Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Handout (04/14/11)
- TITLE: Manna from Heaven
By Mildred Sheldon
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Mama was a proud and very independent woman, and when Pa died she was determined to carry one just like before. Mama wasn’t one to take handouts from anybody. She worked long hard days before daylight plowing and planting plus raising four little ones. I was the oldest, and when Pa died I became the man of the house, so I did all the hunting and trapping cause Pa taught me to fire a gun almost before I was barely able to walk real good. Yep! I could hit a rabbit square in the head even before he smelled me. That’s what Pa use to tell me, and then he’d throw back his head and laugh.
I remember that winter real well. It was one of those northerners Mama called them that came through that year. I can’t remember to this day ever having a winter like that one, and I’ll be 90 my next birthday. The wind started howling, and snow was falling nearly horizontal. It was bitter cold that year, and no matter how much wood we put in that old stove the house was always chilly. We all wore our heavy long johns and woolen pants and shirts as well as heavy knitted sweaters Mama had made. That’s the year a lot of the old folks died. They just plum froze to death in there beds. Yep! That was one nasty Winter. It set a record for being one of the coldest Winters in 50 years.
They closed the school that year cause most folk was snow bound, and the children couldn’t get to school, but I’m starting to stray from my story. I tend to do that nowadays, but at 90 I reckon that’s okay.
Now, where was I? Now I remember; I was talking about all those groceries on the front porch. Well, since I was the man of the house it was my chore to go out and get the wood for the stove. That was a strange winter, let me tell you. When Mama, and I went into the kitchen that old wood burner stove was putting out some kind of heat, and it was nice and warm throughout the whole house. Mama, and I just got down on our needs, and praised the Lord for such a blessing.
Well, I grabbed my heavy coat and scarf and opened the kitchen door, and that’s when I spied 4 hound dogs laying all around those groceries guarding them. Mama and I just stood there for a minute taking it all in before I started carrying in all those groceries. That morning Mama made biscuits with sausage gravy for all of us. It had been a while since we had that for breakfast, and boy the dancing and singing hymns we did after breakfast was something else. Michael even got his banjo out, and played it while the rest of us gave God the glory. Sure felt good. Yep!
We ran out of flour about a week before we found all those groceries. Those groceries lasted the rest of the winter, and Mama made pancakes with real maple syrup on them. By the time Spring came that year we had, it seemed, grown like weeds. All our britches was what Mama called high waters, but we didn’t mind. We was just thankful for Manna from heaven. That’s what Mama called it, but the strangest thing about that Winter was we weren’t the only family that found groceries on their front porch. Just about everybody that had children found Manna from heaven.
Everybody thought Mr. Wiggins, an honorable bank president, was our benefactor, but he swore on the Bible it was none of his doing. We never did find out who our benefactor was, but we gave God all the glory. Yep, sure did.
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