Michael

by Jobe

Chapter 22

Life returned to normal, well as normal as it gets. With the use of the car I commute to my job, Nohr got a job teaching at our old school so he stayed home. Lukas was adopted, thanks to John, and he's doing well in school.

Our life became routine, chores in the morning, I go to work, Lukas goes to school along with Nohr. Evenings after chores, I cook and Lukas and Nohr do homework. After dinner we take a walk and check out how the renovations to the old farm house is coming along.

Life is odd, when everything seems to go well, something comes along that brings a sadness into your life. Nohr's grandmother took ill and has now joined her husband in heaven. Michael has assured me that they are happy. Even if it wasn't true, it was comforting, but I believe it was true. Nohr's parents came home, they didn't for his grandfather but did for his grandmother. It was the first time I met them. Aunty knew them from when they lived in the village. Of course they stayed with aunty and John.

I noticed Nohr, was glad to see them, but not as glad as I thought he would've been. When I mentioned that to him, he said they were really not part of his life, he was closer to his grandparents and he consider them to be his parents.

The church was packed, all of the villagers came and the tavern hosted a luncheon after the services. His grandmother was reunited with her husband in the church's grave site. Lukas and I waited till everyone left, I put my arm around Nohr, Lukas took his hand. "Michael said she is in heaven with her husband. They are happy and will look after you and our family. They don't want you to be sad but to be happy that they are together again."

I looked at the tears in Nohr's eyes, wiped them away with my fingers and gave his wet cheek a kiss, He was my love, his joy was mine and his pain was mine.

As we walked into the tavern, friends came and offer their condolences. I saw Jeppe leading the boys over and he had a drink in his hand for Nohr and myself. Aunty had a soda for Lukas.

"To grandmother" And we drank the drink. I sat at the table with aunty, John, Nohr, Lukas and Jeppe. Nohr's parents came and sat down across from us.

"I'm not sure if this is the proper time, but Nohr what are they going to do with the house?" I thought it wasn't the proper time.

"The house was sold before she joined grandfather. The condition of the sale was that she could live there till her end."

"What did she do with the money from the sale?"

"She used it to pay for my education and her living expenses. There isn't any money left. For the last 2 years I was paying for her food and medicine. You can have her jewelry and any of her personal things. I already have her picture and grandfather's."

We had another drink with the boys, and then we headed home. I still had chores to do and I didn't want to stay any longer. I knew that Nohr wanted to go.

That evening after chores and supper, we were sitting in the living room, Nohr had his head on my shoulder, softly crying, Lukas sat on my lap with his head on my chest. We just sat there, reliving memories, and the good times we all had together.

We were just getting ready to go to bed, when there was a knock on the door. I sent the guys upstairs to get ready for bed, while I answered the door. "Jeppe, what are you doing here this time of night."

"A few of us wanted to come, I don't know, it sounded like a good idea, grandmother was more than a villager. She helped us all in some way or other. You know you weren't the only one who ate her fish and chips."

I knew then, that these boys wanted to mourn their loss as well. "Come on in, Nohr is putting Lukas to bed, he'll be right down. You guys want something to drink or eat?"

"I think we drank enough tonight but something to eat would be nice."

They followed me onto the kitchen, I got out the eggs and prepares to make pancakes. I took out some bacon and ham and I started to cook that as well. Nohr came into the kitchen, and was greeted by the boys. As I started to fill plates, they started to eat and the conversation went something like this, "Do you remember the time you got all muddy and your grandfather wouldn't let you in the house. We got that old water hose and hosed you down and he still wouldn't let you in.You took all of your clothes off but the problem was your hair. The mud was caked in it and the hosing we done, we forgot about your hair."

For the next 4 hours, the boys kept remembering stories. We laughed at some and cried at some. But it was very cathartic for Nohr, he realized his grandparents were loved by a lot of people.

I didn't feel like getting up the next morning but the girls needed me. Lukas hit the chickens with his egg basket. I reminded him we had enough peeps and be sure to get all the eggs. The girls were waiting, I had built a third milking stall for Sally, You milk in the order of rank, so Betsy was first. I really didn't feel like singing but the girls looked at me and started to moo. So I started to sing and soon I was into it. If someone happened to walk by they would have had me committed. We were now selling 4 milk cans every week. Rotating the pastures provided plenty of fresh grass, I also sowed more grass seed when the pasture was idle.

