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
"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
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.
Caddie lead the red-headed child to the stables and let her pet the horse as she saddled
"Purty," Heather cooed, "purty horsey."
"Isn't she?" Caddie swung the blanket and saddle over the animal's back and cinched the girth.
Next, she eased the bit into her mouth and the rest of the bridle over her ears. Once that was done, she tossed the reigns towards the saddle and motioned Heather follow her outside.
"Up you go," she said as she hoisted the small girl up into the saddle. Her little legs bounced
up and down with excitement. "Now don't bounce your feet," Caddie warned her mildly, "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 her kindly. "To the field? Or the river?"
"In'uns!" Heather cried suddenly with a huge 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 her 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 they visited. 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 made her way through the curious children and embraced him gently, knowing he was neither as strong nor young as he had been, but he squeezed her with his still-strong
"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 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
"Of course," Caddie said immediately. "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?"
"Deer?" Heather asked in confusion 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. "Purty pap-oose."
Indian John laid a hand on the babe. "John daughter papoose." He then laid his hand on
the woman. "John daughter."
"How do you do?" Caddie asked politely. "It's been quiet a while since we saw each other
The woman studied her curiously and nodded slowly. "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."
Indian John had taught his family, and whoever wanted to learn, the English that he knew.
The settlers took it as a sign of good intentions.
"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 and stroked the babe's face. "Good-bye!" She hurried Heather over to the horse, children streaming after them,
"Good-bye, Misse Red Hair," Indian John said with a smile. "And Little Missee Red Hair." He
waved as the disappeared into the woods.
They made haste across the river and back to the farm, passing a beaver near the shore of
"Look there," Caddie whispered and pointed to the plump animal. She slowed her horse to a
stop so they could spy on the beaver 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
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
"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. "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,
"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."
Caddie rolled her eyes 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 and 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, like a bee
going from flower to flower.
"Are Clara and Hettie coming?" Caddie asked her father. "And Warren?"
"Well," he replied, "Warren will be here tomorrow, but Hettie won't be here until
the day after. Clara and her husband don't plan to come at all, with her just having her baby."
Caddie nodded and smiled. "Then we shall visit them instead."
He nodded and followed the rest of his family inside. Caddie
Growing up isn't as bad as I thought it would be, she mused as she
breathed in the clean air. You can still have as much fun as you did when you were a child, you just have to find different ways to. And, of course, you have more freedom to do what you
With that last thought, she climbed the stairs and joined her family
© Copyright 2016 PrincessPonyButt. All rights reserved.