Authors: Jane Kirkpatrick
Tags: #Romance, #Erotica, #Fiction, #General, #Christian, #Religious, #Historical, #Western Stories, #Westerns, #Western, #Frontier and pioneer life, #Women pioneers
All Together in One PUce
“Great characters and a strong story. Jane Kirkpatrick is an excellent writer.”
—T DAVIS BUNN, BEST-SELLING AUTHOR
“Jane Kirkpatrick has performed a literary miracle. She made me—a reader who seldom ventures into Western fiction by choice—struggle across dusty plains and ford swollen rivers right along with her eleven turnaround women, then thank her for the perilous journey. She made me cheer for characters who rubbed me the wrong way until they polished clean my resistance and stole my heart. Their collective trust in God fortified my own. Read and experience this miracle of kinship and courage for yourself.”
—LIZ CURTIS HIGGS, BEST-SELLING AUTHOR
“Rich in detail,
All Together in One Pkce
is the compelling story of a band of pioneering women as told in Jane Kirkpatricks unique style. Here is the journey west as women saw it—burdensome and often cruel, yet not without moments of compassion, love, and humor.”
—JACK CAVANAUGH, BEST-SELLING AUTHOR
“4½2 Stars, Gold, Top Pick of the Month. While
[All Together in One Place]
may not be a romance per se, it is a compelling love story, sweet in intimacy and rich in human drama. When a cholera epidemic claims all their men, the women…are forced to draw the strength from within themselves, fanning long-dampened coals of hopes for dreams not yet realized, and aspirations still untried. This novel speaks to the heart of human relationship—love. Jane Kirkpatricks book is a treasure, well worth reaching beyond our genre to experience.”
“Jane Kirkpatrick has produced a work rich with beauty and imagination.
All Together in One Pkce
is a rare piece of literature that sings of courage and faith.”
—DIANE NOBLE, BEST-SELLING AUTHOR
OTHER NOVELS BY JANE KIRKPATRICK
No Eye Can See
What Once We Loved
A Sweetness to the Soul
(Winner of the Wrangler Award
for Outstanding Western Novel of 1995)
Love to Water My Soul
A Gathering of Finches
Mystic Sweet Communion
A Burden Shared
Daily Guideposts, Stories for a Womans Heart
This book is dedicated to
circle of women
Blair, Kay, Sandy, Barb, Carol, Katy,
Jewell, Harriet, Normandie, Nancy, Jeannie, Judy,
Arlene, Sherri, Jean, Michelle, Millie, Patty, Kathleen,
Melissa, Joyce, Julie, Jacki, Patty, Marilyn, Madison,
Mariah, Pearl (my mom), Annie, Melissa,
and to Lisa and Traci, newly joined
near Cassville, Wisconsin
Cold water quaked from her torso to her toes. In an instant, Madison “Mazy” Bacon understood: greedy reeds and grasses lurked beneath the rivers surface. Fear surged through her. She struggled against strands yearning to tangle her ankles and knot the flounced hem of her swimming dress. Cold numbed her arms; thickening stalks sucked her under. As she fought, she scolded herself for not suspecting the danger signs. For being naive, swimming in the mighty river alone.
No, no, no, no! Determined, Mazy swallowed her panic, spit out murky water. She closed her eyes tight in concentration, then jerked her legs into a ball beneath her dress. She twisted until supine, surrendered to heaven. Then with a controlling backstroke, a thrust of her sinewy legs, and a prayer, she pushed toward warmer, safer water.
Sheltered later in their log home cradled by grassy bluffs, Mazy warmed herself before the fireplace, her thin chemise clinging hot against her back. Wet chestnut strands of hair veiled over her head as she bent and toweled it with an old quilt piece.
“There's a dangerous place of currents in the Mississippi,” she told her husband of two months. “It looks safe, calm almost, then all of a sudden, and you're in it.”
“Its a necessary discovery,” Jeremy Bacon told her, not looking up from his book about cows and cow brutes. “Things are often not as they seem at the surface.”
