Page One

Publisher’s Note: The names and places have been changed to protect those involved. While the story is based on true events, parts of the story have been fictionalized.

“Joey, I want an awpul. An awpul from the tree.  Please, Joey, pleeeease?”
“Tessie, it’s getting late.  Ma will get mad.  We have to go back to the house.”  

Joey and Tessie had been playing outside most of this early June day.  Living on a farm, they always found something to do, and today was no exception. Not only was it starting to get late, but their play had taken them to the apple orchard at the far end of the yard.  Joey knew they were not supposed to be playing this far away from the house.  

Joey was bigger than most four-year-olds, and along with that came a certain expectation.  He knew that he was responsible for his younger sister, even though she was only one year younger than he was.  His mom always said, “Now you keep an eye on your little sister, OK?”
“I want an awpul.  Just one?  Climb this.”  Tessie pointed to a grain elevator that was hoisted just high enough to reach to the top of one of the apple trees.  

Joey looked at it carefully.  It was like a huge staircase.  He had seen his dad use it last fall.  The big steps moved up, carrying the corn up to the top and dropping it into the corn bin.  The steps weren’t moving now, and it was positioned perfectly so that Joey could climb up the steps to get to one of the apple trees. 

“OK…but just one apple.  Then we better hurry up because Momma is going to be mad.  I don’t want to get in trouble!”

Joey climbed up the grain elevator very carefully.  He still was small enough that his weight allowed the elevator to remain in an upright position, perfect for getting to the apples on the tree.  What Joey didn’t know is that there wouldn’t be apples on the tree until Fall.  

“Did you get one? Did you get one?” asked Tessie anxiously.

Joey looked carefully, but he didn’t see any apples. 
“Tess, there ain’t no apples on this tree,” as he lifted some of the branches and peered through the leaves of the tree.

“Yes, there is!” Tessie stated emphatically, and she began to climb up the elevator herself.

“Nope, no apples.”  Convinced that he had done what he could to try and get his little sister an apple, Joey carefully turned around to go back down the big steps.  He saw Tessie coming towards him.  

“Tessie! No! Get down!”

Tessie edged closer to the top and was now within arm’s reach of her older brother.

“Tessie, get down NOW!  I’m tellin’ Ma!”  

Joey shoved his sister in an effort to get her to go back down the elevator.  Not realizing his own strength, Joey’s shove caused Tessie to fall backwards and tumble over the edge of the grain elevator.  Her jacket somehow got caught on the side of the elevator, and she spun around, hitting her head on the crank shaft.  She fell to the ground, blood gushing out of her forehead.  

Joey stood there, motionless, staring at Tessie, as he heard her cry out, “It’s your fault, Joey.  It’s your fault!”
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2 Responses to Page One

  1. epmom5 says:

    I am hooked, Lynne!

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