"We're all just walking each other home." - - Ram Dass

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Daughter of The Mountain

In May I tried my hand at the first installment of telling my grandparent's love story - How a Southern bell from the foot of the Smoky Mountains followed a Norwegian sailor all the way to the heart of the Northwoods.

 You can read the first part HERE,  

indulge me for a little more of the story?

Audrey outside of the drugstore

     "Can I get you boys something?" Audrey said with a small shake of her head and smoothing of her skirt, trying to gain composure of her beating heart and clammy palms.

The young navy boy slowly found his voice. "I'll...I'll have a root beer float please." He said.

Audrey nodded, and wiped the counter where she motioned for the two to sit.  As she turned her back to retrieve a glass from the rack and run the machine, Audrey was relieved to have something to do with her hands.  She was a daughter of these mountains, raised on hardwork and heartache.  Never one for eloquent words, Audrey poured her love into action.  When at thirteen, her mother couldn't afford shoes for her four rapidly growing brothers, Audrey woke before dawn, walked into town, sat on the drugstore stoop and waited for Mr. Hopper, the drugstore owner.  When he came into sight, yawning, wrestling with his keys to find the right one, Audrey offered to handle opening the drugstore in the mornings, and any other time he could use the help.  Mr. Hopper had seen Audrey stocking the back room with one of her older girlfriends after school, knew she was from good honest people, and so handed her the key with a bemused sleepy smile.  Four years later, these movements she performed countless times a day calmed her.  So when she set the drink down in front of the sailor, she was pleased to see she had collected herself enough that her hand only trembled slightly.

Kit drummed his long fingers on the counter. "I'll have the usual.  Coca-Cola, lots of ice with - -  "

     "- -With extra sugar on the side." Audrey finished for him, smiling despite herself as she leaned to place a sisterly kiss upon Kit's upturned cheek.

Kit playfully grabbed his chest and the counter for support. "Nearly kills me every time." He told his friend, his eyes dancing.

     "I'm surprised you're still alive for all the kisses I've seen you receive, Kit Carson." Audrey said with a light laugh.

The sailor, who had been earnestly drinking his root beer float, not out of thirst, but for something to occupy himself with, watched this exchange with a half-cocked smile, in awe of the familiarity of his friend and this beauty.  He was sure her light laugh would be in his dreams that night.

This laugh had broken the tension within her as well, and she was able to turn over her shoulder while filling Kit's glass to ask,

     "Swede, is it?"

Now it was his turn to chuckle. "Yes.  That's what the boys insist on calling me.  I'm not though.  Swedish that is.  My family is Norwegian."

     "Us navy boys love a good feud, and the Norwegians and the Swedes have just about as good of one as the North and South." Kit added.

     "Is that so?" Audrey replied. "Then it must be a real doozy."

     "Speaking of doozies - any good gatherings happen while I've been gone?" Kit asked.

     "Oh, we always throw a good bash when you roll out of town." Audrey teased, flicking Kit's wrist, which invariably stuck out from his too short shirt sleeve, with her dish rag.

     "Hey now!" Kit stood, polishing off the end of his Coca-Cola. "I'm not going to stay here and be treated that way!" Was his mockingly hurt reply, slamming two dimes down on the counter.  "Come on, Swede.  These rebel women are ruthless."

Swede rose quickly, ducked his head in silent farewell, allowing himself one brief look through half raised eyes at this rebel woman, before he put on his sailor cap at the door.

     "Say Kit," Audrey called, aware of how that last look had taken hold of her stomach "Since you enjoy a good feud, you should bring this yankee boy to the park at ten o'clock, usual spot."

     "Wouldn't miss it." Kit said grinning, the shop bell jingling with his words.

As the door shut, Audrey looked to the sailor's empty stool at the counter, still spinning from his departure.  She felt as if he had set her life spinning, too.

Swede (left), and Kit (right) on one of their adventures in the mountains.

{sharing with jen, emily}


  1. How lovely! You tell a great story. I can't wait to read more!
    I love stories. Where I'm from - Nuremberg, Germany - we had a "House of Stories" , where we would go for story-telling evenings. One of my favourite things to do. Sit and listen to stories from all over the world for hours.
    The world needs more stories - like yours ;)

    1. oh, that sounds like pure heaven! i would stay for days just soaking in everyone's stories!

  2. Wonderful! I felt like I was right in the room with them! And part one (from May) is still fresh in my mind.

  3. Le sigh.

    This is pure stunning.

    I absolutely can't wait to read more!

    (Swooning in MN!)

    1. oh, Galit. that means a lot coming from you! Just wait until this Rebel girl finds her way to MN to her first snow. ha.

  4. What? I was settled in, ready to spend MORE time reading your story - I didn't want it to end! True love stories, real true love stories - they are faith and hope gifts from God!

  5. I'm in love with this story. I enjoyed the first installment and this was just as lovely!

  6. I just get so wrapped up and spirited away when I read your story about your grandparents. Thank you for sharing this gift. I really mean this -- He has planted something so amazing in you.

  7. Oh, so lovely! I see a novel in the making here! Beautiful write. Beautiful story!

  8. AAHHH, a beautifully woven love story. You tell well, friend. I am on the edge waiting for more. Love is thick in the air in your telling.

  9. Really sweet story. I absolutely cut have sat and read more. I especially enjoyed the line "she poured her love into action." Nicely done!

    1. ** oops - could not cut -- the study hall kids are being too loud.

  10. I'm loving it. And what a treasure to pass through the generations.

  11. Came back looking expectantly for the next chapter. This is wonderful. Will read as you write it.

  12. It's a joy to read this enticing tale as you unfold it, Tara. Keep it coming!

  13. I agree with Suzannah, this needs to be a book. You have such a wonderful voice Tara. Love you much.

  14. Ooooh, I'm loving this! Can't wait to read more!

  15. Loved this bit of history. Off to read the first part now (missed that there was one until I was done.)


  16. Oh, what a fun and wonderful thing to do for your grandparents! I very much enjoyed this installment -- thank you!

  17. Oh Tara... can I admit that despite my busy schedule and the pulling away from much blog reading, I always get a little gleeful to click on over here? And you never disappoint. I felt like I was watching that on a screen. Just beautiful. You should write novels, my friend, for real.

  18. Oh and hear, hear on the turning it into a book. I'd be first in line...

  19. Tara! I love this story - this second installment was perfect and brought me right back to how much I loved the first! I've missed reading you (my fault - why was I not following you by email???) Fixed that now, I shall not miss another! Can't wait for the third installment. Please tell me there's a third.