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November 13, 2004

Chapter 6 ... in progress

Growing up on McKenna Farm in Enfield, NC had its advantages. Crime was non-existent. Then again, when you own 140 acres, are one of the most respected farmers in the community and have a shotgun and a temper, most people steer clear of you out of respect. Big Jack had earned it, though, raising his daughter on his own and running the most profitable cotton farm in the county, if not the whole of Eastern North Carolina.

Running the farm didn't leave much time for Big Jack to spend with Katelyn. As the little girl grew, her father never quite was able to connect with her the way he did that day when they had both stood up for the memory of Maeve. The summer after Maeve's death, Big Jack tried to take her to their cabin, to get away from the farm for a day, thinking that going fishing with his little girl would bring them closer together again, but Katelyn balked at the sight of the cabin. She just knew that her mother was still on the floor in that kitchen and she refused to even get out of the truck. She had worked herself into a good bit of hysterics before Big Jack finally agreed to leave, to go back to the farm.

In the years that followed, Big Jack would return to the cabin for a day here or there, leaving Katelyn in the care of Mrs. McGreevy, the widow that came in to take care of the cooking and cleaning on the farm. He didn't know what drew him to the cabin; he just knew he had to go back, to try to find how he had lost his grip on his family. Being away from the farm helped him see more clearly what needed to be done so, even if he didn't get much rest, he always went back to the farm with renewed determination to improve what he had. While Big Jack was at the cabin, though, he would nothing more than fish and fall into a drunken stupor. Being there made him weepy, all those memories, all those lost dreams.

Katelyn, for her part, noticed that whenever her father came home from the cabin, he was more distant than before he left. That just gave her another reason to hate the cabin. Not only did it take her mother now it was taking her father.

Every day after school, Katelyn would come home and have to listen to Mrs. McGreevy go on and on about how her father needed to have a good woman in his life. Katelyn knew that Mrs. McGreevy meant that she was the good woman he needed but she also new her father would never agree. He had been so in love with Katelyn's mother and Mrs. McGreevy was nothing like her mother. She was small, almost miniature, with a pinched, drawn face that reminded Katelyn of a rat. Her eyes were a muddy brown and she had a disturbing habit of almost never blinking. Katelyn would watch her while she talked and count the seconds off in her head between blinks. Her dull gray hair was pulled back in a severe bun. Katelyn didn't think she was much older than her father but she seemed to be older than Katelyn remembered Grandma Maureen to be. She wore long skirts even though the style was much shorter now, and refused to wear make-up. Katelyn suspected that, rather than doing it so that she could save money, she did it to show Big Jack how thrifty she was, what a good catch she would be.

... in progress ...

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This page contains a single entry by Prosemonkey published on November 13, 2004 9:02 AM.

Chapter 5 ... in progress was the previous entry in this blog.

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