Jenny.” Almanzo patted her leg. “If you want to go, we’ll go; but if you want us to hold onto that money, then we will.”

“Uncle Manzo, do you think Papa gave me that money so that I could be happy?”

“I suppose so.”

Jenny turned to Laura and smiled. “It would make me very happy to go to Burr Oak and meet our family.”

Laura reached over and hugged her niece. “Are you sure?”

Jenny nodded. “You’ve told me so many stories about them, I feel like I know them already. I would really like to meet them for real.”

Almanzo stood and stretched. “Now that’s settled, you and I best be getting’ some breakfast and headin’ into town to pick up your Aunt Eliza Jane. The stage will be here soon.”

“I can’t wait!” Jenny bounced with excitement.

After breakfast, Laura walked them to the door. She hugged Jenny and then lifted the heels of her feet off the floor so she could peck Almanzo’s cheek.

“I love you,” she said.

“I love you too, Beth. While we’re gone why don’t you write to your folks and tell them we plan to be there next year for Thanksgiving.”

“I will.”

As she closed the door and heard the wagon pulling out of the front yard, Laura felt happy for the first time in days. She looked forward to seeing her family again. She would approach this year’s growing season with a zest she had not felt since she was a girl. Tomorrow, as her family gathered around the kitchen table with Hester Sue, Doc Baker, Reverend Alden, Mr. Edwards, and Eliza Jane, she would be thankful for a Thanksgiving promise.


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PostSubject: Re: A Thanksgiving Promise (Sequel posted)   Wed Nov 24, 2010 3:09 pm

Well done, Cheryl. I thought when you put in that Jenny was at the Carters you were going to keep her there....but I have to say I do like the blending of she with Manly and Laura.
SO, you now have to make us a Thanksgiving Promise to write about Laura's visit to see Pa and Ma....next year! I want to know all about it.
Thanks for taking time out to write more about Manly and Laura.




It is the lack of Christianity that has brought us where we are. Not a lack of churches or religious forms but of the real thing in our hearts. LIW.....Words From a Fearless Heart
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PostSubject: Re: A Thanksgiving Promise (Sequel posted)   Wed Nov 24, 2010 4:46 pm

Gin wrote:
Well done, Cheryl. I thought when you put in that Jenny was at the Carters you were going to keep her there....but I have to say I do like the blending of she with Manly and Laura.

laugh3 You're so funny, Gin. I wasn't originally going to set this during Season 9, but since I had already written a story with various families celebrating Thanksgiving, I didn't want to do that again. Sometimes I feel like I should ignore Jenny's existence, but then I feel like I have to ignore the Cooper children, Nancy Oleson, and Albert too, which doesn't work. Actually, I just realized that I didn't mention the Cooper kids. Whoops!

I'm glad you like this one. I'll definitely continue this story into Burr Oak.





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PostSubject: Re: A Thanksgiving Promise (Sequel posted)   Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:54 pm

Oh, Gin! I absolutely liked your story ! It looks very similar to the scripts of LHOTP TV show...But it's even better, for you mentioned facts of the books and real life too. Thumbsup

Congrats! This is what I should want to see on TV about Laura and her folks! Smile

But don't forget: you are owing to us, the follow of this story my dear! greenS batEyes

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PostSubject: Re: A Thanksgiving Promise (Sequel posted)   Sat Nov 27, 2010 12:20 am

Vanesa, Cheryl wrote this not me. I have learned my lesson about writing....I leave that to Cheryl completely!! I'll stick to the photos and drawings. Lol!




It is the lack of Christianity that has brought us where we are. Not a lack of churches or religious forms but of the real thing in our hearts. LIW.....Words From a Fearless Heart
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PostSubject: Re: A Thanksgiving Promise (Sequel posted)   Sat Nov 27, 2010 10:55 pm

What are you talking about, Gin? Your stories are wonderful.


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PostSubject: Re: A Thanksgiving Promise (Sequel posted)   Sat Nov 27, 2010 11:04 pm

Ahhh, it's so nice to see some of your fan-fic work again, Cheryl! Thank you so much for your lovely Thanksgiving gift to us!
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PostSubject: Re: A Thanksgiving Promise (Sequel posted)   Sun Nov 28, 2010 12:10 am

Sorry, Gin! I'm very "visual" and when I was tipying my answer to Cheryl I saw the name "Gin" in one of the post below...and I posted the name "Gin". Ooops Please, forgive me. batEyes

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PostSubject: Re: A Thanksgiving Promise (Sequel posted)   Sun Nov 28, 2010 12:51 am

Savannah wrote:
Ahhh, it's so nice to see some of your fan-fic work again, Cheryl! Thank you so much for your lovely Thanksgiving gift to us!

