A Time To Reap – Episode 35

A Time To Reap

There was one piece of family news Mamie could impart, although she’d have to swear Neil to secrecy. Peggy didn’t want anyone else to know.

“Don’t tell a soul what I’m about to tell you. Promise,” she urged.

Neil crossed his heart.

“Hope it’s nothing illegal.”

“Don’t be daft. Well, I got a letter from Peggy this morning.”

“Nothing wrong, I hope?”

“She wants me,” Mamie said slowly, “to give her driving lessons!”

Neil whistled.

“Alec told me about her accident. I can see why that would put her off learning. What’s brought this on?”

“She says it would be a help to Alec, and it would. But I think she’s decided to face her fears over it.”

“But why you?”

“Well, you don’t ask your husband to teach you to drive, do you?” Mamie smiled sweetly at him. “That’s a recipe for disaster and the divorce courts, as you and I nearly found out.”

Neil grinned back.

“I remember.”

“Anyway, she doesn’t want Alec to know. And since we’re out of the way here and there’s the old war aerodrome over the hill, it will be a grand place to practise in secret.”

“How will she explain to Alec why she’s coming over here so often?”

“I thought – that box of recipe cuttings I’ve got? She could say she’s helping me sort them out.”

“Very devious. So, when is this first lesson to be?”

“Hugh and his wife have gone now to the Western Isles, but they’re coming back in August for a few days, for the agricultural show. Alec will be getting his animals ready for the judging soon. Then it will be harvest time,” Mamie said. “Peg will be kept busy on the farm. We’ll have to wait until after that.”

*  *  *  *

June knew Tam had worried for days over the request from his aunt for a photograph of baby Sadie. She didn’t want to think about it. It was the first contact they’d had with his aunt since the baby had been handed to Tam and June six months ago.

Tam brought the subject up with June after their evening meal.

“We can’t refuse, can we?” He seemed not to expect June to answer. “It would be unkind; cause bad feeling in the family, too.”

“It’s like giving Sadie back to Rita!” June burst out. “I know that doesn’t make sense, but that’s how I feel.”

“You don’t want to do it?”

“No, I don’t.” June leaned her head against his shoulder. “But we must. Sadie’s legally ours, but she’s part of Rita and she’s your aunt’s granddaughter.”

“You’re right. Nothing can change that.”

“It’s just a photo,” June said, trying to believe it. “A wee piece of paper. We have the real, live Sadie.”

Tam took June’s hand.

“Put that way, it’s not much to ask, is it?”

“There are some snaps in the camera. Next time we’re in town we can hand them in to be developed.”

Tam shook his head.

“You’re in all of them, too. There aren’t any of Sadie on her own.” He hesitated. “We could go and have a picture professionally taken. There’s a studio in town.”

June considered.

“Good idea. If we’re going to do it, we should do it properly. Maybe we could get one of the three of us at the same time – you, me and Sadie? We could have it framed.”

“That’s an even better idea.” Tam planted a kiss on her cheek. “I’ll look out the camera now and we’ll go into town tomorrow morning after milking. Take our film in for developing and go to the studio. Best get dressed smart in case they take us right away!”

“Do you think we could go to the manse on the way home? I’d like to ask about having Sadie christened.”

They hadn’t been big church-goers back home, but had gone to the Rosland village church a few times. On the first occasion Sadie had been noisy and June took her out – which proved to be an ice-breaker. Everyone came up afterwards to say hello and admire the baby.

“What’s brought this on?” Tam asked now.

“It would be something good to do for Sadie. And maybe make us feel that this is where we belong now, the three of us.”

Tam could have brought up the rumour that Lady Annabel was selling the estate and they’d all have to leave. But he didn’t.

He kissed June again.

“I like that. Let’s do 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.