Hush Caroline, Everything is gonna be fine
Even thou its night I know the light is not far away.
So let your dreams take you to a faraway place
But keep in mind, we’ll get there someday
If we gotta fly, I’ll grow wings
We’ll just take our time and let God do all the healing
If we gotta go by boat
God will calm the sea
Hush, Caroline, go to sleep
My baby sister Caroline stared at me. She gave me one of her sweet smiles. She wasn’t falling asleep. I had already sung her several times but she wasn’t falling asleep.
I heard footsteps on the steps. For a second I thought it was Momma. I tried not to cry as I looked at Caroline. She looked so much like Momma.
Aunt Lisa opened the door. She stood in the doorway and smiled at me.
“Don’t worry about Caroline. I’ll put her to sleep,” Aunt Lisa smiled. “Go downstairs. Your Uncle Danny wants to talk to you.”
I gave her to my Aunt Lisa. I wondered why Uncle Danny would want to talk to me. I heart wrenching thought came to mind as I walked down the steps. Uncle Danny and Aunt Lisa we’re sending my brother, two sisters, and I away.
Nonsense, Virginia! I thought in my head. Uncle Danny knew how much I loved living on his farm. His farm was so much like that one Papa and Momma had run before they died. This was the fourth relative’s home my siblings and I had lived in since our parents died five months ago. We’ve been here for two months so far and I can’t possible think of any reason Uncle Danny and Aunt Lisa would want us out of their house.
As I walked into the family room I thought of a reason. Their children. They had four children of their own. What if four more was too much to handle?
“Where’s Rachel and Andrew?” Uncle Danny asked.
“Upstairs,” I answered sitting down on the couch. “Probably getting ready for bed.”
“Rachel! Andrew!” Uncle Danny called. My older brother Andrew and my younger sister Rachel quickly came down the steps.
“Yes, Uncle Danny?” Rachel asked sitting in my lap.
“Now, I know you kids have been shifted around quite a bit these last few months,” Uncle Danny said. I looked at his hands. His knuckles were shaking. Papa told me that whenever Uncle Danny’s knuckles shook that meant he had to do something he didn’t want to do.
I nodded and added, “But I like it here.”
A sad look crept into Uncle Danny’s face. I felt mine fall rapidly.
“I’m sure you’ve heard about your Aunt Jane,” Uncle Danny said getting out a photo album. “She’s your dad’s older sister. She’s my younger sister.”
“Yes, we’ve heard about Aunt Jane,” Rachel said. “Papa said he thought she was slightly crazy.”
Uncle Danny gave a chuckle.
“She was always coming up with crazy ideas and getting in trouble for them!” Uncle Danny said taking a picture of Aunt Jane out.
“So what about Aunt Jane?” Andrew asked impatiently.
“When she was twenty-two she moved away up North. She had gotten into Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams, Massachusetts. She moved to Florida, Massachusetts a town less than thirty minutes away from North Adams and she’s lived there ever since,” Uncle Danny said. “She studied language. She didn’t want to be a farm girl. Mom and Pops were disappointed but they encouraged her to follow her heart.”
I wish he would just get to his point. I heard all of this before. Traitor. Once a farm girl, always a farm girl.
“I got a phone call from her two weeks ago. She asked how you were doing,” Uncle Danny said pausing.
“Is she coming for a visit?” Rachel asked.
“No,” Uncle Danny said. “Its kinda like the other way around.”
“We’re going to visit her. But it’s the middle of the school year!” Andrew shouted. I rolled my eyes on the inside. Andrew loved going to school. I did not.
“You’re not going to be visiting her,” Uncle Danny said. “Your aunt Jane has decided that she wants to adopt you. She said, ‘Andrew, Virginia, Rachel, and Caroline all four of those little angels!’”
It took me a minute to let all of this sink in.
“What!” I shouted. “But…But…she lives in Massachusetts. That’s like a million miles from here!”
“Not quite a million. It’s not even a thousand miles from here. It’s a little more than ten hours from here,” Uncle Danny said.
“Why would she want to adopt us?” I asked outraged.
“I don’t know,” Uncle Danny said. “She’s family. Maybe she wants to do something for her brother.”
“Well I don’t want to go!” I cried. Uncle Danny sighed.
“You leave tomorrow and that’s that. Now go upstairs and get ready for bed. Your bus leaves at nine.”
