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Thursday, November 17, 2005

Abby and Dot

Abby and Dot
The Day After the Anniversary

The morning after their first anniversary Ray woke first, as usual.  Livy had her back to him, so he put his arm around and nuzzled her neck, and she awoke at his touch. She turned to face him, and they started the morning with a loving kiss.  Livy said it was kind of strange to not be awakened by Daniel, and Ray laughingly agreed.  Abby, Dot and Daniel stayed at Martha and Hank’s to give them a night to themselves for a change.

Ray reluctantly got out of bed and went downstairs to get coffee and breakfast before doing the chores. Livy got up then too because she had a lot to do that day because everyone was coming over for lunch after church. She took her coffee and went out on the veranda to sit in the swing with Ray as he had his morning coffee. It was a pleasant day, and they talked about what they were going to be doing. Ray stood up, bent down and kissed Livy and took his thermos out to the barn and started doing the chores.

Livy went into the house to tidy up and start preparations for the midday meal. Martha was bringing leftovers from last nights supper, so Livy set the table, and got out some serving dishes, and arranged the table and chairs to accommodate everyone.

When they got to the church Livy saw that Martha and Hank were already there, and so were Abby and Dot.  Livy was anxious to see Daniel. He smiled and reached for her when he saw his mom and dad. It was nice to have had the evening alone with Ray, but it is always good for a family to be together.

After church everyone drove over to Ray and Livy’s.  At lunch there was a lot of conversation around the table about the anniversary the day before, but since they had talked about the actual event at Martha and Hank’s the night before, what they talked about most on Sunday was the swing! They all marveled at what a wonderful idea it was, and how good a job it turned out to be. Next they talked about  where to put the extra bench.  It was decided to put it on the other side of the veranda, facing the other bench therefore creating a conversation area.

When lunch was over Martha and Ruth offered to look after Daniel and to do  the dishes while Livy showed Abby and Dot the house. Of course Abby had seen it before on her previous visit, but came along anyway. Abby and Dot were to sleep in the bunkroom, and Ray had already brought their luggage up.  They both were pleased with the improvements that Livy had made to Martha’s old room by turning it into Daniel’s room.  They loved the job that  Ray had done of making the crib for Daniel.  

After the tour they all adjourned to the veranda, and there was lots of lively conversation. The boys had fun running around, or spending time with Uncle Ray and their dad.  Ruth was content to be with the women and help Livy with Daniel.  Livy noticed that Dot seemed to be quiet, but this was the first time she had met Martha and her family so maybe she wasn’t showing her usual lively  personality.  There was enough food left over from lunch so they all stayed for supper, and then Martha’s family left to go home and do their evening chores. A good day was had by all sharing food, conversation, fun and laughter.

Livy sensed that Dot seemed hesitant to converse with her one-on-one, however she thought that it might be because she didn’t know everyone.  Of course there really was not much of a chance to talk at Martha’s on Saturday, or even at Ray and Livy’s on Sunday, too many people for specifics other than general topics. After Martha’s family left Livy, Abby and Dot took their coffee out to the veranda and talked. Ray joined them for a while after his chores were done, but was feeling tired so went to bed.  The three women stayed up and talked and laughed.  Ray could hear them, but soon feel asleep.

On Monday after breakfast Abby and Dot enlisted the help of Ray to bring some boxes into the house while Livy was doing the breakfast dishes. As they carried box after box into the house, Livy became curious and said, ‘What’s all this?’

Abby looked at her sister, smiled and said, ‘I brought you some of your books and clothes.’

Livy looked at Abby quizzically. ‘How did you manage to get these things out of the house? Does dad know?’

Abby said, ‘Yes, he knows. I told him that this is your stuff, and I was coming to see you, and since there was room in the car that I could  bring some of it.  He just has to accept it, that’s all,’ and she shrugged.

Livy started to cry and hugged Abby.  She was pleased that Abby had brought her stuff, and thanked her sincerely, but hoped that it would not drive a further wedge between her and their father.

‘Dot helped me pack your stuff, and we put  as much as we could get into the trunk and the back seat of my car,’ said Abby. It took them about two trips each upstairs to the bunkroom for Ray, Abby, Dot and Livy to take her stuff up.  Livy knew that in the next few days she would have a lot of work, but also a lot of pleasure in rediscovering her belongings.  Livy had made a few changes in Ray’s house to make it more a family home and not a bachelor’s home, but with some of her things placed here and there it would feel more like their home.

