Aunt Rebecca Moves In

by Bethany (Horse-Crazy Girl)

Aunt Rebecca Moves In
            "Okay, so you won that time, Anna." Andrea Carter laughed sitting alongside her good pal, Anna. "Next time I'll beat you for sure! What did you do while we were gone? Ride this course all day?"
            Andi and Anna had just returned from a ride to Andi's favorite spot-- the creek. Both their horses, Thunder and Anna's blue-roan stallion, Shadow, were sweating from the close race.
            "Let's unsaddle and then you can show me Taffy's new twins," Anna suggested as the horses trotted up to the barn.
            "Sounds good to me," Andi replied.
            Soon both horses were brushed down. After the girls had crooned over the twins for awhile, they ran towards the house full of renewed energy from their ride. Suddenly, Andi stopped causing Anna to almost bump into her.
            Before Anna could say a word, she, too, saw what caused Andi to stop.
            "What was that you were just telling me about the only person who comes by unannounced, Andi?"
            "Yeah. Uh, let's go riding again!" Andi joked, quickly turning away from the empty buggy and horses attached that somehow looked familiar.
            "Hold it right there! We are going to go straight up to the house and see whoever is here. Other people visit unannounced you know. And-- Andi-- those horses are your horses!" Anna said confidently, then murmured, "This is getting stranger and stranger. Come on! It's an adventure!"
            "A very unwanted adventure if that's what you mean," Andi grumbled.
            However, as the cowgirls marched to the house their bravery crumbled. The door scarcely creaked as they crept in the house. Once inside a light shone under the doorway of the guest room and hushed voices came from the parlor.  
           All at once Andi's curiosity took over and she began to walk to the parlor door but was quickly jerked back by Anna.
            "Are you kidding, Andi! We'd better change before parading in there like a couple of dirty ranch hands! Don't you remember the time you did that and Justin had that fancy businessman over?"
            Reluctantly, Andi agreed and the girls trooped to Andi's room to change before walking into the parlor to uncoil this mystery.
            "Ready, Anna. Okay. Let's go."
            As soon as they entered the parlor they were greeted by the strained smiles of Mother, and Andi's older siblings Justin, Chad, Mitch, and Melinda.
            "Hello, girls. I'm glad you're back. We have some news. Come, sit down," Andi's Mother got right to the point.
            With long strides Andi marched to her mother and sat on the floor with a thud before realizing that Anna still stood in the doorway. Anna whispered, "I'd better go. Good luck!" and before Andi could protest, Anna ducked out of the room. Andi turned her attention to the somber crowd around her.
            "What's going on?" Andi's voice came out a squeak.
            "Honey," Andi's oldest brother Justin began using the fatherly voice he had assumed after the passing of their father, "we have a visitor that will be staying for awhile. I assume you saw the buggy and the horses in the yard. Well, your Aunt Rebecca tripped on her stairs and broke her leg so she is staying here until she recovers. She is staying in the guest room.You will be expected to help more whether you want to or not. You will also be expected to treat her as you would any other guest; actually better, she is family," Justin spoke sharply.
            "How? When? I- I can't believe this is happening!" Andi stuttered, sobbing but instead of soothing words and sympathy all she received was "Shh!"
            "Why don't you go see her, but be quiet, she's resting," Chad offered.
            Visiting her Aunt was the last thing Andi wanted to do but she knew better than to argue so, forgetting about Anna, she slunk to her Aunt's new bedroom. As the door creaked open her Aunt stirred and her eyes fluttered open. "Hello, Andrea. How are you doing?"
            "I-I'm fine thank you."
            Ignoring Andi's stuttered answer she proclaimed, "I am glad to see that you at least dressed appropriately and not in those horrid overalls."
Aunt Rebecca
            Sparing Andi from saying anything that she would later regret, the door opened and Justin came in. "Hello, Aunt. You seem to have some more of your regular spunk," he cheerily greeted, "Our cook just informed me that supper will be ready in a few minutes so would you like to come to the table or prefer to eat in bed?"
            "Of course I'll come to the table and Andrea can help me get dressed, so shoo!" Aunt Rebecca motioned with her hands.
            "Yes ma'am. Andi, are you okay with this?"
            "Harrumph," was Andi's only reply to Justin. He winked at Andi before shutting the door.
