Brad was able to catch a flight leaving for Ireland the next morning. He was dubious about going, but Jamie convinced him that Mark and Clark, with the help of Arf, could handle the ranch for a week. Jamie was a good horsewoman so she could help in case of an emergency.
When Brad went to pack, Jamie decided to go out to the garden for a few minutes and enjoy the beautiful evening. She had only been there a few minutes when Grandma Helen joined her.
“Are you okay, Grandma Helen? You look like you’re upset.”
“Oh it’s nothing I should bother you with.”
Grandma Helen sat down in one of the chairs and played with her wadded up hankie. It was obvious she had been crying. Jamie sat in one of the other chairs close by.
“I won’t press you, but I want you to know I’m a good listener, though I can’t promise you any answers,” Jamie offered.
“Well okay then. I can’t keep this to myself any longer. It’s far too upsetting to me and I’m getting too old to be upset all the time.”
“Let me help you get started,” Jamie said. “Does this have anything to do with Dina and Steve?”
“It does, Jamie, so of course it also involves our Katie. Steve wants to move away from the ranch and he’s upset that Dina won’t commit to moving with him. Not only that, he is assuming that Katie will go with him either way.”
“I overheard them talking about leasing my farm. Is that what you understand the problem to be?”
“Yes… and Dina doesn’t know what to do. She’s my daughter, Jamie and I don’t know how to help her. I told her to consider the fact that Steve is the breadwinner and he should have a say in where the family lives.”
Jamie wondered if Dina would agree to move and if she did, would it only be because of Katie? Steve had custody of her and there was no doubt he planned to take her with him.
“Let me give you a little advise, Helen. I think you’re going to have to let Steve and Dina work this out for themselves. I’ll try to follow my own advise and I think Brad will stay out of it, too.”
The next morning after Brad left for the airport, Jamie waited for Miss Bessie to get ready to go to her job at the General Store. She rode with Jamie on the days she worked.
On the way into town, Miss Bessie was unusually quiet.
“Is everything okay, Miss Bessie? You seem awfully preoccupied.”
“I’ve decided to quit my job. I’m going to talk to Dina’s sister, today.”
“That surprises me. I thought you enjoyed seeing all of the town ladies.”
“Well, I did at first, but they’ve been coming on my days off, so I’m not getting any juicy gos…uh news. Remember that day last week when I went in on Wednesday instead of Thursday? Well, four of those ladies came in that day, and boy were they surprised to see me. I guess they think I tell other people what I hear them say. Truth be known, I can’t always remember if it’s a secret or not. Anyway, It’s boring. I’d rather keep company with Helen at home. I feel like I’m needed there.”
Later that night….
Annie’s thoughts: Clark is upset tonight, so he came up to his room early. I don’t really like to go to bed until later, but I thought I should keep Clark company.
“I have a little over a week before I have to start school, Annie. I don’t know if I can go through with it. The tutor Brad got me has helped a lot, but that’s just one person, not a whole classroom. I love singing and dancing, but I’m not sure I can perform in front of a bunch of people. What if I make a real fool of myself?
Annie laid down by the bed and Clark took his guitar out of the case to play his nightly song. While she was waiting, she noticed something under the bed. It looked like a letter. She couldn’t reach it, so she went to Clark and eventually got him to come and look under the bed. She was right. It was an envelope.
“I wonder where this came from,” Clark said as he looked the letter over. “I guess there’s only one way to find out. I don’t see a name on the envelope so I hope it’s for me.”
Inside was a loving letter from his mother.
I put this in with your music books hoping you would find it at the right time. I know you must be nervous about going to a new school. You have always told yourself you’re not smart enough to learn. Well, I’m here to tell you that you are plenty smart. I know your daddy has told you different, but don’t you believe it. Hear me? Remember son, you don’t have to be perfect, you only have to try your best. The good Lord says to be anxious about nothing, so do what the Lord says. Keep on moving and walk right through that fear you’re feeling. That’s what you call courage.
Love and blessings,
Annie’s thoughts: Clark put his guitar away without even playing a song. He just hung on to that letter. He had tears in his eyes, but he was smiling big when he fell asleep.
Down the hall Arf was watching over his favorite and most important human. She is sleeping peacefully.
Arf’s thoughts: I have a feeling that something is about to change and I’m not going to be happy about it.
Jamie was in Brad’s study. She was wondering what she should say if Steve approached her about leasing the farm.
She had a lot to think about. Life changing decisions were never easy to make.