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 Look Back To Yesterday The Final Chapter

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Davetucson
Ingalls Friend for Life
Ingalls Friend for Life
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Location : Helena, Alabama
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PostSubject: Look Back To Yesterday The Final Chapter    Sun Mar 18, 2012 8:33 pm

Look Back To Yesterday
The Final Chapter (Part One)

It was late spring in Walnut Grove and the hills surrounding the valley were bursting with green. Spring was always my favorite time of the year in Minnesota. The bitter cold was gone and life was rejuvenating itself everywhere you looked. The sweetheart tree was bursting with green as I looked down over the town from our room above the restaurant. Mother was making her way across the street from the mercantile for her morning visit.

It was 5:30 in the morning and any minute now I would hear that voice, along with half of Hero Township. “Willie! Where are you! Mother’s here”! How many times had I heard that? Rachel was still asleep. She deserved the rest and I wasn’t about to wake her up. We had both catered a private dinner the night before. The Carter’s entertained visiting relatives until late last night and we had not gotten to sleep until after eleven, which was unusual in and of itself.  Their relatives had arrived on the stage over two hours late last night and it was pouring rain.  Rachel and I offered to feed them while the rain subsided and it turned into a lengthy affair.  Thank God Hester Sue was already in the kitchen preparing for the breakfast crowd.

I went down the stairs to unlock the door for Mother and also to stop that incessant yelling that she liked to do while looking for me. She came every morning to do the books for us. I was never the greatest at math and knew a good thing when I saw it. Mother had always done the bookkeeping at the mercantile and Father always said that she was the best at numbers that he had ever seen. The restaurant was making a profit and I wanted to keep it that way. With Rachel expecting, we would need all the money we could get our hands on.  You never knew when the crops would go sour in this part of the country, so it always made sense to me to save as much money as possible should hard times befall the community. No matter what happened, I was determined to take care of my sweet Rachel. She was the love of my life and nothing was going to put that in jeopardy.

The first thing out of Mother’s mouth was a terse question regarding the fact that we were open so late last night. I explained to her about the Carter’s relatives and as usual she seemed disgusted. “Why would you go out of your way for a bunch of dirt farmers and a blacksmith?” she asked. It was at that point that I had to remind her that those “dirt farmers” not only kept me in business, but the mercantile as well, a fact that she had never come to accept.    

All my life I had heard the same nonsense from her. Mother was always class conscious and preferred to think of herself as one step above everybody else. God only knows what I would have turned out to be if it hadn’t of been for Father. He was the kindest man that I have ever known outside of Charles Ingalls. I will be grateful for the rest of my life for the influence he had on me. As a child, I was spoiled rotten by Mother, but as I became older I realized what a wonderful, caring person he really was. Someone I wanted to pattern my life after. He was always there when people needed help, and I was determined to be the same.

After telling Mother that staying open last night was a business decision that I did not care to hear her opinion about, she began with the bookkeeping and I went in the kitchen to see Hester Sue.  There she was in that bright red apron preparing biscuits for the breakfast crowd. The smell in that kitchen in the morning is something that will stay with me for the rest of my life. Hester Sue’s biscuits were known throughout the county, a fact that I was gratefully aware of. We owed our success to her and I made a point of it to remind her of that fact every day. There wasn’t a sweeter woman in the world. People came from miles around to taste her cooking and it was of great importance to me to make sure she was happy. I had always thanked the Lord that we were able to employ her after the blind school had been taken over by the state.

It was spring vacation and my darling little sister Nancy arrived to work the switchboard. Mother had talked me into giving her the job to keep her busy. I only agreed to it after having the phone company put a block on listening to calls after they were connected. Mother wasn’t happy about it, but I really didn’t care. It should have been done years ago, a fact that my Father was painfully aware of. He was proud of me for doing it.      

Of course, Nancy had a new dress on. When I saw her walk in the door, I prepared myself for the same line I had heard for several years. “Do you like my new dress Willie? It came from Paris”. “Yes Nancy, it is beautiful” I said. What else could I say? If I told her I didn’t like it she would have reminded me of how much I hated her. Which I might add, wasn’t far from the truth. Why Mother had adopted her was beyond any reason. Nancy was just plain mean, and it pained me to call her my sister. Nellie was no angel, but there was meanness about Nancy that Nellie wasn’t capable of. I had grown to love Nellie very much as we got older, she had a sweetness about her that emerged the minute she fell in love with Percival. I admired my brother in law for straightening her out, not to mention standing up to mother dear.

It was getting towards opening time and Rachel came down the stairs to prepare for breakfast. Although we had been married for over two years, my heart still skipped a beat when I laid eyes on her in the morning. I loved her with all my heart and thanked the Lord that we were able to be together every day. It would be difficult for me if I had to leave her every morning as most husbands had to do. “Has mother been here?”  she asked. I told her that she had come and gone after going over the books. A smile came over her face and she crossed through the tables to give me a morning kiss. The thought crossed my mind to delay opening and go back upstairs with her, but I quickly reconsidered after seeing the crowd outside. I hated being mature sometimes!

It was a very busy morning and Rachel and I hardly had a chance to speak as we waited on tables. Doc Baker and Reverend Alden came in for their normal breakfast around 8am. It was always good to see them. I had grown up with them both and they were like relatives to me. Doc Baker had treated me during my childhood for everything from the measles to cuts, scrapes and bruises. I was always pretty clumsy and it was good that he was there for me. Now he was taking care of Rachel and would deliver my first child. Reverend Alden, who I had come to love, had pastored in Walnut Grove for as long as I could remember. Mother dear had to drag me to church when I was a kid. I would rather have been fishing than sitting in a hot church listening to a sermon. But as I got older, I came to appreciate what reverend Alden meant to us all. He married Rachel and me, and in about 2 months or so he would be christening my first child. Where had the time gone?

Doc Baker was quick to tell me that Rachel would have to stop working in a week or so, a fact that I was well aware of. Rachel was a strong girl, but I had laid the law down to her about working after the seventh month of her pregnancy. I had already made arrangements for a waitress to start next week. Doc Baker was pleased when I informed him of the coming change. He reminded me of her appointment this week and I assured him that Rachel would be there along with me. I never let her go the doctor alone during the last 7 months. I wanted to be a part of every step along the way until our child was born. Of course, Mother offered to go with her in the beginning, an idea that I quickly rejected with the help of Father.

As Doc Baker and Reverend Alden were leaving, Mr. Ingalls and Mr. Edwards arrived. They normally took a break from the mill around 9am and would come in for coffee and some of Hester Sue’s biscuits. I took the opportunity to brag about how our team had beaten Mr. Edwards’s team in a baseball game last weekend. Albert had hit the winning home run in the bottom of the ninth. “We had beaten them, snake ball and all” I exclaimed. Mr. Ingalls had a huge smile on his face as Mr. Edwards started in with the excuses.  “Bad call at home” Mr. Edwards said, as Mr. Ingalls began to laugh even harder. Deep down inside, I knew that he was right. Albert was out by a mile, but reverend Alden, who was umpiring, wasn’t about to call him out. Not Albert, not now.

As Mr. Edwards and Mr. Ingalls finished their coffee, Mr. Ingalls asked if he could talk to me outside. I said I would join him out there as soon as they left. He seemed pleased. He was sitting on the front porch of the restaurant staring at the sweetheart tree when I joined him. It was obvious that there was something on his mind. Since he had brought Albert back from Wanaka, you could see the heartbreak in his eyes. His son was dying and there was nothing he could do about it. There was nothing any of us could do but pray for a miracle. It had been two weeks since Andy and I walked up to the Keepsake Tree with Albert and Laura.

That was a day that I would always be thankful for. I had cleared the air with Albert a week earlier, gotten Andy to come from Sleepy Eye, and walked up there with my best friend for what may have been the last time. I was afraid that Mr. Ingalls had bad news and I really didn’t want to face that. I wanted to be anywhere else, anywhere that I didn’t have to look at Mr. Ingalls’s tear filled eyes. And then, a smile came upon his face as he began to speak to me.

“Willie” he said, “I just wanted you to know how much it meant to me when you climbed that mountain with him”.
“You getting Andy here and having that little talk with him means more to me than you will ever know”. “He told me all about it”. “Any doubts about you being a man have been erased for me”. “I want you to know that Carolyn and I love you for it and always will”.  

An uncontrollable emotion came over me as I listened to him speak. Here was a man, about to lose his son, telling me how much of a man I was. He had always been a rock to me and everyone else in Walnut Grove. No matter what hardship would befall him, he always had his faith, always was there when anyone else needed him.  My Father had told me years ago that if I wanted to base my life around anyone, it would be Charles Ingalls. How right he was.

We hugged before he departed and I asked him how Albert was. “Fine” he said. “He has his good and bad days”. I told him to say hello to him for me and that I would be up to see him this week. I explained to him that I had been very busy and hadn’t seen Albert since the ball game. I had made a promise to myself to see him at least once a week and I was over that time already. It wouldn’t happen again. I watched him walk towards the mill and prayed to God that I wouldn’t ever have to walk in his shoes. Fathers aren’t supposed to bury their sons.

As I went back in to get ready for the lunch crowd, I saw Rachel and Hester Sue sitting near the door. They both had tears in their eyes, and my first thought was that Mother must have slipped in while I wasn’t looking and upset them. I was preparing to walk across the street and straighten her out when Rachel told me that they overheard Mr. Ingalls and I. “He told you what I already knew Willie; you are a man”. All three of us hugged for what seemed to be five minutes.

