For me, the month of August was always spent in a state of "hurry up" because I simply HAD to fit in as much fun as possible before the dreaded school bell rang. And let me tell you, I worked pretty hard at it because not only was I battling time, I was also doing everything I could to avoid the "big idea" lady.
For those of you unused to the term, let me tell you what a "big idea" is....
Piano lessons. Arts and crafts week. Shopping for dresses. Hair-brushing. Nature lessons. Brownie meetings. Tea time. Mother's Day Out. Tutoring.
The list goes on. She interfered all the time. I would be outside, doing important things like digging a ditch, or playing kickball, or baseball, or riding my bike, or finding tadpoles. And then she would call my name, yelling at the top of her lungs and, as a former opera singer, I could hear her for miles.
The sound traveled up my spine and lodged in my brain and let me tell you, it was spirit-crushing.
"Kara!" she would call. "Time to practice!" she would holler.
Ugh. Why, why, why?
Well, these "big ideas" continued throughout my life, AND she recruited help.
Enter my "other" mothers. A bevy of planners. Of doers. Thinkers.
They sewed us clothes. They made us try weird food. They dressed us up in costumes and made us put on plays. They made us do art projects.
Well, the art stuff wasn't really that bad...
They are a force. A group not to cross. Ladies of wisdom and humor, experience and trials. They are, for better or worse, the people I lean on. The voices in my head reminding me who I am and who I am supposed to be. They have made me a good mother. One who isn't perfect, but only has perfect intentions.
And I dedicated Love's Promise to them. It seemed appropriate.
Love's Promise is about three ladies who, against some difficult odds, open a bakery together. Eliska is my "big idea" lady. Sugar is the one with the big heart. And Cora Ann is the girl with the all the sass and vinegar. They were a joy to write. And I was able to do it because of my "big idea" gals. I love them with all my heart. (And don't worry, I hold no grudges that they ruined some of my childhood fun.)
Eliska followed them, anxious for the first sight of her future. Two boys pushed open the bay doors, and there, in bold, black letters stamped on the sides of large crates, were the words “Sears and Roebuck”. Her insides flipped in nervous anticipation.
Mr. Miller leapt inside and went through the forest of wooden boxes, checking his own inventory sheet. He lifted his head and looked down at her. “I believe it’s all here. Won’t know until we get it unpacked, but we have the right number.”
“Oh, Eliska!” Sugar exclaimed behind her. “This is really and truly happening.”
Yes, it was.
The women stood back while the men, accompanied by Pikes Run’s giant of a blacksmith, unloaded the crates. Other people watched, their curious gazes bolstering Eliska’s hope for their eventual grand opening.
Once every box had been removed and loaded onto two trailers, Mr. Miller and Mr. Boswell pulled one, and the blacksmith and Thurston took the other.
The women followed as did the interested onlookers, but when everything had been carried into the bakery, the crowd dispersed. It took some time, but after the ladies and Mr. Miller had everything unpacked, they were able to see all the pieces had arrived safe and sound.
Sugar hugged Eliska exuberantly. “See? It’s going to be marvelous.”
“If not marvelous, then definitely properly outfitted,” Cora said with a dry tone.
Eliska shook her head and wondered if anything would ever prompt eagerness in Cora Carter.
Mr. Miller and Mr. Boswell took charge of putting the stove and ovens together. Before Eliska could walk into the kitchen to offer her help, Thurston called her over.
After sharing a look with Cora and Sugar, Eliska went to his side.
“I don’t want to keep you from your work, so I’ll be quick.” He cleared his throat. “You said you’d have dinner with me sometime this week. Will you have a free evening?”
Most definitely. “Thursday night would be possible.” As would Wednesday, but she didn’t want to appear overeager.
Pleasure gleamed in his warm gaze. “Perfect. Is six all right?”
“Perfect,” she told him, giving back his word.
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