We just moved to Pawnee, Texas population 201 or adding my pops Richard, my mom Karen, my little sister Farah, and myself Abby although my given name is Abigail, that makes it 205. We lived in Rye Colorado my whole life and my dad along with many others were fired, so we are moving to Pawnee to stay with my mamaw while my parents try to get back up on their feet. So here I am 17 years old and I’m going to have to start over when I never wanted to have to. My sister couldn’t be happier to move closer to mamaw it’s a dream come true for her, but I am the shy one and I like the normality I had in Rye. My friends were the main problem, I don’t do well meeting new people I have a hard time forming whole sentences when I’m around people I don’t know.
“Don’t tell me she’s still sulking!” Pops teased from the front seat of our mini van.
“Pops just leave me alone.” Nothing he could say could cheer me up right now.
“Abigail Leanne don’t make me have to stop this car.” Mom bellowed.
“Yes ma’am.” I said angrily.
I hated when mom used “the voice” on me I knew when she did she was serious, and I hadn’t been the best of anyone’s company for the past week…since I learned we were moving.
“Your just going to have to suck it up missy none of us really want to move but we have no choice. It‘s just the way things are….” Moms speech started to sound more like a bunch of mumbling then actual words.
Farah was sitting in the seat beside me singing “the wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round” she’s only 5 but still it’s really starting to annoy me.
“Mom if I have to suck it up can you at least shut the little brat up?”
“Yea, yea, yea I know!”
“ Abigail.” Pops wasn’t teasing anymore. “I’ve had it up to here with your sour attitude. If I hear one more word from you before we get to Mamaws you will be grounded for a week, and I’m sure you don’t want to start off at a new place grounded do you?”
The ride wasn’t pleasant, bumpy dirt roads turning onto more bumpy dirt roads and then we finally made it to a highway but then we turned back
onto another bumpy dirt road after 5 minutes. I was starting to get impatient when dad finally said.. “We’re here.”
I looked down the road but all I saw was this little grey wood hut looking thing.
“Where exactly is here?” I asked.
“We are at mamaws Abs.” Dad guffawed
“Oh. My. God. We are not living here are we?”
“Yes we are going to be living here Abigail.”
“But…But… But It can’t be more than 2 bed rooms and 1 bathroom how will we survive here.”
“Aren’t we being a bit melodramatic Abigail.” Mom was getting really irritated.
“But Mom we lived in a 4 bedroom house when we were living with Uncle Henry when I was 10 why can’t we go live with him again?”
“Abs don’t get me wrong Id prefer the bigger house with at least 2 bathrooms…really I would but…Hun we are doing this for you not to you!” Mom declared.
“So what are you saying? That we could have lived with Uncle Henry but you choose this over comfort?” I was very upset.
“Abs you see mamaw about once every three years…chill and put on a smile…here comes mamaw now.”
Mamaw was walking slowly up the dirt path which was her driveway, behind her trailed a boy, he looked about my age kind of tall but still young he had dark ash brown hair with big green eyes…very handsome…I wasn’t expecting to see anyone but Mamaw. Mamaw trailed ahead of the boy looking more fragile then I’d ever seen her she was thin and her wispy silver hair was a mess.
“Oh you made it!” She thrilled. “I was starting to worry, you said you’d be here around 10 and its 12:30.”
Pops glanced at the clock on the dash of the van.
“Mamaw!” I exclaimed. As unhappy as I was to be in this dump I couldn’t hide the fact that I was happy to see her.
“Abby my love. I was expecting a bear, your dad warned me that you weren’t to happy to be moving out here.”
“HMPH.” I stomped my foot and looked at my Pops.
“Hey don’t give me that look.” He laughed. “You really didn’t want to be here!”
“Well…that doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t be happy!”
“Yea sure kiddo.”
“Is that my little Fare Bear.” Mamaw hadn’t seen Farah since she was two.
“Mamaw! I’m so excited to see you, I’ve been looking at pictures of you.” she exclaimed excitedly.