The rest of the day was fairly uneventful. The normal lunch crowd, but we stayed fairly busy until closing. Around 5pm Nancy emerged and told me that I had a phone call. It was Andy. He told me that he had just gotten off the phone with Albert and that he sounded fine. I told Andy that I was going to see Albert tomorrow and that I would call him afterwards. Andy had come down for the ball game, and I had promised him then that I would keep him informed weekly regarding Albert. I asked Andy how his Pa was and he said he was fine. He had left for a week on business and Andy was in charge while he was gone. After I hung up I was thinking about the fact that we had all grown up.

After we closed, I sent Rachel upstairs and helped Hester Sue with the kitchen chores. I also had a surprise for her. Over Mother’s objections, I was giving Hester Sue a $10.00 a month raise. I knew that with Rachel having to take a leave next week, things would be a little difficult with the new waitress and all. After I told her she was delighted and wouldn’t stop thanking me. “It was her who should be thanked” I told her.  I knew that without her, the restaurant would fall apart. I wasn’t going to let that happen, regardless of what Mother thought. Mother could be penny wise and pound foolish sometimes. She needed to stick to the bookkeeping and let me run the business, something that I had to constantly remind her of. Percival knew that and so did I.

I closed the restaurant and went upstairs where Rachel was resting. She was sleeping on the couch and as I looked at her, I made a decision to start the new waitress tomorrow. She was dead tired and I didn’t want her to push it anymore. The new waitress had arrived yesterday. She was staying at Hester Sue’s. I would call her tonight and make the arrangements. Since she was a relative of Hester Sue’s, I didn’t foresee any problem in doing that. Her name was Regina and I was sure she would be of great help to us. If Hester Sue’s cousin had half the work ethic that she had, things would be fine.

Rachel woke up and smiled at me. She was glowing. Hard to explain how an expectant mother glows. They just do. She had never been more beautiful. I reminded her of the appointment with Doc Baker in two days and she asked if I was going with her? “Of course” I said. “Have I ever missed one yet?” She smiled again and I asked her if I could take her out to dinner to our favorite restaurant. She accepted and we went downstairs.
Hester Sue had fixed us dinner before she left. She did that, a lot. She knew that Rachel was tired in the last few months and the saint of a woman would fix us dinner without being asked. That’s what kind of person she was.
All I had to do was heat it up, light the candles, and another romantic dinner was prepared. When we were first married, we had a lot of dinners with Mother and Father at home. But that quickly became old. A little bit of Mother and Nancy in the same room goes a long way. Besides, after a long day’s work, the only person I wanted to see was Rachel.

As we sat down to eat, I could tell that Rachel had something on her mind. She looked at me and asked if I had thought of who was going to be the Godfather to our child. I hadn’t really thought about it until she mentioned it.
I told her that I would leave it up to her. She said she had already made the decision and hoped that I would agree.
I asked her who she had in mind. “Albert” she said without hesitation. I couldn’t believe it. She wanted Albert to be our child’s Godfather knowing full well that he was dying? “He may not live that long Rachel” I said, “and besides, don’t you want someone that will be around while our child grows up?”  

“Willie, as much as I hate to say it, you sound like your mother”. “He’s your best friend. His name will last forever if we do this”. “Our child will hold the memory of Albert for the rest of their life, long after we are gone”.  After Rachel spoke I felt like an idiot. How stupid of me to even ask the question. Even if Albert wasn’t there for our child in its later years, I would make sure the child knew about him and what he meant to me. I had a hundred stories I could tell about our childhood.

“Done” I said. I told Rachel that I was going to see Albert tomorrow and that I would ask him then. I only hoped that he would accept. The baby was eight weeks away and I didn’t know how he would feel about it.  “What about your mother” Rachel asked. That one didn’t even call for an answer.

It was another beautiful spring day in Walnut Grove. As I awoke, I was thinking of going to see Albert while looking across the street at the mercantile. The sun was just over the horizon and I was getting dressed in a hurry so I could get down to the restaurant. Regina was starting today and I wanted to avoid that irritating noise that Mother made every morning. I wanted Rachel to sleep late, she needed the rest.

Regina and Hester Sue were already in the kitchen. I thanked Regina for starting early and she said that it was no problem. She was happy to be with her cousin. They had not seen each other in ten years. Regina looked a lot like Hester Sue and had the same pleasant attitude. They both had a sweetness about them that was rare in people. I always thought it was that southern upbringing. Whatever it was, it was priceless. Regina dove right in and I could tell from the start that there wouldn’t be much of a learning curve involved. She had worked in a restaurant in Atlanta for 15 years. I was sure she could handle this.

I went to the front door and had a cup of coffee while waiting for Mother. She usually arrived around 6am and today was no exception. There she was, crossing the street like she was going to a fire. She held on to that ledger like it was gold. When it came to money, Mother dearest was all over it. She saw me sitting at the table through the window, so my efforts to avoid her yelling for me had paid off. How nice the quiet was. I had a nice surprise for her this fine morning, one that I had been looking forward to for a long time.  

I invited her to sit down with me the minute she entered the restaurant. “Mother, I have something to tell you. You remember the agreement I had with you and Father concerning the ownership of this restaurant?” “Of course I do” she replied. I knew that she kept meticulous books. Rachel and I had been making payments to her ever since we took over the restaurant. I knew what the balance was before I asked her, but I posed the question anyway. “How much do we still owe before the restaurant is ours?”

“Willie” she said “it is a large sum, one that I do not think that you should think about now, especially with the baby coming.” “How much Mother” I said. “It is $400.00 dear, which you should be able to pay off in four years including the interest.” I reached into my coat pocket and pulled out a check. It was $400.00.  I had never quite seen a look on my mother’s like the one I was looking at. I really didn’t know if she was going to faint or throw up.
“Mother, I would like the deed to the restaurant by the end of the week”. Probably the sweetest words I had ever spoken. “Where on earth did you get this Willie?” she said. “Mother” I said, “I do not recall you EVER giving anyone information about your finances, even Father”. “I intend to carry on the tradition”.

Little did she know that Nellie and Percivel had sent Rachel and me an anniversary gift several months back. In it was $400.00. They expressed their regrets about not being able to be there when I presented it to Mother. Mother never knew and I always loved Percivel for allowing Nellie to do that for us. Rachel and I never forgot it. Although I was running the restaurant, I always had that cloud hanging over my head with Mother. Now it was gone. I told Mother that I would like to retain her as bookkeeper for a salary of $10.00 a month. And the surprise of the century came! She said she would do it for nothing!  “Consider it a gift Willie, a gift to you and Rachel”. How noble of her, after charging interest for two years! At any rate, I told her how much I appreciated it. Anything you could get out of Mother when it came to money had to be considered a victory.

Mother finished up the daily receipts rather quickly that morning. She couldn’t wait to get to the bank to deposit my check. We opened to the usual crowd for breakfast and everything was as smooth as silk. Regina waited on tables like no one I had ever seen before. She told me that day that she was accustomed to having 20 tables in Atlanta. And I was worried about a learning curve!

I was relieved that Regina was doing so well. I could leave for a while today to see Albert. I went over to the mill to ask Mr. Ingalls if I could borrow his horse to ride out to Laura’s around noon. It would save me some time, not having to hitch up the wagon. He told me that Laura was fixing him and Mr. Edwards’s lunch, and that I was welcome to ride with him. He would be there about an hour and a half which would be perfect. They would pick me up at the restaurant at noon.

I went back to the restaurant and found Rachel in the kitchen. She was washing dishes! I could see that it was time for us to have a little conversation. I gently took her by the arm and told her I wanted to talk to her. We went out the back door to that hallowed spot of Laura’s rumored first kiss. I put my arms around her and told her how much I loved her. I also told her that I did not want her working anymore until after the baby was born. If she loved me, she would honor my request. She looked at me with those big blue eyes and said “OK Dad, but with one condition” she said. “I have to come down to the restaurant just to see if everything is running right. I will sit down and not do anything physical. I can’t stay upstairs all day long without going nuts”. I told her that would be fine.

It was eleven thirty when I saw father walking across the street. He came in the restaurant and sat at a table nearest the door. I went over to greet him and could tell that he something on his mind. “Willie my boy, we need to have a private conversation” he said. I felt like I was in school again. I had heard that same expression many times when I was in trouble, and the result wasn’t usually very pleasant.  

“I just spoke with your Mother” father said. “I can’t tell you how proud I am of you. For you to save that amount of money in that short of a period of time is admirable. You have turned out to be quite a man and I just wanted you to know how I felt”. It goes without saying as to just how I felt when Father said that to me. He had always encouraged me to do the right thing and work hard in everything I did. He would never know how much I appreciated and loved him for saying that to me. “And one more thing Willie” he said. “I have calculated the interest that your Mother added to the loan. Here is a check for the entire amount. It will make a good start for my grandchild’s college fund”. I couldn’t believe it. I asked him if Mother had agreed to this and all he said was “She doesn’t have to know about it”. That was my father, plain and simple. Quiet kindness was his middle name.    

It was noon and down the street came Mr. Ingalls and Mr. Edwards in the wagon. You could hear them the minute they got in the wagon. Mr. Edwards singing Old Dan Tucker all the way down the street. How he loved that song. Whenever you heard it, you knew who was around. I always understood why Laura was so close to him. He was tough as nails, but could be as sweet as a lamb when the occasion called for it.

I climbed into the wagon and we headed towards Laura’s house. I asked Mr. Ingalls what the special occasion was at Laura’s. He and Mr. Edwards usually brought their lunch and it was kind of unusual for them to go home for it. “Albert caught a whole mess of fish yesterday and Laura wanted to cook it for lunch today” he replied. “Nobody cooks fish like Laura” he said. Mr. Edwards was smacking his lips just thinking about it. I jokingly told Mr. Ingalls not to let the word out; it was bad for the restaurant business. He laughed and promised he wouldn’t.

