Caddie Woodlawn: All Grown Up

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is part of my summer reading project. We had to continue a story from a certain decision OR an epilogue. Picture copyright... someone that isn't me :)

Submitted: August 06, 2014

A A A | A A A

Submitted: August 06, 2014



Caddie Woodlawn: All Grown Up


Two red-headed adults sat on a porch, occasionally talking to each other, but mostly keeping an eye on the man's children as they played around the farmyard.


"Sister," Tom whispered slyly as he watched his daughter toddle towards them, "I do believe we've got a miniature Caddie Woodlawn running around."


Caddie nodded as her youngest niece climbed up onto her lap. Even at four years, Heather was in continuous motion, scaling low branches and rough-housing with her older siblings.


"She's just like you," he continued affectionately tugging lightly on a strand of her hair, "from the top of her fiery-haired head," he then tickled the child's toes and finished, "to the bottom of her dirty, bare feet."


"Ah," Caddie agreed and brought a squealing Heather up to kiss her chubby cheeks, "Now I understand Mother's struggles with me," she added with a sly smile.


Her brother chuckled as he nodded. "She has been begging us to wear pants as you do, but neither Katie nor Mother would ever have that."


Caddie sighed as she put her niece down. "They are so much less hassle than skirts. I wish Mother would have let me wear them when I was younger."


"Speaking of Mother," Tom said as he scratched his beard, "she will be here later today."


"Gam?" Heather asked excitedly and started to toddle around faster. "Gam-gam!"


"Yes, Hettie," her father said with a small smile.


The girl put her hands on her hips and said sternly, "I not Aun' Hettie, I Heather."


Tom laughed at her indignation and rose from his chair. "I know that little one," he told her as he ruffled her pretty hair and went inside.


As soon as her father disappeared into the house, Heather slid down from Caddie's lap. "Aun' Caddie," she whispered as she tugged on her aunt's loose pants, "I ride Pat? P'ease?"


Caddie sighed. Patty had an ornery streak identical to her sire's . Like Pete, she had a knack for scraping her riders off if they weren't paying attention. "No, dear, Patty's too wild for you." She smiled in amusement as the girl's pretty face turned into an ugly pout.


"Can ride," she insisted sullenly. "Can."


"No," Caddie firmly asserted and took the girl's hand. "But you can ride Bell with me, if would you like."


Heather's face grew thoughtful, as if contemplating on whether or not she would settle for her aunt's deal. Finally, her face brightened a fraction and she nodded. Riding with her favorite aunt was preferable to not being able to ride what-so-ever.
"Don't be long," Tom said, "Mother's due to arrive any time now."


Caddie swept Heather up onto her back. "We'll be back soon, won't we Heather?" The little girl giggled and bounced as her aunt carried her towards the stables. Once there, Caddie set the girl down and let her pet the horse as she saddled him.


"Purty," Heather cooed as she stroked the mare's leg. "Purty horsey."


"Isn't she?" Caddie swung the blanket and saddle over the animal's back--throwing up a cloud of billowing dust--and cinched the girth. Next, she eased the bit into her mouth and the rest of the bridle over her ears. With that done, she tossed the reigns towards the saddle and motioned Heather to follow her outside.


"Up you go," she said as she hoisted the small girl up into the saddle. Her little legs bounced in excitement against the horse's sides. "Now don't bounce your feet," Caddie warned, "she might think you're telling her to giddyup." Heather obeyed, but still squirmed with glee.


"Watch out, now," her aunt called as she swung herself onto the horse's back.


Heather turned to grin at her aunt. "We go now?" she asked gleefully.


"Where to?" Caddie asked with a large smile. "To the field? Or the river?"


"In'uns!" Heather cried suddenly with a toothy grin. "See In'un John!"


Caddie smiled. "Indian John?" The girl nodded ferverently. Indian John was an old friend of the family, and Caddie had known him since she was very young. "That settles it," she said and steered Bell in the direction of the Indian settlement.


The ride across the river only took a little while, and they were at the camp before too long. The Indian dogs began to bark at them, as they did every time an incoming party approached the clearing. Within minutes, they were surrounded by dogs and Indian children, chattering and making much noise.


The girls dismounted and greeted the noisy boys and girls, Heather occasionally swatting at the ones that tugged on her red hair.


"Be kind, Heather," Caddie scolded her lightly, allowing the children to pet her own hair. "They just think our hair is pretty, that's all."


"Don't like," the girl replied grumpily, trying to hide behind Caddie.


"Missee Red Hair," a deep voice called out joyously.


Caddie looked up and set her eyes on an Indian man with long, greying braid. A smile split her face. "Indian John!" She waded through the curious children and embraced him gently, knowing he was neither as strong nor young as he had been. He squeezed her with his still-strong grip.


"How you do?" the man asked kindly.


"Fine, just fine," Caddie replied. "You remember Heather, don't you?" she asked as she motioned to her niece, who was overwhelmed by children.


Indian John nodded as a smile spread across his wrinkly face. "Little Missee Red Hair," he acknowledged affectionately. He spoke suddenly in his own language, and the Indian children reluctantly backed away from the little red-haired girl. Indian John walked over to the girl, who was clinging to Bell's leg, and crouched down. "Hello."


Heather's red, angry face smoothed and transitioned into a much nicer one. She smiled as Indian John spread his arms for a hug. When she closed the distance between them, he grabbed her and swung her into the air, causing her to produce a squeal of joy.


"Little Missee Red Hair, you big." Indian John grinned as he set her down gingerly. "Last day I seen you, you papoose."


