Genres: Amish Romance
Release Date: September 7, 2021
It was that wunnerbaar-gut time of year in Hickory Hollow when the earth stirred from its wintry slumber and snow crocuses peeked through the dark soil. The snow had melted more than a week earlier, leaving behind last autumn’s leaves, fallen twigs, and mud. The days warmed and stretched ever longer toward evening.
Already I had seen our neighbor Deacon Luke Peachey out plowing our former land with his six-mule team, land he’d purchased from Mamma after my father died in a barn-raising accident fifteen years ago.
It was time now to get busy with spring housecleaning and fulfilling orders for the framed counted cross-stitch family trees I made to bring in extra money. Tomorrow, however, March twelfth, I would take some time to celebrate my twenty-second birthday.
After rising at four-thirty to bake two loaves of bread, I set to work scrubbing the upstairs hallway and the spare room, determined to be a helpful daughter and to make up for the chores Mamma could no longer do because of her worsening health.
That done, I sorted through my drawers of clothing and noticed the small wooden box where I’d saved a few favorite items, including handmade Valentine cards from girl cousins and my sweet younger sister, Britta. Inside was a pinecone, sprayed white and with a dried holly sprig attached to it, a gift from Obie Yoder, my friend since our third-grade year. That had also been the year my brother Eli—ten months older—was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver not far from our house.
I paused to glance out my upstairs window at the thick grove of willows below, over near the large pond. The lengthy, supple branches swayed gently as a breeze blew through them. Such a peaceful spot. I thought back to the many times I’d sat in Dat’s old rowboat and cried after Eli’s sudden death, missing my close-in-age brother.
So long ago now . . .
Tomorrow, I would mark yet another birthday without my brother or father. Obie was coming to join my family for cake and ice cream, as he’d promised last Saturday at market.
Just like him, wanting to share the day with me.
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