Summer on Santo

Started by Gwen Eiber, October 21, 2019, 06:37:08 pm

Gwen Eiber

Life on Santo was about as perfect as it could get.  At least if you didn't mind long days and hard work.
The morning started as soon as the roosters crowed.  Gwendola would be among the early risers, washing with water from the pitcher and changing from her sleeping shift to the short sleeved dress with its ankle length hem by the glow of a single candle.   At least in the summer months the wash water felt good on her skin.  In the winter she would leave the pitcher sit beside the fireplace to take the chill off.  Next was brushing out her almost waist length hair and tying it back with a ribbon.  She wasn't old enough to braid it yet, mam said maybe next summer.  Once she was old enough to braid her hair that meant she'd be old enough to go courtin'.  Only little girls wore their hair unbraided.  A grown woman would never wear her hair down and loose in front of anyone other than her husband, to do otherwise would be quite scandalous.

First stop was the hen house to gather the eggs.  She gathered them carefully in the basket, mindful of sharp beaks.  Next to the barn to see their old milk cow, Sally.  She hung the egg basket up on the hook, then grabbed the pail and milking stool and set to work.  Sally didn't mind and the young girl sang softly as she completed her chores, making quick work of the daily tasks.  Then to the kitchen to help see to breakfast.  The Eiber's were wealthy by the standards of their town and could probably afford to have servants or even slaves to help with every day tasks, but Dr. Eiber didn't believe in such things and neither did his wife.  They believed that hard worked built character.  Some days Gwen thought she had quite enough character, thank you very much, but there was no use sassing.  She helped her mother make the sourdough biscuits her father was so fond of, placing them in the little dutch oven out in the yard to cook while her mother brewed the coffee and fried up the salt pork and eggs.

Dr. Eiber wasn't idle as his wife and daughter worked, slopping the hogs and making sure the troughs were filled with water and the horses and their single cow had feed and hay.  He was jolly when he came in for breakfast, kissing his wife rather robustly and placing a gentle kiss on his daughter's brow.  She was their only child and they doted on her as is to be expected.  They held hands and prayed, then ate breakfast together.

She was excused from dishes, a task she particularly loathed, because she promised to weed the garden instead.  A loathsome task as well, but at least she wasn't confined to the house.  She liked being outdoors and she never complained about helping things grow.  She finished the weeding and brought the freshly picked tomatoes in. 

Then she was free for a few hours, heading down to the creek to wade in the water.  She had stripped off her socks and boots, making sure there was no one there to see. She would have been mortified at the thought of anyone seeing her bare ankles and even her calves.  She was just shy of womanhood, but not a woman grown.  If anyone had been watching they would think she was a child still as she splashed and frolicked.

Shadows lengthened and she returned home, settling onto the patio to help her mother shell peas for dinner, then to work on her stitching.  She was supposed to me making a dress for the fall harvest dance, but she just couldn't get it to come out the way she wanted, perhaps because there was a difference of opinion on the shape of the neckline.

Dinner time was followed by Bible study and learning.  Her father would teach her about medicine and her mother about Earth-That-Was.  Life on Santo was about as perfect as it could be.

Pretty is as pretty does.

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