Just a Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 8

This entry is part 08 of 19 in the series Crazy

Chapter 8

The Sunday morning sun was peeking over the mountain and young Jim Green had already been working for over an hour.

He had cooked himself some breakfast, picked up the shovel that he always left leaning against the big pine tree in the front yard and headed for the meadow. Changing the water from one place to another was a daily chore.

This morning there was trouble. A gopher had burrowed his way across the field and into the irrigation ditch. The water came boiling up far down in the field below.

He took off his shoes, rolled up his pants and waded up the ditch, poking his toes under the overhanging grass. Suddenly, he stopped and reached down with his hand. He had found the hole all right. He could feel the suction as the water rushed through the opening.

He took the shovel and dug back into the bank, making the hole much larger. He then cut a large sod, which he placed over the opening. Then with his bare feet he stomped it firmly in place.

Changing the water around to keep the meadow wet was a daily chore. And now he was finished for the day.

He walked back up the ditch-bank to where he had left his shoes and sox.

He stepped out of the ditch and sat down on the grassy bank. He would let his feet dry for a few minutes.

He leaned back and closed his eyes. His thoughts raced in his head about the happenings of yesterday. What had started out to be just an ordinary day in his young life had taken a sudden turn. Once more Elly May was back into his life. Once again she was his sweetheart.

And it all happened so damned fast! Had fate really taken a hand? He shook his head. His mind was in a whirl.

The arrival of his mother yesterday had been at a very critical moment. If she had been a few minutes later there could be a wedding going on right now, his wedding.

He wiped the sweat off his forehead. Was he ready for such a move? Everything happened so damned fast! Marriage was a serious thing. He hadn’t better get in a hurry. Not at least for a few days.

She had been his only childhood sweetheart. Four years ago he had intended to marry her at a later date. Now that time had come. Was he ready? Was she ready! It all seemed so sudden.

What kind of a woman did he want for a wife? he asked himself. Of course, she must be a good cook Also a good housekeeper. She must be sexy, desirable and bear him children.

She must be someone that he would look forward to going to bed with every night. And last but not least he must love her:

Jim swore under his breath. Elly May was the only girl he had ever met that could come up to these qualifications.

Of course he hadn’t had a chance to try out her cooking. Actually he hadn’t tried out anything but a few kisses: But, on the other hand, if they were a sample of what was yet to come she could make him a very happy man. After all, aren’t you supposed to save something until after the wedding?

Jim grinned. If she didn’t change her tactics there was not going to be anything left “But what the hell,” he muttered. “Why wait? You don’t even buy a hat without first trying it on.”

At times she was like a little girl. Then again she could be all woman. Yesterday she had demonstrated that. And in broad daylight!

Was this a proper thing for her to do? Would he want her to be different?

He shook his head. “Hell no! A beautiful girl like her? I should say not! He shook his head and closed his eyes. She was the answer to his wildest dreams.

And there was something else to think about – her loss of memory. What had happened to make her forget those fourteen years? He intended to find out, but why let it matter? It certainly wasn’t her fault.

Martha knew what happened to her and so did the rest of the family. They would tell her nothing. Surely Uncle John and Aunt Nelly in Seattle also knew. Why were they keeping it a secret?

And there was something else and it was really important. Elly May bore the Rotten name. She had been raised by them. Surely she couldn’t be one of them! In no way did she resemble any one of them!

Then still another question. If’ she wasn’t one of’ them who was she? Who were her real parents?

The last four years of her life was all she could remember. At times she did act like a four year old. Yesterday when he had showed her the garden behind the house she had jumped up and down clapping her hands.

A few minutes later she was a beautiful passionate woman. One that could make his blood boil!

And now she could be his, all his very own. What was he waiting for? God hates a coward!

He had always taken for granted that someday he would marry. There would be a big church wedding and a honeymoon. Then they would settle down and raise a family, but he had never envisioned anything like this. He wondered if he was dreaming! If it was a dream it was dandy. One from which he should never awaken.

And still she was a girl of mystery. Who was she really? Yesterday when they were talking to Martha he had tried to find some family resemblance between the two of them. He could find none.

Starting from the top, the color and texture of the hair was wrong. The hairline was definitely different. The was no resemblance. Elly May’s eyes were a deep blue, Martha’s a dark brownish green. Martha had a figure like one of his Hereford cows, but Elly May had one like a yearling deer that roamed the forest dainty and full of spirit.

And as far as being the daughter of Seth Rotten all a person had to do was take a good look at Clyde and Oswald. They belonged to him all right. They looked just like him.

But who in the world could she be? Seth and Martha had claimed her as a daughter. She was raised by them and had gone through the grade school here.

As everyone watched her mature they wondered how such a pretty girl could be a member of that family. Surely at the hospital Martha had got away with the wrong child. This seemed to be the only sensible answer.

