I was putting a tentative foot out of bed this morning when the phone rang.
It was Mose Miller wanting to tell Jim that he was ready to have the enclosed trailer brought up to load more machinery from the leather shop.
I thought it strange that Mose, a courteous man, would call at 6:30 in the morning!
Jim learned later that the Millers, like many of the families and small businesses on the county line, keep 'fast time,' The county line is also the demarcation for the time zone.
The wind had kept up a steady booming roar all night, and dawn brought sternly grey skies to the north, overlaid with scudding clouds.
A litter of small bare branches was scattered over the grass, and the deep drifts of leaves in both front and back yards had been blown into the soybean field where they fluttered and danced
among the stubble.
Charlie and the boy cats spent the night in the entry [they refused to settle down at bedtime] and when let in began to race up and down the hall with their feline pals. The lot of them ricocheted off furniture, sped down the basement stairs, peered around doorways at things that, to our human eyes, were not really there.
Jim was anxious to make the most of the daylight, so gulped his coffee and slathered two slices of anadama bread with butter and jam.
Katy-Dog bounced from the bedroom with Howard creaking behind her.
I popped a bread pudding in the oven and tackled the daily drudgery of the cat litter boxes.
I decided that the kitchen linoleum and the basement floors needed to be swept and mopped.
A large framed print had been knocked off a shelf in the entry and the shattered glass had to
be dealt with.
From the dining area windows I could see that the sky had turned a brilliant blue as the sun triumphed over the morning's somber start.
Howard, waiting on an appointment with the chiropractor, was gathering up the strewn branches, pausing to kick Katy's ball across the grass.
When I took a rug out to beat and brush it I was surprised to find that in spite of the wind,
the air was warm.
Basement floors swept and swabbed, kitchen floor clean, contents of mop bucket flung out, ash bucket emptied.
I wanted to stay outside, and began walking the perimeter of the lot, picking up yet more fallen branches. The short November day was moving on, the sun trawling the western sky, the wind developing a cooler tang.
Back indoors, to find the cats sleepy, some tucked up on the loveseat downstairs by the ebbing fire, Bobby Mac sprawled on the table, where he can open one eye to monitor the backyard birds.
The late afternoon sun slants into the west window of my study, lying warmly on the oak flooring.
I glance wistfully at my rocking chair, the books ranged on the shelves nearby.
I wonder when--and what--Jim and Howard have eaten.
I bring out the remains of the weekend hickory smoked turkey breast, assemble the meat grinder, two stalks of celery, a quarter of an onion.
Bobby Mac and Nellie appear to monitor this production of sandwich filling.
More onion and celery chopped to sizzle gently in olive oil, add the garlic, the turkey broth.
Down to the basement to fetch a quart of home canned tomatoes, a handful of tiny pasta stars dropped into the pot as the contents come to a gentle boil.
The homey scent of simmering soup takes over the kitchen.
The men arrive home--Jim first, roaring in, trailer loaded with more of the Miller's goods.
"Have you eaten?" I ask.
The Millers invited him to share their dinner.
In response to my interested queries he describes the meal: a noodle casserole served with kielbasa; apple pie with ice cream; a 'fluffy' sort of side dish, perhaps a pudding; an array of cookies.
Two of the Miller daughters were there, helping Anna with the packing, along with two neighboring Amish women whose husbands were laboring alongside Mose and Jim to load heavy machinery from the leather shop.
Jim asked how they managed to have ice cream.
Like so many Amish families, the Millers have an 'arrangement' with their nearest neighbor, to keep an electric freezer in an out building. Mose also has a telephone installed there, paying a small monthly fee for these services.
Howard's arrival was heralded by Katy dashing into the kitchen.
I spread filling on home made bread, indicated the kettle of soup.
The sun hovered on the brink of the horizon, ready to plunge behind the hills.
I snatched up my camera, wanting some tangible memory of this glowing day of wind and sun.
Dark shadows were already spreading across the front lawn.
The last rays of the sun struck the tops of the backyard trees with a ruddy glow, outlining the nuts that still cling to the bare branches of the pecan tree, gilding the clusters of pine cones.
Life marches at a strange pace here, days of unexpected work as well as the mundane chores of country living.
Mose has given Jim the keys of the upper house!
Tomorrow I will have a duplicate set made to keep in my handbag.
Soon I will drive to the empty house, let myself in, walk freely from room to room, imagining
the transition to a new home.