              After several minutes of tugging and jerking first a corset and then a long dress, Andi's aunt grabbed her crutches and shuffled to the door. Once at the dinner table, Justin said grace and everyone ate while discussing Aunt Rebecca's injury.
            The next morning Andi was roused much too early to go to school by her mother's gentle touch. "Wake up, Andrea. You have chores, your aunt to care for, and you must get ready for school."
           Andi slumped out of bed and did her duties before riding in the buggy to school with Justin. School was full of gossip about the Carters for, in their small town, nothing is kept a secret for long. At home it was homework, chores, and work, work, work.  
            She didn't think that she had ever done this much work. No time to ride, no time for friends, none of her own time, only work. Andi began to dislike her aunt more than ever before. Every day fell into pretty much this same pattern until one day, all of that changed and the unthinkable happened.
            Three weeks after her Aunt had arrived, Andi got home from a particularly dreary day. Johnny had bullied her more than regularly by tripping her in front of the whole class, pulling her braid, and spilling her ink all over the front of her dress. Although she had tried to clean off some of the ink by using the icy pump water at the front of the schoolyard, she still looked like she had, well, spilled her ink. Grumpily, she trudged toward the house not looking forward to the work, and explaining to her mother her ruined dress after already explaining to her brother, Justin, on the way home.
            "Andrea! What in the world happened to you? Are you okay, honey?" her worried mother asked.
            "I'm fine, Mother. Thank you. I just, er," Andi mumbled, reddening, "spilled my ink. Sorry," Andi was not about to mention that Johnny had spilled her ink since her encounter with this bully was still fresh in everyone's mind.
            "Alright then, go change and, I would like you to please spend some time talking with your Aunt. She has been rather, well cranky, all day. She wants someone to talk to. So wear your best. Tea is in the parlor."
            As Andi marched off she muttered, "Aunt Rebecca this, Aunt Rebecca that! 
Tea in the parlor! 'Wear you best Andrea.' No free time. Harrumph!"
            Several minutes later, dressed in her Sunday best, Andi debated sliding down the banister but decided against it. It would earn her too loud of a scolding and she had already had her share of scoldings today. Seconds later she took a deep breath and pranced into the parlor where she was greeted by a raspy, "I've been waiting."
            As Andi eyed her aunt she noted that her aunt looked rather frail. Determined to make the best of a bad situation Andi gracefully sat on the couch next to her aunt and smiled. "How was your day, dear Aunt?"
            "Ah, forget my day, Andrea. Tell me, what do you enjoy?"
            Cringing at being called Andrea by anyone but her mother she bit off a mean reply like, "What do you care?" but instead answered with a deep sigh, "Horses are my hobby, Aunt. What do you enjoy?"
            Seeming to ignore Andi's question, Aunt Rebecca muttered under her breath. 
"Hmm, horses. I wonder. . . ." Loudly she said, "Horses, dear Andrea, are also on my list of favorites."
            Too stunned to say a word Andi simply dropped her jaw.
            Not noticing Andi's response Aunt Rebecca continued, "Yes, dear. I was thinking that I want to get back onto the back of a horse. I've not ridden for ten years you know. Yes, I was a wonderful rider. Back in my day I was asked to ride in parades all over town."
            Finally comprehending what her aunt was saying Andi squealed, "That would be great! I'd love to help you ride once again, Aunt!" For the first time Andi was proud to call Aunt Rebecca "Aunt".
            Early Saturday morning, Andi leaped out of bed, rapidly got dressed in her favorite overalls, sloppily braided her hair and slipped out of the house into the fresh air.  First she gathered the eggs, her chore since she was five years old, then heading straight to the barn, she inhaled her favorite
aroma-- horse. As she stepped into Taffy's stall, her horse hungrily nickered to her.
            "Howdy yourself, girl. How are you feeling with Shasta and Sunny constantly up against you?"
            Of course, her only response was her horse's breathing on the back on her neck. Suddenly feeling a playful nudge on her shoulder, Andi turned quickly and giggled, noticing Sunny trying to nibble at her braid.
            "Hi there, Sunny. Hi, Shasta. How are you two today? You both make sure Taffy has room to step around without bumping one of you, you hear?" Andi happily instructed.
            Turning back to Taffy, Andi topped her horse in on the plans of today while she filled the water, fed her horse, and mucked the stall. "Taffy, today I'm going to get Aunt acquainted with the horses here and let her pick which horse she wants to ride," Pausing, Andi stroked Shasta's neck, "Oooh. Can you believe that my Aunt Rebecca wants to ride horses! This will be so fun!"
            Suddenly Andi whirled around at the sound of Chad's voice. "Chad! You startled me dreadfully!"
            "You startled me dreadfully," Chad mimicked playfully, "Oh, brother, are YOU now going to be 'Miss Proper Andi', or do you want to now be called 'Andrea'?"
            "Ugh! Brothers!" Andi exclaimed impatiently, "You came out for a reason, what is it?"
            "Oh, I just was coming out to make sure you were feeding, watering, and mucking when I heard you whispering to Taffy. What's so exciting?" Chad asked after seeing his little sister's face light up at the mention of whispering to Taffy.
            "Oh, Chad!" Andi joyfully exclaimed, "I'm going to give Aunt Rebecca riding lessons once again!"
            "What! What does 'once again' mean?"
            "Aunt Rebecca used to ride when she was young! And she wants me to refresh her on the basics! Now, I had better finish up these chores before she comes out to the barn," A shadow of gloom passed over Andi's face rapidly as she remarked, "Also, I should change into a riding skirt just for the occasion."
            With that she cheered up and first fed, then watered all the horses before mucking quickly all the stalls. She even went so far as to sweep the barn aisles. With the final swift sweep of the broom Andi admired her work for only a moment before racing to the house for a fast breakfast and to change.  Twenty minutes after entering the house she emerged with her Aunt hobbling on her crutches. Both grinned from ear to ear as Andrea explained what the day would hold.
           "So, mostly today you will pick out the horse that you want to re-learn how to ride on and then we can refresh on grooming and tacking up." Pausing she added, "If we have time maybe we could even go for a quick ride!"
            "Sounds delightful! Let us begin!" Aunt Rebecca declared as they entered the old barn.
            Andi quickly bent down to pick up a few straw pieces and as she stood up she jumped, hearing a squeal come directly from her aunt!
            Rapidly moving towards her aunt Andi cried, "What's the matter!"
            "Nothing child! Just look at that mare and the two foals! What are their names? Oh, I do want to ride on that mare, Andrea! She looks just like my old gelding!"
            Recovering from her fright, Andi sourly responded, "The mare is Taffy, she's my horse. And that is Sunny, over in the corner is Shasta. Taffy, I'm sure would love to have you ride her." Pausing for a moment Andi mumbled angrily in a low voice, "But I'm not," before continuing.  "I have only done some light riding with her since foaling but she terribly wants me to go into some regular riding with her. Yes, I think you two will make a great combination!" Andi grinned at her aunt, now warming up to the idea, as her aunt smiled from ear-to-ear.
Dear Aunt Rebecca,
            I so enjoyed your visit to the Circle C Ranch.

  Andi nibbled on her fingernails as she thought up the remainder of her letter.
            At the beginning of your stay I was so sure that I couldn't wait until you left. However, after you left I surprised myself by crying the whole way home from the train station. I miss you terribly. When will you come back?
            As I thought about our time together I had to chuckle about some of the disagreements we had. Remember, on your fourth lesson how you chided me for coming out in my overalls yet on the fifth lesson you had borrowed my mother's overalls while I was in a riding habit? Then remember our whole issue over western saddles or sidesaddles? Yes, looking back on that incident it was rather funny how stubborn we both were to ignore each other (for, what was it, a week?) until we decided that we would trade off each day and would teach each other our personal preference for a riding style.
            When you come back for awhile I hope to show you my favorite spot on the creek where I often will go with Taffy, Shasta, and Sunny to escape my troubles. I know that you will enjoy that what with your love of the great outdoors. I know that we will have fun once you return. Please come back soon.

With love,
Andrea Carter
            As Andi sealed the letter a tear dropped onto the envelope. Then she smiled as she thought how it was not just her aunt who had gone through a healing process.


  1. it's very interesting with Aunt Rebecca liking horses and all, but otherwise, I like it!

    1. Ya but at least it wasn't like the christmas story frum the begings


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