It didn't take Lukas long to be a farmer. Besides being in charge of the eggs, he helped me clear the pastures of cow paddies. Our vegetable garden was well fertilized and the produce we gathered was more than adequate. I gave quite a bit away to some of my neighbors. And that is how I found my new farm partners.

At the lower end of the village, there was a young man who recently got married. He had no skills except if you need someone to help you, he was your man. The problem was that there was not enough work in the village to provide for him and his wife. His wife helped by taking in sewing and laundry. They were just making it and the vegetables I gave them along with the fish he caught, kept them alive.

"Jennick, I have a deal for you. I'm sure you know I bought that farm next to my farm. I need someone to work that farm. If you would be interested, you could live in that farm house rent free and any profit from the farm will be split 50-50. What do you say? Oh and we still go fishing on Saturday."

I saw his wife turn her head but before she did, I saw a few tears. "Well, Jennick what do you say, a simple yes or no will do." I knew he would say yes.

"When can we move in?"

"How soon can you pack up? The house has some furniture, you'll need to see if you want any of your furniture from here."

I left that home feeling pretty good. Jennick was an honest man who didn't get all the breaks in life. But he would now, if he worked hard enough he would be all set for the future. "What did Jennick say?"

"I think if you look out that window in an hour you'll see him carrying a suitcase." It took longer, I drove down and help them pack up, it took three trips to get everything they wanted to bring. I watched as they entered the house for the first time. It was a big house, three bedrooms and they were big. The previous owners did a lot of canning and the cellar had rows and rows of canned vegetable which would last them until the garden started to produce.

When they were all moved in, I had them over for dinner. "I checked out the barn, it will need a little work especially the roof will need patched. I think we should get a few cows and maybe chickens, you can sell the surplus milk and eggs. That will help with the income. As you get comfortable , we can increase the number of cows, goats, pigs what ever you want."

"How about a garden?"

"It might be to late for some crops but I'm sure anything below ground would be ok, potatoes for example. There isn't much of a market in the village for vegetables but you can use them for trade, or donate them to those not as fortunate as us."

After dinner we watched them as they walked to their home, hand in hand. "Are you going to teach them to sing to the cows?"

Laughing, "Let's go to bed."

Saturday, Lukas and I went fishing. Nohr was going to get crabs. Soon other boys Lukas's age joined us, and history does repeat itself. Nohr fired up the crab pot, it looked like it hadn't been used for a while. The salt water from the sea takes its toll.

Lukas pulled in the first fish, I showed him how to clean it and Nohr took the entails and started to catch crabs. Like when we were boys, Nohr was particular, only the big ones went into the pot.

We kept fishing, while they fished I helped doing the cleaning and baiting hooks. In a few hours, the boys had all of the fish they wanted. The really had plenty. A few fathers came to check up on them and of course it was old home week for Nohr and I. The tales flew as the boys eyes got big, but when one of the dads, took a crab and broke it open. His boy's eyes really popped open with that first bite. A new generation, but the same old ways

"Let's go home Lukas, you have enough fish for a party. Of course we had to eat a few crabs before leaving."

"Dad, that was fun. Did you do that every week when you were a boy?"

"Yes, pretty much, as soon as a few boys showed up the older boys would come and start up the crab pot. That is what we called it."

"Times don't change much in the Village. I think the men use to fish on Sunday, they would come here with their beer and fish after church. I think you were the first to fish on Saturday and then a few other boys joined us until almost all of the boys came and fished. I remember when we started to catch the crabs. We didn't have the pot then, we would take them home but we had to be careful. If we put them in with the fish they ate the fish. I'm not sure who found the pot and brought it here, but then I don't think our parents ever got crabs again. If you wanted to eat crab, you had to come where we were fishing."

I could see Lukas eyes smiling as Nohr was reminiscing. I knew then that the village would be home for me forever. I would be fishing here as an old man, teaching the next generation how to fish and eat crabs.

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