Hank and Ab put the tools and supplies in the shed that Percy had designated.
They made their arrangements for Monday and each headed home.
Hank was thankful for the work accomplished and thought the Lord had blessed them with a good neighbor in Percy. As he thought and thanked God for what He had done for them he began to wonder if Percy and his wife were Christians.
Then his thoughts turned toward home and his family. Only a day away and it passed pleasantly enough. The body aches and pains not withstanding.
He drove the truck into the shed and eased himself out of the truck.
Once in the house, greetings were given all around, and Linda seemed especially affectionate.
Art wanted to tell about the fishing outing with Bill Richards and the deer sighting. Virginia wanted to tell about Bill helping her in the milk room with her chores. Phyllis wanted to suggest that Virginia had a romantic interest in Bill.
Hank listened to it all and Linda brought him a cup of coffee. They sat together and exchanged the blessings of the day.
Hank was interested in hearing the story of Charles Henry’s “dance with the heifer”.
At supper he learned that Bill was going to Charles Henry’s to help with the chores. He asked the family, “How about we go help Bill with Charles Henry’s chores? He continued, “Many hands make light work.”
Virginia responded first, “Yes, let’s do it.” Glances were shared around the table. Virginia responded to the unspoken comments with, “Well it will be a way to thank him for his help today.” Phyllis interjected, “See what I mean.”
Everyone agreed to go and as soon as their supper was done they got in the truck and drove to Charles Henry’s place.
They found Charles and Bill in the barn discussing the chores.
Charles was flabbergasted at the offer of unsolicited help.
Hank asked them, “How will we divide the work?” Charles offered, “We are milking 25 tonight, so maybe those who can milk should start there and I’ll show the rest how to get the hay to the manger.”
Hank concurred with the plan. “Ok. Bill, Art, and I will milk and the ladies can get the hay down.”
While the men cleaned the tie-ups, Charles Henry showed the ladies where to take the hay from, and how to open the chutes that led to the mangers. Then he bought extra pails and stools for milking.
Charles directed Hank to a particular cow and said, “Better do her first, she has to be hobbled and her tail tied down.” He explained, “She gets nervous hearing the others being milked so we do her first.”
Hank asked, “Is this the one?” “No” replied Charles, “It is that heifer on the end, we call her Matilda.”
The milking was otherwise uneventful and in 30 minutes they were carrying the milk cans to the milk-room. They poured the cans of milk into a refrigerated bulk tank to await collection by the dairy.
The ladies had taken care of feeding and watering the bull, who had his own space just outside the barn.
Phyllis was intimidated by his size and loud bellows. Virginia found that he loved to be rubbed on his forehead. He would stand still, with his eyes crossed as long as she rubbed. It became comical as she stopped and he started chewing and moving trying to get closer to Virginia. Then Virginia would start rubbing him again, and he would freeze and his eyes would cross. Virginia called him “silly boy”.
They all met back by the milk-room. Charles appeared close to tears as he thanked every one. Bill reminded him that he would come over again the following evening. Charles countered, “My dad will be home tomorrow all day. We can handle it together.”
Bill replied, “I’ll check with you Monday then to see if you need me.”
As they walked out of the barn toward the truck Charles pointed at a pair of torn up overalls nailed to the wall above the door.
Charles Henry explained, “Those were the ones I was wearing.” Then he pointed out a hand lettered sign which read, “Be careful who you share your overalls with.” Hank smiled as the images of Charles Henry waltzing with Matilda came into his mind.
Bill thanked Hank and the family for their help and commented on how well it went.
Hank said, “Come on, ride home with us.” Bill replied, “Thanks!” and jumped into the body of the truck with Virginia and Art.
The three stood leaning on the cab and enjoying the wind sweeping over them. Virginia’s house dress whipping around in the wind finally caused her to retreat to sitting down in the shelter of the cab. She drew the skirt of her dress down over her knees and held it there. Bill, sensing her mild distress, took his light jacket and laid it on her to hold everything in place. Virginia relaxed, and they talked about school starting, and their favorite teachers, and classes.
Hank pulled into the Richard’s farm driveway and let Bill out.
Virginia waved good-bye for as long as Bill was visible.
Once the family arrived home, Hank checked the barn while the rest of the family went to the kitchen to help with clean up.
Everyone took a bath and went to bed. No one had any trouble sleeping except Virginia.
She watched the moon make its way into the sky while thinking the thoughts that a young girl thinks on an August night in Maine.