A Fresh Start

S Railway Ave Drinkwater, Saskatchewan | Google Maps

S Railway Ave Drinkwater, Saskatchewan | Google Maps

“But Papa, he wants to marry me.” Her cheeks were bright. Whether it was from chill or passion he couldn’t say. He rested a hand on his shovel and studied her. Loosed from its braid, a strand of her hair waved in the wind.

He had plans when they pulled up stakes in Iowa and came to this featureless flat—plans that did not include marrying his sixteen-year old daughter to a handyman fifteen years her senior. “You’ll do no such thing,” he said.

“You don’t understand. We’re in love.” At that, her hand went to the curve of her belly.

It was a gesture he knew all too well, having seen it from his wife eight times these past twenty years. He understood all right. He understood there was no such thing as a fresh start.

137 words

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw. To read more stories inspired by the prompt, click here.

I have a personal connection to Saskatchewan so I took this opportunity to fictionalize a page from my family tree. My grandmother was born in Saskatchewan. My great-grandfather is the handyman of this tale, and the headstrong girl is my great-grandmother.

29 Comments

  1. Isn’t it great when we can use our personal history for these stories… at least, when it’s a happy outcome. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had quite a bit of fun. I enjoyed the fact-finding research even more than writing it. Looking forward to your story this week!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No inspiration has hit me yet… but we’ll see.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Glad to see it did–and how! Really enjoyed your piece.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Thanks. It happens. And I’m glad that it does.

        Like

  2. Lovely scene setting there, great perspective from the world weary papa. Did everything turn out okay? Was the marriage a happy one? Intrigued to know. Well written, as always, Karen

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s hard to say how happy but it wasn’t unhappy. Apparently Great-grandpa was a bit of a wild one. Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah, maybe not the easiest man to live with, then. Great story

        Like

  3. Love this scene, and the caution at the end. Excellent work.

    Like

    1. Thank you kindly!

      Like

  4. lillmcgill

    This is great. No perfect! Loved it! Great job, Karen!

    PS The baby in this story, eventually became my grandmother.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Mom, and thanks for letting me interview you. Although don’t you mean the baby was your mother? So glad you liked it.

      Like

  5. What a lovely write, Karen. Love can come in and screw up plans, can’t it?
    I love this this is a bit of your family history, to boot!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Love has a way of screwing up plans, doesn’t it? I hope to see you this week.

      I learned this week that since Canada had birthright citizenship, that I can get citizenship based on a grandparent’s citizenship. This may come in handy some day. Signed, your fellow canook. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That is does! And I just might 😉

        How cool is that.. An honorary Canuck!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Papa knows how to use a shovel. I suggest the handy man do exactly what he says he intends or there may be one more hole to fill…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooh! You make a good point. Never piss off a man with a shovel. Thanks for reading, Scott!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I was right there, feels like a familiar scene that has played out through the ages, yet also suits the location and the isolation. Nice one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading Iain. Yes, I’ll bet that story plays out all the time. Sometimes even with a happy ending.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. You give these two such depth of character in so few words, well done! And I loved the pause while he notices a strand of her hair in the wind, and the mirroring of his hand on the shovel and her hand on her belly.

    And yes, love does throw a monkey wrench into many a rationally-made plan. Lust, too. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your kind words! Love and lust–and also sometimes whiskey (throw a monkey wrench into a rationally made plan). 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Mm whiskey.. My throat is not 100% better yet, and whiskey sounds like just what it needs.

        Like

  9. Dear Karen,

    Touching and so poignant. I could feel the father’s disappointment and helplessness. His love for his daughter is also evident. Beautifully written. I love the fact that it comes from your own family history.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much! After quizzing my mom to see what she recalled of this story, it made me wish I’d been asking a lot more questions over the years. Great to see you this week 🙂

      Like

  10. Dear Karen
    This a lovely story! And you’ve written it so well that I kinda knew it was family history without needing your notes. Isn’t it strange how truth can do that to a story? I love the way the dad knew from his daughter’s involuntary gesture what the circumstances were.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Love how you picked up that it was a true family account. Glad the gesture worked for you–it seemed like the right way to tell the story. Great to see you this week!

      Like

  11. peterkirsch

    Wow…love the personal connection. Hope I get to hear the background in more detail sometime.

    Why on earth someone would move from Iowa to Saskatchewan is beyond me. Something about frying pans and fire comes to mind…but with longer, colder, darker winters!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wondered why Saskatchewan when I saw the old pictures in the family album. Picture the bleakest, flattest, coldest place, and then put an unpainted square barn and a tiny house on it. The details are scarce why they went. All we know is the handyman (my great grandfather) may have had a past.

      Like

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