Thanksgiving 1890 🦃 Part One

Read more journal entries in Andi’s Attic >>

Part One

November 1890

I must have been out of my mind when I offered to host Thanksgiving at Memory Creek ranch. At the time, it seemed like a wonderful idea. After all, Mother always hosts Thanksgiving and I thought it might be nice to offer to do it one years. Plus the fact that Thanksgiving would be small this year. Melinda and baby William would join Peter’s family in Fresno; Justin and Lucy, along with Sammy and Gracie, were heading to San Francisco to celebrate Thanksgiving with the Hawkins family. Lucy’s lawyer-brother, Michael, was home from spending the year abroad, and he wanted to catch up with his sister’s family and the two children.

Kate and Troy were celebrating their first Thanksgiving together since he’d been released from prison last January. He’d promised the children a visit to a traveling circus that had set up near the city the day after Thanksgiving, and the two girls were wild with excitement. Levi probably was too but being nineteen with a job in the city, he probably didn’t want to admit it. Besides, rumors were flying that Levi had found a nice girl he was courting and had invited her family to the mansion on Pacific Heights. Maybe he wants to show off? Hmm, maybe not. Not much to show off about an ex-convict and a house that used to be your spinster old aunt’s. I hope Betsy and Hannah behave themselves.

Oh, and what about Chad and Ellie’s growing family? Ellie is expecting baby number three come next May, but since she never feels ill at any time during her confinement, she talked Chad into answering the pleading letter from Jem and his wife in Goldtown to join their little family and his pa, Sheriff Coulter, for the Thanksgiving holiday.

That leaves Mitch, who at first agreed to come out to Memory Creek ranch for Thanksgiving. That was before he received an invitation to come to Merced, to celebrate the holiday with Emily McConnell and her family. I remember Mitch taking her around the dance floor any number of times at Chad’s engagement party all those years ago, but nothing (so I thought) ever came of it. Then Emily’s family moved to Merced, where her father took the job of sheriff, so I figured that was the end of that. Apparently not. She’s back in Fresno, working hard to set up her dressmaking business. She also works at the new ice cream parlor in town, but there’s not a lot of business for ice cream in the rainy season. Mitch accepted the McConnell’s invitation, so that left just Riley and me, Jared, the twins, who are a handful at five months old, and Mother.

A nice, quiet Thanksgiving on Memory Creek ranch!

Until a week ago. Then I learned that Riley’s folks are dying to see the babies and Jared, and what better time than right now, when Captain Prescott is on duty at the Presidio once again? “Why! (his mother wrote in a letter) San Francisco is no farther away then a swift (who would call an eight-hour ride swift?) railroad trip.” It is no longer a nice, quiet Thanksgiving. My stomach swirled a bit after hearing that, but of course, we invited them to join us. The scariest part of this entire Thanksgiving is hosting Riley’s mother and father. I hardly know their names, Robert and Carrie, and saw only glimpses of them at our wedding four years ago. The captain pecked my cheek in congratulations, and Mrs. Prescott squeezed me hard with tears in her eyes. “I only remember you as a little thing that Christmas Sid brought me to the Circle C. Who knew you would grow up to be Riley’s wife!”

Yes, who knew, indeed? Speaking of Sid . . . Just when I thought Thanksgiving would be including only two more additions, Sid McCoy rode up just the other day. He was grinning from ear to ear. “Miss Andi, I hear tell that my sister Sophie and Robert are coming for Thanksgiving right here on Memory Creek.”

“Yes, that’s true,” I replied, jostling Lottie on my hip. She wailed, hungry for her lunch. Lilly was screaming in the background. “Jared!” I hollered, turning around. “Could you go talk to the baby for a minute?”

“Yes, Mama.” Silence for one blessed moment.

“Well, Miss Andi,” Sid went on, “I sure wouldn’t mind if–“

I gasped on the inside. The Circle C foreman was fishing for an invitation to dinner. Of course, I couldn’t act ignorant. “Sid!” I hollered over Lottie’s cries. “Come for Thanksgiving, would you? You and your sister will have a merry time catching up.”

Sid clapped his hat back on his head, all smiles. “Why, thank-you, Miss Andi. Tell Riley I’ll be pleased as punch to help set up. And I’ll let Joe and Sarah know right away.” He grinned. “And Ellen will be arriving tomorrow from Des Moines.”

Instead of vaulting up on his horse, Cochise, like Riley might do on Dakota, Sid climbed slowly into the saddle. His arthritis must be bothering him, I worried. But I worried only for a moment. Wait! Ellen? I knew she was Sid’s grown daughter and Riley’s cousin. I’d met her a time or two, but she’s a little older than Melinda, so the few times Ellen visited the Circle C during boarding school breaks, she and Melinda visited. I was just the “baby sister” who tagged along behind them. And I didn’t do it very often because both my sister and Ellen were “young ladies,” or at least they tried to be. Dull.

But Joe? Sarah? Who in the world were–

My breath caught, and my mind spun in a thousand whirls. Riley’s Uncle Joseph and his young cousin, Sarah! Sarah had lost her mother, Sophie (Sid’s sister), back in October 1877, when Riley and his family had been stationed at Fort Laramie. Riley told me about it just a few hours after Jared was born, how his aunt had bled to death after birthing Sarah. Not an encouraging story to hear right after giving birth, but it explained why Riley was so insistent on going for Mother the night Jared was born.

I switched Lottie to my other hip and cast a glance upwards, thinking hard. How old would Sarah be now? She and Uncle Joseph had not attended our wedding, so I had never met the girl. Let’s see . . . I did the arithmetic in my head and came up with the correct answer. Sarah had turned thirteen last month.

Juggling Lottie, I stumbled inside the house, shut the door, and collapsed onto the settee. Lottie quieted down as soon as I cuddled her and let her enjoy a little snack. One, two, three, four . . . seven guests, not including Jared and the twins, nor Riley and myself. If I counted us all, the number came out to an even dozen. A dozen people in the small Memory Creek house. Where would I put them all?

My first thought was to beg Mother to host Thanksgiving, after all. With Nila and Luisa to help serve, this crowd would be no larger than a Sunday dinner at the Circle C. But then, a nagging little voice whispered, “Always depending on Mother to bail you out of a tough spot?” I shook my head, rose slowly with a sleeping Lottie in my arms, and shuttled her off to her cradle. Then I hurried across the rag rug to pick up Lilly before she decided to yell and wake up her sister. Thank goodness, Jared was busily building a small town with all the different sized blocks his Uncle Mitch had carved and whittled for his third birthday in July. Lilly was lying on her back cooing and smiling while her big brother carried on a conversation with the baby as if she were helping him.

“Thank you, little man.” I brushed a kiss on his sandy head and whisked Lilly to the rocking chair for some cuddling before she went down for her nap.

And I thought. Thanksgiving dinner. No cook. No servants. No Mother or big sisters to help cook.

I am on my own . . .

Go to Part Two >>

Published by Andi Carter

I'm the main character in the Circle C Adventures series. I live on a huge cattle ranch in 1880s California. These are my adventures.

18 thoughts on “Thanksgiving 1890 🦃 Part One

  1. Nice story! Poor Andi though!

    Also I noticed that when Andi was thinking about Riley’s parents she says: Robert and Carrie. But then Sid says Sophie and Robert.
    I don’t know if you did that on purpose but yeah 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: