A Rural Saga – Chapter 3

Family Merger

“Please call me Sam, son. What do you think will bring harmony to your family?”

“I think my brother did the right thing to leave and I need to make peace with him. He deserves to chart his own life now he’s of age and I’ll make it right with him. Perhaps my other brothers should be given the same privilege, but I can’t run the place by myself even though it’s only small crops and dairy. You did the right thing in diversifying with your plantations, and it was a sharp deal to buy that property to the back of yours to extend your plantations there as you have another property facing a road so can link your entrance with the other farm entrance. Have you finalized a plan on how to use that property?”

“Carl old man Jones I bought that property from has just built a modern home there and I’m tossing up whether to move there myself. That Jones property is well watered so lends itself to an expanded milk cattle operation with crop lands totally dedicated to the production of cattle feed to be stored in silos, so I’ll combine my herd with his and keep this property to expand my mango, macadamia and pineapple plantations which are quite profitable crops. I’ll need more good workers and was going to ask you if you could spare one of your brothers.”

Carl smiled. “So, you know about the conflict here.”

“No need for conflict in this valley Carl and I’ll certainly understand if you say no.”

“I think that would be helpful Sam. Would you take the youngest as I think he could learn a lot at your place, and I’ll work out something with my other brother so he can feel ownership of this place with me.”

Sam nodded and extended his hand which the younger man grasped gratefully. On the way to the entrance Gwen whispered her thanks.

Sam turned back and approached Carl again. “I need your help, Carl.”

Gladly sir, what can I do?”

“I’m going to visit with Derek and Violet this evening Carl and wonder if you’d accompany me?”

Carl understood immediately the purpose of this visit. He’d been concerned about his sister and Derek for a few weeks as he’d sensed things were not going well between them. He felt it a great honor to be included.

“I’d be happy to join you sir.”

“7 pm fit in with your program? Both should be home by then. I’ll pick you up.”

That evening Derek and Violet were surprised to see Sam and Carl show up at their front door. Pleasantries were exchanged and the married couple listened carefully for the purpose of the visit. They knew their personal issues were known to their families now.”

Sam waited for the right moment then spoke. “It must be difficult for you two with programs that keep you apart so often.”

Violet had kept her frustrations bottled up for some time and it all came out in a rush. Derek’s job kept him out at all hours, and he was even on call in the middle of the night at times. She felt she was not married, and it was far from her expectations as she’d longed for a life with Derek since childhood. Now the dream was evaporating with the passing of each day. Sam turned to Derek who sat silently through the tirade and now remained quiet.

“Well, we love the both of you so it pains us to see things not working out and we’d like to help in some way so you can restore the happiness you had with each other through to marriage. Unfortunately, those decisions are yours to make but we just wanted to show we love the both of you in this visit and find out if we can do anything to make things better.”

Violet wept. “I want my husband back; he’s slipping away from me, and I’ve loved him since I was in elementary school so this is killing me. I think I’m expecting a child and a child needs a father to spend time with them.”

This bought a spurt of energy to the sullen Derek who rushed over to his wife and hugged her’

“Why didn’t you tell me Vi?”

“Because I just found out today and was thinking about whether I’d tell you this evening but this visit from your dad and my brother got in the way.”

Derek continued to hug and comfort his wife. He turned to the visitors.

“This is something I must work out with Vi but thanks for dropping in to show your support. Perhaps we can meet at another time when we’ve sorted this mess out.”

The two men got up to leave while Derek continued to hug his wife. They felt good about their visit as it looked like the marriage would be salvaged though they didn’t know how at this point of time.

Next day Derek showed up at the Cornfield farm looking uncertain. He first apologized to his parents for the concern caused them by the rift between Violet and himself then got down to business.

“Dad that was a good move to buy the back property from old Jones. What are you planning to do with the house there?”

Sam Cornfield immediately grasped what prompted the statement and silently rejoiced at the possibility. He thought to test his perception.

“Well, I was hoping for you and Violet to think of occupying it son. The road to town on that side is better than the one on this side and it’s a bit closer to town. I’ll be putting a road between both property entrances for my own convenience, and it certainly would work for Violet’s teaching job. Much better than the place you occupy in town which is old and doesn’t work well for an expanding family. I guess it isn’t going to solve the problem of you being on call all day though.”

“Dad, I hear you’re going to concentrate the herds on that property and go upmarket in the herd management on a small industrial scale. Would you let me run that? I could still use my vet training and help occasionally with our neighbors if they have animal health issues. Could you trust me to do that?”

