101 Stories

with which I follow the road of the Family for a Century

03. The Day Aunt Lena Was Born

It was July 19th 1893. Hay harvest was on and it was a hot day. What happened in the early morning I do not .seem to remember at all, but I do remember that I, a very capable five-year-old boy, was taken very importantly to the hay field. My little three-tined fork was worked hard that day out of the sheer sense of importance, since I was a harvest hand. Father was stacking the hay, Jay Owen was raking it up and hoisting it with the old Harpoon device by which a fairly respectable stack could be built,just a little better than the harder and slower way of pitching it. Albert Owen was driving pulley, horse, Pat a small brown horse. I was keeping cleaned up around the stack. Albert used to provoke me by grunting loudly when I would go to lift an unusually small fork of hay.

Came noon, and we "men" all went in to dinner. Jay was laughing and making the harvest merry with his hearty good-natured jokes. As he rolled up his sleeves and stooped to wash his hot face in the wash pan on the old block, he said to me, "I've got a bunch of little ducks over there I'll trade you for the baby in there" (with a nod at the house).

That crystalized in my mind something that had become almost a conviction from things I had heard said, that there WAS a baby there at all. So, sensing a scheme to make me the victim of a bad bargain, I indignantly refused any such offer until I should see the baby. So I marched in to see her. Sure enough, there she was. The prettiest brown-haired day-old baby anyone ever had for a sister. The trade was off. But poor Jay never let me forget that episode as long as he lived.

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