Welcome to Tuesday Tales! This week we’re writing to the prompt ‘loose’.
This snippet continues from last week’s tale in my WIP, Fat and Sassy. Bea’s in the middle of making pumpkin butter when her baby decides to make her appearance.
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Pumpkin Butter Baby #2
“Never you no mind. Just go git ‘ur Daddy. Your baby brother or sister is a ‘commin.”
Mae ran out the back door, Bill and Helen right on her heels.
“Daddy …. Daddy!” they called, running past the barn in search of the men.
Bill climbed up on a fence. “There they are,” he hollered. “I see the mules back there.” He pointed to the far side of the field. A plume of dust gave evidence where Uncle Scott led his team of mules plowing under the remains of the last harvest so the field would lay fallow over the winter. Casey followed behind, breaking up the larger clods of dirt.
“Daddy!” all three children screamed in unison. “Mama needs you!”
Casey dropped the pick ax and trotted across the field, heading towards the fence where the children gathered.
“What’s wrong? Your Mama cut herself?” he asked, as he went over the fence.
“I don’t know,” Mae answered. “She just said to come get you. She’s grabbing her tummy like she has a tummy ache.”
Knowledge flashed across his face. They’d have another young ‘un in house before the day was over. He hurried towards the house, children in tow.
Casey entered the kitchen and saw Bea clutching the counter, a grimace pasted across her face.
“Is it time?”
“Near enough.” Another contraction caused her to double over.
“What do you need me to do?”
“First, call the midwife. Then, help me up to the bed. You’ll have to finish the pumpkin butter.”
“I don’t know how to cook up butter’s.”
“You’ll learn today,” Bea informed him. “If I’m a birthin’ all the babies in this house, you can learn to finish up a batch of pumpkin butter.”
She waddled over to a chair and sat down. “It’s not that hard. I just got the last piece peeled. So all you have to do is stir it now and then. Don’t let it burn. Keep the lid on, but keep it on loose, not tight. As it starts getting tender, start mashing it with the tater masher there.”
Casey stood in the middle of the kitchen with a befuddled look on his face.
Bea continued her instructions. “Keep a little water in the pot while it’s cooking down. You might have to add a dab here and there. When it’s all tender and cooked and mashed, then take the lid off and let the water cook out till it’s thick. Then take the pot off the stove and let it cool down.”
“Ona Mae,” she called to her oldest, not that five years old was all that old. “You’re gonna have to keep an eye on the babies. You’re gonna be in charge of them.”
Bea turned to Casey. “Ring up Uncle Shorty and see if he can bring his mom out. She said she’d help the midwife.”
Looking back at Mae, she continued, “Keep your brothers and sisters out of trouble until the baby gets here. Looks like you’re a gonna have another brother or sister soon, born in the same house that you were born in.”
“I was born here too?” Mae asked.
“Yes you were. Same house, same room,” Bea answered. “Aunt Annie was here that day . She gave you your first bath.”
Her midsection twisted in pain and she clutched her belly. Casey raced to her side and took her elbow. “Come on, Mother. Let’s get you up to that bed. Mae, keep the others down here. I’ll be right back.”