“All great changes are preceded by chaos.” ~ Deepak Chopra
“You want to take yer little boy and head out WHERE?” The shrill in Nan’s voice made Ruth wince as her fingers gripped the letter in her tightly. The paper wrinkled and spots appeared from the perspiration of Ruth’s hands. She looked helplessly at her father. Nan had also fixed her gaze on him.
“You are NOT supporting this, are you, Samuel Carthwrite?”
Sam glanced from his wife to his daughter and back to his wife. “Her husband is dyin’, Nan, if she don’t go now, she’ll never get to see him again.”
“Well, good riddance then!” Nan snapped. “Much good that husband was. Takin’ off the way he did and leavin’ her to raise a child all on her own. And now you, Ruth, want to travel half way across the country, out into wild territory just to see him?”
“Wouldn’t you do the same for Daddy?” Ruth snapped back. “It ain’t that hard to get out to Arizona now. The railway makes it easy. And I won’t go alone, Daddy said he would take me.”
Nan’s eyes widened and she twisted violently to face her husband again. “So you DO support this trip out into the land of the outlaw? You’ve been out west, Sam, you know it’s no place for Ruth.”
“I know she wants to see her husband and she has every right as a wife to do so. Eddie has a right to see his father before he dies. And yes, I do know the territory well, which is why I want to go with her.”
“So the two of you are just going to leave me here?”
“You’ve got the boys, Momma. Seth and Jimmy can easily handle the farm between the two of them and Elisha and Michael will be helpin’ hands. Not to mention you have Cara and Abbie Mae to help you in the house. And it ain’t like we are gonna be gone forever.”
Nan flung her hands down helplessly. She could see this was a losing battle on her side. Her daughter was as stubborn as she was and once she got it into her head to do something, there was no changing that mind.
The Carthwrite boys, who stood by the door eavesdropping, exchanged glances. It was obvious Ruth would go out west to see the husband who had abandoned her and now decided to reveal his dying whereabouts. If Pa was backing her up there was nothing Momma would do.
“But how will we manage, without Ruth?” Michael whispered the question everyone was thinking.
“Well, as long as she ain’t gone for long, I don’t think we’ll suffer much,” Elisha replied.
And yet there was an unspoken fear in the eyes of all brothers. Ruth had been their rock and support. She was the eldest sister who knew the needs of all her brothers and never paused to lend a hand and give advice.
Would they really be able to survive without her?