“Well, I was thinking of asking you son but didn’t want to pressure you into doing something you were not keen on just to please your parents. When can you start? I could help you move your things into the new home. It’s nice. I’m going to employ one of Carl’s brothers. It’s a big house so wonder if you could accommodate him in one of the rooms.”

Derek smiled happily and came over to hug his parents.

“I’ll give the vet service in town my resignation today. I must give them three months to find a replacement so would that fit in with your plan dad?”

“Yes. it would son, happy to have you on board as you’ll be inheriting this whole business someday with your sisters and brother so best you get familiar with it all now as it’s in the growing stage and the dairy project is a good way to get started.”

Violet was joyful as Derek told her that evening, he’d resigned from his job but had to continue to give them service while they found a replacement. On the weekend they went to inspect their new home on the Cornfield property and Violet loved it and wanted to move in immediately. But had to wait while the road across the property could be constructed to prevent her longer commute to town where another road extended to the school where she taught.

By the time they were able to move complications made it necessary for Violet to take a leave of absence from teaching on doctor orders and a relief retiree teacher sourced to teach at school during Violet’s absence. Harmony in the home was restored when Derek was released from his contract to take over his father’s new dairy industry plan for the property. Now the couple would enjoy much more of each other’s company.

Violet’s brother who’d joined the government agriculture and stock department was invaluable in helping them set up the program advising as tanks to produce methene gas as a source of power were installed using cattle waste and building the milk processing plants to feed tankers for the first time in the valley.

A few years after Cindy Simpson married Michael Sorensen, he died of a heart attack. Michael’s daughter Gwen had been delighted when her father married Cindy her mother-in-law, but Ralph the eldest son who took over managing the Sorensen farm had not been in favor of the wedding so urged Cindy to leave when his father died. This caused a permanent rift between he and his sister who urged her mother-in-law to return to their farm where she was treated with love and respect for the rest of her years.

Mavis and Albert were now in high school and Debby in college doing a business course. Beth Cornfield was beginning to feel the beginnings of aging and looked forward to Debby taking on responsibilities for the accounting side of their properties which were growing in complexity daily. She shrank from learning how to operate these new-fangled computers Debby delighted in and was in wonder at what her son Derek told her about how they were being used in the production side of property management. It was all too much for Beth though Sam was quite interested in how they could be used and struggled learning in the evenings.

Violet’s daughter was now one year old, and she returned to teaching appreciating the road running through the Cornfield properties to link her to the familiar road she’d known since childhood. Her mother Cindy looked after the baby during the day and provided food for those working in the factory.

Carl had become quite prosperous. He and Gwen had two children now and he’d put one of his brothers through agricultural school and was in the process of sponsoring the other one. Someday he’d be able to buy out a neighbor if they were prepared to sell and watched for opportunities to expand so he could help his brothers further. The Simpson and Cornfield families functioned more as relatives than neighbors, so it was not a real surprise when it was learned the youngest Simpson adult was in regular correspondence with Debby Cornfield. Beth and Cindy watched this development with eager anticipation hoping it worked out.

Violet was grateful her husband had made the sacrifice to leave his veterinary career behind and take on increasing responsibilities for Cornfield enterprises as his father and mother grew older. Derek obviously was enjoying the challenges as overall manager of the enterprises now and found fulfillment in his work with occasional help to the neighbors when their animals needed skilled care.

Cornfield and Simpson families were like one family now and supported each other as the need arose. Violet now had two children to care for and was anticipating a third. She’d given up her teaching career to nurture her children and take over some of the administrative office responsibilities with Debby who’d married Jack Simpson while their husbands cared for production on the Cornfield holdings.

She couldn’t be happier and cherished Beth Cornfield who’d first thought of rescuing her from the dysfunctional environment in Jed Simpson’s home long ago. After the death of Sam Cornfield, she took the old lady into their home and cared for her every need.

Violet often thought of those unhappy days growing up in the Simpson home and the time she diverted to the creek to play with yabbies when Derek found her and discovered bruises from her abuse. She remembered him kissing those bruises and determining in her heart that someday she’d have this kind boy and his family for her own. Life had been kind to her, and she rejoiced her hopes had been fulfilled to the extreme.


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

9 thoughts on “A Rural Saga – Chapter 3

    1. Glad you enjoyed the story Barb. Some of our rural growing up years experience helps with stories like this. While they are fiction I can see some of the characters represented there in my mind. 🙂


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