And this loss of memory bit, about the time it had happened she had gone to Seattle to live with Aunt Nelly and Uncle John. Why?

This seemed to Jim to be a good place to start asking questions.

Just who was Uncle John and Aunt Nelly? Why had they kept her these last four years?

And one more thing: she had been afraid. She had told him that she needed help and would he help her. He had promised that he would and he would keep his promise.

Sometime in the near future she would be his wife. And a husband and wife should keep no secrets from each other. In the meantime there were several riddles that must be solved.

Jim put on his socks and shoes, picked up the shovel and headed for the house. Just ahead of him was the big red barn. As he was passing he heard a noise inside. He walked over to the door and opened it wide. There stood his mother. She was holding a bucket of oats with both hands. A brown horse with white spots was eating from it.

Shirley Green was a little woman. Jim could hold an arm straight out and she could pass under it without stooping. She had nice features and a trim figure. Her most outstanding feature was her hair. In her younger days it had been a jet black. Now it was as white as snow and every hair seemed to always be in its proper place.

She always managed to keep busy. There was a chicken run back of the barn also a coop for laying hens. There was always plenty of eggs and a fryer now and then.

Every morning she made the rounds. Feeding the chickens gathering the eggs and now and then treating Old Spot to a bucket of oats.

Jim smiled at her. “Good morning mother. You are going to have that old crow bait spoiled rotten.”

Shirley Green patted the horse on the neck. “I had better look after him. I don’t think he will get much attention from you now that Elly May is here.”

Jim grinned. “Now that you mention it she is quite a lot better looking than Old Spot. By the way where is she?”

“In the house prettying herself up for you. Not that she needs it, mind you. God knows she is about the prettiest thing that I have ever seen. She says she wants to look her best when you return from the field.” She frowned. “My boy where have you been keeping her? It’s been years since I heard you speak of her. Tell me what’s going on around here? Are you two getting married?”

Jim laughed. “One question at a time mother.”

“Alright. Are you two getting married?”

“If we are, do we have your blessing?”

Two big tears formed in the little woman’s eyes. “You know very well young man. That whoever you chose will be alright with me.” She wiped her eyes with the back of her hand. “It’s getting about time you found yourself a nice girl and settled down. After all, you are the only one who can give me some grandchildren to play with. But I wish someone would tell me what’s been going on. I can get nothing out of either of you.”

Jim walked over and took the empty bucket from her hand and set it on the floor. He put his arm around her shoulders and gave her a squeeze. “Mother dear, when we get married you will be the first one to know and I don’t think you will have to wait very long. We have kept our secret pretty good. Don’t you think?”

“You certainly have, but I still think you are holding back something.”

Jim grinned, “When this is all over we will tell you a story that will be hard to believe. In the meantime, mother dear, you must trust us.”

“I guess I have no choice, but I’m dying of curiosity.”

He put a finger under her chin and tilted her head back, “Mother dear, I have a few questions I would like to ask you. They might not seem important to you but they sure are to me. One of these days you will understand.

“Well, go ahead.”

His voice was serious. “Do you really believe that Elly May is the daughter of Seth and Martha Rotten?”

For a moment Shirley Green didn’t answer. When she did her voice was firm and steady.

“I wondered when you would get around to asking that question. Hell no I don’t, and what’s more I never did!”

Jim could hardly believe his ears. His mother seldom used such words. He took her by the arm and they started walking toward the house. He gave her arm a gentle squeeze, “Mother dear, what do you remember about that night” or day whichever it was that Elly May was born? Was it at their home? Did you know the doctor?”

Shirley Green nodded. “All morning long I have tried to recall that blessed event. After all, eighteen years is quite a long time, then it all come back to me.”

She took a few steps, paused, then looked up at Jim. “Seth didn’t believe in doctors. He acted as midwife for the five boys. It was early in the spring and Martha was expecting once more. She and Seth had loaded up the old truck with scrap iron and took it to Boise to sell. I guess it was when they were unloading the stuff she and hurt herself. She was taken to a hospital and was there for a week. That was when Elly May was born.”

Shirley Green smiled. “I guess it was quite an event in Martha’s life. She talked about it for months afterward. I remember her saying, “It was The May hospital. The doctor’s name was May. It was the first day of May. They just had to name her May. I don’t know where they Elly came from.”

They were nearing the house. Shirley Green lowered her voice. “She is a wonderful girl, Jim, regardless of who her parents are. She loves you very much and that is what matters.” She gave his arm a squeeze. “I guess she isn’t too proud of her former home. Every time I mentioned Dead Horse Gulch she changed the subject. It seems as though she wants to forget her bygone days and I can’t say as I blame her. If I was raised there I would want to forget it too.”

Jim smiled. Elly May was keeping their secret about her loss of memory. This was wise, he thought. At least keep it a secret until they had solved the mystery themselves.

Series NavigationJust a Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 7Just a Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 9

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