As we approached the house, you could see that some cooking was going on. Smoke was pouring out of the kitchen vent. I was beginning to get that uneasy feeling again, the feeling I got every time I was about to see Albert. I was always afraid I would say the wrong thing or do the wrong thing. After looking back on it, it was probably a fear of losing it in front of him which I did not want to do. Albert didn’t want sympathy or anyone goggling over him just because he was sick. That’s just the he was and I was determined to respect that.  

As we were walking up to the house, my mind couldn’t help to go back to the time when Rachel and I lived there right after we were married. Laura was very kind to us during our short stay. She had opened it up as a boarding house, and at the time, we thought that it would be good to get away from Mother. It was a lovely old house that Laura had inherited. The travel back and forth from the restaurant had become too much, so we decided to move back to the hotel. We would never forget how kind Laura and Almanzo had been to us during our stay.

Albert was sitting at the dining room table when I walked in. I was glad to see that he really looked good. He still had that smile that couldn’t help but make anyone feel good. That was the smile I remembered in the school house when we were kids. As l looked at him, I could still see him walking up that Winoka street for the first time, with that shoe shine box slung over his shoulder, wondering how he was going to make enough money to eat that day. He was a survivor then and he was a survivor now. He would be right up until the end.

“Hey Willie, how are you? Hi Pa, Mr. Edwards. How are you?” He sounded great, and if you didn’t know it, you wouldn’t think that there was a problem. “I caught a mess of fish yesterday Willie, so many in fact that Laura had to cook them for breakfast this morning. Probably have some tonight for supper. And the funny thing is, I caught them at our secret pond. You remember where that is Willie?” “Of course I do” I replied, “I haven’t gotten that old yet”! Albert looked at me and told me we should take a day and go out there again. “We’ll do it” I told him as Laura began to serve lunch.

After lunch we were all sitting at the table and I told Albert that I needed to speak to him about a personal matter. “Anything you want to talk about Willie, you can pretty much say it in front of my family” Albert replied. I hoped that he was right. “The thing is Albert, Rachel and I have decided who we want our child’s Godfather to be”. “That’s great Willie” Albert replied, “Who’s the lucky person?” He is a person I have looked up to all my life, a person that set the kind of example that I would want my child to follow. “OK Willie, don’t keep me in suspense any longer, tell us who it is, Pa has to get back to the mill.”

“You Albert, You” I replied. There was dead silence in the room. Mr. Ingalls eyes welled up and Laura began to get a little weepy as well. Mr. Edwards just smiled. Albert looked away from me for what seemed to be about thirty seconds. When he finally looked back at me there were tears rolling down his face and he was smiling. Still the silence, so I decided to ask him again. “Would you do us the honor of being our child’s Godfather Albert?” Albert finally spoke. “You know Willie, there is the possibility that I might not be around?” “Nonsense” I said, “I won’t even think about that. The baby is due in just under eight weeks and I want you there. I have already planned it with Reverend Alden.”

“It would be the greatest honor of my life Willie” Albert said. “Then it is done” I replied as I reached across the table to shake his hand. “Just don’t go talking about me as a great example too much” Albert laughingly said as we made our way outside. “I was far from perfect; Pa and Laura will tell you that!”

We pulled up in front of the mill, and as I was getting off the wagon, I saw Doc Baker walking toward the mercantile. I walked with him as I made my way back to the restaurant. “Don’t forget Rachel’s appointment today Willie” he said. I assured him that we would be there and told him that I had just seen Albert out at Laura’s place.
I remarked to doc Baker how good he looked. “Yes he does” he replied. “That’s the awful thing about that horrid disease, he can be full of life and then the end can come, without warning. I truly admire Albert’s attitude and how he is coping with this thing. He seems to be doing everything he wanted to do since he came back to Walnut Grove.”

Doc Baker’s words rang in my ears as I left him and approached the restaurant. “The end can come without warning”. I prayed to God that Albert could make it until the baby was born. He simply had to. If he didn’t, it wouldn’t be for lack of prayer. Rachel and I would see to that.

As I was entering the restaurant, I suddenly remembered that I had promised to call Andy. I asked Nancy to place a call for me and then went to look for Rachel. Hester Sue had told me that she had gone to the mercantile and would be back shortly. It was good to see that everything was under control while I was gone. The restaurant was busy and everything was running smoothly. Hester Sue and Regina made quite a team.

Nancy came out from the back and told me that she had Andy on the line. I went back to the switchboard, picked up the telephone and heard Andy talking to a customer at the freight company. “Andy” I said “Just wanted to call and let you know that I was out at Laura’s today for lunch. Albert boy caught a whole mess of fish and it was great!
He looks wonderful and you would never know that he is sick. I wanted you to know.” Andy was glad to hear the news. “Say hello to your PA” I said . “I will” replied Andy, “he is due back any day now and I sure will be glad when he gets here”. As I hung up the phone I noticed that Nancy was standing at the door.

Nancy looked at me with that familiar smirk on her face and said “It seems to me that there sure is a lot of fuss over Albert. It’s not like he’s your Brother or anything. I’m getting kind of tired hearing about it.” Rachel was standing right behind her. “In that case Nancy, I will relieve you of your duties here so you do not have to hear about it anymore!” “Go home to your Mother and maybe she will give you a job in the mercantile!” That was the first time I had ever seen Rachel lose her temper and to be quite honest, I loved her for it. Nancy looked at both of us and said “You both hate me!” She wasn’t far from the truth!

I looked at Rachel and asked her who was going to run the switchboard. “Me” she said. “It is a sit down job and it won’t be a problem.” I knew that we would get a visit from Mother, and frankly, I didn’t care. Mother owned the switchboard and collected fees on the calls every month. I knew what I was going to do about it.

I went back out into the dining room, and sure enough, there was Mother and Father crossing the street. Mother looked at me with that distressed look I had seen so many times and asked me how I had the nerve to tell Nancy to leave. “Mother” I said, “Not only do I not want Nancy in here anymore, but the switchboard has to go too! Nancy is simply bad for business. She has a terrible attitude and I DO NOT want her in here anymore! This business is hard enough to run without putting up with her all day.” “You are the one getting royalties from the telephone calls, I think you should move it to the mercantile and hire someone to man it”. “That way, you can have your investment close to you!” “All I want is a phone for the restaurant and hotel. It is either that or you can pay rent if it stays here.” “That will allow me to hire someone to run it.”

“Willie, how could you do such a dreadful thing to your mother after all I have done for you?” “Strictly business Mother, I learned from the best!” Father looked at me and smiled. “Come along Harriet” he said. “The boy is right.
Willie, we will make arrangements to move the switchboard this week and have a phone installed in here”. Mother looked at me and reminded me that there would be charge for the phone. I let her know that I wouldn’t have any other way.

The next month brought heavy rains to Walnut Grove. It was a good thing. The spring planting had been done and the rains would ensure a good crop. Rachel was due to deliver in three to four weeks and Doc Baker was pleased with the outlook. Albert had a few setbacks in the last month but generally was doing well. He had lost a few pounds and had some sporadic nose bleeds, but all in all he looked pretty good. I had kept Andy informed every week and I kept on schedule with visits to Albert’s every week. Rachel and I were pleased to see him in church every Sunday with Mr. Ingalls and Laura.

Mother and father had been insisting for the last few weeks that Rachel and I come to dinner. It was Saturday and Rachel and I wanted to do something different, so we finally accepted the invitation. We closed at 5pm and got ready to go have dinner. We knocked on the door and Nancy came to greet us. Another new dress! Lord how Mother spoiled that brat! We greeted Mother and Father and sat down in the living room to talk awhile before dinner.

As we made small talk, I couldn’t help but think of Nellie and me coming down those stairs every morning dressed for school. It was breakfast, a quick raid to the candy counter and then off to a day of learning. Or in my case, standing in the corner! I missed those days, playing baseball and swimming or fishing after school with Albert and Andy. You don’t appreciate how wonderful that time of life is until it is gone. I was determined to make sure that my child did.

Father had prepared roast beef for dinner. I was relieved that he did the cooking. Mother was a horrible cook and I didn’t want to spend the evening lying about how much I enjoyed it. Father always enjoyed cooking. It was a real blessing. If we only had Mother to do it, we would have starved to death.

We were having desert when Rachel suddenly doubled over in pain. Mother screamed out for someone to get Doc Baker! “My God this couldn’t be happening now, she has four weeks to go” I exclaimed. I ran out the door to get Doc Baker, all the way praying that he was there. He wasn’t in his office so I went out to the street and yelled up to his window above the office. Thank God that he poked his head out of the window and asked what on earth was wrong. “It’s Rachel” I said, “I think the baby is coming”. “I’ll get my bag and be right there”. He raced down the stairs and we both ran to the mercantile as quickly as we could.

When we arrived, Rachel was upstairs with Mother. As Doc Baker went up the stairs I could hear that awful screaming. I wanted to go up there, but Father wouldn’t let me. “Stay here son and let Doc Baker handle it. Rachel will be fine. She is in good hands.” It went on for an hour and all I could think about is that I wasn’t up there so I could hold my Rachel’s hand while she was going through this ordeal. Mr. and Mrs. Brown arrived and sat down in the living room to wait. To her credit, Nancy had run out to their place to let them know what was happening.

