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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/books/entry_id/558491-01022008--500-words
Rated: E · Book · Research · #1363470
500-words-a-day Group #1214629
#558491 added January 2, 2008 at 7:06pm
Restrictions: None
01/02/2008--500+ words
Mother and I did not agree on many subjects, and charity was one subject we often quarreled.  Mother believed that charity began at home with the family.  As I thought about our differences, I rushed up the stairs to the vast attic with my stubbornness and determination blinding me to my Mother’s words.
         I knew exactly what I wanted and where to find it; a huge corner of the attic filled with old trunks and dusty cases.  Three generations of Egglefields had lived in the home near Harrietstown, New York and Saranac Lake, New York.  Three generations of used clothing was stored in the attic.  I knew where extra coats, boots and shoes were stored. 
         “I remember,” said Martha rearranging herself and the blankets covering her frail shoulders, “that I piled the clothing and coats on an old tarp used to cover that old armoire.  I can not for the life of me figure how the menfolk moved it up those stairs.  Anyway, I dragged that tarp pile high all the way to the barn.”
         I offered those used and dusty clothes to Eli’s family.  Then, I began handing out coats, hats, shoes, mittens and sweaters.  Mother would not be happy, but I felt like I saved the world.
         When I started handing out the jacket to Micah, the oldest son started to refuse.  I understood his pride.  Then he stiffly accepted the gift, a heavy gray coat stained with grease on the sleeve.  The coat was well worn, but to Micah, the gift was glory.  He smiled with unease and thanked me.
         The other children gathered around me with the excitement of Christmas past.  I felt a stir of humility watching Eli’s family accept such clothing items with gratitude.  I cannot say that I ever felt another’s personal grace and thankfulness, again.


Addendum:  Chapter One

The Goat Lady

The Martha Jane Allison-Reinke, the“Goat Lady” was an embarrassment to the agricultural community.  The small town eccentric lived front and center in downtown Victor, Montana known as the Queen City of the Bitterroot Valley in western Montana.

Martha became the “Goat Lady” as the result of her menagerie of animals, particularly the goats.  Now, the reader must understand that stories evolve and shift to meet the storyteller’s needs.  The stories of Mrs. Reinke’s goats survived almost a century of telling.

Mrs. Reinke’s property lay on the main road through the valley, and across the street from the fire station.  Martha loved animals and collected them as another collects stones.  Goats create foul odors and putrous ground which creates an odor that wafts through an entire countryside. 

As the story goes, one of her goats escaped his pen and was seen wandering through the streets of downtown Victor.  Victor, considered quite prosperous at the time, bragged of a bank, mercantile, opera house and many  more establishments.  Of course, in a small agricultural community, Victor Hardware was the place for fellows to gather for a chew or nip of whatever was passed around.

On this particular day, that old goat walked right up to the gentlemen in front of the store, took an instant dislike to one feller.  The goat reared back on his hind legs and head butted the unsuspecting feller right through Mr. Mittower’s new plate glass window.  The goat squared off with the rest of the gentlemen, found no takers, and wandered up the street to sample the newly introduced knapweed.

The next day that same goat took into its head to visit the same street at the same time.  Mr. Mittower reportedly took a shotgun and ended the goat’s life right on the Main Street of Victor. 

Martha Jane was furious.  She demanded payment for the loss of her goat which was with her from the time she moved to Victor.  Mittower claimed he wasn’t the culprit that shot her goat.  Martha Jane scurried away with indignation in every step.  Mr. Mittower did well not to laugh as Mrs. Reinke left his store.  As he glanced out the window, her bull of questionable parentage followed right behind.  The sight of the tiny woman and the monstrous bull following her set tongues to talking.  After the incident with the goat, Mrs. Reinke was referred to as the goat lady when her name was mentioned.

AndieK--don't forget "Life is an adventure . . . So write it down & treasure the memory forever."

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