Thanks Savannah. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Love your new avatar! Thumbsup


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PostSubject: Re: A Thanksgiving Promise (Sequel posted)   Sun Jan 09, 2011 9:52 pm

Gin wrote:
Well done, Cheryl. I thought when you put in that Jenny was at the Carters you were going to keep her there....but I have to say I do like the blending of she with Manly and Laura.
SO, you now have to make us a Thanksgiving Promise to write about Laura's visit to see Pa and Ma....next year! I want to know all about it.
Thanks for taking time out to write more about Manly and Laura.

I agree - I would love to see the following year's story grinsmiley




"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: A Thanksgiving Promise (Sequel posted)   Mon Jan 10, 2011 12:24 am

Thanks Christina. Hope we'll see something new from you sometime soon too.


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PostSubject: Re: A Thanksgiving Promise (Sequel posted)   Sun Jan 23, 2011 11:04 pm

bethandmanly wrote:
Thanks Christina. Hope we'll see something new from you sometime soon too.

Thanks Cheryl Smile I have a few stories in my head...but when it comes to getting them composed on paper (or, computer I should say), that's another story LOL. I've been watching the show more often lately and I was just telling my husband recently that I miss writing. But hopefully I'll get back to it soon!




"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: A Thanksgiving Promise (Sequel posted)   Sun Jan 23, 2011 11:46 pm

I hope so too. I've been working on a Christmas story since 2009, but I can't seem to get it finished.


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PostSubject: Re: A Thanksgiving Promise (Sequel posted)   Mon Jan 24, 2011 12:11 am

I think that the most hard part of writing a story comes when we must find a nice end to it...Not easy at all to end a good story! scared

Vanesa.


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PostSubject: Re: A Thanksgiving Promise (Sequel posted)   Mon Jan 24, 2011 9:22 am

It is tough. I know what I want to write, but making the time and liking the ending is another thing.


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PostSubject: Re: A Thanksgiving Promise (Sequel posted)   Tue Mar 08, 2011 10:01 am

Very nice story. I enjoyed reading it. Smile I hope you will write more in the future.


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PostSubject: Re: A Thanksgiving Promise (Sequel posted)   Tue Mar 08, 2011 1:26 pm

Thanks Rose. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I have many more stories at fanfiction.net if you look up ccmal.



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PostSubject: Re: A Thanksgiving Promise (Sequel posted)   Sun Dec 02, 2012 5:25 pm

Here's the sequel to the story.

Thanksgiving in Burr Oak

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.



The clickety-clack of the train’s wheels along the tracks had lulled Laura to sleep hours earlier. But her eagerness to reach Burr Oak, Iowa and see her family again forced her eyelids open not long after sunup. I can’t believe we’ll be there in a few hours.

Jenny shifted beside her and sighed, still happily in dream land. Across from them, Almanzo snoozed with an exhausted Rose snuggled in his lap. Watching Almanzo still made her heart flutter. They had been married just over four years now, and she was as in love with him as she was the day they married; perhaps more considering all they had been through.

Almanzo’s eyelids flickered. A corner of his mouth slid up into a crooked smile when he saw Laura staring at him. “Mornin’ Beth.”

“Good morning, Manly. Did you sleep all right?”

He arched his back. “As good as I could sitting here.”

“Well, tonight we should be sleeping in Ma and Pa’s guest room.” Laura crinkled her nose. “It still sounds odd when I say that. Who knew they would ever have a nice house in the city with a spare room?”

“Sure beats jamming all those kids into that tiny house on Plum Creek.”

Laura shrugged. “I’m not so sure about that. I can’t imagine Pa will ever get used to the noise of the city.”

“Are we there yet?” Jenny stretched her arms above her head.

“Not yet,” said Laura. “We should be there before dinner time.”

Jenny smiled. “I can’t wait.”

“Me either.”

By the time the train pulled into the station in Burr Oak, Laura was more than ready to see everyone again. She wished Mary and Adam would be there, but she doubted they could make the trip from New York, especially with how much work Adam had at the law firm. He had made a name for himself as an attorney and he was in great demand.

Once Almanzo had taken their bags off the train, he hailed a coach to take them to the Ingallses’ place. Laura practically jumped out of the coach as soon as it pulled up in front of her parents’ house. The door flew open.