All of a sudden it stopped. I had been afraid during the whole ordeal. Now I was frightened to death. Was Rachel alright? Was the baby healthy? 100 things must have run through my mind before Doc Baker got to the bottom of the stairs. “It’s a boy”! He said. The baby is fine and so is Rachel. I had never seen two grown men cry before, but that was the case with Father and me on this night. I hugged Mrs. Brown and then embraced Father and Mr. Brown. The grandparents were already dotting and even Nancy came over and gave me a hug. It was the happiest day of my life, outside of marrying Rachel. “You can go up now Willie, your mother is up there with Rachel and the baby”.          

I got to the top of the stairs and there was Mother with tears flowing out of her eyes. It had been a long time since I had seen that sweetness on her face. “Thank you Mother” I said as I wrapped my arms around her. “Your son is beautiful” she said. “He has his Mother’s blue eyes and your thick head of hair”. “One month early and you couldn’t tell it by looking at him. Go see them now, they are both waiting for you” she whispered.

I opened the door and there was Rachel, with our son in her arms. “I love you Rachel Brown” were the first words out of my mouth. A more beautiful sight I had never seen. “I love you too, Willie Oleson” Rachel replied. Nothing was said for ten minutes while I just held my son and wife in my arms. I was at that moment, the happiest man on the face of the earth.

Rachel looked at me and finally spoke. “We need to name our son” she said. I looked at her and reminded her of what we had agreed on months earlier. I asked her if it was what she still wanted. “Of course it is” she said. Our son’s name would be Mark Albert Oleson.  

I went back downstairs and told the grandparents that they could go up and see their grandchild. “Willie” my mother said, “My grandchild needs a name”. “He already has one mother” I replied. It is Mark Albert Oleson!
Mr. and Mrs. Brown said that it was a fine name. Father agreed. Mother didn’t say a word. I knew Mother well enough to know that some comments were coming. Doc baker was making out the birth certificate so I repeated the name for him before Mother could speak. “Got that Doc Baker, Mark Albert Oleson” “It’s a fine name Willie”
replied Doc. Mother could tell that I wanted the subject dropped and she never said another word. Nancy looked at me with that “look”, but knew better than to say anything.

Mother insisted that Rachel stay there for the next couple of days which I agreed with. Father fetched a cradle from the mercantile and said it was their gift for Mark. I loved him for that. I knew that Mark and Rachel would be in good hands. Grandmother and Grandfather Oleson would see to that. Mr. and Mrs. Brown offered to help in any way before they left for the evening. The Browns were fine people and I was grateful that I had them as in-laws. I hugged them both before they departed and told them that I would see them tomorrow when they come to town.

It was around 7pm and I was busting with anticipation to tell the world the happy news. It was Saturday night and I suspected that the Ingalls would be up a little later than usual. I asked Father if I could hitch up the carriage and he helped me get it done. I raced through town and out towards the Ingalls. I wanted Albert to know that his God Son had been born!

As I approached the house, I saw Doc Baker’s carriage in the front. My heart skipped a beat when I saw it. “There can’t be anything wrong tonight, not tonight” I thought. I raced towards the house and could make out Mr. Ingalls sitting on the porch. Mr. Edwards was with him. “Why is Doc Baker here?” I asked. “He’s up there with Albert” he replied. “Albert had a bad day today. The nose bleeds have gotten worse and I thought it best that the Doc look him over”. “Michele is with them and it shouldn’t be much longer” Mr. Ingalls added.

“I just came out to give you some good news Mr. Ingalls” I said. “Good Son, I could use some tonight, it hasn’t been a good day”. “My son was born tonight sir” I replied. Both of their faces lit up when I told them the news. Mr. Ingalls called for Laura to come outside and she appeared shortly along with Alamanzo. I could tell that Laura had been crying because of her swollen eyes. I repeated the news to them and they both began to smile.

“His name is Mark Albert Oleson Laura” I exclaimed. Laura wrapped her arms around me and hugged me like I have never been hugged before. “That’s very sweet of you and Rachel, Albert will be pleased.” Mr. Ingalls and Mr. Edwards were very happy with the news. I was glad that I could bring some happiness out there on that Saturday night. I sat down to wait for Doc Baker to come down.        

Doc Baker finally came out the front door about 30 minutes after I had arrived. I asked him how Albert was. He told me that he had a bad bleeding episode while he and Michele were walking through the woods down by the creek. “The bleeding has stopped, but he is not feeling that good. He has the sweats, but it should subside with some rest. Michele is with him. You can go up now Willie, but only for ten minutes”.

I made my way up the stairwell to see Albert. I was thinking what a day it had been. My son was born, and now I was going to see my best friend, who in all likelihood was near death. I tried with all my heart to get those thoughts out of my mind. I refused to accept this, I couldn’t. I would only think of Mark Albert while I was in that room. Only him and Rachel and how much I loved them.

The door was half open to Albert’s room and I walked in. Michele was sitting at the side of the bed with a cold rag and a basin of water on the table next to the bed. Albert seemed to be asleep. He was soaking wet along with the pillow. I could see the beads of sweat rolling down his face and neck from across the room. I hadn’t seen him look so bad since he had that bout with morphine a few years back. Albert beat that and I knew he would beat this episode, just like all the rest. I couldn’t fathom anything else from him. He was always a fighter, no matter what the odds.

I spoke to Michelle in a low voice. “Hi Michelle, how are you two doing?” “We are fine” she said, “we just had a bad day. You know Albert; he wouldn’t stay at home today when I came to visit him. He insisted on having a picnic down by the creek. Everything was fine for most of the day and then he had an awful nose bleed. I couldn’t stop it!


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PostSubject: Look Back To Yesterday The Final Chapter Part Two   Sun Mar 18, 2012 8:36 pm

I ran home and got Mr. Ingalls. He brought Albert home and called Doc Baker who had just come from the mercantile. It scared me to death Willie!”

“I’m sure it did” I replied. “Did Doc Baker tell you?” I asked. “Oh yes Willie, he did. He told Albert too. We are both so happy for you and Rachel. How does it feel to be a father?” “It feels wonderful, hard to describe.” Michelle said that Doc Baker didn’t know what we named the baby. That was Doc Baker for you. He knew that I would want to tell Albert myself and didn’t want to spoil the occasion. I would have to remember to thank him.

“We named him Mark Albert Oleson, Michelle” still in a low voice as to not to wake up Albert. Albert’s eyes suddenly opened and he had the devilish smile on his face that I had seen so many times before. “Nice name Willie Boy” he said. “You don’t know how that makes me feel, please tell Rachel that I love you both for it. Congratulations Pa! I would get up and shake your hand, but I am not feeling too great right now. Hope you understand.”

That was vintage Albert, apologizing for being sick. “Reverend Alden will make the announcement tomorrow in Church Albert. I am glad you are pleased.” I replied.

I told them both that it had been a long day. I was exhausted. I knew they were. I said goodbye to Albert and Michelle and made my way down the stairs. Laura was standing at the bottom of the stairs. She thanked me for coming and said to give her best wishes to Rachel. I couldn’t help but think of how many times Laura and I got into it as kids. Now, here we were, both with kids and both running a business. We had grown up. After saying goodbye to Mr. Ingalls, Almanzo and Mr. Edwards, I went down to the carriage and proceeded home.

It was all I could do to hold my eyes open on the way back. I got to the mercantile and unhitched the carriage. I stopped into see Rachel and the baby, but by now, they were both asleep. I peeked into the room and for a quick look before leaving for the hotel. There they were, Mark Albert asleep in the cradle, and Rachel asleep in the bed.
I didn’t feel tired anymore. This was one of the few times that I was grateful that the mercantile was just a walk away. Rachel and Mark would be safe and taken care of while I worked. It was a good feeling.

The rain was coming down steadily as I awakened at 5am Sunday morning. I couldn’t get dressed fast enough to get across the street to see Rachel and Mark. Church was at 10am and I wanted to make sure I had plenty of time to spend with them. I suddenly remembered that I hadn’t called Andy with the news. I would do that this morning.
It was 6am and I crossed the street to the lit up house on the side of the mercantile. As I entered the living room, there was mother in the rocking chair with Mark. The smell of a cooking breakfast was in the air. Father was preparing it and I could hear him humming a tune in the kitchen. “Look at your son Willie” Mother said. “He is beautiful”. And beautiful he was. I asked Mother if he had slept all night and she was delighted to report that he had. Rachel had not yet awakened, so I went into the kitchen to see Father.

Father had never been one for showing a lot of emotion. I never doubted his love for me for one second, but he was usually fairly reserved about showing outward signs of affection. This morning was an exception. As soon as I made it into the kitchen, he threw his arms around me and said “Good morning son, are you hungry?” He was squeezing me so tight that I could hardly get the answer out. “Yes Father” I replied. “It’s a fine day Willie, a fine day!” he exclaimed. You would have thought that he was a new grandfather. I hadn’t seen him like this since Nellie’s kids were born.

I could hear someone coming down the stairs. I looked over and at the foot of steps stood Rachel. She was beautiful. “Good morning Mom” I said. “Good morning Dad” she replied. She looked at me with that beautiful smile and we both embraced. I was concerned about her being out of bed so soon, but she explained that she was fine and wanted to come down for breakfast. Just a little breakfast and she would go back to bed. “I wish I could go to church with you this morning” she said. It was then that Mother proclaimed; “Nonsense, you and I will stay home with the baby while Nels, Nancy and Willie go”. One of the few times I agreed with Mother.

It was then that Nancy appeared. Sometime during the night, she had figured out that she had a new nephew. Of course she would wear a new dress to church for the announcement of Mark’s birth. I wouldn’t have expected anything less! My dear sister Nancy didn’t miss an opportunity for a little attention.