Wait, did he just say bus?
I sat on the steps determined never to leave Uncle Danny’s farm. If they tried to make me it would be against my will and that would be kidnapping.
“Virginia, what are you doing?” Rachel asked me when she walked down the steps in the morning.
“I’m not leaving and that’s that,” I said recalling Uncle Danny’s words from last night.
“Virginia! How did you get my handcuffs?” Andrew cried when he saw that I had handcuffed myself to the stair’s railing.
“I just walked into your room,” I shrugged.
“Boy, is Aunt Lisa and Uncle Danny going to be mad,” Rachel said sitting next to me.
“It will prove a point. I don’t want to leave and I’m not going to leave. Nobody is going to make me,” I huffed.
“You’re crazy,” Andrew said. “I think you and Aunt Jane will get along just fine.”
I stuck my tongue out at Andrew and Andrew walked down the steps.
“Baby Caroline is all ready to go…..Virginia, what are you doing?” Aunt Lisa said when she came down the steps.
“I’m not going,” I said flatly.
“Oh, yes you are!” Aunt Lisa shouted. She handed Caroline to Rachel and walked up the steps. She gave back down with a lock picking kit. She picked the lock and pushed me down the steps.
“Virginia, I love you but you are leaving today,” Aunt Lisa said handing me an egg and oatmeal sandwich.
“But I’m a farm girl not a small town girl!” I cried.
“Why can’t you be a farm girl in a small town?” Aunt Lisa asked handing sandwiches to Rachel and Andrew.
“Because it doesn’t work that way,” I said. What? It was the best I could come up with!
“Who’s reading to go to Florida, Massachusetts?” Uncle Danny asked coming down the stairs with our suitcases.
“Are you coming?” I asked.
“You didn’t think I was going to let three children and a baby ride a bus all on their own did you?” Uncle Danny asked.
“Here’s your sandwich, hon,” Aunt Lisa said handing Uncle Danny his sandwich. I wanted to laugh. Uncle Danny’s hands we’re full with luggage.
“I’m sorry, deer!” Aunt Lisa cried. She let Uncle Danny but the luggage in the car and came back inside for his sandwich.
“Love you all!” Aunt Lisa called as we got in the car. I felt like screaming back, “Well if you loved us then you would let us stay!”
As Uncle Danny’s farm faded away I muttered so low I’m positive no one else heard me, “You can take the girl off the farm but you can’t take the farm off of the girl.”
“Wait that doesn’t sound right,” I muttered smacking myself on the head.
It was cold and some white stuff was falling from the sky.
“Snow!” Rachel cried outing her nose on the bus station window. I tried not to scream. Aunt Jane was late.
“OUT OF MY WAY! I’M LATE!”
I turned to the voice and saw a red haired woman running like her life defended on it. I looked at Caroline who was in my arms. Please don’t tell me that THIS was my Aunt Jane.
“Sorry, kids!” Aunt Jane shouted. “I’m so sorry! I plum forgot! I’m your Aunt Jane Powers.”
Aunt Jane’s jacket was covered with snow. She had sandals on which I found strange.
“Hello,” Rachel said smiling.
“Aren’t your feet freezing?” I asked not being able to get over the whole sandal thing.
“I put on the wrong shoes! I wanted to get a quick bit at the Sunshine B&B. I was in a hurry to leave because I also wanted to have a talk with Fowler Stewart about his grandson Timmy Stewart. That is all worked out now,” Aunt Jane said. There was a look of wonder when she said the words Timmy Stewart.
“How was your trip?” Aunt Jane asked picking up our suitcases and walking towards the exit.
“Horrible,” I said remembering, “Somebody coughed and sneezed all over me.”
“Gross!” Aunt Jane cried shaking her head. “There’s nothing like a sick person to ruin a perfectly good bus ride. You’ll probably want to take a nice long hot shower when you get home.”
It would take me another ten hours to get home and I needed a shower now.
“This is your car?” Andrew asked pointing to the car Aunt Jane had stopped at.
I was wondering the same thing and not because her car was a Ford Explorer.
Her license plate was FARMGURL.
That was far from true.
Ok, so maybe not TOO TOO far from true.
Aunt Jane had chickens in her backyard.
And at this moment she ordering a pig, a goat, and a lamb.
“I just love animals!” Aunt Jane shouted as she placed her order. We hadn’t even been here one day and she was ordering farm animals.
