We’ve ended two months of 2020 already, and here we are beginning March. The days are flying by! Nonetheless, we’ve got the conclusion of The Cruel Winter of 1909.
Grab a cup of coffee or hot chocolate and read the rest of our story from last month. You’ll definitely want to find out what happens.
PART 2, the Conclusion continues…
The days passed slowly as Catherine waited to hear something. Henry and Albert managed to handle the chores as best they could. Finally, two weeks later, there was a knock on the door. Henry opened it and Emmett Profitt came in holding his hat in his hand. Catherine could tell he didn’t have good news. She started to stand.
“You better stay seated,” Emmett said, taking Catherine’s hands. “I’m sorry. By the time we finally got to the clinic, Roy was gone. Mary Alice lived another day and also passed.”
Catherine screamed, “No, it ain’t so. Tell me it ain’t so.”
Catherine sobbed uncontrollably. Henry and Albert wept as they stood with their arms around their mother trying to console her.
After a few minutes, Emmett spoke. “I’ll take care of the arrangements, Mrs. Owens. Is there anything else I can do for you?”
“No, Emmett. Thank you so much for trying and all you have done. I can’t believe it.”
Emmett shuffled his hat in his hands, then took a deep breath. “We’ll let you know when we bury them.” He turned and opened the door. “If you need anything, Catherine, you be sure and let us know.”
When he walked out the door, Henry closed and latched it.
“Henry, we have to go tell your grandma,” Catherine said.
◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊
Catherine and the two boys struggled through the rest of the winter. The snow melted and daffodils began to peek out of the lifeless ground.
“Henry, go down to the river and get some water,” Catherine said.
“I’m going, too,” Albert chimed in.
“All right, but be careful. The river is running high because of all the snow we’ve had.” Catherine got down on her knees and put another log on the fire, than sat back down in her rocking chair. I can’t believe how this winter has changed our lives forever. She closed her eyes and drifted into a light sleep barely hearing her name called.
Now what? Catherine pushed herself out of the rocking chair, moving as fast as she could to the door. “Henry, what are you yelling about?”
“Albert fell in the river and it carried him away.”
Grabbing her coat, and trying to calm her anxiety, Catherine ran down the porch steps and headed for the river. “Go get the Profitt’s help, Henry. Where exactly did he fall in?”
“By the big rock where we usually get our water,” Henry answered, trying to catch his breath. “I’ll hurry Mama.”
Henry ran off towards the Profitt’s house while Catherine scanned the river for her son. Not seeing any visible sign of Albert, she screamed out his name repeatedly. Her attempts to work her way down through overgrown brush by the river was useless. She was exhausted. She felt faint and fell to the ground while feet kicked inside her. Maybe I should just lay down.
Slowly Catherine stumbled back to the cabin. The front door hadn’t been closed, and she didn’t even have enough energy to close it now. She made it to her bedroom and collapsed on the bed. She could do nothing else to help her son but pray. “Lord, I can’t lose another one of my children. Please help them find him safe.”
Several hours passed. Catherine fell asleep but woke up with a start when she heard voices on the porch. Henry called to her as he entered the house. She got to the doorway in time to see Lester Profitt carrying Albert in his arms.
“Oh no,” Catherine cried wiping her tears and looking at her little boy all bundled in a blanket. “Is he dead?”
“Henry,” Lester said, “Heat up the fire. We have a cold boy here, Catherine—and wet to the bone, but he’s all right, and I’m sure some hot soup would do him good.”
Catherine hugged Albert. “We thought you had drown,” Catherine said, wiping away her tears.
“No mama. I didn’t drown,” Albert replied shivering.
They all laughed in celebration with Albert, but suddenly Catherine collapsed. “Oh no,” she gasped. “Henry, run and get Grandma. I think this baby’s coming now.”
Lester Profitt helped her onto the bed. Once she was comfortable he turned to leave but told her, “I’ll get my wife. She can help.” He ran out the door before she could respond.
Minutes later Henry returned with Emma. “I got Grandma,” he said, nearly out of breath.
Emma stepped into the bedroom and took Catherine’s hand and squeezed it, then placed her hands on Catherine’s abdomen.
“It’s on the way Emma,” Catherine winced in serious pain.
“It surely is, my dear….it’s coming right now.” Emma grabbed some towels at the edge of the bed. “Hold on, Catherine.”
Catherine nodded but couldn’t keep her voice quiet. She pushed and yelled, all her energy spent.
“It’s a girl, Catherine,” Emma declared. “You’ve got a baby girl.”
No sooner had she announced that when Catherine screamed again.
“Wait, there’s another baby!” Emma exclaimed and grabbed another blanket to wrap the squalling newborn. “Sweetie you got two girls. Land’s sake, no wonder you were carrying so heavy.”
Catherine smiled looking at the precious twin girls she held in her arms. Henry and Albert stood by her side awed at their new baby sisters. “I’m going to name them Opal and Ruby. They’re my little jewels.”
Her eyes turned and gazed at the picture of her husband. “At least something wonderful came from this long cruel winter.”