As we were about to sit down for breakfast, there was a knock at the door. In walked Reverend Alden. “So nice of you to invite me to breakfast Mrs. Olson” he said. “And what a joyous occasion this is” he added. Mother arose from the chair with Mark in her arms. “Have you ever seen a more beautiful child Reverend?” said Mother. “That goes without saying” said the Reverend. I couldn’t help but wonder how many times he had been asked that very same question. He had christened many babies over the years in Walnut Grove.

He looked at Rachel and me and congratulated us. Father walked out of the kitchen. “Good morning Grandpa and congratulations!” the Reverend exclaimed. Father shook the Reverend’s hand and handed him a cup of coffee. Reverend Alden said that it would be a joyous occasion at church this morning to announce the birth. “Breakfast is served” said Father.

We sat down to a breakfast of scrambled eggs, ham, and biscuits. The smell of it was wonderful! The rain on the roof intensified. Rachel took Mark from Mother’s arms and placed him in a cradle before she sat down at the table. “I suppose it would be a good idea for me to know the child’s name before the services this morning” Reverend Alden laughingly said.

“It is Mark Albert” Rachel replied. I had seen Reverend Alden in many situations before all during my childhood. He could become emotional at times, and when it happened, those eyes of his would well up like a leaky faucet. This was one of those times. This was one of the few times that I had seen him at a loss for words. “God will bless you both for that” he said. It was then that I told him that Albert would be Mark’s Godfather and that we wanted the christening to be two weeks from today at Lake Kezia under the tree near the covered bridge. “How absolutely wonderful” he said. “Would you say grace Reverend” I asked. “Of course” he said.

As Reverend Alden prayed, my mind went back to Lake Kezia where we had so much fun as kids. Albert jumping off that bridge at 14 years of age and nearly drowning himself, trying to become a dare devil. And of course, the time that he, Laura and Andy dressed up like monsters and scared Mother and us half to death. Not to mention the numerous times we had swam and gone fishing there. They were wonderful days and couldn’t help but think of how wonderful it would be to have Mark christened under that tree with Albert there.

The Reverend said a beautiful prayer that morning. He thanked God for the birth of Mark and also prayed that the Ingalls’s family would find the faith to carry them through their ordeal. It ended with a resounding “Amen” from all of us.

It was 9am and church services would begin in an hour. The Reverend departed to prepare for services while Father and I finished up the dishes. Rachel had gone up stairs with Mark to rest and Mother was in her room taking a nap. I had a feeling that she hadn’t slept as well as she told me she did. Father and I would go to services along with Nancy. I only wished that Albert could be there for the announcement. I suspected that he wouldn’t make it because of the incident yesterday. I took a minute to call Andy and give him all the news.

Andy could not have been more excited about the baby. He was especially pleased about Albert being his Godfather and the fact that we had named Mark Albert after him. I didn’t tell Andy what I saw at the Ingalls house yesterday. It didn’t seem necessary. Andy was aware of the fact that one day he would have to come to Walnut Grove to say goodbye to a friend. I didn’t want to spoil his Sunday by adding to the anticipation. I let him know when the christening would be and he said that he wished he could be there. I wished that he could be there too.

With umbrellas in hand, Father, Nancy and I walked down the street towards the church as we had done so many times in the past. Between going to school and church, I must have made that walk a million times. There was a good turnout considering the weather. The church was nearly full, but the front pews were empty. We made our way up the aisle to take a seat. Charles, Albert and Laura were not there. I suspected that Albert was still resting and that they had chosen to stay at home for the day. Nancy and Father sat to the left of me across the aisle while I sat in the vacant pew on the right.

“Bringing in the Sheaves” was the opening hymn. How many times had I sung that one? Father couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket, but it never grew old to hear him sing in church. The rest of the congregation had no trouble hearing him either! Well into the second stanza, I heard a different voice coming from behind me. It was Albert and Michelle, singing as they walked down the aisle. Laura and Charles had taken a seat in the back. He had that smile on his face as he walked down the aisle and sat to my right along with his sweetheart. That familiar voice of Mr. Edwards could also be heard as we finished singing. Albert was holding Michelle’s hand when he turned to his left and whispered “You didn’t think I was going to miss this did you?”

I knew that physically, Albert must have not felt being there. You could look into his eyes and tell that he was exhausted. I could also see the concern in Michelle’s face. Those two were deeply in love and it was a heartbreaking thing to know that they would never be able to experience what I was feeling this day. I was happy and heartbroken all at the same time. What he was doing today was beyond friendship. I felt like I had a brother sitting next to me. Doc Baker was sitting right behind us. He patted Albert on the shoulder before the sermon began. Albert turned to him and smiled.

Reverend Alden gave a fine sermon that day. The lightning and thunder rumbled through the church as he preached about heaven and the meaning of forgiveness. As he preached, I couldn’t help but to remember how many times Albert and I sat in this building during school when we were growing up. I was always jealous of him for being so smart. He could add up numbers faster than anyone in class and was a veracious reader. The marvelous thing is that he learned the basics on his own underneath that loading dock in the city. I remember Mrs. Garvey asking him how he learned to add numbers so fast. “When you shoot craps, you have to be quick” was his answer. She never asked him how he learned anything again. The only thing I ever beat him in was standing in the corner. I must have been there a hundred times. He never did.

Reverend Alden finished up the sermon and we sang the final hymn. “Shall We Gather At The River”. The irony of it was that we would be gathering next to the water in two weeks, and I will always believe he picked that song for that exact reason. After the closing hymn, he announced that he had a brief announcement to make.

“I have a joyous announcement to make this morning” he said. “I would like to announce the birth of Willie and Rachel Oleson’s son. He came into this world yesterday evening and mother and child are fine.” “Willie, would you please stand?” I stood up and faced the congregation. “I would also like to announce that the christening of Mark Albert Olsen will take place at Lake Kezia on Sunday afternoon, two weeks from today. In attendance will be Mark Albert’s Godfather, Albert Ingalls. I reached for Albert and had him stand beside me. To my surprise, the whole congregation stood up and applauded for what must have been several minutes. Clapping had never taken place in a service that I could remember. I knew who it was for. They all knew about Albert and had finally found a way to express their feelings about him without showing sympathy. I could see Charles in the back with that proud smile on his face along with Laura. Albert looked truly happy. No one in that church was happier than me at that moment.

The rain had finally subsided as we all exited the church. Reverend Alden was at the door as usual. As we gathered outside, I thanked Mr. Ingalls and Laura for bringing Albert. I wondered where Almanzo was. Laura said that the baby was sick and that he had chosen to stay home with her. I told Mr. Ingalls that I was surprised to see Albert in church. “I couldn’t stop him from coming” he replied. Albert finally came down the stairs with Michelle after having a brief conversation with Reverend Alden. I looked at them both and told them how much I appreciated having them there. “Nothing could keep me away this morning Willie” Albert replied. “And about that fishing date?” Albert asked. I told him that next Saturday would be perfect. I would close the restaurant and be there about noon.


The following week flew by and business was really brisk. The folks in town were very optimistic about the coming crops. The rains were abundant and the hills surrounding Walnut Grove were a deep green. All of the fields were breaking out with young corn and wheat. It was going to be a good crop. Mark and Rachel were both fine. They would remain at Mother’s until the end of the week. Doc Baker was by numerous times and couldn’t get over how well the baby was doing, despite being four weeks early. He had an appetite like his father. Father said that he would catch up in no time. The only thing I was worried about was that Mother would spoil him rotten before we could get him home. But, after all, that’s what Grandmothers are for.

Saturday came and I was up at my usual time of 5:00am. Hester Sue and Regina were happy to have an extra day off for the week and so was I. I dressed and went over to see Rachel and Mark before leaving for Laura’s. Had a great breakfast with them and left to go fishing with Albert. I was looking forward to it. It had been a long time since we had talked about old times, and it would be great to be with him again, good fishing or not.

Laura was at the door when I arrived. She said that she had packed a lunch for both of us and that Albert would be down in a minute. Mr. Ingalls had gone fishing with Mr. Edwards and left just before I got there. Laura looked at me and said: “You may run into them today.” I told her that I didn’t think so, our fishing hole was secret. “I see” replied Laura.

It was then that Albert came down the stairs and greeted me. He was wearing that same hat that I had seen him in so many times before, only in a bigger size. He looked great. You would have never known that he had a problem only a week before. It was going to be a good day. I thanked Laura for the lunches and we left in the carriage to go fishing. The fishing hole was about two miles away in a valley hidden by trees. It was a small pond that fed off of a spring.

Albert, Andy and I had fished there many times when we were kids. We never mentioned to anyone where it was because of the great fishing. Father had tried to pry it out of me on numerous occasions, but I never relented. I know for a fact that Mr. Ingalls and Mr. Garvey had done the same to Albert and Andy, but we had made a pact never to tell anyone.

We pulled up to the stand of trees surrounding the pond and got off the carriage. Albert had dug for worms the day before, so we didn’t waste any time walking through the trees to that secret spot. We broke through the trees and I couldn’t believe my eyes. There was Mr. Ingalls and Mr. Edwards sitting on the bank next to a pile of fish! I looked at Albert in disgust and he looked at me.

They both began to laugh uncontrollably. We walked over to them and waited for the laughter to stop. Albert looked at Mr. Ingalls and said; “Pa, what are you doing here?” “Fishing!” said Mr. Ingalls. “You two never knew it, but I followed you here one day a long time ago. You kept bringing home all that fish Albert. What did you expect me to do? If I could follow you all the way to Winoka and back, what makes you think I couldn’t follow you here?” Albert looked at me with that grin of his and said “makes sense to me!” And with that one, we all started to laugh.

Albert and I crossed to the other side of the pond and threw our lines in. I asked Albert how he felt and he said that he felt pretty darn good. The nose bleeds hadn’t come back for a week and he had gotten to spend a whole week with Michelle without incident. I could sense that he wanted to talk, something that was rare for Albert. He was always fairly quiet about the personal side of his life.

