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Friday, March 24, 2006

First Date Part 2

I think Mandeh is having difficulty posting this story herself, so I am posting this on her behalf. Have a great weekend!

First Date part 2

After their dinner at the Harvest House Livy and Ray went to see a movie. The movie was a comedy called “Guest Wife”, starring Don Ameche and Claudette Colbert. The story is about a guy, Joe, who is in danger of losing his job because he is not married. His friend Chris offers him his wife so that he can keep his job, which leads to all sorts of comic misunderstandings and silliness. They both enjoyed the movie, but really it was spending time together that pleased both Ray and Livy.

During the ride home, Livy moved closer to Ray. He appreciated her closeness, but she had to move when Ray shifted gears. They shared a lot of laughter as they talked about different parts of the movie. They could relate some of the parts of the movie to their own situation, like in the beginning acting like a married couple when they were not familiar with each other. When they arrived home they were tired but happy. Ray was feeling especially sleepy because he is used to being in bed much earlier, but was so happy to have spent the evening with is lovely wife.

Since they got home late, Ray slept a little later than usual the next day, so did not make his coffee before heading out to the barn to do the morning chores. Livy got up shortly after Ray did and saw that he didn‘t make coffee. She made a pot of coffee, then when into the laundry room where Ray put his barn clothes and found an old pair of barn boots and a coat. With coffee in hand she went out to the barn. Livy had not spent much time in the barn, just occasionally to gather eggs, or her and Daniel would go out to give Ray a message, or for a short visit, but this was not usually at milking time.

When she entered the barn, the cows were not in their stalls, nor could she see Ray. She walked past the calf pens, and they came up to the boards and stared at her. She went outside and saw Ray at the pasture gate calling the cows. She tiptoed as best she could in the oversize boots around the muck in the barnyard, and came over to him. Since he did not expect her he was momentarily startled. Livy said, “Sorry, didn‘t mean to startle you. Thought you might like some coffee.”

Ray was happy to see her and put his arm around her waist and drew her close. But he couldn‘t keep the smirk off his face about the way she looked.

Livy caught the look and said, “What, you don‘t like my new Paris fashion?” at which they both laughed.

Since Livy had never been up that early, she was full of questions about what he was doing. He told her Franklin was bringing in the cows. Livy offered him some coffee, which he gratefully accepted. It was his routine to stand at the gate to the pasture, drink his coffee, and encourage Franklin to bring up the cows. This was a part of his morning routine that she didn‘t see because last fall when she was pregnant she had little interest, and now she had Daniel to look after every morning. Ray was pleased and smiled adoringly at his wife. When Franklin got to the barnyard with the cows, he showed Livy that he was happy to see her by nudging her hand to pet him. She patted him on the head and told him what a good dog he was, and he responded by wagging his tail.

As the cows came into the barn, Ray tied them up. Next he fed them a grain meal mixture at each cow stall, and then he started milking them one at a time. Livy asked if she could help. He looked at her, and said, “I doubt it.” She laughed! She remembered him saying that last summer, so she repeated, “You‘re right, I don’t know anything about farming,” whereupon he gave her his half smile, and remembered too.

She saw that it was time consuming tedious work to milk each cow by hand. When Ray was finished milking each cow, he poured the milk into the separator, to separate the cream from the milk, and then the cream was put into cans. A guy in a truck would come by to pick up the cream and take it to the creamery to be made into butter and cheese. The left over milk went to the young calves, and as well they got hay and the same grain mixture that the cows got. The rest of the milk went to the house. Daniel was still being breast fed, so he was not getting cows milk yet. Livy asked Ray what he did before the cows came into the barn, and he said, gather the eggs, and feed and water the chickens. Last fall Livy sometimes gathered the eggs for him until Daniel was born. She had very rarely ever been in the main part of the barn. After the cows were milked, they were untied and let outside to go back to the pasture. Franklin‘s job was to make sure they left the barnyard for the pasture, and Ray closed the gate after them. Livy noticed the gutters had cow dung in them, and asked Ray about it. He said that in the summer he didn’t have to clean them as often, maybe every other day, but in the winter it was a daily job that he did after breakfast.

Livy said, “Ray, I thought you had more cattle than just these cows.”

He said,“ WE have more cattle,” and she smiled, “We have beef cattle, but they are in another pasture.”

“Can they get water?” asked Livy.

“Yes, they can,” said Ray, and a pleasant memory crossed his mind. It wasn‘t the same watering hole, but he remembered taking her out in the boat on one of the ponds last summer. He remembered that she had leaned back in the boat and closed her eyes whereby giving him an opportunity to observe her. He cleared his throat and told her the beef cattle were in another pasture for the summer, and rarely came near the barn in the summertime.

Since there was little left to do, Livy kissed Ray on the cheek, and left the barnyard to go to the house so she could get cleaned up and start breakfast. A little later, Ray came in the back door and took off his off in the laundry room, and went upstairs to have a bath. Livy had breakfast ready for them. Ray always held Livy‘s hand and said grace out loud before every meal, and after asking God to watch over them during their day, he also said, “And I thank you God for my loving wife.” When grace was over, they opened their eyes, and Livy squeezed his hand and said softly, “And I think God for you, Ray.”

After breakfast they drove to church where they met Martha and her family. Daniel was very happy to see his momma and daddy. Ruth wanted to know what dress Livy wore, how she did her hair, what they had for dinner, and what movie did they see, and did they like it. Livy laughed at all her questions and suggested that they sit together for the potluck after church and she would tell her all about it. Ray and Livy really appreciated the time they spent together, and when another opportunity arose they would certainly go on another date.