After the work of bringing in Livy’s stuff, they all took their coffee out to the veranda and sat and talked. Ray said he had some work to do, but really he wanted to leave so they could catch each other up on the latest news.  Ray turned to Livy and gave her a quick kiss, and then excused himself and went about his work.

Dot was surprised to see that Livy was receptive to Ray’s kisses. She said, ‘Livy, when are you moving back to Denver?’ Dot and Abby had talked frequently in Denver about Livy staying on the farm, and until this weekend Dot thought there might still be a chance of Livy leaving Ray and the farm.

Livy was surprised by Dot’s question. She said, ‘I’m not moving to Denver. My home is here now with Ray and Daniel.’

‘Oh,’ said Dot, sounding a little surprised, ‘Are you happy here?’

‘Very happy,’ said Livy with a huge smile that lit up her whole face.

‘Well, I guess I am happy to hear you say that, Livy, but I miss you,’ Abby said.

‘I know! I miss you, too! But I’m happy here. I love Daniel, and I am so in love with Ray!’

‘I am happy for you, Livy, but sad for me.  I also have to admit that since you left Denver I was reluctant to write you because I didn’t know how you felt about me, you know, ‘cause I was there when you met Edward, and I thought maybe you were upset with me,’ Dot said.

‘No, I wasn’t upset with you, Dot, and in no way feel you were responsible for what happened with Edward and me. But at first when my dad sent me away I was sure I would not be living here forever.  And then I fell in love! Oh, Dot, I have never been so happy in my life! Ray is a wonderful husband and father, and Daniel is his son.’

‘You know, I kind of wondered it Edward might contact you now that the war is over. Maybe he might want to take you and Daniel to Denver and start again,’ said Dot.

Livy looked at her in surprise, and shook her head. But of course they did not know the content of his letter last fall, so Livy told them. Both Abby and Dot were in shock hearing that Edward suggested that the child was not his!  They both came over to Livy and sat on either side of her, put their arms around her and told her that they know what a wonderful person she is, and that she was not the type to run around with men as Edwards letter suggested.

They got up and went into the house to get more coffee, and Livy checked on Daniel. The wee lad was still asleep. He was probably tired from visiting with his cousins. Livy gently stroked his cheek, whispered, ‘I love you, Daniel Singleton,’ and went back out to the veranda with Dot and Abby.  

The conversation switched to Abby and Livy’s dad. Abby told them that Rev Dunne was still putting in many hours at the church and committee meetings to hide his feelings over the loss of his wife and daughter. He never spoke her name, even when Abby tried to talk to him. He still thought she brought shame to the family, and he refused to acknowledge her, or her son and husband.  Livy, again, thanked Abby for all her efforts in bringing her books and clothes to her, and for sending her the money her mother had set aside for her.  And she especially thanked her for keeping in contact with her, she really appreciated that. Abby smiled and said, ‘That’s what sisters do for each other, Livy.’

Just then Ray came up to the house for lunch. The women were enjoying each others company and conversation that they almost forgot about lunch! Ray said he could fix something for himself, and they all said together, ‘Not while there’s three women in the house you won’t!’ at which Ray laughed. There was a flurry of activity while three women put lunch on the table.

At lunch the subject came up of Rev Case’s involvement in bringing Ray and Livy together. They all had a big laugh when Ray said that Rev Case could have married her off to any number of old bachelors in the county!  Dot felt the gravity of the situation. It could have been a lot worse! She was now more able to reconcile her feelings about missing Livy. They could still be friends, just not able to see each other as often as they used to. During this visit Dot got to know that Ray is as good man, and that the two of them are very happy together.

In the afternoon Ray drove Abby and Dot around the farm in the beetbox while Livy stayed in the house with Daniel. While he had his afternoon nap she decided to unpack some of her clothes. It was wonderful to have more choices of dresses, and skirts, and blouses! It felt like a whole new wardrobe! She had not decided where to put her books or trinkets but knew she would have plenty of time to do  that when Abby and Dot went back to Denver.

The rest of the day was spent with lots of laughter and talk. Abby and Dot left for Denver just after lunch the next day. There were tears from the women, and hugs all around, and promises to keep in better contact.  Dot can now see the love they have for each other, and appreciates the magic of their ordinary days.

Later that day Livy was feeling very happy about the visit. She thanked Ray for accepting her into his life sight unseen. And with a big smile on his face Ray said, ‘I was happy to do it.’