The Wedding Quilt – Episode 40

Beasie breathed in the earthy scent of the cellar and gazed in satisfaction at the rows of jars containing the fruits of last year’s labours.

The work of jamming, bottling and pickling was exhausting, yet the rewards were great, and one of these days she would be doing these things in her own kitchen, wherever that might be! She smiled at the thought.

Mamie’s voice floated down the stairs.

“While you’re at it I’ll take a bottle of maple syrup. I’ll make a pan of maple walnut squares while I’m about it. Josh Carmody is partial to them.”

Without being asked, Beasie filled a bowl with the black walnuts she’d gathered last fall. Perhaps this year she and Paddy would go out together to look for more.


The makings of their supper were assembled on the kitchen table when Stella came in, yawning and stretching.

Mamie looked up from the pastry dough she was rolling out.

“Hello, dear. Did you sleep well? Would you like a cup of tea? The kettle has just boiled.”

“No, thank you, Mamie. I’ll just have my egg and toast.”

“It’s almost dinnertime, child, but if you can’t wait, go ahead and make it. You’ll find the eggs in a basket in the pantry.”

Stella looked horrified.

“Oh, no. I’ll wait for lunch. Thank you.”

“As you wish, child. Beasie, why don’t you take your cousin out to the store and show her around?”

Good grief, doesn’t she know how to boil an egg, Beasie thought, but she smiled and indicated that the girl should follow her out into the heart of the Burkes’ empire.

“Here we are!” she said proudly. “This is where we earn our living. What do you think of it?”

“It’s very nice, I’m sure,” Stella replied.

Beasie waited until it became obvious that their visitor had nothing more to say. Swallowing her disappointment, she tried to be charitable. Mum would say they must make allowances.

Stella was used to Toronto’s big stores, palatial buildings that carried merchandise from all over the world.

Comparing her present surroundings with those, the girl must find the Burkes’ country emporium a distinct let-down.

Beasie went to stand at the main door, beckoning to Stella.

“And this is what’s known as Burke’s Corners,” she explained, pointing to the four-way crossroads nearby.

“But there’s nothing here,” Stella blurted out.

Beasie counted to ten. Her whole life was imprinted on those roads. As a child she had walked along them on her way to school. She knew where to find sweet wild strawberries in early summer, and rose hips in autumn.

“It’s a lovely place to live,” she said at last.

“But what is there to do here?” Stella asked.

“Oh, lots of things. We always have a strawberry social at the church around this time of year, and a hay ride before winter sets in.

“And there’s the county fair in September. Mum always enters preserves and handicrafts, and she usually brings home ribbons, too.”

“But those are events. I mean, what do you to pass the time here on a regular day?”

“I don’t know what you mean, Stella.”

“Well, in Toronto we have tennis parties and picnics and we go swimming at people’s cottages on Toronto Island. And there’s shopping, and concerts in the park. You know, the things normal people do.”

Beasie suspected that by “normal people” Stella meant privileged girls like herself. Most people of her age probably worked for a living and were glad to have their jobs to go to.

She smiled sweetly.

“We work. Haying starts soon and most of us pitch in to help our neighbours. I’m sure they’ll be glad to have you join in.” She tried not to laugh at the expression on Stella’s face.

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.