“Pa!” Laura ran to her father and embraced him. “Oh, it’s so good to see you.” Tears prickled her eyes.

Pa squeezed her tight against him. “It’s good to see you too, Half-pint.” He rocked her back and forth like Ma did when she was a little girl. It made her long for those days in the Big Woods when everything seemed much simpler.

“Good to see you again, Sir.” Almanzo reached over Laura’s shoulder and shook Pa’s outstretched hand.

“Hope you had a good trip,” said Pa.

“I think I’ve done enough sittin’ for a week,” joked Almanzo.

Pa knelt down until he was almost Rose’s height. “You’ve gotten to be such a big girl,” he told his granddaughter.

Rose held onto Laura’s hand and twisted her face into the folds of Laura’s coat.

“She’s a bit shy.” Laura brushed Rose’s bangs out of her face, then turned and placed her arm around Jenny. “This is our niece, Jenny.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you.” Jenny curtseyed. “Aunt Laura and Uncle Manzo have told me so much about you.”

“We’re glad to have you here, Jenny,” said Pa. “Let’s get inside.” He glanced at Laura. “There’s a surprise waiting for you.”

As soon as Laura and Almanzo entered the house, all the children raced to greet them.

“I told them I got to see you first or you might have been tackled outside.” Pa chuckled.

Laura could barely make out what Pa said over the hugs and numerous conversations going on all at once. Everyone wanted to know how their friends in Walnut Grove were getting along.

“Let’s wait until after dinner before we start hounding them with questions,” said Pa.

Ma rushed in from the other room. “I’m sorry, I just can’t wait any longer.” She grabbed Laura and pulled her into an embrace. “I’ve missed you.”

Laura felt Ma’s tears against her face. “I’ve missed you too.”

“The turkey is almost done.”

“Oh, let me help you,” said Laura.

Ma waved her off. “Nonsense. I can manage.” Ma’s eyebrows rose. “Besides, I’ve had a helper since yesterday.”

Laura scrunched her face in confusion. “Who?”

“Why don’t you come and see.” Ma clasped her hand around Laura’s and dragged her into the kitchen, smiling like a child bursting to tell a secret.

As Laura turned the corner, she saw her older sister, Mary, standing at the stove stirring the contents of a pot.

“Oh Mary!” Laura batted the tears away with her eyelashes. “I can’t believe you’re here.”

“I couldn’t let you have all the fun,” Mary teased. She wiped her hands on her apron and turned to hug her sister.

“Is Adam here?”

“No, he’s working on a huge case.”

“That’s too bad. I would have loved to have seen him.” The last time she saw Adam she was pregnant with Rose. Mary and Adam had surprised the family by coming to Walnut Grove for Christmas.

“How’s Hester Sue doing?” asked Mary. Laura was sure Mary missed her friend and former helper at the blind school in Sleepy Eye.

“She’s good. She’s been a big help to the Olesons. Since Ma left, she practically runs the restaurant by herself.”

“Enough talk,” said Pa. “I’m starving.”

They all laughed.

Albert helped Almanzo carry the bags into the spare room. Though Mary had used the room last night, Albert agreed to give up his bed to her while Laura and Almanzo were visiting. They would have the guest room, Albert would bunk with James, and Jenny could sleep in the other room with the girls.

“With everyone here for Thanksgiving it will almost be like living in the little house on Plum Creek again.” Laura’s mind wandered off to their early years in Walnut Grove where Mr. Hanson sold them the farm where the Carters now lived. Laura still had a hard time getting used to seeing John and Sarah Carter and their boys in her old house. She wondered if she would ever be able to walk inside without expecting to see Ma standing in the kitchen.

“There’s a bit more room here than in the little house, Half-pint.” Dimples marked Pa’s checks when he smiled.

Laura strolled into the dining room. She ran her fingers across the delicate lace table cloth. The walls were covered with elegant floral wallpaper with green and white stripes. Artwork in dark wooden frames lined the walls. A set of double glass doors covered with lace curtains led out to a small yard. If she hadn’t seen it, she wouldn’t believe her family lived in such a fine place.

“You must be doing very well,” said Laura. “The house is beautiful.” She had never felt jealous of her folks before, but suddenly, she thought about the tiny house she and Almanzo lived in. She missed some of the prettier belongings they owned before the tornado destroyed their first house. She imagined Mary and Adam lived in a house equally as nice as Ma and Pa’s. Laura hated feeling this way when she was so eager to see everyone again.