“I am really in love with her Willie, and she with me. That’s the worst thing about this whole situation. I feel sorry for her and my family, especially Pa. He has worked his heart out all his life and been slapped down so many times that I can’t even count them all. And through it all, he gave everything to me that I ever wanted.”

“That night, in the barn when Fagin was sick, and I asked him if I could call him Pa, he was so pleased. And the day in the loft when I asked him to adopt me, he was pleased again. And then when I got stupid and played around with that morphine, he stayed up with me for two nights of hell that I will never forget. He got me through it. And now he has to deal with this. He has loved me more than most father’s love their natural sons. That’s the one thing that I hold on to. I have been so lucky to have my family and the friends that I have made in Walnut Grove. That’s why I am not bitter.”

“When I pretended to be blind, because that sorry father of mine wanted me for a farm hand, it was the best decision I ever made in my life.” Albert said. He had told me many years ago about the courtroom experience with his with his real father. It was a good example of who Albert really was. He had always been so quick on his feet about everything. He could size up a situation and know how to deal with it in a matter of seconds. It was no wonder that he was accepted into medical school. I couldn’t help but think what a fine doctor he would have made had he had the opportunity to do so.

I was glad that we came out here. It was a good day. After catching more fish than we could eat, we both decided it was time to leave. I was going to take some to the restaurant for Hester Sue. They would make a good lunch special. I asked Albert if I would see him before next Sunday. He told me he was going to try and get into town during the week.

“I have had an urge for some sour balls lately and I need to go by the mercantile.” I told him to skip the mercantile. “I’ll sneak a bag out for you. Come by the restaurant for lunch on me and the sour balls will be there.” I said. He smiled as he got into his Pa’s wagon and began the trip back to Laura’s house. The Christening would be a week from tomorrow. It couldn’t get here fast enough.

It was just beginning to get dark as I entered Walnut Grove. I passed the mill and stopped to get a block of ice at the ice house before proceeding to the restaurant. I wanted to get the fish cleaned as soon as possible and placed in the ice box. Hester Sue could then plan on them for a lunch special tomorrow. Afterwards, I made my way to the mercantile. I took Mother and Father some fish that they could have for dinner tomorrow night.

Rachel was back to her old self and she and the baby moved back into hotel the following day. Mother spent half the day up there doting over her grandchild and making sure that everything was perfect. Rachel was happy to be home. Not near as happy as I was to have her back. We had not been truly alone for quite a while and I was looking forward to it.

Mark was a good baby, sleeping all night and not causing much of a fuss all day long. Rachel and he spent a lot of time down downstairs in the restaurant during the week. Everybody in Walnut Grove had seen him and it gave me a lot of opportunity to get some bragging time in. Of course, I could never keep up with Mother in that department. I felt sorry for Father at the mercantile. Mother was spending so much time at the restaurant because of Mark that I knew his work load must have been awful. He didn’t seem to mind.

Albert and Michele showed up that Thursday for lunch. As I promised, the sour balls were there. If there was one thing I was good at, it was snitching candy from the candy counter. Nellie and I had that one down to a science. This was Albert’s first look at Mark and he was beaming from ear to ear. He and Michele must have sat with Rachel for an hour talking about the baby. As they left, Albert looked at Rachel and I and said “See you both Sunday morning”. It was a wonderful day.

It was a beautiful Sunday morning in Walnut Grove and the church was packed. Everyone was there including Albert and Michelle. Rachel, the proud mother, had Mark in her arms the entire morning. Reverend Alden, as usual gave a wonderful sermon. Carolyn, along with James, Cassandra, Carrie and Grace had come from Iowa! Rachel and I were joyous over the fact that they were there. The Christening would be complete. Albert’s whole family would be there with the exception of Mary. Reverend Alden closed the service with his favorite hymn, Onward Christian Soldiers. He announced afterwards that the Christening would take place at Lake Kezia at 2pm that afternoon.

As we returned to the restaurant, I could see that smoke was coming out of the stove pipe in the kitchen. At first I was alarmed until I saw Hester Sue and Regina in the kitchen as I entered it. They were preparing food for this afternoon. What wonderful people they were. That was Hester Sue for you, always doing for people without asking. I loved her for it. Rachel, upon seeing Hester Sue, gave her a big hug and asked her if she would do us the honor of singing before the Christening. She said she wouldn’t miss it for the world and it made the day complete.

The Ingalls were headed out of town and I was able to stop them before they passed the restaurant. I told them that they were invited to the restaurant after the Christening and they said they would be there. It would be wonderful to have them all under one roof this afternoon.

Father had rented a deluxe carriage from the stable and he drove up to the restaurant with Mother and Nancy at about 1:15. Rachel got into the carriage first with Mark and then I helped Hester Sue and Regina in. I jumped in and we were headed to the lake. I thanked Father for the carriage. “Nothing is too good for my Grandson!” he replied.

It took about twenty minutes to get to the lake. It was perfectly still and sunny that day as we drove along the old road that I travelled so many times before. We passed the old Ingalls’s place on the way and I could see the Carter kids playing by the creek next to the house. As I looked at that that house, I thought about the loft and smiled. Albert had told me when we were kids about how tough it was to sleep with “Laura the locomotive”! I laughed out loud when that thought came to mind, and shared it with Rachel when she asked what I was laughing about.

Just before arriving at the lake, we passed that hill where the keepsake tree stood. My mind went back to the day that Albert, Laura, Andy and I had climbed that hill on that hot summer day along with class from school. I will never forget Mr. Ingalls’s and Mr. Edwards at the foot of the hill, watching Albert every step of the way with binoculars.
That day would be burned into my memory for the rest of my life.

As we crossed the covered bridge across the lake I could see that the Ingalls had arrived. Albert and Michelle were sitting in the shade under a tree with Laura and Almanzo. James, Cassandra, Carrie and Grace were walking along the edge of the lake enjoying the summer day. Reverend Alden was talking to Charles and Carolyn. And of course Mr. Edwards was there, looking in the lake, probably wishing he had a fishing pole in hand.

We all got off the carriage and I made a point of telling the Reverend Alden that Hester Sue was going to sing before the Christening. He was delighted. He loved her singing and had asked her numerous times to sing in church. She had a spiritual voice that was like no other. The Reverend knew what I did, Hester Sue was blessing to us all.

Just when I thought that the day was complete, something miraculous occurred. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see a wagon approaching from across the bridge. As it got closer, Albert let out a yell. It was Andy and Mr. Garvey. I was beside myself. I didn’t think this was possible. I had invited Andy out of courtesy knowing full well that he wouldn’t make it. Mr. Garvey had given me a present of a lifetime! He had business south of here and would drop Andy off for a week.

Rachel, upon seeing Andy, brought the baby over. “So this is Mark Albert” said Andy. Albert had that bubbling smile on his face as Andy and Mr. Garvey admired Mark. Mr. Ingalls was one of the happiest to see Jonathon and Andy. It had been a long time since he had seen his old friends. There was a true look of happiness on his face as he introduced them to Mr. Edwards.

Reverend Alden was standing under the tree, next to the bridge. He exclaimed to everyone that it was time. We all gathered with him and he asked Hester Sue to come forward. She sang Amazing Grace. It was absolutely beautiful, under that tree, that Sunday afternoon, listening to her sing with everyone that was important in my life. I could see Carolyn out of the corner of my eye, eyes glistening, looking at Albert who was standing in the front with me, Rachel and the baby. I thought throughout the song how wonderful His grace was, blessing me with my Rachel, a beautiful son and the best friend I ever had in the world.


As Hester Sue finished, Reverend Alden began the Christening. He said some beautiful words and at the end sprinkled Mark Albert’s head as he spoke; “In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, I Christen the Mark Albert Oleson”. Rachel, who had Mark in her arms, turned to Albert and said; “Albert, would you like to hold your God Son?” He took Mark in his arms and kissed him on the forehead. It was the sweetest moment I have ever experienced. Michele came up and put her arm around Albert’s shoulder as she looked at Mark with a huge smile on her face. I could only wonder what she was thinking as she stood there with the boy she loved, knowing full well what would eventually happen. I was happy and heartbroken at the same moment.

After an hour of everyone socializing after the Christening, we all went back to the restaurant to enjoy some of Hester Sue’s cooking. It was a wonderful afternoon. Andy, Albert and I caught up on old times while Mr. Ingalls, Mr. Edwards and Mr. Garvey did the same thing. James and the other kids went over to the school yard after eating and played liked they had done so many times before. Laura and Almanzo went to the back of the restaurant. I think they were reliving some sweet memories, while Carolyn, Mother and Rachel were upstairs with the baby.

Andy was going to be there for a week. I offered him a room, but Albert quickly nixed that idea. He wanted Andy to stay at Laura’s. She had a lot of vacant rooms, and I didn’t blame Albert for wanting the time to reminisce with his childhood buddy. After all, they had done so much together. I would find time to visit them this week, no matter how busy we were with the restaurant.

It was getting late and Charles wanted to leave for the house. Mr. Garvey was tired from the trip. He would spend the night at Laura’s before taking off on his business trip in the morning. Mother, Father and Nancy had gone home. As the Ingalls were leaving, I pulled Albert to the side. I hugged him as hard as I could and looked him straight in the eye. “I cannot thank you enough for today Albert. Rachel and I love you for it, and I want you to know, that Mark does too”. “I love you two for asking me”. He said. He smiled and helped Michelle into the wagon.
You could tell that he was very tired. They drove off just as the sun was going down. I couldn’t help but remember how many times I had seen that family drive down that street as they passed by the mill, over the bridge and beyond the hills that surrounded Walnut Grove.

