A Time To Reap – Episode 14

A Time To Reap

June held Sadie in her arms and looked out of the window.

“In just a minute you’ll see your daddy coming round that corner.”

Sadie grabbed a handful of her hair and tugged it.

“Ow! Look, there he is now.”

As she went to the front door she glanced at the brown envelope on the kitchen table. It had taken every ounce of her self-control not to open it before Tam came home.

“It’s here! It’s arrived!”

Tam dropped his jacket on the floor. His face paled. He gave them a quick kiss.

“Let’s get it over with.”

A family adoption was a less formal process than the usual kind, but the authorities had to be assured that it would be in the baby’s best interest.

Tam’s cousin, Rita, was in no position to bring up a child herself and, knowing Tam and June’s longing for a baby, it had been Rita’s mother who had suggested they adopt Sadie.

This new job at Rosland came at a good time. Although they would miss their families in the south-west of Scotland, Tam and June thought it best to put some distance between themselves and Rita.

It had been a difficult time for everyone involved.

Tam opened the envelope. His eyes welled with tears.

“That’s it,” he said. “Sadie’s ours.”

There had been no reason to suppose that there would be any hitch, but June leaned against Tam, weak with relief. It was so wonderful to get confirmation.

As she hugged Sadie she thought of Rita and hoped with all her heart that one day, in other circumstances, she would know the joy June was feeling now.

Tam put his arms round both of them.

“I want to tell the world!”

“The adoption is nobody else’s business,” June said firmly. “As far as everyone is concerned, she’s our own flesh and blood.”

*  *  *  *

This was the last meeting of the SWRI before the summer break. Nancy handed over to her vice-president.

“Peggy knows where to find me when she needs guidance,” she said with a twinkle in her eye as she stepped down to sit in the audience.

The new president smiled.

“Ladies, I’ll try to fill Nancy’s shoes. I hope – ” Peggy broke off as the door opened.

In came June Morrison from Rosland. Good, Nancy had been encouraging her to come along. A pity she’d left it till the last meeting. And behind her came – goodness, that must be Tam Morrison, holding a carrycot.

“Don’t mind us,” Tam said cheerfully. “Sadie and I will sit quietly at the back.”

Was there a reason why a man – or a baby – couldn’t be at a WRI meeting, Peggy wondered, frantic.

June tiptoed down the aisle to find a seat.

Sympathy for her gave Peggy control of the situation.

“Come in, Mrs Morrison. You’re very welcome. Now!” She clapped her hands to regain attention. “The first thing we have to do is allocate parts for the Federation drama competition in February. The play is called ‘For Love Or Money’. Nancy wrote it and will produce it.”

Ten minutes later there was only one part left to be decided upon.

Nancy stood up.

“I wonder, June, if you’d like to take that on? You told me you belonged to an amateur dramatics society.”

June went red as everyone looked at her.

“Oh, I’m sure there’s someone else who –”

Forgetting his promise to be quiet, Tam called out.

“When the Paisley Players did ‘Little Women’ she was Jo, and everyone said she was grand.”

“Tam! I . . . well, yes, I could, if no-one – ”

“Good. That’s settled,” Peggy said, looking pleased with herself.

“Will you join us?” Peggy asked Tam when they broke for tea and cake.

“Thank you, Mrs –”

“Peggy Mackay,” Peggy said. “I’m a cousin of Elizabeth Duncan. You’ve likely met my husband, Alec – he’s visiting Elizabeth now while he waits for me.

“Will you be learning to drive, June? It would be nice to be independent of our menfolk, wouldn’t it?”

For the third time that evening June looked embarrassed.

“I can drive,” she said, “but . . . ”

“Well, I must refill that teapot,” Peggy said into the awkward pause.

Odd, she thought, as she waited in the kitchen for the water to boil. June seemed friendly and outgoing, not the sort of woman afraid to do things on her own.

But who was she to give advice about driving? She made a face at her reflection in the kettle.

Her heart thudded, as it always did when she remembered the last time she was behind the wheel of a car. Would she ever be able to forget it?

Abigail Phillips

Abbie is the newest member of the fiction team at the "Friend." She loves how varied the role is - every day is different and there is always a new story to read. She is keen to work closely with established writers and discover new writers, too.