There was a knock at the door.
“Virginia, could you get that please?” Aunt Jane asked. She started to chuckle. I went to open the door.
“Hello,” A tall brown haired man said when I opened the door. As far as I could tell there were thirteen other people with him.
“And who might you be?” I asked with my hands on my hips.
“I’m Steve Matthews,” The man said. “Who might you be?”
“Virginia Powers,” I said taking my hands off my hips. “Farm girl.”
A short brown haired girl that I assumed was Mr. Matthew’s daughter, smiled at me.
“Hello, Virginia, I’m Jaci Matthews,” The girl smiled. I nodded.
“Sunshine B&B clan….and Timmy,” Aunt Jane said walking up to the door. “Come in! Come in!”
“Sunshine B&B clan?” I asked as they walked into the door.
“We all live at the Sunshine B&B,” A boy with dark hair and blue eyes said. “Expect for Timmy.”
“So your name is Virginia?” A dirty blonde haired girl asked me. I nodded.
“Natalie Baldwin,” The girl said offering her hand. “Miami Girl.”
The Sunshine B&B clan laughed. Aunt Jane gave a faint chuckle. I had no idea why this was funny.
“Virginia, I think you and Natalie are going to get along. Natalie just moved here from Miami, Florida,” Aunt Jane said. I nodded.
“Oh! Where are my manors!” Aunt Jane shouted. “You’re probably wondering who all these people are. Virginia, meet Riley Baldwin. She’s Natalie’s mom and she’s engaged to Steve Matthews. He’s the tall guy. The short girl is his daughter Jaci. The tall auburn is his other daughter Abby. She doesn’t live at the B&B. She lives in Boston. Then there’s Darcy. He’s the black haired cutie. Timmy Stewart is the tall blonde one with a side bang. The little girl in Riley’s arms is Megan. She’s like two. The blonde girl is Regina Drew and the dirty blonde boy standing next to her is her twin brother Nelson Drew. The brown haired woman in the blue coat is Donna Edwards. She’s Darcy’s mother. The tall older looking lady is Mrs. Walters. The two other people or Mr. and Mrs. Drew. They’re Nelson and Regina’s parents. Oh and the baby boy in Mrs. Drew’s hands is Fred. The ice creams in the kitchen.”
“Ice cream?” I asked. Natalie snickered.
“We’re having an ice cream party! The whole town is invited!” Aunt Jane shouted.
“But it’s like seventeen degrees outside!” I shouted.
“That’s what I said,” Natalie laughed.
Soon a whole bunch of people from town poured into Aunt Jane’s house. I met some girl named Emily Stewart. She’s supposed to be Timmy’s sister but she’s nothing like him. Timmy seemed way nicer than Emily was. I heard their grandparents (the people who raise them) where there but I didn’t care to meet them.
My ice cream party wasn’t that bad and I almost let myself enjoy it up until I met the meanest woman in the world.
Ms. Shelby O’Donnell.
“Virginia, I would like you to meet your seventh grade teacher Shelby O’Donnell,” Aunt Jane said. Aunt Jane looked like she was praying hard about something.
“She’s scrawny,” Ms. O’Donnell said.
“Excuse me?” I asked.
“She’s tall but scrawny. She’s only said a couple of words and her Southern drawl annoys me,” Ms. O’Donnell said. “We’ll have to do something about that if she’s going to be in my class. Maybe we could put her Ms. Ross’s sixth grade class.”
“Excuse me?” I repeated.
“I’ll have to have to see how my teacher’s assistant and eighth grade teacher Diana Smith feels about her,” Ms. O’Donnell said. “DIANA!”
An older looking lady with graying brown hair walked up to Ms. O’Donnell.
“This is our new student,” Ms. O’Donnell said. “Speak.”
I looked at her strangely.
“I said speak, child!” Ms. O’Donnell shouted.
“Hi,” I said unsure what to say.
“Ugh! Her drawl is so very unbecoming. Wouldn’t you say so?” Ms. O’Donnell asked.
“Shelby,” Ms. Smith said. “Her drawl will not be a problem.”
“You fatten her up, Jane. She’s too scrawny,” Ms. O’Donnell said. She looked at me with disgust and walked away. Ms. Smith smiled at me and walked away.
I refused to have her for a teacher. I wondered if Andrew had anymore handcuffs.