Angel Flight - Cover

Angel Flight

Copyright© 2023 by UtIdArWa

Chapter 6

Looking back on that first year, it seemed like the best year of my life. Do not get me wrong, there were bad times as well as good. But the good times outweighed the bad.

I guess that flatlanders think that mountain folk like us spent all our time just surviving. They could not be further from the truth. Life in the high mountains can be pretty fun, maybe not the amusement park or video game kind of fun. The fun we had was what we made for ourselves.

We hiked and fished. We played games like tag and hide and seek. Kathy had great fun with that one, but she cheated. She always had Shadow on her side. Suzy and I never had a chance when he was sniffing us out. What made it even worse was when Kathy was hiding. He would just look at us and wag his tail.

We went foraging for herbs and berries. I even taught Kathy how to make pine syrup. Suzy taught her about herbs and spices. I taught her tracking and reading sign.

We even showed her a beehive and taught her how to harvest the honey without getting stung.

She learned about the stars and constellations, how to read a map, make a fire, gut a fish, and skin a rabbit.

She was not big enough to help with the horses and Jughead, but Nanny goat and her kids were just the right height. And when there was enough milk, she was shown the mysteries of cheese making. She was not afraid of chickens, and the first time a hen pecked at her hand while she was hunting eggs, the hen got her head slapped. And then was invited to be the guest of honor at dinner.

Unsurprisingly, Kathy did not care for gardening. One of her chores was to weed the rows and to make things even worse for her. Little girls view dirt the same way vampires view garlic. I understood her feelings about weeding. When I was her age, I felt the same way. It was a tedious and dirty job. But her attitude quickly changed when the vegetables started coming in. Her favorites were the sweet peas fresh from the pod. The other big winner was corn, particularly corn on the cob. She was in heaven when we roasted the ears in the coals from a campfire.

That was when she became the mortal enemy of rabbits. The war was on after she caught the little buggers rampaging through her pea patch. I taught her how to rig snares and made a slingshot for her. She got to be pretty accurate, too. Later, I taught her how to skin and butcher her enemies. Rabbit quickly became a dinner staple. That is until the local population declined or got smart enough to avoid deadeye Kathy.

Kathy had toys, too. I carved a whole menagerie of animals for her. Granted, my artistic ability was great, but Kathy was still ecstatic with every new addition. Suzy also made her several ragdolls. Red hair and all. Kathy was clueless about raggedy Ann and Andy and assumed that Suzy was a genius and that those little bundles of cloth with button eyes were real to her.

As summer passed and the weather started getting chilly, a new, colorful world opened up. Maples, sycamores, and aspens transformed into explosions of color. That is when Kathy started learning about hunting, harvesting, and preserving. Deer, elk, and even a moose were brought in.

Because Kathy had never been exposed to Bambi or Thumper, she never had a problem with the process of changing a deer into a venison roast. She continued her crusade on the eradication of the local rabbit population. Kathy considered rabbits pests. They had an annoying habit of eating her favorite veggies in the garden. When the weather got chilly, I taught her about tanning hides, and we turned those rabbit furs into a warm and toasty set of gloves for her.

When the snow finally arrived, our lives did not slow down, we just changed pace. Besides showing Kathy the obvious snowmen, snowballs, and snow angels. We also taught her how to build igloos and snow caves. There were flavored ices for dessert using pine syrup and homemade Maple syrup. During the summer, I had the foresight to stock up on cocoa powder. Soon, most evenings, we would sit snug around the fireplace while I read the Oz stories and about Huck and Tom while sipping hot chocolate.

We even took hikes in the snow after I showed her how to make snowshoes. During those hikes, she learned even more about tracking and reading signs.

We taught Kathy that the cold season was not something to be afraid of. It’s just a different cycle of nature with its own rules and patterns.

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