“Oh really…hope they were pretty pictures.”
“Of course they were.” Farah hugged her stuffed animal ‘Doggy’.
“Well now that I’ve said hello to everyone.” Mamaw started. “I’d like to introduce Lucas…”
“Luke.” Lucas interrupted.
“Sorry, of course. He prefers to be called Luke. Luke here, has been a big help milking the goats and feeding the animals and keeping the farm cleaned up for me.”
“The Farm?” I didn’t see a farm.
“Yes there’s a farm about 2 miles down the road I’ve only owned it for about 2 years so you’ve probably never seen it.”
“Mom.” Pops said. “Why would you buy a farm?”
“Well my old friend Wilson passed away and he had the farm but he left it to me so I didn‘t buy it.”
“Oh, be quiet Richard.”
“Yes Ma’am.” Pops didn’t back down easily for just anyone but he never argued with Mamaw.
“Now if I could please just introduce you all. Luke this is my son Richard and his wife Karen. The little girl hiding behind the car door over there is Farah…”
“I’m not hiding.” Farah giggled.
“And this here is my oldest granddaughter Abigail but she prefers to be called Abby!”
“Hi!” I smiled as politely as possible.
“Hi!.” He said looking at the ground.
Wow I found someone as shy as me and there’s no telling how long he’s lived here.
“Well why are we just standing out here.” Mamaw shouted from the door to her house.
I didn’t realize she’d even moved she was faster than she looked.
“Come on lets go inside where the air is!” She shouted.
“Come on kids.” Pops said as he and Mom walked hand in hand toward the house.
“I’ll get the bags.” Luke said walking around to the back of the van.
“I’ll help you.” I said.
We walked back and forth carrying the bags into the house…not much was said. I know I’m shy but I’d never been around a guy this long without being hit on. I was always told I was gorgeous and I guess I am. I’m skinny but not to skinny, I have long black hair that goes half way down my back, olive skin tone, and I have grey eyes like Mamaw.
“So…” I tried to fill the silence. “How long have you lived here Luke?”
“Huh…Oh well I’ve lived here since I was 12.”
“Really? How old are you?”
“Yea, I uh moved here with my Grandfather. I’m 17 but I’ll be 18 in 2 months. Um…How old are you?”
“17 I won’t be 18 until the end of this year.”
We finally finished unloading all the bags and I went into the kitchen where mom and pops were sitting at the table with Mamaw drinking tea.
“Where’d Farah go.” I interrupted their conversation.
“She’s in the back room…you girls will be sharing that room, your mom and dad are going to be staying in my room, and I’m going to be staying in the living room until we can make better arrangements.”
“ ‘Kay.” I mumbled. “Oh and thank you Mamaw for letting us stay and mom…Pops I’m sorry I’ve been such a pain.”
“Well 15 minutes alone with this Luke kid and she’s apologizing…I think I like him.” Pops teased.
“Pops! UHHH!” I exclaimed as I stormed off to the back room.
I heard the adults laughing in the kitchen but I was pleased to realize I didn’t hear Luke laughing he must have still been outside. Wait I thought…why do I care if he laughs…I don’t! Of course I don’t care he’s just some kid I just met.
“Abigail.” Farah smiled.
“Do. Not. Call me. Abigail.” I said angrily.
“Don’t be so mean.” She frowned.
“What do you want Farah?”
“I was just going to see which bed you wanted?”
“Does it matter.”
“I guess not I’ll take the one by the door.” she said skipping to the bed.
Fine by me I’d prefer the one by the window anyways I thought to myself.
The voice was one I knew but it didn’t register whose voice it was. I whipped my head around to see who was talking to me.
“Oh! Hi Luke.”
“Hi. Um…Your grandma asked me if I would get you to come with me to the farm to milk the goats…she said it wouldn’t hurt for you to learn how.”
“Oh well Okay!”
