Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Story-Time Tuesday Chapter 7

If you missed STORIES FROM HOME - Chapter 6 just click here to read it.Jenny Matlock


Three worn stone steps led down from the back door to an area that might have once been a kitchen garden. The girls stopped for a moment and looked around inquisitively. A rickety wooden fence still stood around the edges of the yard and the weeds were interrupted here and there by odd-looking bushes and brambles.

A rustling in the bushes closest to the door startled the girls for a second, but fear turned to delight a moment later when the furry, calico cat came purring their way.

“Mr. Cat!” the girls yelled in unison, startling the little animal into scampering away.

Morgan took off running full speed after her friend, only to go sprawling, head-first, over a rock hidden in the overgrowth.

Lying on the ground, she started to cry from the fall, but stopped a moment later when she saw a few bright red dots hidden among the tall weeds.

“Riley! Julia! Come see!”

Her sisters ran to help her up, but instead of taking their hands, Morgan just pointed at what she had discovered.

Julia parted the weeds carefully. She reached down and plucked a bright red strawberry! Her sisters gathered around her and all the girls looked at each other in amazement, then began their treasure hunt for other hidden berries.

As they searched, they pulled many of the tall weeds, and when they were done, they had uncovered a rock-edged strawberry patch. Although most of the berries were not yet ripe, the sisters had still found enough to fill up their tummies and stain their mouth, hands and tongues bright red.

When they looked around the fenced area now, they could see little bits of other rocks peeking through here and there.

“Oh,” breathed Riley, who had always had an artistic eye, “Look! You can see what a beautiful garden this must have been once.”

“Oh,” murmured Julia, who had always had a good imagination, “I bet children came out that back door from the kitchen to pick lettuce for dinner and strawberries for dessert!”

“Oh!” shouted Morgan, who had always been a little impatient, “I’m going to explore!” and she ran across to the little gate in the fence and pushed it open.

What a day those three little girls had! They visited the little blue-mirrored pond again. They were excited to discover a tiny spring bubbling fresh, cold water at the edge of rough, grey rocks surrounding it. They took turns swinging on the old piece of rope dangling down from the giant tree, their heads tipped back and their laughter soaring straight up to the horse-tail cloud decorated sky. Walking around the edge of the woods, their shouts of delight announced discoveries of old metal wheels, a rusty wheelbarrow, and piles of old jars and bottles. A small shed behind the little house caught their interest and contained wonderful things…like some old bicycles, and some chipped, red rocking chairs.

They found a little red barn, and when they slid back the sliding doors the dust-filled air exploded into fireworks of feathers from all the birds roosting in the rafters. And when their hearts quit pounding out of their chests from that surprise, they discovered, hidden behind old stacks of straw bales, a little green tractor, a big pile of beat-up metal buckets, and some rakes and hoes stacked neatly in a cobweb filled corner.

All these exciting discoveries made them laugh and wonder and imagine. They thought they even heard the conversational cacklings of chickens outside the barn and the tiny, meows of newborn kittens.

Throughout the day, the hopeful little house had done its best to see what the children were doing. Although the tall weeds and the cool, lovely summer leaves blocked its view most of the time, every once in awhile the house would happily glimpse a small girl running with delight.

Mesmerized by the happy sounds of children talking and laughing, the hopeful little house barely noticed that the wispy horse-tails had grown into black clouds towering above the mountain at the edge of the woods.

Perhaps long ago the hopeful little house had known that horse-tail clouds almost always mean the weather is going to change. Perhaps the hopeful little house might have remembered the calm voices of a mother and a father discussing an upcoming storm by reciting this rhyme:

“"Mares' tails and mackerel scales
Make tall ships take down their sails."

And perhaps even the children, intent on exploring, may otherwise have paid attention to the distant rumble of thunder, announcing the ominous storm clouds building above them!

But it was only when the sky grew dark and the wind began to blow that the three busy little girls stopped their play to look up.

And it was only moments before fat raindrops began falling onto little girls running for the safety and shelter of a weathered and worn front porch.

To be continued on Tuesday, June 7.

(c) 2010 Jennifer R. Matlock
This publication is the exclusive property of Jennifer R. Matlock and is protected
under the US Copyright Act of 1976 and all other applicable international, federal, state and local laws. The contents of this post/story may not be reproduced as a whole or in part, by any means whatsoever, without consent of the author, Jennifer R. Matlock. All rights reserved.

