A Country Saga – Chapter 2

Going Separate Ways

Cindy patted her son on the arm. “Beth the boys are protective of their sister. I’ve explained the realities to them and told them it is either my sister or your kind offer as the best way to solve our family situation. I told them if they could persuade you and Sam then that would be the best option as we’d get to see Violet whenever we wished, and she could visit whenever she wished. Have you had a chance to talk with Sam? I guess we’d need to know that before we proceed to discuss this?”

Beth smiled and turned to Carl. “I’m so glad you love your sister Carl, that shows maturity and responsibility and I admire that in you. Sam and I planned for five children, and we only have two. Derek needs someone near his own age as a companion and he obviously loves your Violet as much as you do so we’d welcome it if you’d do us the honor having your sister in our home. Of course, we’d always recognize you as her brother and you’d be welcome in our home along with your brothers whenever you feel like visiting. Maybe we could become like one big family?”

Carl sat thinking about this while Cindy deflected the conversation to inquire about news on the Cornfield property.

Eventually Carl spoke again. “So, my brothers and I could visit with Violet any time we wished, and you wouldn’t stop her from visiting us?”

Beth smiled. “Of course, Carl we’d always respect that.”

Carl smiled. “OK mom should we go now?”

Cindy laughed. “I want to talk with Beth for a while Carl. Why don’t you check what everyone is doing on the farm.”

Carl bounded downstairs and headed for the sheds to talk farm business with the men.

Three months later Violet had settled in and was a welcome addition to the family. She did her part working on the farm with Derek Sam and his workers or helped Beth with housework, but she didn’t forget her family and often went with Derek to visit the Simpsons. Jed would always absent himself when Violet visited.

Over time there was an increasing tension between Jed and his family and one day he announced he was selling the farm and moving on. There was a terrible scene, and the boys raided the office to retrieve property deeds and any other important legal documents. Carl took these documents over to get Sam Cornfield’s advice and the two went to consult with Sam’s accounting advisor and his lawyer in town. A police complaint was lodged for Jed’s family abuse and a court order obtained to prevent Jed selling until a hearing could be arranged. Then they visited the bank to discuss the mortgage on the Simpson property. The thought of a hearing before the court spooked Jed and he signed off on a legal arrangement placing the property in trust for his wife to manage as trustee and children as beneficiaries. Sam took over the mortgage loan from the bank to prevent foreclosure granting him a lien on the Simpson property for recovery of this debt. He had full confidence Carl would manage the property carefully and pay off this debt over time. Jed disappeared never to be heard from again until several years later one of Jed’s relatives reported he’d died drink driving. None of them mourned his passing.

Old Mrs. Claridge had the contract to take this rural valley students to the town high school after they graduated from elementary school and Derek and Violet joined those who’d not dropped out of school to further their education there. Derek’s grades had significantly improved since Violet moved into his home as she encouraged him to think about his future and helped him with his assignments. Mrs. Claridge the bus driver had chosen to remain on the farm with her son who now managed the farm on his father’s death, but she spent the day with her married daughter in town before returning students to their farm homes in the afternoon.

On completion of high school Violet’s mother Cindy and host Beth Cornfield sat with their children in the Cornfield home. Debby was now attending the local rural school and was proving to be a big help to her mother in the home at an early age Cindy’s boys were committed to bringing their property up to standard in consultation with Sam who was trying to talk Carl the eldest into considering spending time at agricultural college.

Each of the Simpson boys were determined to succeed and their farm was producing much more under their direction than it had ever done. They were faithful in paying down their mortgage and the Simpson reputation had improved so much that neighbors in this rural valley welcomed their attention to daughters in their family. Carl already had a steady relationship with Gwen Sorenson one of the successful farmers in this valley and it looked like this could develop into marriage.

At that family conference attention was eventually given to Derek and Violet. What career would they choose? Violet wanted to become a teacher which would require she be sent to the city where she could board with Cindy’s sister. Derek was alarmed. He and Violet had been together now since early days of their schooling and he didn’t want her to leave. He wanted to make a life in this rural community, but his first love was animals and he yearned to have a veterinary practice. Sam encouraged his son to follow his career choice and that would require he attend veterinary school away from this valley.

Derek realized separation was the only way both could follow their career choices. So, both left the valley to their separate study locations. Derek didn’t realize it at the time, but Violet was departing with an ache in her heart too. She’d desperately miss her companion in the next two years, but each was comforted as their correspondence continued, and occasionally during vacations they’d meet again at the Cornfield home. While they were away in their study programs, they received news Beth had delivered twins a boy and girl who they named Mavis and Albert. At first, they wondered where they’d stay when they visited on vacation but were assured Sam Cornfield had begun extensions on the home as soon as they became aware Beth was pregnant. There would always be a place for them to stay at the Cornfield home.

Carl’s beloved Gwen Sorensen became a regular visitor to the Simpson family as did Carl to the Sorensen farm. Through that connection Cindy became friendly with Gwen’s father Michael whose wife had passed away four years earlier. Each of these lonely adults found solace in each other’s company until to Cindy’s surprise Michael proposed marriage. Cindy was not anxious to get into another marriage arrangement. Her life with Jed had been one of heartache and she didn’t want to risk another unhappy married life. But observing her future daughter in law Gwen she noted the love between Michael and his children, and her caution slowly broke down. Michael was attentive and persistent and eventually Cindy said yes, and they were married. She never regretted that decision. So, Cindy on marriage moved to the Sorensen home and Gwen married Carl and moved to the Simpson home. The rest of the Simpson boys loved their sister-in-law and one by one Gwen searched for compatible girls who could make a happy home for her brothers in law in due course.

