Tuesday, January 19, 2010
So, my blogname being, Woolly Tales, I thought I'd start uploading a tale I've just started. I've been thinking of doing this for a while, but have been too chicken. It's akin to taking my clothes in public - I feel that vulnerable! But, I love to write, and need the practise and being that I write better than I look, here goes.
“Nan, hellooooh?” Marnee called from the front porch of her grandmother’s house. Opening the rustic screen door she called again,
“Nan? It’s Marnee, are you here? I saw Domino in the pen.”
“Hello honey!” Nan called from the kitchen, “Come in, come in. I’m just getting an apple cookie for Dom. We just got home. You’ve come at a good time - I hope you can stay for tea.” Nan walked into the small front room where Marnee stood removing her wrap.
“Oh, here, honey, can you take his cookie out before you take your wrap and shoes off?” Nan asked.
Marnee giggled, looking down at her dusty brown feet, “no shoes today Nan. My feet needed a break. But no worries, I’ll hop out with the cookie, it’s been a while since I’ve given him a good scratch. And I’ll stay for tea - I’m not needed until supper tonight.”
Marnee was the last of Nan’s 17 adopted children and spent most of her days working at the very orphanage that she came to when she was 6 years old. Nan didn’t adopt any children these days, but with great tenacity she made sure each child that wanted a family was adopted into a family.
“Oh good! I’ll get it ready while you’re out,” Nan said, “We haven’t had a nice chat for ages. Domino will be glad for the attention - especially the scratch,“ Nan remarked, “he’s due to be shorn in a couple of weeks, the woolly bugger. He’s getting so hot and I’m all out of his lovely dark brown wool.”
Marnee smiled as she walked out across the dusty yard to the makeshift twine and stick pen where Nan’s favourite sheep stood. He looked up and bleated his characteristic deep bleat. He raised his nose higher in the air, smelling the familiar apple biscuit Nan made as treats for all her animals. He trotted over to the upturned bucket and stood his front feet on it so he could see over the fence. He stretched his neck forward as far as he could, grunting and sniffing.
“Hello there handsome. I’ve come with a cookie for you.”
She laughed when he snatched it quickly out of her hand, “ I think your father must have been a pig instead of a sheep!”
In truth, Domino’s sire was a gorgeous Shetland and the ewe, was Dollah, Nan’s prize Corriedale. Nan wethered Domino at birth and waited with anticipation, hoping for a great fleece. She had been rewarded not only with great fleece that she clipped twice a year, but a walking companion and active partner in her ‘visiting’ as Nan called it. Children just loved to sink their fingers into his gorgeous wool. So many of the children that were brought to the village were deeply wounded by the abuses they’d suffered. They didn’t trust adults, but often Domino could bring them around. And if not Domino, Nan had a huge entourage of friendly critters that helped to heal the little ones.
27 years ago Nan came to the village of Nicao to help teach self-sufficiency to a small group of 17 Aids-orphans. The orphanage grew and grew and what started as a small, self-supporting orphanage in the middle of nowhere had turned into a thriving village. Many of the orphans were grown, married and with children of their own and lived and worked in or around the village. Now at age 67 Nan called herself, ‘retired’, and spent her time ‘visiting’ with her trusty sidekick, Domino, leaving the running of the orphanage and the village to others. The two of them could be seen walking all over their village visiting new mothers, sitting with sick children, listening to elders’ stories and telling not a few of her own, doing whatever was needed and keeping her finger on the pulse of the community. Nothing went on that Nan didn’t know about. She loved her people fiercely, quietly and with great compassion. Over the years she had helped develop this community that now boasted a small hospital, a dental and medical clinic, and an all out assortment of businesses - most started, owned and operated by her original band of orphans.
“Where have you and Nan been this morning, eh?” Marnee fed the cookie and scratched under his chin and along his jawline. Domino’s eyes closed half-way in bliss. He didn’t need to be penned or tethered while Nan was in visiting with anyone - he just waited patiently outside, more loyal than a Golden Retriever. When he was home however, Nan put him in his pen, because he felt coming into Nan’s house was his due. He’d figured out the latch to Nan’s front door when he was still a lamb and was often found napping on Nan’s bed!
Marnee opened the latch to his pen and let herself inside. Walking over to his manger inside the lean-to she scooped out an armful of hay, set it on the ground and sat down. Realizing his friend was going to stay, Domino promptly laid down heavily beside her, head on her lap.
“Oh, you are hot, you big brute!” Nancy laughed and wound her fingers into the sweaty wool behind his ears. Sighing, she leaned back against the lean-to and closed her eyes,
“This is what I’ve been needing all day,” she murmured and shifted slightly to a more comfortable position. Domino’s rhythmic burping and chewing, the drone of insects, the sound of the children playing outside at the orphanage and the call of the birds combined with the afternoon sun soon had Marnee dozing.
Stay tuned for more of this story - next Tuesday! I hope it's not too hard to read here - I can't make any indentations at the start of the paragraphs or dialogue, which makes it weird.