Summer Promise

Summer Promise by Marianne Ellis Read Free Book Online

Book: Summer Promise by Marianne Ellis Read Free Book Online
Authors: Marianne Ellis
and a world of memories surfaced, so many of them sweet ones.
    The two women reached a driveway branching off to the left and turned down it. Set closer to the road than the Lapp farmhouse, the Millers’ house soon came into view.
    â€œOh, look!” Leah said. “There’s Aenti Rachel.”
    Up ahead, Miriam could see that Rachel Miller had come to stand on the house’s wide front porch. Two tall oak trees stood nearby, one at either end of the white clapboard house, spreading cool shade along the grass.
    Miriam had always felt a closeness with Rachel. She had a quiet, patient way about her that made it easy to be with her. But she also had a sparkle in her eye that seemed to say “I may be the bishop’s wife but I have a little mischief in me, too.” Leah waved, and her
aenti
waved back.
    â€œ
Wilkomm
, Miriam,” Rachel called. She walked down the porch steps and into the yard. “I guessed that Leah had found you when she did not return. I hope she has been helpful.”
    â€œ
Danki
, Rachel,” Miriam replied as she drew near. “And yes, Leah has been very helpful this morning. In fact, I—”
    â€œOh, Aenti Rachel!” Leah burst out. “Miriam has said that I may work at the farm stand! Isn’t it wonderful? If you and my
onkel
give your permission, of course,” she added quickly.
    â€œLeah,” Rachel said quietly.
    Leah’s cheeks flamed bright red. She swallowed audibly. But she turned to Miriam at once. “I interrupted you, Miriam,” she said. “I am sorry.”
    â€œThank you, Leah,” Miriam said, doing her best not to smile. It was hard to feel stern in the face of so much enthusiasm. “I accept your apology.” She laid a gentle hand on the girl’s arm.
    â€œBut Leah is right,” Miriam said to Rachel. “In fact, her visit could not have been better timed. Just this morning I was wondering how I would manage at the stand on my own. If you and John give your permission, I’ll be glad to have Leah’s help.”
    â€œGo into the house and set the table for dinner, please, Leah,” Rachel said firmly, but her voice was not unkind. Over Leah’s head, her eyes met Miriam’s. In them, Miriam detected the hint of a smile. “I’ll be right along, but I would like to speak to Miriam for a moment.”
    Miriam gave Leah’s arm a quick pat. Casting one beseeching look back over her shoulder, Leah climbed the steps to the porch and went into the house.
    â€œI hope you will forgive her outburst,” Rachel said as soon as her niece was indoors. She made a gesture of invitation, and together the two women walked around the side of the house toward the kitchen garden. “Leah is growing into a fine young woman, but I fear she is a little . . . enthusiastic sometimes.”
    Miriam smiled. “I like her,” she said. “And I meant what I said. If you and John are willing, I would be happy to have Leah’s help. Over breakfast this morning, Daniel and I were discussing finding some help for the stand.”
    Miriam paused when they reached the side yard and Rachel’s large kitchen garden came into view, with its neatly planted rows of tomatoes, beans, corn, berries, summer squashes, and herbs. “My,” she said, “your garden does look fine.”
    â€œGod has blessed us with particularly good weather this year, I think,” Rachel responded. Together the two women began to stroll between the rows. “A good amount of rain when we needed it, and now it is warm but not too hot.”
    â€œLeah said she thought you would have raspberries for the farm stand,” Miriam said.
    â€œI will.” Rachel nodded. “And the first of the green beans, I think, as well as the last of the rhubarb.”
    â€œThat is good news,” Miriam said. “Leah can bring them tomorrow, if you are willing she should come.”
    â€œOf

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