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Jocelyn said...

Love this chapter Jenny...I can see their little faces and hands stained by the strawberries!!!!

Just wonderful...and I can't wait until next week!!

Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful story with us!!!!

Have a Fabulous Day!!!

Auntie sezzzzzz... said...

Ohhhhh sigh...


I know...

No story can progress forward, with only joy. There must be something (or two) on the not-so-fun side.


Mrs. M said...

The house will keep them safe!

Cheryl Kohan said...

...and then...and then???

I can tell this is going to be one of those stories that when it's over you wish it wouldn't have ended.

Jeanie said...

Once again your imagery in taking us with the girls through all that they discover is wonderful. You really bring them to life. And now a storm...oh no!

Sami said...

There is something so comforting about reading this story! I'm loving each new chapter. :)

Susan Anderson said...

Uh oh. A storm is brewing...


Marlene said...

I'm loving this chapter! So descriptive...and so ALIVE. Can't wait for the next one!

Karen said...

Jenny, I'll be back to read your story this evening. I'm on the run to get things loaded up for my booth. (I'll post pictures when I get it set up.. as per your request. lol)
This morning my aunt contacted me with a question about my grandmother's stepfather. I so seldom run across the name "Matlock" but here she brings up Dr. Matlock's name and now YOUR last name is Matlock. Wow!!
I'll be back soon.
Have a blessed day.
Ladybug Creek

One Photo said...

This is just lovely Jenny, the images of children playing in the garden and discovering all that is there for themselves. So sad that children today do not get to just go out and explore what is on their doorstep as we did long ago.


Jenny, This sounds like a cute story, that was my fist chaper, love it, can imagine the girls eating the strawberries and setting out to explore...

Ms. A said...

This is evolving so wonderfully! Loving it!

Nancy's Notes said...

Oh Jenny, I am in awe of your great writing skills! Can't wait to come back and read the rest!!


Brenda said...

I might wish my summer away wanting Tuesday's to come quicker for the next chapter in your story. I can picture the landscape and the little house in my mind's eye, you do such a wonderful job with your descriptions!

Terra said...

that little house must be so proud right now, it warms my heart to hear of the girls adventures, the strawberries. You are doing a wonderful job and as you know I can't wait each week to read this, but I do wait - till my house is quiet and I can really soak it up. That my friend is a sure sign of a great story unfolding - chapter by chapter week by week. I thank you for being brave enough to share it with all of us and I secretly hope the "right" person reads it one of these days!

Tracy said...

I am really enjoyingthis I am going to have to print them out and read in one go .

H said...

I'm really enjoying reading your story. Did you just plan it all out before you started or is it somewhere written out in full?? I'm assuming that you have the end already.

BTW Thanks for your comment on the Dolphin Inn. Over here, we tend to forget that 1530 is pre history for most Americans. We become quite blase about being surrouned by the old or even the ancient.

Holly said...

Another wonderful excerpt in what will soon, I hope, be a wonderful book available for me to purchase and put in my own little home!!

Julie Kwiatkowski Schuler said...

I never heard that weather predicting rhyme before! I will remember it from now on. Those girls should stand out in the rain and wash off. They must be horridly dirty little things.

Lourie said...

I would have BEEN one of those girls. My girls dream of being them. Loved this chapter!!!

**When we lived in VA, my oldest would literally smell the rain/storm coming...she would shout to all of her friends it was time to go inside. And the street would be empty, and we would get inside, and literally within minutes the storm would start.**

People Who Know Me Would Say: said...

I can't wait to see what happens next.....I mean....Isn't anybody wondering where these three precious girls are? Will they discover specific clues as to who exactly the family was who lived in the house before? Where will they get their next meal? What about heat when it's cold outside? These and other questions race through my mind as you wind us skillfully down the path....

Linda Medrano said...

Gorgeous story! Jenny, you certainly build the suspense here! I can't wait to see what happens next! Funny, it's not really for children exclusively is it?

Cheryl said...

Questions, so many questions!

Paula ~ castleandcottagesigns said...

curiouser and curiouser! what a great picture I've got in my mind:)

Brenda said...

Oh Jenny, I am excited to read the house has taken a turn, oh I can't wait...today is tuesday...woo-hoo!!!