Over their respective college courses Derek and Violet kept in contact. Violet finished her teaching degree first and sought a position teaching in the vicinity of the veterinary school hoping to keep the relationship going. Derek was overjoyed. He was approaching his final year and enjoyed studies and practical experience under the mentorship of experienced veterinary practitioners. Violet was waiting for a response from her application to get a teaching job in this area and was visiting to follow up on her request so Derek and her were enjoying catching up at a local restaurant. Derek was luxuriating in her company and the history of their friendship and time spent together at his parent’s home caused him to smile.

“Vi I bet you thought I was dumb bringing those crumpled wildflowers and putting them on your desk in our elementary days. I was so nervous the guys would see me doing that and tease me. You never said anything just put them in your carry bag.”

Violet laughed. “On the contrary that was the only happy thing in my life due to my dysfunctional upbringing and I’d have been devastated if you ever missed bringing me flowers during that time. Thank you, and I’m so grateful to your parents for taking me out of that environment. I don’t know what would have happened to me if I’d continued to live with my horrible father. Can you imagine beating a child and feeling good about it. Having you in my life has made all the difference.”

Derek’s pulse rate increased as he thought about how important it had been to have Violet in his life too. He wished she didn’t consider herself to be like a sister to him as he realized he wanted her presence in his life. It would be unbearable to think of her finding someone to share her life with and he couldn’t think of anyone else to share his life with.

“I wish you didn’t consider yourself to be a sister to me Vi we have been together for so long now I’d find it hard to not have you around.

Violet looked up from her soda and studied his face for a while.

“Derek I’m not your sister and it’s up to you if you want to have me around permanently. I’m a little impatient with the status quo as I’d like to have you continue in my life, but something is going to have to change to make that possible. What do you think could accomplish that?”

Derek felt the blood pounding in his veins. He knew what she was hinting at and thought of his present situation totally reliant on his parents to complete this training before striking out on his own. Still the thought of losing this opportunity before she accepted some teaching position far from his reach gave the situation a sense of urgency.

“Vi I’d marry you in an instant but have no financial security and know that wouldn’t be fair to you.”

Violet shook her head. “Derek if you asked me to marry you and only had a bark hut to live in, I’d say yes so please follow your heart and don’t break mine by delaying further.”

Derek smiled broadly. “Vi I love you more than you can imagine so please marry me. I don’t have much money on me but enough to buy an engagement ring if you’d consent to marry me. I promise that I’ll work hard after graduation to give you whatever you want out of a marriage.”

“Just want you Derek, I know you’ll look after me and I need that. Let’s go look for that engagement ring and it will be OK if you gave me a kiss to seal this promise.”

A few days later Violet learned there was no opportunities in the area where Derek was completing his training so returned to Cornfield property while she waited for a teaching assignment. The Cornfield and Simpson families were delighted at the news Derek and Violet had become engaged and Beth and Cindy worked on Violet to let them help with the wedding planning which Violet was happy to agree to. While there she visited with the teacher at their local rural school and talked over her elementary school days there. Her teacher from those days had retired and settled in town and the current teacher Doris indicated she was soon to leave and get married herself. The education authorities were having difficulty in filling the teacher position and Violet immediately contacted them and was quickly appointed to take the place of Doris. Violet was happy she could serve her own community and the community was delighted to have one of their own teaching their children.

As soon as Derek graduated. he returned home for the wedding and found to his delight one of the town veterinary practices was interested in hiring him. He was further surprised to learn Violet’s brother Carl and Sam Cornfield had together bought them a full paid vacation at the Great Barrier Reef.

Derek and Violet’s wedding took place in the community hall on school grounds with most of the rural community in attendance then immediately took their departure to enjoy their gifted honeymoon on the Great Barrier Reef. It was school holiday time and Doris the schoolteacher had already departed to prepare for her own wedding. Derek had decided to take the offer of a position with the vet services clinic in town and there was a house prepared for them as part of remuneration for the work done there. That meant Violet would have to make a daily commute to the school and roads were not well kept. Sam Cornfield had already donated one of the farm jeeps to his son to use as he offered vet services around the valley. Derek took out a bank loan and purchased a jeep for Violet to use on her daily commute. This proved to be difficult as their respective jobs kept them so busy, they hardly had time together and this resulted in a conflict between them for the first time in their long time together as they grew up. This became known to the Cornfield and Simpson families, and they sat with the couple to encourage them to find a solution and restore happiness in the home.

There was a developing conflict in the Simpson family also. Their property now under control of Carl with mortgage settled was not a large one. Carl’s brother next in line had returned from agricultural college and wanted to put his ideas to work on the farm. This was interpreted by Carl as an attempt to take over. Gwen Carl’s wife tried to intervene between the two to bring harmony back into the household. She was with child now and they all idealized her but, on this occasion, Carl thought she was taking his brother’s side. Seeing this and not wanting to cause any trouble for Gwen the second eldest left the farm and found a position with the government department of agriculture and stock. This too was misinterpreted as an act of ingratitude after paying for his brother’s education at the college. Carl’s remaining two brothers thought Carl had been unreasonable and asked if Sam Cornfield would take them on as part of his hired hands. Sam who’d been watching this drama from afar went to see Carl who he knew valued him as a mentor.

Sam listened as Carl poured out frustration with his brothers. He thought they were all being disloyal as he’d worked hard to provide for them all. Sam waited until Carl had worked it out of his system. He moved forward and gave this young adult a hug. Carl shuddered in his embrace. So different to his father was this man he’d come to view as a substitute father. He now looked to him for a resolution.

Mr. Cornfield, I’m messing up my family. What should I do to make this right?”

To Be Continued.

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© Copyright 2023 Ian Grice, “ianscyberspace.” All rights reserved

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