Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Midwinter Memories {five}

To start at the beginning ...

As Ruth burst through the door of the house, the frozen air swirled about her feet making little tornados on the dirt floor.  “Mama!  They’re coming!”  She pulled the wooden door closed behind her with a thud, casting the house into gloom again.

“Shh ... Ruth, please lower your voice.  Little Benjamin just drifted off to sleep.  Please don’t wake him.”  Her mother stood near the family’s now empty sleeping area with a hand on her hip, scolding her with her eyes.

“Sorry, Mama,” she whispered, tiptoeing over to the cradle to peer down at her baby brother.  “Sorry.”
Her mother beckoned her toward the fireplace.  With the glow of the fire illuminating their faces, she asked, “Who’s coming?”
Still breathless from the excitement and from running all the way home, Ruth clasped her mother’s shawl, “The pilgrims!  I saw a family coming down the hill.”
Ruth’s mother rubbed her cold hands and nodded, “Then we had best get to work.  We have a very busy day and night ahead of us.  Where did you leave the water?”
“The well was frozen, Mama.  We’ll have to return when the morning warms.”
Her mother’s brow wrinkled, “Frozen?  This the coldest morning I’ve ever seen in all my years here in Bethlehem.  Well, God will protect us, little one.  I’ll send you later, when the sun is higher in the sky.  For now, please help Andrew with the goats.  He is getting them fresh hay from the field, you can get them fresh grain and break the ice on their trough.  Bring the milk here when you are finished.  Off you go!”  Ruth bowed to her mother and scurried out the front door again, ducking around the back toward the animals.  

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