Xanthous- Of the fair haired type; having brown, auburn, yellow, flaxen or red hair.
Mary Lee sat in one of the rocking chairs just outside of the general store located on the Nevin’s farm. She was surrounded by pumpkins off all shapes in sizes. The three pumpkinsat her feet would be going home with one her grandchildren. She was asked to guard them while the children went to explore the play area in front of the general store. Guarding pumpkins while getting to rock on lovely day had sounded like a wonderful idea to her.
It had been a wonderful morning. Mary Lee’s daughter Sarah and her three children had come to get her at about 9 and they had arrived at the farm by 9:30. Thankfully it was short ride from Simpsonville to the Nevin’s farm in Woodruff. It is had been even a minute longer Davey, Martha’s three year old, would have jumped out the car and run the rest of the way. He was so excited about picking out a pumpkin and getting to go on hayride.
They had barely parked the car when Davey and his older brother William and other sister Lydia had all run to check out the John Deere tractor attached to the hay wagon.
Following a very bumpy hayride each of her grandchildren has taken a very long time selecting just the right pumpkin. Just when it looked like the right one had been found a more right pumpkins would come into their view.
Once they had made their final choices. They had wanted to check out the farms animals. What fun it had been to see a small pink pig kissing a neighboring donkey! All of the children had giggled! Mary Lee and Martha had both smiled at how adorable they looked.
After all the animals had been oohed and ahhed over,children had been ready to bound to the swinging tunnels and play teepee.
Martha had helped Mary Lee gather up the pumpkins and bring them around the rocking chairs before Martha head off to see that the children had gotten up to.
While the children played and Martha tried to keep an eye of her wild tribe, Mary Lee rocked and took in the beauty of the farm.
Mary Lee had spent many summers working on a local farm detasseling corn and doing whatever else Mr. O’Brien needed done. The work was hard under the hot Carolina sun, but Mrs. O’Brien would always send out gallon jugs of sweet tea and lemonade to cool the work crew off and they had paid a very fair wage.
Getting to work beside the O’Brien’s oldest son John made the time fly on days when they were given the same area of the farm to work on. John had blonde hair that glistened in the sun and smile that would brighten anyone’s day or at least Mary Lee had thought so. John wasn’t a big talker. He tended to concentrate on the job at hand. Mary Lee really didn’t care. Just being near John was enough to set her heart a flutter.
John had been a senior in high school when Mary was a freshman. She had known who he was, but hadn’t really spent much time around him until her Uncle Budd had mentioned to her that the O’Brien’s were looking for summer help.
For the past three summers she had looked forward to getting to see John while she worked. He seemed to grow taller and more handsome as each year past. She had heard that he would be leaving in the fall to start a job in Chicago. Mary Lee would have to go out of her way to catch as many glimpses of him as she could she had decided at the beginning of the summer.
She had been quite surprised when he offered to get her a glass of cool lemonade on a particularly hot day in July. She had been barely able to nod her head yes and say that she would love some.
When he returned carrying glasses brimming with cool lemonade and motioned to a bent old apple tree, she had barely been able to move one foot after the other to get to it. The world seemed to have started to moving more slowly.
Yet she tried to look calm when she finally made it there and sat down beneath the tree to wait to be handed her glass.
She tried to remember what they had said as they sat under the tree so long ago, but she couldn’t remember specifically what either of them had said. She did remember smiling a lot and taking really small sips of the cool lemonade. There had been a cool breeze under that bent old tree and she remembered she had felt like she was floating on a cloud.
From that day on John had talked to her frequently. He would ask about her family and her how she was doing. He had never asked her to go to the movies or offered to drive her home.
She would have been over the moon if he had, but she knew that he was moving away at the end of the summer and she tried to enjoy every moment that she was around him.
“He was wonderful boy,” Mary Lee whispered to herself.
She had heard that he still lived outside Chicago. He had married a girl he had met at church and had five boys.
“Remember John today was special, but I am sure glad that the man waiting at home for me make his lunch is Frank,” Mary Lee said to herself as she rocked back and forth in the autumn sun.
There was no man that had ever made her heart flutter more than that dark haired man she met in college her sophomore year. It was Frank that had lengthened days and made her truly feel she was floating.
Watch for the story of how Mary Lee met Frank! It will appear on the last Thursday in October.