“They can’t do this! They don’t got the right!” barked Elizabeth, slamming her fist on the table.
Elizabeth Greene stood a mere five foot four inches tall, with wavy, silver hair and matching wire rimmed glasses, but this recently turned ninety-one year old still had plenty of fire left in her.
“Unfortunately they can, Lizzy, “explained William. “It’s called ‘Eminent Domain’ and the highway they want to build through your property qualifies.”
“Greene Orchards has been in our family for eight generations, Will. I can’t lose it now,” Elizabeth explained, fiddling with the ring on her finger.
“Then we better start praying for a miracle. I’m going to go see what Claire is doing.”
Lizzy rose slowly from the table and wandered onto the covered front porch which wrapped around a majority of the old white farm house that served as the homestead for Greene Apple Orchards. She was grateful for her granddaughter Claire and her husband coming to help her, but she was frustrated and upset. Her mind raced back to years past when as a little girl she used to stand on this same porch looking over these same fields. The gentle spring breeze flowed over the green sea of tall grass, rising and falling over the rolling hills. Green was absolutely Lizzy’s favorite color and it had nothing to do with it being her last name. She loved the outdoors and green was its most abundant color. It was also the color of new life. Both of these comforted her, knowing they were created by the very hand of God. Prompted by the peaceful setting, Lizzy bowed her head to pray.
After several minutes she was interrupted by the squeak of the screen door opening.
“Grannymom,” came a voice from behind her, “do you know what this is?”
“Hello, Claire. That is your great, times six, grandmother’s journal. She and her husband purchased this orchard just before the ‘War Between the States’.”
“Then this entry makes much more sense to me. Here, read it,” Claire instructed, handing the book to Lizzy.
Lizzy returned her glasses to her face, took the worn book from her granddaughter, and began to read the small faded handwriting.
“June 30, 1863 – Today I returned home from purchasing supplies in town. There was unusual activity there, with a good number of Calvary soldiers wandering the streets. One of the soldiers inquired if I resided to the west of town, to which I responded that I owned an orchard about half day’s journey to the west. He warned me to be on the lookout, stating that Confederate soldiers were seen in the area. Something was most assuredly afoot. Gettysburg has never been so busy.
Taking no heed to the soldiers warning, after arriving home, I proceeded to work in my front gardens when I heard the thunder of hoofs approaching. I stood and turned to see a handful of Confederate soldiers progressing quickly toward the homestead. My heart raced as my mind feebly instructed my feet to run, but it was too late. The conversation to follow was unexpectedly easy and polite.
“Pardon us ma’am,” apologized the lead soldier removing his hat. “Begging your forgiveness for the intrusion but we were wondering if you would be so kind as to help us.”
“I’ll do what I can,” I mustered up.
“See ma’am, we were sent by my superior to secure supplies from the town to the east, and quite honestly my men and I are famished and exhausted. Could you possibly spare a bite to eat and a peaceful place to rest for a few hours?”
“I am afraid all I have to offer are apples and an old stable on the east edge of the property.”
“That will do just fine ma’am, thank you. We have been instructed to pay for any goods or services provided to us, and we are men of honor. Unfortunately all I have to offer is this emerald ring which I pray you will accept in exchange for your kindness.”
“I will accept it, kind sir, but I fear I have not had the privilege of knowing your name,” I requested.
“Forgive me for my rudeness ma’am. I am Brigadier General Johnston Pettigrew of the Confederate States Army.”
Lizzy’s eyes lifted from the page as a broad smile covered her face. She looked down at the emerald ring resting on her finger and said, “Claire, call the historical society. I believe my prayer was just answered.”
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