Laura shook off the uneasiness and returned to the kitchen. “Can I help with anything?”

“You just arrived,” said Ma. “Why don’t you go to your room and freshen up before dinner.” Ma lowered the oven door and pulled out a huge pan with a golden brown turkey. She placed it on the stove’s surface. “Carrie and Cassandra, please set the table.”

“Yes’um,” the girls said in unison.

“All right.” Laura walked upstairs to the guest room. Almanzo was already there, a wash towel in his hands.

“This sure is a nice place your folks have,” said Almanzo.

“It sure is.” Laura plopped down on the bed. She shook her head, as if that would help her feel better about things.

The bed creaked when Almanzo sat down beside her. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing.”

Almanzo cupped Laura’s chin and turned her head toward him. “Beth, we’ve been married long enough for me to know when something is botherin’ ya.”

“Oh, Manly, I feel awful.” Laura sighed. “I should be thankful for all we have, especially since your stroke and Royal’s death, but---” She couldn’t bear to admit it.

“What is it?” When she lowered her eyes, Almanzo caressed her cheek. “Come on, tell me.”

Laura pushed off the bed. “Well, it’s just this house is so nice. I never expected Ma and Pa to live in a place like this. I bet Mary and Adam have a beautiful home too.”

“You’re disappointed with life in Walnut Grove.”

“No, I’m not. I love our home and everything it means to us.” Laura knelt down in front of Almanzo. “The day you stood before the frame of that house and walked to me for the first time since your stroke, I couldn’t have been happier or more proud.” She swallowed the lump in her throat. “I know we can make it through anything, now.” Laura reached up and kissed his cheek. “I hate feeling jealous over what Ma and Pa have. I don’t understand why I’m not happy for them. They worked so hard all these years. It’s time they had an easier life.”

Almanzo scooped her into his lap. “Beth, we can’t always control how we feel. After my stroke, when I thought I would never walk again.” She nodded. “I was so angry. At God. At myself for getting us so deep into debt. I couldn’t even be happy about Rose being born. I can only imagine what Caroline thought when she showed me Rose for the first time and all I said was, ‘It’s a good thing it’s a girl. A father can’t play ball with a son when he’s a cripple.’

“It wasn’t until I realized how much you still needed me that I found the strength to walk again. When I started thinking about you instead of me, it was easy.”

Laura clasped her arms around his neck. Leaning her head on his shoulder, she could still smell the scent of fresh hay from the barn. This was his favorite work shirt. She loved how its blue color matched his eyes. After spending so much time on the train and then the coach, it was nice to find something that reminded her of home.

“You’re right, Manly. I’m not going to let these feelings ruin our visit. I’ll just have to put it out of my mind and concentrate on having a nice day with my family.”

The corner of Almanzo’s mouth rose into a crooked smile. “That’s my girl.”

Laura pecked his cheek. “I used to hate when you called me that.”

“Why?”

“Because I wanted you to see me as a woman.”

“Oh.” Almanzo leaned in close. “I hope it was worth waiting for,” he whispered before nibbling her earlobe.

Laura turned her head and touched her lips to his. “We better get out there so they can serve dinner.”

As the plates of food made their way onto the dining room table, Laura couldn’t help but smile. If she closed her eyes, she could imagine they were sitting around the table at the little house on Plum Creek like they had done many Thanksgivings before this one. Some things had changed, though. Grace, no longer a baby, sat in a chair next to Ma instead of in the highchair Laura remembered. Albert had grown so tall, he was more man than boy. Even Carrie, Cassandra, and James sitting across from her had changed so much in the time since they left Walnut Grove. It warmed Laura’s heart to see how well Jenny got along with her brothers and sisters. Rose sat in Almanzo’s lap beside Laura. She was such a daddy’s girl. His little Rosie Posie, as he called her.

“It’s a shame Mr. Edwards couldn’t come,” said Ma.

There was a time Ma wouldn’t have felt that way. “With John and Sarah visiting her father for Thanksgiving, Mr. Edwards wanted to stay behind and watch the farm for us.” Laura sliced a piece of turkey with a knife and used her fork to drag the turkey through a puddle of gravy. “I told him we could find someone else to do it, but I think he wanted to stay in Walnut Grove.”

“Thought he would hop at the chance to come here,” said Pa.

“I don’t think he has ever gotten over Grace leaving.” Laura’s heart broke each time she thought of Mr. Edwards living by himself. If they had the room, she would have asked him to live with Almanzo and her. “He does a good job of hiding it, but I can see the sadness in his eyes sometimes. Holidays are the worst.”