I felt the need to take a walk. I walked down the street towards the Church. When I got to the church, I walked over to the steps and sat down. As I looked down the street towards the mercantile, my eyes wandered over to the playground. The memories started pouring through my head. I could see Nellie, Laura and Mary playing in that school yard like it was yesterday. Myself, Albert and Andy playing baseball. I wanted time to stop, because in my heart I knew what was coming and I didn’t want to face it. All I could do was cry, and cry I did. It had been a joyous day and at the same time it been an ending. I had done all I could for Albert, and now there was only one thing left; the waiting for that horrible day to come when I was going to face losing my best friend.

The following week was busy at the restaurant. I would get out to Laura’s on Wednesday and visit Albert and Andy. I was looking forward to it. After we closed Tuesday night, I was just about to go upstairs when the phone rang. It was Andy. “Willie”, Andy said. “I think you had better come out here.” He had spoken the words I had never wanted to hear. I asked Andy what was the matter. “Albert went up to take a nap earlier. Laura went to wake him and the pillow was soaked in blood.” Andy told me that Doc Baker was there and that it did not look good. “Come quick” Andy said.

I told Rachel that I was leaving and ran across the street to get a horse. There was no time to hitch up a team. I jumped on the horse and raced towards Laura’s house. I sped through the night as quickly as I could, and as I approached Laura’s house I could see that all of the lights were on. Doc Baker’s carriage was out front. As I climbed the steps of the porch, I could see Andy sitting down in a chair staring at the floor. He got up and looked up at me with tears rolling down his face. “The family is upstairs with him Willie” Andy said. I hugged Andy and we both sat down.


“He was just fine this morning” said Andy. “We joked around all day and took a walk down to the Carter place.” Andy continued. “He went up to take a nap and that’s when it happened. I was with Laura when she tried to wake him up. Willie, it was awful. That pillow was soaked through with blood.” I could hear the fear in Andy’s voice, the same fear that I was experiencing as we waited for someone to come down stairs.

The whole family came down the steps. Charles came out to the porch with Laura. “He wants to see you both” said Laura. Laura was crying and so was Mr. Ingalls. Andy and I went into the house and Doc Baker was sitting down in the living room. The kids were in the next room with Carolyn. I could hear James, Cassandra, Carrie and Grace crying. I looked at Doc Baker. All he did was shake his head back and forth. Andy and I went up the stairs and into Albert’s room.

Andy was on one side of the bed and I the other. As we both sat down, Albert opened his eyes and looked at us both. He had that smile on his face. “I want you two to promise me something” he said. “What’s that?” I replied.
“Be good friends” he replied. “All that matters in this life is your family and friends. I didn’t have either until I became Albert Ingalls. That’s why I came back, to be close to what I hold dear in this life.”

Andy put his hand on Albert’s and I put my hand on Andy’s. “You can count on it buddy” I said. He closed his eyes and went off to sleep. Andy and I sat with him for a moment and then left the room. We waited in the living room for what must have been hours. I called Rachel and told her not to wait up for me. I couldn’t leave, not now. The family was upstairs with Albert. Doc Baker was sitting with us when Carolyn screamed for him to come up. He came back down in a few minutes and spoke the words that I didn’t want to hear. “He’s gone” he said. Andy was visibly shaken and I had the uncontrollable urge to run. But I didn’t. It was over and Albert wouldn’t suffer anymore. I kept telling myself that and told Andy the same.

Mr. Ingalls came down and when I looked at him it was hard to keep myself under control. He was weeping uncontrollably as he told me how much it meant to him that Andy and I were both there. He hugged us both, as he had done many times in the past. Charles Ingalls was probably the most loving man I had ever known. It didn’t make any difference if it was his child, or someone else’s. He loved them all because he was the most descent human being on the face of the earth. That had always explained to me why he rescued Albert and brought him home.

I talked to everyone before I left the house. I was happy for Albert that the whole family had come for the Christening of Mark Albert. It was good that they were with him at the end. I embraced Andy and told him that I would see him in the next few days. As I made my way home through the hills, I thought about how much I would miss him. I would miss that great sense of humor, and that mischievous smile that always captivated everyone he knew. He was that kid that came from Winoka that captured everyone’s heart, including mine. I would make sure that Mark Albert knew about his Godfather, and what he meant to me.


Last edited by Davetucson on Sun Oct 21, 2012 10:39 am; edited 4 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Look Back To Yesterday The Final Chapter    Mon Mar 19, 2012 7:12 pm

I think letting Willie tell this heart felt story was a great choice Dave. I don't think any of us wanted to acknowledge that Albert really died, but it happens. My own grandfather had 3 months living with leukemia before he passed away. He had 5 kids and a wife to say a quick goodbye to. I like that you gave Albert a chance to embrace his childhood friends and see his family before he died. I never liked that Caroline wasn't with him in the series. I would move mountians to be with my sons.
I like how you gave Willie respect for his Mother in letting her handle the books, but in a way that didn't let her have full knowledge of all his finances. Good call...lol
We didn't get to see Hester Sue blossom enough, and I love that you let her have the place of honor that so many people of color never got in that time period. I could hear her sing "Amazing Grace"....
Bringing a new baby into the story was a way of showing us that life starts anew as well as ends and legacies are carried on.
I like how this was what I call a "quiet story" in that it was someones (Willie's) thoughts most of the time. You did very well. Thanks for sharing this with us.




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: Look Back To Yesterday The Final Chapter    Mon Mar 19, 2012 8:11 pm

Thanks Gin: Means a lot coming from you.
Appreciate the review,
Dave


"Albert, do you REALLY think you are old enough to know what love is?"
"I must be Pa. I love you, I have for a long time."
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PostSubject: Re: Look Back To Yesterday The Final Chapter    Tue Mar 20, 2012 12:08 am

Your story is great! I love it. You are pretty gifted for writing fiction...I wish I could see your fiction in a LHOTP episode! It should have been nice to know Willie's son and Albert being his Godfather...You did a great job. Congratulations! stars stars

Vanesa.


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PostSubject: Re: Look Back To Yesterday The Final Chapter    Tue Mar 20, 2012 12:26 am

Gin wrote:
I think letting Willie tell this heart felt story was a great choice Dave. I don't think any of us wanted to acknowledge that Albert really died, but it happens. My own grandfather had 3 months living with leukemia before he passed away. He had 5 kids and a wife to say a quick goodbye to. I like that you gave Albert a chance to embrace his childhood friends and see his family before he died. I never liked that Caroline wasn't with him in the series. I would move mountians to be with my sons.
I like how you gave Willie respect for his Mother in letting her handle the books, but in a way that didn't let her have full knowledge of all his finances. Good call...lol
We didn't get to see Hester Sue blossom enough, and I love that you let her have the place of honor that so many people of color never got in that time period. I could hear her sing "Amazing Grace"....
Bringing a new baby into the story was a way of showing us that life starts anew as well as ends and legacies are carried on.
I like how this was what I call a "quiet story" in that it was someones (Willie's) thoughts most of the time. You did very well. Thanks for sharing this with us.

Gin, you sure made me cry!!! bawling bawling cryB cryB And you too, Dave. I've always been very fond of Willie, Andy and Albert's special friendship, and it was always hard to me not watching him die in the TV show. It's like not being able to go to a beloved one's funeral. You can't "close" this chapter of your life...and "Looking Back to Yesterday" lef me with a bitter flavor in my mouth, since I KNEW that Albert was close to death but I couldn't see him saying "Goodbye". Now, you achieved the work. Albert actually dies and was able to see goodbye to his friends and family.

Again: cryB cryB bawling bawling Blue No

Vanesa.


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PostSubject: Re: Look Back To Yesterday The Final Chapter    Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:03 am

Thanks Vanesa. I was always a little irritated with Michael about how he dealt with Albert at the end. If he wanted Albert to die, he could have involved his best friends. At least that was my take on it. Thanks for the nice comments...
Dave


"Albert, do you REALLY think you are old enough to know what love is?"
"I must be Pa. I love you, I have for a long time."
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PostSubject: Re: Look Back To Yesterday The Final Chapter    Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:50 am

Vanesa wrote:
Gin wrote:
I think letting Willie tell this heart felt story was a great choice Dave. I don't think any of us wanted to acknowledge that Albert really died, but it happens. My own grandfather had 3 months living with leukemia before he passed away. He had 5 kids and a wife to say a quick goodbye to. I like that you gave Albert a chance to embrace his childhood friends and see his family before he died. I never liked that Caroline wasn't with him in the series. I would move mountians to be with my sons.
I like how you gave Willie respect for his Mother in letting her handle the books, but in a way that didn't let her have full knowledge of all his finances. Good call...lol
We didn't get to see Hester Sue blossom enough, and I love that you let her have the place of honor that so many people of color never got in that time period. I could hear her sing "Amazing Grace"....
Bringing a new baby into the story was a way of showing us that life starts anew as well as ends and legacies are carried on.
I like how this was what I call a "quiet story" in that it was someones (Willie's) thoughts most of the time. You did very well. Thanks for sharing this with us.

Gin, you sure made me cry!!! bawling bawling cryB cryB And you too, Dave. I've always been very fond of Willie, Andy and Albert's special friendship, and it was always hard to me not watching him die in the TV show. It's like not being able to go to a beloved one's funeral. You can't "close" this chapter of your life...and "Looking Back to Yesterday" lef me with a bitter flavor in my mouth, since I KNEW that Albert was close to death but I couldn't see him saying "Goodbye". Now, you achieved the work. Albert actually dies and was able to see goodbye to his friends and family.