She grinned and proudly crowed, "I four now."


"Four," he repeated and shook his head in disbelief. "Time move quick."


"It sure does," Caddie echoed. "It seems like just last year Tom and Warren and I were running around here."


Indian John sighed quietly and looked to them with a renewed energy. "You see John papoose?"


"Of course," Caddie said immediately, smiling still. "Did your daughter have her baby?"


He nodded and beckoned a small child to him. He spoke to her in their language and she went running off toward one of the many tents. From the tent came the little girl and a woman holding an infant.


"Oh," Caddie cooed as they neared. "Isn't he a little dear?" She caressed the baby's soft, dark cheeks and black silky hair.


"Deer?" Heather demanded from the ground as she struggled to see.


"No," Caddie chuckled and picked her up so she could see, "not a deer. Dear, like what your father calls your mother."


"Oh," she replied simply. She studied the quiet bundle. "Purty pap-oose," she stated with a solemn nod.


"How do you do, Dyani?" Caddie asked the baby's mother. "It's been quite a while since we saw each other last, hasn't it?"


The woman nodded. "Long time," she said in a soft voice. "I have," she paused, searching for the right words, then continued, "two boy, one girl." She looked down at her baby. "Girl."


"I'm sure they're as lovely as this little one." "Oh!" Caddie said suddenly, "I'm so sorry, John. My mother is coming, and we have to wash up before she gets here," she explained as she gave the adults a quick embrace, "You know how she gets when we're late." Caddie stroked the babe's face one last time. "Good-bye, little one!" She hurried Heather over to the horse, expertly dodging the children streaming after them, and mounted.


"Good-bye, Misse Red Hair," Indian John called with a smile. "And Little Missee Red Hair." He waved as the girls disappeared back into the woods.


They made haste across the river and back to the farm, passing a beaver near the shore of the river.


"Look there," Caddie whispered and pointed to the plump animal. She slowed her horse to a stop so  they could spy on the animal without frightening it.


Heather squirmed in her seat, but she didn't make a sound. She turned around and beamed at her aunt, thinking of what her siblings would say when she told them she not only went to visit Indian John, but she saw a beautiful beaver as well!


Caddie slowly eased Bell into a walk and continued on their way home. She slowed as they neared the house.


"They're here!" a boy cried gaily.


Caddie looked up to see a child with sweaty, dark hair--her nephew, William--sprinting towards them.


He stopped close-by. "Grandpa is here!" Will panted and dragged a hand across his face. "With Grandma, too." Will beamed. "Grandpa brought clocks with him."


Will, being a fine young man of eleven-and-a-half,  had recently began helping his grandfather in fixing the assortments of clocks that neighbors brought to him. He was gaining experience and, therefore, getting more talented with his tools.


"Wonderful," Caddie replied. "Go tell your parents."


The boy nodded and sprinted off into the house. Sure enough, not a moment after he was out of sight, a sturdy brown horse could be seen clopping down the dirt driveway, followed by a small carriage carrying two passengers.


"We'd better wash up right quick," Caddie said and hurried to the stables. She dismounted and set Heather on the ground. "Go along, girl. Wash your hands and face, hurry now."


Richard, the farmhand, peeked over a neighboring stall. "Should I take care of that, ma'am?" he asked kindly.
"Oh," Caddie sighed, "yes, thank you Richard." She handed him the reigns and sprinted off to wash the sweat and grime off of her body and slip on a skirt for her mother's sake. Unfortunately, both her mother and father had already pulled up in front of  the house.


"Caddie," Mr. Woodlawn grinned and climbed down from the carriage, spreading his arms when his feet were on the ground.


Caddie went quickly into his embrace and chuckled when he kissed the tip of her nose. "Nice to see you, Father."


"Oh Caddie," the other passenger chided, "Men's trousers?" Mrs. Woodlawn shook her head and tutted. "As if you weren't unlady-like enough." Mr. Woodlawn hurried over to help her down.


Caddie sighed and gave her mother a hug. "It's nice to see you as well, Mother."


"I do enjoy seeing you,"  the older lady assured her, "but why do you have to wear those abominations around?" She tsked and added, "People will think you an uncouth savage, and in any case, you're downright grimey, just look at your hands!"


Caddie bit her tongue and patiently replied, "I only wear breeches at home, not to town." She added, "And I was on my way to wash up."


Mrs. Woodlawn sighed, knowing she'd never win this battle. She turned to her eldest son, who had just come out of the house with his wife. "Tom, dear, how are you? And Katie? Are you feeling better? How are the children?"


Caddie watched in amusement as her mother went from person to person, hugging and kissing like a bee buzzing from flower to flower.


"Are Clara and Hettie coming?" Caddie asked her father. "And Warren?"


"Well," the balding man replied, "Warren will be here tomorrow, but Hettie can't come until the day after. Clara and her husband don't plan to come at all, with her just having her baby. Don't worry, though," he said as he caught Caddie's disappointment, "We'll visit them soon enough."
"Well alright," she sighed. "Let's get inside, then. Mother will fuss if we stay much longer." Her father's eyebrows lifted and he nodded in agreement. He turned and walked up the porch steps and into the farm house. 


Caddie stayed for another moment after he'd left. She smiled at her family, bustling around inside, then looked skyward to the darkening horizon. "I never thought I'd be here," she mused aloud, "but here I am: grown up, living my own life." She laughed. "That won't stop Mother from fussing at me." She closed her eyes, inhaled the familiar farm smells, and made her way to the house to join her family inside. 

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