Ready to Read

Ready to Read
Historical Novels -Bobi Andrews

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Our Family Doors

Funkhauser Cabin located in the Ripley County Historical Society Museum

Doors are
common and
taken for granted; yet
they speak of past times
or open a gateway to the
door may squeak open
A door may slam shut
A door may keep others out
A door may invite others in
A door may be simple
A door may be ornate
A door may be French
A door may be Dutch

A door may separate lives
A door may create boundaries
A door may create wonder
A door may punish

A door may let the dog in
A door may let the cat out
A door may be for a barn
A door may be for the outhouse

A door may be bolted
A door may have its latch out
A door may be open a crack
A door may be shut tight

A door may catch the mail
A door may have a bell
A door may have a peep hole
A door may have a step

A door may be for the future
A door may hide the past
A door that is open, we walk through
A door that is closed is one to knock.

A door may be much more . . .
As we listen to our families talk.

                                                                            —Bobi Andrews, July, 2006

Funkhauser Cabin
Jacob Funkhauser-Nancy Showalter Funkhauser
Third Great Grandparents

“But it will be different this time,” Jacob argued. “When we moved from the Shenandoah to Beaver County, all our children were small. Ekikam, our last, is now eighteen when last time four were mere babies and you were six months expecting.”

“But Indiana is the frontier and we will have to start all over,” Nancy wailed. “I just want to grow old right here and have this house instead of a cabin. I don’t want to leave any of my things behind.”

“Our children and neighbors are moving,” Jacob countered. “There is no land available here for them and they must do as we did in leaving Virginia for the land. Do you want to be left alone here? What about your grandchildren? You won’t be there for their weddings and their babies.”

“But the cabins are so cold and the door and the logs don’t keep out the wind. And what will we do until the cabin is raised? I remember the lean-to we built from the wagon and the blanket that draped the door. When you went to the mill, I sat inside the door all night long with your old hunting gun just waiting for a wolf or bear to smell us out and barge in. The wind blew the loops apart and the ground anchors gave way. I’ll never forget the sound of the flapping blanket and the howling of the wolves and the wind.”

“Your have had raw courage all these years,” Jacob acknowledged,tenderly putting his hand over hers. “If you will agreeably come to Ripley, I will see to it that you have a door the very first thing! David Eli will build it here and have it in his wagon. It will have the rope latch you can pull in as well as the crossbar to secure the door.” He chuckled with an afterthought, “Although with our children living next to us, the latch will probably be out more than in.”

“I, too, am not up to camping with a lean-to,” Jacob admitted. “The boys and their families will take care of us. They want us to be with them in Indiana. And you know God will be with us as he always has been. We will offer tonight our prayer for God’s will.”


              Western Kansas Soddy
William F. Owens-Rosetta Elvira Jane Funkhauser

“But, Will, can we possibly survive without trees? I dreamt about trees all last night. All we have is dust and mud and if it doesn’t stop raining, everything is going to be ruined,” lamented Elvie wringing muddy rags from water swishing in from the top of the door.

“No trees here, except a few cottonwoods along the Republican River. Soft cottonwoods do not make strong cabins,” Will stated. We should thank God for rain. It doesn’t rain much here. Drought is worse.”

"I don’t know which is the worst, mud, or the flies, mosquitos and snakes that come after the rain stops.” Elvie said. “They live better than we do.”

“This is our land, Elvie, and once we get a crop or two, we will be able to fix things up around here. I’ll go see if I can chink up the door and windows better. The chinking just dries up and I can’t seem to keep a tight enough fit with the sod to make the difference.” Will shrugged his shoulders hopelessly. “The cottonwood poles and framing warp both in sun and rain.”

“At least this shower will dampen down the dust.” Elvie peered through the door to see the clouds moving on to the east. “By noon tomorrow we will have the dust back blowing through these cracks.”

“Elvie, neither dust nor mud will take our land away. All we need is a crop or two, our mother cow to calve soon and our oxen to pull the plow.” Will stuffed rags at the top of the door. “I know you are heartbroken with Mertie getting sick and dying, but James and Bertha are healthy and the baby you’re carrying will be our new blessing.”

Elvie raised herself up from the floor and stood at the soddy door. With Will’s strong arm on her shoulder, she looked to the clearing sky to the west and to an uncertain tomorrow on the prairie.


                   Welsh Home and Barn in Wales
                  Thomas Ellis - Jane Hughs Ellis
                  Fifth Great Gransparents

“I just don’t see how we can manage with our cabin so small. I have been remembering my old home in Wales, never realizing how much having elbow room meant. I can’t even open the door with this cabinet sitting here,” Jane Ellis scorned defiantly at the cabinet and the door.

Thomas responded, “But thee had cattle living in thy house in Wales. Do thee want that thy cattle be lodged here.”

“Thou are right. I should be satisfied that we have our cabin and that the children are healthy and growing.” Jane bent her head to talk to God. “I pray that thou will grant me wisdom and patience to serve thee instead of complainin’. Amen.”

“Amen. I’ll get Morris on my way to the meetinghouse and he will come and help thee move the chest. Maybe it would fit next to thy fireplace,” Thomas offered.

“Only if God be willing. Will thee be long at the Meetinghouse this afternoon?”

“We have to settle the matter of the Evan’s marriage and record three new certificates. Our meeting is growing,” Thomas boasted.

“Do thou suppose we will have a proper stone house with a strong door anytime soon?” asked Jane, edging the door past the chest.

“When we build a proper meetinghouse, we will then consider building us a proper stone house. By that time, we will have plenty of help as our sons know to honor their father and mother. They will help.”


No comments:

Post a Comment