Monday, March 14, 2016

Day 28 - Cecee's Adventures

We went to bed, so very tired, yet the excitement seemed to bubble up within me! We were finally here in Texas.

There were not a lot of beds, so we slept several to a bed. Mama and Papa were the only ones who had their own bedroom. The rest of us were in one room, and it seemed crowded.

My sisters, Mary and Daisy slept in the same bed with me. The other bed had Eugene, Arthur, and King. Baby Edith was in a crib in our room. It seemed like we were wall to wall kids. I suppose that you could say we were.

Morning seemed to be upon us all too soon.

Mary was shaking me by the shoulders, telling me to get up, I looked at her, the sleep still in my eyes.

"Come on, sleepyhead ! Everyone else is already in the kitchen, ready for breakfast! Papa's already out working, and we have to go as soon as we have dressed and eaten!"

I couldn't believe it! Our first morning here, and I had overslept.

"What are we supposed to do when we work? Daisy and I are too little!"

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Day 27 - Cecee's Adventures

My Mama herded us all into the house.

"All right, children! The first thing we're going to do is bathe! After days of traveling and no place to wash, that is first on the list of things to take care of!"

She began to bark out orders...

"Arthur, you. Mary and Eugene begin carrying water into the kitchen while I light build a fire in the cookstove. Cecee, you and Daisy begin carrying in some firewood! King, you and Edith stay out of the way."

She arranged some chairs together and made a play pen with them, to keep King and Edith enclosed safely.

Everyone had a task to do.

Papa was outside, talking his brother and to the owner of the ranch, getting information about the running of the ranch. I found out later that Papa was just one of many workers on the big ranch.

Before long, Mama had a fire going in the stove, and she had found some provisions on shelves in the kitchen. She not only was heating water, but cooking some food for us.

It was all very exciting.

When supper was ready, she put it on the table and we knew the baths would be coming after supper.

When we were all gathered at the table, Papa bowed his head.

"Father, thank you for the safe journey. Thank you for this food and a place to work and live. Help us be true to you in the days ahead. Amen."

It was simple food, but tasted oh, so good!

Monday, February 29, 2016

Day 26 - Cecee's Adventures

We pulled up to a few frame houses that were in need of paint. It looked very old, and I wondered if we were going to be living there.

"Let's get these bags and things unloaded. Eugene! You children grab whatever you can carry and help get this done," shouted Papa.

A man wearing a hat and rough looking clothes came around the corner of the house. He reached out his hand to Papa.

"You must be Mr. Browning! I'm John Westerfield! Glad to have you and your family. If you are the kind of worker your brothers are, we'll get along just fine! After you get your family settled, I'll expect to see you at the men's bunkhouse for instructions. Your wife will need to speak with my wife about her duties."

"Her duties? What do you mean? She is supposed to care for our children!"

"Didn't you understand that your family came with you to be of help on the ranch? They can be a great help in doing little jobs like helping to pick cotton. We need all hands when that ripens. Your wife will be helping to do the cooking for the ranch help. My wife is not well."

"Hmmm, I see," replied Papa. "Well, that's fair enough. You did provide our passage out here, as well as a place for us to live. It certainly won't hurt the children to do honest work and my wife is an excellent cook! It's good that we can all be together. Thank you for this opportunity, Mr. Westerfield! We won't let you down!"

I had been standing nearby, catching all I could of the conversation. I could hardly wait to tell the others.

Day 25 - Cecee's Adventures

While we were on our way in the wagon, I noticed the open country around us. There was so much of it!

It wasn't like the place we had come from. We had lived in a town in East Tennesssee where there were mountains and hills.

Turning to my brothers and sisters, I noticed they were looking around too. Mama was watching und smiling.

The wagon bumped along the dirt road, as we watched the open fields go past. There were trees, too, but they didn't seem as tall as the ones back home.

Pretty soon, we saw a river, a really big one. Maybe it was that one Miss Ally was telling us about.  I decided to ask her if I got to see her again.

We reached the ranch and drove the wagon underneath  a big sign that had a big W inside a circle. I wondered what that W meant. I found out later that it was the letter they put on all the cattle and horses on the ranch.

The wagon continued on for a while longer. I saw big fields of plants covered with white fluffy stuff, That was something else for me to wonder about. I didn't realize that I would soon be finding out.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Day 24 - Cecee's Adventures

My Uncle Cash hurried toward us, while his son, Robert, held the reins of the team of horses hitched up to the buckboard wagon.

"Where is our brother, Lorenzo,?" Papa asked.

"We decided he should work, besides, we needed all the room in the wagon for your family. And, here you are, at last! What took you so long? Been writin' to you forever, trying to get you outta them hills. This here is God's country!  Welcome! Maggie, how are you? All of these kids! They yours, or did you bring some extras along for the ride?"

Our Uncle Cassia apparently considered himself to be funny.

Papa gave him a wry grin, and replied.

"Good to see you again, too, Cash! You haven't changed any for the better, I see. How about if we get loaded up into that wagon of yours and get my family to where we're headed?"

"No sooner said than done, Willie! I see your humor hasn't improved any either, little brother!"

I found this to be funny, since they were both much taller than me. I'd never heard Papa talk that way to anybody.

Pretty soon, we were on our way.

Cousin Robert was driving the team and my brothers were talking with him, asking questions.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Day 23 - Cecee's Adventures

The next day, around mid-afternoon, Mama and Papa began collecting our things, getting us together, and I knew it was time for us to be leaving the train.

I was surprised to see Miss Ally leaving the train as we did.

She smiled at me as we lined up to leave.

"Well, Miss Cecee! Looks as if we're going to continue being friends, maybe!"

"Oh, Miss Abby! I hope so! Maybe if you get a job teaching, I can come to your school!"

After we left the train, I watched as she headed for the young man who seemed to be waiting for her.

He was kicking at the dirt, smoking a cigarette, peering at her through the smoke rising from it.

She stopped, just a few feet shy of him.

"Robbie, is that you?" I heard her ask.

I strained my ears to hear his soft, husky reply.

"The name is Rob, Abigail."

Two more steps and she was hugging him. He put one hand on her shoulder, seemingly hesitant to return her hug.

All this happened within a minute or so. Mama had her hand on my shoulder steering me towards the wagon waiting to take us to the ranch.

We had some hugs of our own to give. My uncles were taking us to our new home.

I was so tired of riding on the train and eager to see what was ahead of us.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Day 22 -Cecee's Adventures

As we walked through the next car, Mama held tightly to my hand, saying nothing.

That made me wonder if she had a "Talking to Cecee" in her mind.

Sure enough, after we had used the toilet and left that car, we stopped in the in-between car to sit in an empty seat.

"Do you have any idea how much it worries Papa and me when we see that you have no fear of strangers?"

"But, Mama! No one has hurt me! They have all been very nice to me! That man that took my arm the other day had a piece of candy in his other hand. He was holding it out to me!"

Mama's face turned a chalky white when she heard those words.

"Cecee! He most likely was getting ready to take you away from us! Do you realize your Papa probably saved your life? Please promise me that you will be more careful? Always stay in our presence!"

"Yes, Mama. But it is okay for me to just visit with Miss Ally in our train car. As long as I don't go anywhere with her? Please?"

"We will allow that, but don't be a bother to her! That's final!"

"Thank you, Mama!"

When we got back to the car, Miss Ally's eyes were closed, so I sat back down near Daisy where I could watch the scenery flying past us. I began to see some different kind of landscape. I wondered how long to our destination.