April A to Z Challenge: Home, Sweet Home

Welcome to the April A to Z Blogging Challenge! This year my contribution is the story of my great grandmother Alzina. She lived in the style of “Little House on the Prairie”and kept a record of her life through letters to family and her own journals. I find her story fascinating and intriguing. Each post will start (sometimes strangely) with a consecutive letter of the alphabet, just because they have to. My hope is that we can “catch” some of her courage to help us face challenges in our present times.

Home was the hub of the world for the Pomeroy family, and anyplace was home if people could gather round a table and share treasured family customs and a good meal. Alzina grew used to having guests come for dinner, for her parents were always inviting the minister or friends to join the family, often providing lodging as well. They didn’t have much, but what they had was joyfully shared.

Alzie struggled to get dressed, her sore finger throbbing so she could hardly use it. She and Phebe were the “older kids” now, old enough to help with work. Earlier in the week she must have gotten into something out in the hay field where the two of them had been helping Father. The thorn or splinter caused her finger to swell and become infected. Mother called it a felon. And now, since Father had lanced it, the pressure was not as bad but there was very little use for her hand that did not cause pain. She wouldn’t have to go to the field today, but maybe she could help some in the house.

She picked up the water bucket with her good hand and went to the well for the morning’s water. That was another problem. The well water had been quite bad and they had been filling the well with water from the creek. But the creek was also low and oh, how they needed some rain! Grandma Fisk had been saying the bad water was making her stomach ache for days now and they almost went for the doctor last night, she was so bad.

Alzie found she could set the table without too much trouble and needed only the one hand to position each plate, upside down at each family member’s usual place. No food would be put on them until after morning worship and the table blessing. Mother was already turning from the stove, where something delicious was covered in the fry pan, and getting Sadie from the crib. Phebe and Timothy were already over by Father’s rocking chair ready for Bible reading. Alzie finished putting cups at each place and joined the rest.

Father started worship with their favorite Psalm, 107. Sadie loved to hear his clear, strong voice reading the verses about how the Lord satisfies the hungry soul with goodness. It was true, they hardly ever were hungry without there being some food to fix the problem. Father stopped and looked expectantly at Alzie, Phebe and Timothy and they answered his look with their memory verse, “Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!” They were the “children of men” and it was good to know there might be some wonderful works coming their way. Four times during the psalm they were called on to say their part, so it had been easy to memorize.

The Psalm being finished, they came to their places at the table and Father asked the blessing. And so this day began, as all days began, for Father was never so busy that he would forsake leading the family in worship and prayer.

Father also loved to sing, and Alzie loved it when he did, as did most everyone who heard him. He sang in church but it was his singing at home that cheered her up and made her want to sing with him.

As they were finishing breakfast, a gust of wind blew the kitchen door shut with a bang. Everyone jumped, and Father put his nose up in the air, sniffing. “I do believe I smell rain. Could it be?” Everyone left the table and rushed to look outside. It was true. The first drops of rain were pelting down amid the swirling dust devils.

Alzie knew what was coming next. “Sing, Daddy, sing!” The words came like a command from all three excited children. And because he was happy, and was not one to disappoint children, Father did just that. He stood in the doorway and sang at the top of his voice “Rain, oh rain, dear Lord send it down”. Alzie figured they weren’t the only ones listening to Father’s song. God heard too and he must have liked it because it surely did rain.

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