The Wedding Quilt – Episode 01

The crack of shotgun fire echoed around them as the Burke family stepped outside, eager to share in the excitement. All the farmers for miles around were letting off a few rounds of ammunition to welcome in the New Year, the tradition in this part of rural Canada.

Any wolves that might be abroad tonight would slink back into the bush after hearing that racket, Beasie Burke told herself, smiling at the thought. Sound carried for long distances on the frosty night air.

“Hark at those bells!” her mother cried. “They must be ringing them at St Patrick’s church. I never expected to hear them this far away.”

“Let’s hope it’s a good omen,” Matt Burke replied. “The past years have been rough on everybody with so many lads going off to war. Then to cap it off we get that Spanish influenza. We’re about due for some good luck in 1920.”

“Of course we are,” his wife murmured, linking her arm with his. “Well, shall we continue the celebration inside? We’ll have a cup of cocoa and I might be able to find a piece of pie to go with it!”

“Apple or cherry?” Matt asked, grinning.

“Deep dish apple,” she told him. “And when you’re coming through, Beasie, stop for a minute and cut a sliver of cheese off the round. You know your dad won’t eat apple-pie without cheese!”

“All right, Mum. I’ll be there in a minute.”

Beasie wanted to linger a moment, drinking in the glory of the starry night. Her gaze roamed over the sky in the hope of spotting a shooting star to wish on.

It was all very well for others to hope for a quiet life, but a future filled with nothing but peace and tranquillity was not what she wanted for herself!

Much as she loved her parents there had to be more to life than getting up in the morning with nothing more to look forward to than another day spent behind the counter in their country store.

She went inside, carefully locking the door behind her. Nobody in these parts ever locked their doors, but the shop was a different matter.

Who knew when some passing ruffian might slip inside to help himself?

Then there was the post office, where stamps and money orders were dispensed by her father, the local postmaster.

Mum had left the door open to the family’s living quarters. Soft light shining through made it unnecessary for Beasie to light a lamp in the shop.

With practised ease she uncovered the huge wheel of locally made cheese and adjusted the wire cutter, bringing it down carefully so that it sliced evenly through the coating of wax and cheesecloth on the outer edge of the wedge.

Her mother’s voice drifted through from the kitchen.

“You’re letting in a wicked draught, Beasie Burke! Are you planning on staying out there all night?”

“Where’s my cheese?” Matt called. “Is this any way to treat a hungry fella?”

“Just coming, Mum. I have your cheese, Dad!” Beasie made her way to the kitchen, closing the door behind her.

Alan Spink

Alan is a member of the “Friend” Fiction Team. He enjoys working closely with writers and being part of the creative process, which sees storytelling ideas come to fruition. A keen reader, he also writes fiction and enjoys watching football and movies in his spare time. His one tip to new writers is “write from your imagination”.