Again: cryB cryB bawling bawling Blue No

Vanesa.

Thats good to hear. There was never any CLOSURE leaving Albert on the mountain. I tried to achieve it in the story. Thanks Vanesa.
Dave
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PostSubject: Re: Look Back To Yesterday The Final Chapter    Tue Mar 20, 2012 11:20 am

Smiley Hug Goodness Vanesa I didn't mean to make you cry! Sorry...lol Guess we all do need closure when we wonder what happend to a favorite like Albert. He just grew on us so deeply I guess.
Michael Landon sure knew how to tug on the heart strings with episodes like this but that was what made him great at what he did as well as the shows 10 yr run.
I so wish we could get back to tv like this.




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: Look Back To Yesterday The Final Chapter    Mon Mar 26, 2012 11:15 am

Vanesa wrote:
Gin wrote:
I think letting Willie tell this heart felt story was a great choice Dave. I don't think any of us wanted to acknowledge that Albert really died, but it happens. My own grandfather had 3 months living with leukemia before he passed away. He had 5 kids and a wife to say a quick goodbye to. I like that you gave Albert a chance to embrace his childhood friends and see his family before he died. I never liked that Caroline wasn't with him in the series. I would move mountians to be with my sons.
I like how you gave Willie respect for his Mother in letting her handle the books, but in a way that didn't let her have full knowledge of all his finances. Good call...lol
We didn't get to see Hester Sue blossom enough, and I love that you let her have the place of honor that so many people of color never got in that time period. I could hear her sing "Amazing Grace"....
Bringing a new baby into the story was a way of showing us that life starts anew as well as ends and legacies are carried on.
I like how this was what I call a "quiet story" in that it was someones (Willie's) thoughts most of the time. You did very well. Thanks for sharing this with us.

Gin, you sure made me cry!!! bawling bawling cryB cryB And you too, Dave. I've always been very fond of Willie, Andy and Albert's special friendship, and it was always hard to me not watching him die in the TV show. It's like not being able to go to a beloved one's funeral. You can't "close" this chapter of your life...and "Looking Back to Yesterday" lef me with a bitter flavor in my mouth, since I KNEW that Albert was close to death but I couldn't see him saying "Goodbye". Now, you achieved the work. Albert actually dies and was able to see goodbye to his friends and family.

Again: cryB cryB bawling bawling Blue No

Vanesa.


You aren't alone Vanesa. I cried writing the story several times. Albert had some scenes in that loft in the barn with Pa that still make me cry to this day. He was just a sweet kid. Matthew had that gift that you don't find in a lot of child actors. Michael Landon knew it when he casted him.
Dave
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PostSubject: Re: Look Back To Yesterday The Final Chapter    Thu Mar 29, 2012 6:46 pm

Good story,Davetuscon. Only if it had been done that way when they did the movie. bawling

Seeing the picture of Willie and Albert brought tears to my eyes. bawling
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PostSubject: Re: Look Back To Yesterday The Final Chapter    Thu Mar 29, 2012 7:09 pm

Spanky wrote:
Good story,Davetuscon. Only if it had been done that way when they did the movie. bawling

Seeing the picture of Willie and Albert brought tears to my eyes. bawling

Thanks Spanky,
I had a hard time getting thru myself. Albert was my favoritre........

Dave
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PostSubject: Re: Look Back To Yesterday The Final Chapter    Thu Mar 29, 2012 7:28 pm

You're welcome,Davetuscon. When I watch the movie, I cry when the doctor tells Charles Albert is dying and when he takes Albert back to Walnut Grove and he tells Laura he's home to stay. bawling
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PostSubject: Re: Look Back To Yesterday The Final Chapter    Thu Mar 29, 2012 8:29 pm

When he told Laura "I'm home sto stay, if you'll have me" it was all over for me..
I do not know what makes you more emotional when you get older, but I' m there.
I'll be 66 this year, and it just keeps getting worse, but thats ok. A man isn't a man unless he can cry. Just means you have a good heart.......
Dave


"Albert, do you REALLY think you are old enough to know what love is?"
"I must be Pa. I love you, I have for a long time."
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PostSubject: Re: Look Back To Yesterday The Final Chapter    Thu Mar 29, 2012 11:51 pm

Davetucson wrote:
When he told Laura "I'm home sto stay, if you'll have me" it was all over for me..
I do not know what makes you more emotional when you get older, but I' m there.
I'll be 66 this year, and it just keeps getting worse, but thats ok. A man isn't a man unless he can cry. Just means you have a good heart.......
Dave

You've said it, Dave...When you gets older you also gets more emotional. When I was a little girl I just hated the epies that would make you cry. I'd rather like to watch the "hilarious" ones. Now, my very favorite TV show's eopisodes , and books, and stories are the emotional ones... Ooops

Vanesa.


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PostSubject: Re: Look Back To Yesterday The Final Chapter    Fri Mar 30, 2012 12:54 pm

Davetucson wrote:
When he told Laura "I'm home sto stay, if you'll have me" it was all over for me..
I do not know what makes you more emotional when you get older, but I' m there.
I'll be 66 this year, and it just keeps getting worse, but thats ok. A man isn't a man unless he can cry. Just means you have a good heart.......
Dave

I think it's because you have had more experience in things, be they joyful or sad. I'm 17 and I much prefer the emotional episodes as opposed to the silly ones, and this is because I've been through a lot. It helps me deal with my experiences and my life to watch/read things with emotion...


I remember the time I knew what happiness was...let the memory live again.
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PostSubject: Look Back To Yesterday   Fri Mar 30, 2012 1:03 pm

Pepsi wrote:
Davetucson wrote:
When he told Laura "I'm home sto stay, if you'll have me" it was all over for me..
I do not know what makes you more emotional when you get older, but I' m there.
I'll be 66 this year, and it just keeps getting worse, but thats ok. A man isn't a man unless he can cry. Just means you have a good heart.......
Dave

I think it's because you have had more experience in things, be they joyful or sad. I'm 17 and I much prefer the emotional episodes as opposed to the silly ones, and this is because I've been through a lot. It helps me deal with my experiences and my life to watch/read things with emotion...

Keep that intelligent outlook Pepsi and you will be fine. If you can take a lot of the morals and values that were portrayed in Little House, and apply it to yoiur life,
nothing can stop you!
Dave
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PostSubject: Re: Look Back To Yesterday The Final Chapter    Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:18 pm

Thank you very much. I find that lately it's been such a struggle to stick to what I believe in these days..but if I can find at the end of my life that I'm able to say, ''I tried my hardest, even when I thought I couldn't make it.'', then maybe it'll all be worth it. Well, I suppose I'm getting off topic now... :)


I remember the time I knew what happiness was...let the memory live again.
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PostSubject: Re: Look Back To Yesterday The Final Chapter    Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:51 pm

Maybe you are off topic, but you also are teaching us a good lesson of wisdom in life, Pepsi. LHOTP teachs us excellent morals, and you are only showing you are a great LHOTP watcher! You don't watch it for fun, but to learn intelligent insights about what life is... Smile

Vanesa.


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PostSubject: LOOK BACK   Mon Apr 02, 2012 9:39 am

Pepsi wrote:
Thank you very much. I find that lately it's been such a struggle to stick to what I believe in these days..but if I can find at the end of my life that I'm able to say, ''I tried my hardest, even when I thought I couldn't make it.'', then maybe it'll all be worth it. Well, I suppose I'm getting off topic now... :)

Just keep trying. Thats what inspired me to write about Albert from Willie's perspective. The whole story was about Willie's turnaround in life because of his admiration for the way Charles and Albert lived their life.
You are only 17 and you understand what Little House was all about. You are already a winner!
Dave
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PostSubject: Re: Look Back To Yesterday The Final Chapter    Fri Jul 13, 2012 7:44 am

Great job Dave...you did a wonderful job. I wish the "real" writers cared as much toward the end, they weren't good at continuing stories, even with just a few words, a mention of someone. I feel they just wrote Albert off and then he was forgotten at the end. Many things you wrote about could have been very plausible.
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PostSubject: Re: Look Back To Yesterday The Final Chapter    Fri Jul 13, 2012 9:29 am

Thanks very much......was a joy to write......
Dave


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"I must be Pa. I love you, I have for a long time."
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PostSubject: Re: Look Back To Yesterday The Final Chapter    Sat Sep 01, 2012 1:07 am

Wow, this was wonderful! I can't wait to read part 2.
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PostSubject: Re: Look Back To Yesterday The Final Chapter    Sat Sep 01, 2012 1:35 am

This was beautiful; thank you so much for this! Now this is the way it should have been written. The fact that the entire Ingalls family was there to say goodbye (except Mary, although she wasn't very close to him anyway) was excellent. I also love the way you wrote it from Willie's perspective...and adding the Garveys was a plus! Albert also grew up w/Carrie, and he was pretty close to James, so it was fitting that the rest of his siblings were there. Great job! I think Michael Landon himself would have been proud! Smile
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PostSubject: Lookback   Sat Sep 01, 2012 9:59 am

julmer70 wrote:
This was beautiful; thank you so much for this! Now this is the way it should have been written. The fact that the entire Ingalls family was there to say goodbye (except Mary, although she wasn't very close to him anyway) was excellent. I also love the way you wrote it from Willie's perspective...and adding the Garveys was a plus! Albert also grew up w/Carrie, and he was pretty close to James, so it was fitting that the rest of his siblings were there. Great job! I think Michael Landon himself would have been proud! Smile

How nice to get up in the morning and read a nice message like this one! I appreciate you taking the time to read it.........and thanks so much for the nice comments......If we had to lose him, I'll always think that's the way it should have been.....
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