Alright, enough of my cinematic criticism, here is chapter 2!
The day after Roy’s funeral, John gathered the family so he could speak to them. “Joseph will not be with us for a long time, and as he was a major contributor to the family, he will be missed. This whole mess has cost us a lot of money. I want everyone to be thinking of ways to bring extra income to the family.” With that he dismissed the family to go about doing their chores. Rachel swept the living room slowly, deep in thought. “Perhaps the income and a way off the farm could go together,” she thought. Girls did not earn money in their family unless it was something they could sell at their farm. Then the thought came as bright as the sunshine hitting her from the window. She remembered a man from Morristown who had driven all the way out to the farm just to buy eggs. While he waited for his eggs he had asked if they had fresh baked bread for sale as well. They didn’t, but her mother had sold him some rolls they had made the day before. “That’s it! I can bake lots of bread and sell it in Morristown!” She picked up the pace of her sweeping so she could find her father and pitch him the idea. She found him tinkering with a tractor in the barnyard. “Dad, I have an idea to ask you about.” He stood up and acknowledged her. “Well, I was thinking about that man from town who came here and wanted to buy bread. I thought maybe I could bake a bunch of bread once a week and take it to Morristown to sell. I really think it would sell and once we get regular customers, we would just have a set route,” she finished and watched his face. She half expected him to just tell her it was a bad idea. He thought for a minute and then said, “Well, nobody else has come up with nothin’, so I guess I ought to consider it. I will tell you this; there is no way I am letting you go alone. You need to get one of your brothers to take you. Work with your mama to get the ingredients you need.” She stood for a moment unable to comprehend that he had approved her quickly hatched plan.
She thought for a few moments about who should take her to town. She didn’t want anyone who would be impatient with her and make her hurry. Then she thought of David. He would probably welcome the break from the farm as well. David was the most sympathetic toward Roy; and had a better disposition than her other brothers. She found David cleaning out a cow stall in the barn. The smell of manure and old hay hit her face and she sneezed. “David, I need to talk to you. Dad said I could make bread and sell it in Morristown, but I need somebody to drive me. I was hoping you would. I mean, you would get to go to town once a week and just sit while I sell the bread. What do you think?” He rested his arms on top of the hay fork and said, “Alright, as long as it’s ok with Dad.” She was happy; the first part of her plan had gone smoothly. She ran across the yard to the house and found her mother in the kitchen. “Mama, guess what! Dad told me I could bake bread and sell it in town! He said you could help me get together the ingredients.” Her mother looked up with a smile, “That’s awful good of you to help the family.”
Morristown was a little more daunting than Rachel had expected. She decided to stick to the small businesses on Main Street. The historic street is flanked by a skywalk. This enables the buildings to have shops on two floors with access to the top floors on the elevated sidewalk. Rachel found it exciting to walk the skywalk. She carried her large basket of bread and went door to door selling her beautiful loaves. Some places the employees acted like she was a bother, but others welcomed her warmly. She felt very self conscious about her attire, but there was absolutely nothing she could do about it. Her father believed women who didn’t dress like that would not have eternal peace. So, she focused on being as friendly as possible to move the emphasis from what she looked like to what she was selling. She made notes of the places that bought her bread, and of those who were less than hospitable. She sold out quickly and began walking back to where David was waiting with the truck. She paused to look at the money. There was not a dishonest bone in her body, but something told her that she ought to start saving some of the money for herself. Her first customer had given her five dollars a loaf and so she stuck with that number for the rest of her sales. She had told her father that she would sell them for four, but the generosity of her customers had given her a bonus. She decided that she would just leave him thinking it was four, and keep the remaining dollar. She had to think of a really good place to hide the money because her family got into everything and nothing was private. Her mind went to the rabbit hutch where she was the only one who visited. She wrapped her portion in a plastic bag and put it in her apron pocket. She was glad that their mandatory modesty apron was loaded with secret pockets. Then, she returned to the truck where David was asleep. She smiled and then woke him.
Her father was very pleased with the money and told her she could continue to bake bread. After everyone got back to their own business, she went out to the rabbit hutch. On the back there was an extra support board running crossways and it formed a little pocket between it and the paneling. She stuck the plastic bag in a place out of sight and breathed a sigh of relief. “First National Bank of Rabbittown is open!” She was smiling as she returned to the house to help with supper.
In a few weeks everything was very routine and she had established devoted customers. Her father commended her at supper after her bread run one evening, “Rachel, I’m very happy with your effort to help the family. I think you should make more bread; or maybe you could just start a bakery and have your customers come to buy from you here.” Rachel swallowed and tried not to react too emotionally. “Well, Dad, my customers like it that I come to them while they are working because they don’t have the time to go out and buy it.” She hoped that her answer had convinced him. He nodded and rubbed his beard in contemplation. Finally he said, “Yes, perhaps you are right. We would wish them to come here, but the world is very busy.” With him appeased, her thoughts turned to the back of the rabbit hutch. She needed another bag because the other one wouldn’t fit between the boards if she put any more in it. She began to live for her trips to town. She became more confident talking to those her father would call “worldly people,” and hope started growing in her heart.