A Time To Reap – Episode 24

A Time To Reap

“What the . . .?” Alec thumped the steering wheel. “Where are they?”

Peggy saw the hay waiting to be made into rucks, and the half-finished stack, but of the boys who were supposed to be working in the field there was no sign.

“Look!” She clutched Alec’s arm. “A car. It must be Hugh and Donna!”

“For Pete’s sake,” Alec grumbled. “We’ll never get the hay finished at this rate.”

Peggy’s hand flew to the pull-down mirror on the sun-shade. For a change, she didn’t have a hair out of place, but its elegant stiffness sat oddly above her ancient cotton dress and rather shiny face.

The bedroom was perfection, of course, she comforted herself, but she hadn’t tidied and dusted the living-room, or washed the best china. Or made the pancakes. And the plans she’d had for the midday picnic in the hayfield would have to be abandoned, and a proper meal served.

“Peggy, are you getting out of the car or not?”


As she headed for the back door she was aware that Alec hadn’t followed her – off to lurk in the barn probably, to postpone the moment of meeting his unknown relative.

The first thing that registered with her as she went through the kitchen door was that the rhubarb tart was on the dresser, cut into crumbly slices. The second thing was Davy, lying back in Alec’s chair with one leg up on a stool.

And the third was Marilyn Monroe sitting at the kitchen table.

Peggy’s head was in a whirl but her hospitable instincts took over.

“My dear, you must be Donna,” she said. “It’s wonderful to see you.”

The blonde vision in front of her looked as much out of place in the farm kitchen as if she really were the famous film star.

“It’s wunnerful to be here.” Donna smiled, showing very white teeth. “Your house is so quaint.”

“And Hugh?”

“He wanted to have a look round,” Davy said. “Col’s with him.”

Peggy turned to her son.

“Why are you sitting like that, Davy?” Now she came to look at him more closely she could see he was rather pale.

“I fell off the stack and dunted my ankle.”


“The boys were so sweet, Auntie Peggy,” Donna put in. “Colin cut us some of this pie.”

She indicated the untouched pudding in front of her.

“So I see.” Peggy rubbed her forehead.

The ruin of the lovely tart was the least of her worries. She tried to think what to do first.

“I’ll get your dad in to look at your ankle,” she said to Davy.

“Hugh said he’d drive me to the emergency room,” Davy said importantly. ‘That’s what they call the casualty department in America.”

“I hope it won’t come to that. Donna, would you like a cup of tea?”

Donna shook her head.

“Could I have a glass of iced water?”

Peggy ran the kitchen tap for a minute before filling the glass. It didn’t exactly feel icy to the touch but it was nice and cold.

“There you go, my dear. Now, excuse me, I’m just going to find Alec.”

She went out into the yard and saw Colin with a tall man of about thirty. For a moment she wondered if she’d somehow gone back in time.

It was Alec as she remembered him from years back! A full head of sandy-fair hair above a high forehead, his face unlined, speedwell-blue eyes shining with enthusiasm.

Then the man who looked like Alec saw her and the spell was broken – he, too, had a gleaming Californian smile.

“Auntie Peggy? I’m Hugh Mackay.”

Before Peggy could respond Alec came, almost at a run, across the yard.

To her astonishment she saw that her husband’s eyes were full of tears.

“Jack’s lad!” He enveloped Hugh in a bear hug. “You’ve come home.”

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.