“True,” Mazy said. She tossed the thick tousle of hair over her back. Knotting the still-damp waves into a single braid, she vowed to remember his words of warning.
mazy bacon's place
Mazy Bacon embraced her life inside a pause that lacked premonition.
Warm sun spilled on her neck as she bent over seedlings she'd nurtured in walnut shells and pumpkin halves through a blustery winter. Humming a German song her mother'd taught her, she celebrated the plants’ survival and the scent of sweet earth at her feet. Pig, her dog, lay beside her, his black head resting on paws, his brown eyes watching plump robins peck at worms in the newly tilled garden soil She relished her life. Everything smelled of promise.
Around her legs, the wind whipped the red bloomers her mother had given her for Christmas the year before.
“Red? Mother,” she had said, pulling them from the string-tied wrapping. “Hardly anyone wears them at all, let alone ones as red as radishes.”
“You was needing some seasoning in your days,” her mother said. “A little spice now and then, that's good. You're young. You can wear ‘em.”
Today, for the first time, Mazy'd donned those loose folds that billowed out at her hips, stayed tight at her sturdy ankles. She didn't wear the jacket, choosing a cream chemise instead. Her muscular arms, laid bare to the sun, already showed signs of spring freckles. And her hair, the color of earth and as unruly as wind, fluffed free of its usual braid.
Her wooden spade cut the soil. Mazy thought of the fat rattlers that moved lazily in summer sun, pleased they'd still be sleeping in the limestone rocks and caves and not surprising her. She disliked surprises. She knelt, planted, and pressed dirt around her precious love apples. Tomatoes, some called them now. They'd be fat and plump earlier than ever before.
Finished, Mazy stood, brushed dirt from her ample knees. Ample. Ever since she was twelve years old and stood head to head with her father's five-foot-nine-inch frame, she'd thought of herself as ample. By the time she turned seventeen and married Jeremy Bacon, a man twice her age and exactly her height, the image of herself as large was as set as a wagon wheel in Wisconsin's spring mud.
Jeremy, her husband of two years, said she was “like fine pine formed from sturdy stock.” Mazy loved him for that and for his melting smile and for treating her as fine china. He'd been gone two weeks, but he'd be back anytime, today for certain. It was their second anniversary.
Mazy longed for the stroke of his smooth finger at her temple, the brush of his unbearded cheek against hers. She sighed. She'd prepared for him the perfect anniversary gift—a newly planted garden with the promise of abundance. His gift to her would be the Ayrshire seed cow, the “brute” Marvel, as Jeremy called him, and with it, an expansion of their herd and home.
“I am richly blessed, Pig,” Mazy said.
The big dog lifted one eye and thumped his tail, then yawned. A Newfoundland, with a bearlike head, Pig had tiny ears that prompted his naming when Jeremy'd brought the ball of fur home to his wife. Mazy liked the word “Pig.” Not the image of a coarse-haired shoat, but the sound itself: a light and airy word that puffed off her tongue. “Pig,” she said out loud, “they should have named bubbles pigs. ‘We'd say Took at that baby blow pigs! Pig, pig, pig.’” Mazy laughed as the dog cocked his head from side to side at the repeated sound of his name.
Mazy stood, stretched, her fingers spread at her hips, bare toes wiggling in warm earth. A breeze dried the beads of perspiration at her
temples, and she lifted the bonnet hanging loose at the back of her neck to let the air whisper it cool. Blackbirds chirped as they darted toward earth.
“The Lord knows my lot,” she said aloud. “He makes my boundaries fall on pleasant places.” She'd read the Psalm the day she arrived at this site not far from the Mississippi River near Cassville, Wisconsin; had found it again that morning. The verse read “lines” where Mazy had remembered “boundaries,” but both meant limits to her, the safety of places secured by fences of faith.
“I wont say anything to Jeremy about fencing in the garden until after he finishes the scarecrows,” Mazy told Pig. She brushed her hands toward birds trying to steal her newly planted seeds. Pig starded and took chase as the flock of intruders soared over bluffs that shadowed the house “Good work, Pig!” she shouted as she watched the dog disappear from sight.