The screen door slams with a bang. Eighteen year old, Emma Arnold stomps across the barren yard to the hog pen. How could her father be so stubborn? Snatching the gate open, Emma kicks at the hogs as she pushes her way to the feed shed.
Jake, Emma’s younger brother pulls his knit cap over his ears and buttons his coat to ward off the icy wind that penetrates his clothes. He sees his sister slamming things around as she fills the feed troughs.
“Hey, what’s the matter with you?”
“Daddy! He won’t let me go to the barn dance next Saturday!”
“Why are you feeding the animals so early?”
“Daddy says the weather’s gonna get bad. Why is he so stubborn?”
“Don’t know sister, but he wants the best for us. Least that’s what momma says. Just settle yourself and hurry so we don’t miss “The Green Hornet“. I’ll finish here, you go get the radio tuned in.”
Emma fights the wind to get the door closed. Once inside, she begins tuning the old black radio. Static and garbled voices give way to the clear, deep voice of the announcer as he says, “Now stay tuned for today’s episode of ‘The Green Hornet‘.”
Jake goes to help his daddy bring in enough wood to keep the stove going all night. Wilburn Arnold is only fifty although he looks older, but he‘s strong and tough. Farm life is hard; it can make people hard too. “Where’s your momma? She shoulda been home way fore now. Did church go late?”
“No sir. Maybe she did some visiting while she delivered the eggs. She took a heap of eggs with her.”
“Emma, get some food on the table.”
“ Can I listen to ‘The Green Hornet‘, first.”
“I need to hear the news and weather. Git moving girl.”
Although Wilburn won‘t admit it come Saturday night he won’t miss “The Grand Ole Opry”; and on Sunday evenings, he’s glued to the radio for President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s fire-side chats.
Jake goes into the kitchen to find Emma crying as she gets out the biscuits left from breakfast, some fried ham and a bowl of beans her mama cooked last night. “Don’t cry Emma. He don’t mean nothin‘. Times are hard. He’s worried about losing the farm and the war over seas. Says he sure hopes America can stay clear of it.”
“You’re right, but he hurts my feelings. I’ll try harder to understand him. I have an idea, when Daddy goes to bed let’s listen to Glenn Miller’s Orchestra and practice dancing?”
“On Sunday? Oh, sister, I don’t know about dancing. You sure I need to know that?”
“I’m sure. You eat with daddy while I walk down the road to watch for momma. She’ll be toting home something heavy.”
The wind is fierce. Emma begins running to warm herself. At the end of the road, she sees her momma carrying some heavy bags. She runs to help her and with the load shared they will make it home quicker.
“What’s your daddy doing? Bet he’s ready for lunch since he went to work at three o’clock this morning. Walking against this wind slowed me considerably. Not to mention all the fabric and flour sacks Mrs. Holcomb gave me”
“He’s listening to the news and worrying about the weather. He never says a kind word to me.”
Emma, your daddy is working hard at the mill trying to keep the farm from going under. Don’t take his moods so personal. It’s not about you. He loves you and your brother very much. What’s Jake up to?”
“Eatin’ with daddy. He’s gonna practice dancing with me to Glenn Miller’s Orchestra.”
“Oh Emma, chuckled Mamie Arnold, only you can get him to do that. Just wait until Wilburn is in bed.”
After eating lunch, Wilburn sat down by the radio to tune in a local station to get the news.
It was December 7th, 1941 at 2:22pm EST when the news was interrupted by a “special bulletin“: America has been invaded. This morning at two minutes to eight o’clock, Pearl Harbor was attacked by Japan. Many are dead and wounded. Several ships are severely damaged or sunk. President Roosevelt will speak to the nation Monday, December 8th. Stay tuned to your local station for updates.
“Daddy, can we listen to ‘The Shadow‘?”
“No children. This radio is now our link to World War II. America has been attacked.”
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