It had been three days since Jason Gardner had been to the Jackson residence. It was planting and branding season. He had helped his dad get the livestock chores done, and had planted the seedlings of sunflowers around the perimeter of the vegetable garden. His mom had been seeding it the day Fawn had come over. Now he came galloping up to the Jackson’s place, giving his horse his head, feeling the excitement of spring coursing through his veins. Plus, he wanted to see Fawn. I know she doesn’t belong to you yet, Lord, but I’m trusting You to work in her heart and save her soul. She will never know of my feelings until she realizes how much You love her. He pulled up to the hitching post outside the door.
Fawn was standing at the open door, grinning at him. “Did you give Garth the workout, or did he give one to you?” She laughed.
Jason dismounted easily, dusted his hat on his pants, and walked to the door. “Maybe a little of both,” he said, joining in her laughter.
Fawn opened the door. “There’s a tin cup hanging on the nail by the rain barrel. Help yourself. I pumped in fresh water this morning.” She held the door open, shooing flies as she waited for Jason to fill his cup.
Nana sat on the couch, rubbing her arthritic legs. “Come in and sit a spell,” she said, turning her head to welcome their neighbor.
“How’s yer ma?” Nana asked as they all sat down, Jason between the two ladies.
“Just fine, ma’am. Ma is working in the garden, making sure no weeds are sprouting up. We’ve had so little rain she filled a pitcher from the pump and started watering the seedlings just a trickle at a time.” His eyes twinkled with merriment. “I bet we’ll get some rain now.”
Fawn sat quietly for a few moments, letting the other two banter. Should she ask Jason to sit with Nana so she could look for work? Should she ask if Nana could stay with the Gardners if she did find work? Nana would definitely be resistant to that idea. She shivered involuntarily.
“Are ya cold, Fawn?” Nana asked.
“No, ma’am. I was just thinking.”
Jason was about to take a drink of water from his cup. He set it down and looked directly at Fawn. There was trouble in her hazel eyes. Today they were an olive green color with gold flecks around the edges. The tint of her freckles had deepened. “Fawn, what’s wrong?”
She told him about the break-in, the devastation. “I sold the wagon as you suggested and Senator Browning came and collected his rent. Jason, I have to have a job if we’re going to keep paying our bills, but I can’t leave Nana alone here after what. . .”
“Now you just wait a sugar-gum minute!” Nana interrupted. “I know what ye’re thinkin’ and ya kin jist fergit it. I ain’t goin’ nowhere. This is my home as long as we keep payin’ and I ain’t leavin’ it.”
“Mrs. Jackson,” Jason began. “You won’t have to leave here. We have two hired hands that live in our small bunkhouse. . .”
“No. I don’t need a babysitter. I kin shoot.” She crossed her arms over her chest and glared at the kitchen.
“Nana, you were hurt when our house got broke into. Someone came in here and did a lot of damage. You didn’t see the mess they made of the upstairs rooms.” Fawn pleaded with her grandmother.
Tears formed in Nana’s eyes. Although she had not seen the rooms, she had heard Fawn describe the vandalism to Dewey. She also knew how people felt about Native Americans. She could imagine what had been done to the blankets, pottery, and anything else Shawnee that may have been upstairs. The tears ran down her weathered cheeks. Although she herself was not Shawnee, her daughter-in-law and her granddaughter were. Lottie had been a full-blooded Native American while Fawn wanted to look and live like the Shawnee. Yet, she looked every bit as Irish as her paternal great-grandmother had been. But Nana did not want to leave and she did not want strangers in...