“I hope you don’t mind but we are going to be going in my Truck, you don’t mind riding with me do you?”
Well that was strange I obviously didn’t think we’d be walking or I wouldn‘t have agreed.
“Um yea that’s fine with me.”
I jumped up in his truck that was old and rusty. His radio was turned to a country station…definitely something I wasn’t use to.
“Do you mind?” I pointed to the radio.
“No go ahead.”
I found some classical music and figured that would have to do.
“So you like Classical?” Luke said after a long silence.
“Yea some of it.”
“That’s pretty cool.”
“Yea I guess. My old friends don’t think so though.”
“Well, I do!”
“So does that mean you like classical music too?”
“Well like you said…some of it.”
He seemed to be coming out of his shell which was nice.
“You seem kind of shy.” He said. “But I guess I have no room to talk huh.” he laughed one short laugh.
“Yea, you do seem pretty shy yourself.”
“Yea. So um…I don’t mean to pry but…do you have a boyfriend?”
“Well I had one his name is Heath but we broke up before I moved.”
“I’m sorry to hear that.”
I couldn’t tell but from the corner of my eye I thought I saw him smile.
“Yea.” I grimaced “It was a difficult break up we had been together for 3 months.”
“Yea, why did you break up?”
“Well you see distance and relationships hardly work out for teens I did a paper on it for my family home economics class.”
“So you were basing it off of an assignment.”
“Well that and Heath thought it would be better this way.”
“Ah so HE is the one who wanted to break up.”
“I don’t want to be rude but why does it matter to you.”
“Oh…Well um I guess it er.. Doesn’t matter I was just curious.”
“Do YOU have a girlfriend?”
“Nope never have.”
“NEVER.” I said it slowly.
“Nope I haven’t found a girl who interest me yet.” He looked over at me but as soon as our eyes met he turned his gaze quickly to the road.
“Well we’re here this is your Grandmas farm we call it The Old Goldwin Farm.”
“Mr. Wilson’s wife’s great great great great grandfather owned this barn and his last name was Goldwin .”
“So technically the barn wasn’t Mr. Wilson’s it was his wife’s?”
“That may have been the case…” Luke said as we walked. “however Mrs. Clara died about 3 years before Mr. Wilson.”
“Yea…so um…you wanna learn to milk a goat or would you rather just watch this time?”
“I…think I’ll just watch this time.”
“Okay, well pull that stool around here so you can see” He instructed and pointed toward the stool in the right hand corner of the barn.
“Well the first thing you wanna do is have the grain and Milk bucket like these right here.” He tapped the buckets. “Then you leash her so she won’t go running because then you have to chase her down again and it takes a lot longer.” he laughed.
“So does that mean you’ve had to do that before?” I giggled.
“Lets just say I had a lot to learn when I first started working at the barn.” he laughed again. “Anyways it’s best if you pen the other goats before starting with the one your working with if not it can cause delays. But since they were already penned up and not roaming free we’re good. Okay now this goats name is Hilary and we are going to take her to the milking stand which is right over there.” He pointed to a small wooden wall looking thing with a hole in it around where Hilary’s head would poke through with a bucket already attached to it.
“What’s that for Luke?” I asked staring at the bucket.
“That would be the grain bucket.”
“Now we have to wash and sterilize her.”
Luke laughed at my obvious disgust.
“I know but it has to be done. Anyways put the milk bucket slightly ahead of her udder.”
“Oh my gosh. Can I just feed the other animals I think I’ll leave the milking to you?”
“Well I would say I don’t mind but I think your Grandma wants you to learn.”
“Wrap your thumb and forefinger around the base of the teat tightly enough to trap the milk inside the teat.” He laughed again when he saw my expression which was one of horror. “Squeeze with your middle finger, then your ring finger, and then your pinky, in one smooth motion. You can’t let the first squeeze go in the bucket because it may have dirt or bacteria in it. Oh and by the way watch her feet little Miss Hilary here likes to kick.”
“Abby you don’t have to milk a goat we just won’t tell your Grandma okay…I don’t think I could handle it if you puke and with you just watching, you look like you could.”
“Yea um thanks Luke…Like a lot!” I said gratified.
“Your welcome.” He laughed.
“So how often do you do this?” I asked curious.
“Once maybe twice a day. Sometimes more if needed.”
“So you spend a lot of time in this barn don’t you?” I titled my head.
“Yea it’s kind of like my home away from home. These goats and the chickens are my friends.”
“No. Frikin’. Way…we have chickens?” I couldn’t keep the excitement out of my voice.
Luke couldn’t control his laughter now.
“Yes” He managed to squeeze out between laughs.
“Well I guess I should have expected that. I mean what’s a farm with out chickens.”
“Yea.” Luke said managing to calm his moment of hysteria.
“When do we go back to the house?”
“Well I’m getting a late start but I should be able to get you back to the house by dinner.”
“Where do you live?”
“I live over by the store we passed on the way to the barn.”
“Yea its about the same size as what your Grandma has but it’s a little more modernized.”
“I wish Mamaws was.”
“Yea!” He shrugged his shoulders.
“Anyways what all do we have to do tonight?”
“Well milk the goats obviously but there are only 3 of them so it shouldn’t take to long and make sure all the animals have water and also we have to brush Koala…the horse.”
“We have a horse?”
“Yea I think you’ll like her. Her name is Koala she is an American Cream Draft horse.”
“Wow I can’t wait to see her.” I said dazed.
“Yea well she will be last on our list because like I said we are getting a late start but I have to be here in the morning if you want I can stop by and pick you up maybe you can start learning how to ride.”
“IN THE MORNING?” I accidentally screamed and scared Hilary.
After calming the goat down Luke answered. “Yea it’s best to start early because it can take a while feeding and watering the animals.”
“It’s okay I had the same reaction when your um…Mamaw told me I should start that early. Anyways if you want you can go look at all the other animals while I put Hilary in the pen then I will show you where the ducks and chickens are so you can feed them in the morning…as for the pigs I’ll deal with them because I have to clean their pen before I feed them.”
“Oh…Ugh yea you can have the smelly job.”
“Okay see this pile of white bags this is the feed that’s unopened just to the side of it there are opened bags they each have a silhouette picture of the animal on them so that will help you figure out which feed is for which animal.” Luke said pointing to each pile of feed.
After going to see Koala we got back in the truck and headed back toward the house. It was already dark by the time we got back it was a little later than Luke had intended to get me back.
“Well this is where I say Adieu and go home.” Luke grinned.
“You don’t stay for supper?”
“No gotta get back home to my grandpa.”
“Oh okay. Well I guess I’ll see you in the morning…I’ll make sure my mom gets me up in plenty of time.” I laughed softly.
“Okay well I will be here at exactly five thirty can you be ready?”
“Yea I think so.” I said tripping out of his truck.
“Okay see you in the morning then.” He laughed.
I walked inside to see Mamaw, Pops, Mom, and Farah all sitting at the table eating something that smelled really good.
“Did you have fun.” Moms voice rang when she saw me smiling.
“Loads. Did you know we have a horse, and chickens, and ducks, and goats which I will never milk.” I made a gagging noise.
Mamaw laughed. “Well come in and fix you a plate, we are eating fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, and corn.”
“MMM. Its smells so good Mamaw.” I rubbed my stomach.
“Well thank you doll.”
I made my plate and sat down. The food tasted so good I was tempted to go back for seconds but decided since I was going to have to get up early I should get ready for bed.
“Mom, Pops I’m going with Luke in the morning to the barn if you don’t mind?”
“Of course not.” They said at the same time.
“Well I’m going to bed, Mom can you make sure I’m up by 5 in the morning.”
I walked to the bathroom and pulled on my pajama pants and then I put on a big tan baggy shirt with holes all in it and headed off to bed.