From: Oregon, USA
December 6, 1941
A farm near Rudyard, Michigan
Joe Beaumont, age nineteen, stepped out of the barn and into the iron-cold northern Michigan night. He made sure the door was latched behind him and then stood for a moment before heading back to the farmhouse. The half a foot of snow already on the ground glowed in the moonlight and gave enough light that Joe could have read a book if he had wanted to.
Joe liked to read, though he could not read very quickly. Right now he was working his way through "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea." It was a good book, even though there were a lot of words in it that Joe didn't know. He planned to read a bit more of it tonight before he went to sleep.
At the moment, though, he just wanted to stand out here in the cold and the quiet and think. He did a lot of thinking. Most people thought that Joe was a little bit on the stupid side. He moved slow and talked slower and ideas didn't always come to him quickly. His size added to the impression. He was big, just under six feet tall and stocky, with muscles hardened by the backbreaking effort of trying to keep the farm going.
His mother, though, had a different view of things. "Joe ain't dumb," she would say. "He has to worry over a thing a bit before he gets the shape of it, but he gets there in the end all right."
Right now Joe could see her through the kitchen window, rolling out some dough for tomorrow. She worked hard. They all did, Joe and his two younger brothers too. It had been easier when his father was alive. Not easy, no, but easier. Here in Michigan's Upper Peninsula the growing season was short and the winters were cruel.
Joe looked away from the farmhouse and out at the moonlit fields. Fence posts stood sentry in neat rows, each with its own little cap of snow. Beyond the fields and circling back around behind the house were the thick dark woods. It was beautiful, Joe thought. He always liked this time of year, with winter just starting. It would be different a month from now, when winter really had its teeth into the farm and every day would be a struggle to keep the animals fed and watered.
He'd deal with that when it happened. Time to go inside, he told himself, and get warm. He trudged towards the house, his boots crunching a bit on the packed trail of snow between house and barn.
< Message edited by Cuttlefish -- 3/3/2011 7:33:23 PM >