Pa nodded. “I wish we could visit more often. I miss him.”

“I asked Hester Sue to join us too,” said Laura. “But she felt it would be too much of a burden on the Olesons to the time off.”

“Maybe I can convince her to come to New York for Christmas,” said Mary. “I’m sure she would love it.” Mary glanced over at Almanzo. “Do you ever miss New York, Almanzo?”

“Sometimes.” Almanzo put his fork down to better balance Rose on his left knee. “I think more than anything I miss the memories of growing up there. My cousins and their parents visiting at Christmastime; Mother’s kitchen filled with the smell of freshly baked breads, cakes, and cookies; the thrill of riding across the open fields on my colt Starlight.” He kissed the top of Rose’s head. “I can’t wait until Rose gets a bit older and hangs a stocking up for Santa Claus.”

Once dinner was over, Pa and Almanzo retired to the parlor. All the children bundled up and raced out into the yard to play. Ma, Laura, and Mary busied themselves clearing away the dishes and putting away the few leftovers.

Laura pulled open the door of Ma’s icebox. “How wonderful that you can keep things cool right inside the kitchen.”

“I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to living in the city, but it is nice not to worry about food spoiling so quickly.” Ma scraped a plate clean before dunking it into the sink of hot water for washing. “The water closet is good to have this time of year.”

Mary grabbed a clean, wet plate from the pile and wiped it dry with a towel. “When we first moved to New York, I was afraid it would change me too much. Now, I see the advantage to some of the things we have.” Mary’s hand stopped wiping and she gazed across the room. “I have to admit I miss Pa’s fiddle, though.”

“Well, don’t you worry,” said Ma, “he’ll take it out tonight and play for you.”

Sure enough, a few hours later, once darkness had settled upon Burr Oak, Pa put down his pipe and picked up his fiddle case. He turned the pegs. Then he rosined up the bow and lifted the fiddle to his chin. As the first few notes of “Golden Years Are Passing By,” floated from the fiddle to Laura’s ears, she closed her eyes and drifted back to the Big Woods of Wisconsin, where Grandma danced a jig with Uncle George. She thought of the long, dangerous journey from Wisconsin to Kansas, where they thought they had lost Laura’s beloved bull dog, Jack, and where the family rejoiced in his safe return. There was the Christmas in Kansas, where kindly Mr. Edwards crossed a raging river to deliver presents from Santa Clause to Laura and her sisters. Memories of their first Christmas on Plum Creek came into focus. Everyone worked secretly on special presents, and Laura bartered away her treasured pony, Bunny, to buy a stove for Ma. The years passed quickly by in her mind, until her mind stopped on the year she was pregnant for Rose. So much tragedy befell Almanzo and her during that time, she had finally given up and retreated to bed. How miraculous and thrilling it had been to watch her husband walk again, and to see the tiny frame of a house he and her pa had built so they could stay in Walnut Grove.

The last few notes of the song drifted away. Laura opened her eyes. Ma sat in her rocker, smiling the gentle, sweet smile that had greeted Laura each morning as a girl. Pa stood next to the fireplace, his eyes twinkling before asking what song should be played next. Mary sat next to Ma, knitting what appeared to be a pair of mittens. Despite her blindness, Mary’s hands never faltered. Almanzo relaxed in Pa’s rocker, a sleeping Rose snuggled in his lap. Laura had joined the rest of her siblings on the floor, hoping to capture—if only for a few moments—the joy of being an Ingalls girl, an important part of a family who worked together and loved each other through the good times and the bad.

Her earlier feelings of jealousy were a distant memory. She was happy Ma and Pa would not have to worry so much over money. Though she knew Pa would never get the love of farming out of his blood, Laura felt he was right where God called him to be. Mary and Adam, after surviving many tragedies in the early years of their marriage, had settled into a happy life in New York. They deserved it. Perhaps God would bless them with more children. Her younger siblings were happy and loved, and Jenny seemed to be thriving despite the loss of her father last year. What else could she ask for? In a few days, Laura, Almanzo, Rose and Jenny would say goodbye to the Ingalls family and journey back to Walnut Grove, where Laura would share with her treasured friends and neighbors all the happenings in Burr Oak and New York. Laura lifted her gaze to the ceiling and took a moment to thank God for all His blessings.




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PostSubject: Re: A Thanksgiving Promise (Sequel posted)   Today at 4:13 pm

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