Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Another Elias Installment...#3


Monday, October 30, 1849        

The long table was loaded down with food, and Elias greedily eyed the wedding cake in the center. It was filled with plump raisins and had cinnamon dusted on top. His mouth watered, as he looked at all the good things. Most of their family and neighbors were still in the parlor giving Fadder and the widow Wegner their good wishes. Gus Wegner stood beside Elias and reached out a hand to snatch a bite. Elias caught him by the wrist and told him,
          “No Gus, not yet. You have to wait for the grown-ups to start first.”
          “But I’m hungry, Elias, and they are taking long.”
          “They will be here soon and you will have a big plate full,” Elias reassured the small boy.
Elias himself could hardly wait. Supper was much later than usual, well after sunset, because everyone had put in a regular day’s work on their own farms before gathering for the wedding. His Aunt Carys came into the kitchen and stood behind the boys. She suggested with a smile that they each dish up some food and take their plates out to the back porch.
          “Just don touch da cake,” she warned.
The boys needed no more urging and soon were eating happily on a wooden step out back. Elias bit into a long ear of corn, dripping with butter. They had grown a lot of corn this past summer, and had plenty stored in the root cellar. The plate on his lap held thick chunks of pork, the last of the vegetables from their garden, and a heaping pile of potatoes, mashed with fresh cream and butter. He was enjoying this, as the food had been plain during the long two years since Mother had gone.
          “Sure do like it when the families get together and the food is so good,” Elias said with his mouth full.
          “Ma makes good food,” Gus told him. “Supper’s always good.”
          “I’m glad you’re all stayin’ here now,” Elias said, and turned his head just long enough to grin at little Gus.
There would be six children on the farm now, along with Fadder and the widow Wegner. He supposed he would have to figure out what to call her besides the widow. She would still be a widow he reckoned, but now a married woman again since she married Fadder. Was she now Mrs. Williams? That didn’t sound right. That had been his mother’s name. He couldn’t think of the widow Wegner as his mother. Elias knew she would be the mother of the house now, but she wasn’t his mother because he already had a mother. Yet, he thought, he liked her a lot. She was kind, but sort of work-worn in her face. He gave himself back up to eating with gusto, and decided he didn’t know what to call the widow.
The wedding had been brief much to Elias’ relief. The widow, in her good dress, had stood under the big oak tree with Fadder, holding some bright colored leaves and berry branches from the green woods along the river. The Reverend from their church in town had come to say the words. Elias had noted that Fadder looked happy, and the lingering strain from the past two years had gone.
Light spilled out on the porch from the lamps burning in the kitchen and laughter was in the air. Gus and Elias went inside, cleaned their empty plates, returned to the porch and Elias leaned back, content. Gus was in a sitting position on the step, but his bottom was rhythmically bouncing up and down in rhythm to the croaking frogs.
          “When can we get cake? Did ya see it?” Gus said to Elias.
          “Yeah, I saw it. It’s really big and full of raisins. We’ll have to wait, though, ‘til the others finish their suppers and someone cuts the cake.”
          Gus’ brown eyes sparkled in the light.
          “I get to sleep with you tonight, Elias.”
          “Yes, and you get to share in my work tomorrow,” Elias teased him.
Elias didn’t really mind the company of the little boy. He thought it would be good to have a brother along with all his sisters. Fadder had told him to help the boy learn farm work, much as Fadder had taught him. Gus’s father had died when Gus was just a baby, and he had not learned much about farm work from his grandpa Wegner.
Standing in the open door behind them, Gus's sister, Esther, said,
          “They’re cutting cake now, and Ma said for you to come get some.”
 Gus and Elias were right behind her as she turned back to the full kitchen. The widow was handing out pieces of cake, and Aunt Carys was pouring out big cupfuls of fresh cider. Once again settling themselves on the top step, the two boys ate their cake and took long drinks of cider. Elias felt he could never get enough of the delicious cake, and when Gus was too full to finish his, Elias eagerly ate the rest for him.
After a time, the gathered neighbors and relatives sang a song of good will to the newly married couple, their voices floating out past Gus and Elias into the fall evening. Soon after, they started leaving, and the widow (with her now-four-daughters) began cleaning up the food and dishes. Fadder went out to the barn for some late chores, while Gus followed Elias up the back stairs to their bed. After a while, the newly formed Williams family settled down for their first night together under the same roof.

 Thomas Daniel Williams
1803-1894

 

2 comments:

Peter Jones said...

Well that was fun to read! I love the way you did it and the dialog is really fun. I can just imagine being a young boy with a brand new mom and new family. But mostly he cares about the food. ;)
Julie

JoAnn Asmussen said...

I liked it a lot as well. Especially the bits about the cake! ;)