The piercing chill of the
Northern Canadian wind blew through our hand-knit scarves on that
blustery February afternoon. It was an exciting day for my younger
brother and I. A combined PTA meeting and skating party meant lots of
food and fun with friends. So, with a hot lunch warming our bellies,
our skates slung over our shoulders, and hugs from Mom, we waited for
our closest neighbors in Beaver Creek’s small farming community to pick
us up. Finally their blue van pulled onto our farmyard.
“Quick, get inside.” Mrs.
Lawson motioned with her hand. “Judith. Jane. Make some room.” I urged
my brother inside and jumped in just as the wind threw the door shut
behind us. With chattering teeth we said hi to our classmates and made
small talk as we drove the thirteen miles to the school.
“Too bad your mom isn’t feeling
well. She’ll miss the meeting today.” Mrs. Lawson held a potato salad
on her lap that shook with each bump on the gravel road. “I’ll let her
know if there was anything important.”
The Lawson family had two girls.
Judith was my age. The girls would always ask questions about what we
did with eleven children in our family. My dad and Mr. Lawson would
swap ideas on how to grow better crops, and Mrs. Lawson would drive us
kids to 4-H sometimes. We were neighbors, so we helped each other.