Authors: Janette Oke
Tags: #Fiction, #General, #Romance, #Fiction - Religious, #Christian, #Christian - Romance, #Religious - General, #Christian fiction, #Religious, #Love stories, #Historical, #Religious & spiritual fiction, #General & Literary Fiction, #Modern fiction, #Romance & Sagas, #Romance - General, #Boston (Mass.), #PAPERBACK COLLECTION, #Nurses, #Davis family (Fictitious characters : Oke), #Davis family (Fictitious chara, #Davis family (Fictitious characters: Oke), #Nurses - Fiction., #Davis family (Fictitious characters : Oke) - Fiction., #Boston (Mass.) - Fiction.
Love Takes Wing (Love Comes Softly #7)
To Aunt Laurine-- with love and thanks for who you are and what you mean to me. God bless!
JANETTE OKE was born in Champion, Alberta, to a Canadian prairie farmer and his wife, and she grew up in a large family full of laughter and love. She is a graduate of Mountain View Bible College in Alberta, where she met her husband, Edward, and they were married in May of 1957. After pastoring churches in Indiana and Canada, the Okes spent some years in Didsbury and Calgary, where Edward served in several positions on college faculties while Janette continued her writing. She has written over five dozen novels for adults and children, and her book sales total over twenty-two million copies.
The Okes have three sons and one daughter, all married, and are enjoying their dozen grandchildren. Edward and Janette are active in their local church and make their home near Didsbury, Alberta.
Visit Janette Oke's Web site at:
Characters in the
LOVE COMES SOFTLY
Clark and Marty Davis--partners in a marriage in which each had lost a previous spouse.
Nandry and Clae--foster daughters raised by Clark and Marty Nandry married Josh Coffins, and their children are Tina, Andrew, Mary and Jane. Clae married Joe Berwick. Their children are Esther Sue, Joey, and Paul.
Missie--Clark's daughter from his first marriage, married Willie LaHaye and moved west to ranch. Their children--Nathan, Josiah, Melissa (who came east to live with Clark and Marty while she finished high school, then went on to train as a schoolteacher), and Julia.
Clare--Marty's son born after her first husband's death, married Kate. They live in the same farmyard as Clark and Marty. Their children--Amy Jo, Dan, David, and Dack.
Arnie--Clark and Marty's first child. He married Anne, and they have three sons--Silas, John, and Abe.
Daughter Ellie--married Lane Howard and moved west to join Missie and Willie. Their children are Brenda, William, and Willis.
Son Luke--trained to be a doctor and returned to the small town to practice medicine. He married Abbie. Their children are Thomas and Aaron--and now new baby daughter, Ruth.
Daughter Belinda--Clark and Marty's youngest child. She was trained as a nurse.
Jackson Brown--the school friend who greatly impressed Melissa, Amy Jo, and Belinda when he first arrived at the country school. Melissa was the one who really carried a torch for him, though Jackson preferred Belinda.
The End of a Long Day
Belinda pushed wisps of gold-brown hair back from her flushed face and took a deep breath. It was "one of those days"-- again! The whole week seemed to have been filled with emergencies. One right after the other.
Why are people so careless?
Belinda asked herself a mite crossly. She tossed her soiled white apron aside and began to clean up the bloodstained operating table.
The last case of the day was a boy who had caught his hand in a piece of farm machinery. Luke had worked hard and long to try to save all his fingers, but neither he nor Belinda were too hopeful about the outcome. She felt tired, overworked, and anxious about the state of young Jamie's fingers.
I should be getting used to such things by now,
she admonished herself. After all, hadn't she been assisting Luke in surgery for over a year? But there didn't seem to be any way she could get used to the pain she felt when she looked at the suffering reflected in a patient's eyes--especially when it was in the eyes of a child.
She sighed again deeply and breathed another prayer for young Jamie.
"I'll do that," said a voice from behind her.
She hadn't even heard Luke enter the room. She turned, intending to argue that cleaning up was part of her job, but he
continued, "I know you're in a hurry. It's only an hour until the train will be in."
Belinda's thoughts now focused on the event that had been filling her with excitement this whole week. She had been counting the days--the hours. How could it have slipped her mind? It must have been the injured boy who had taken her complete attention while they worked to save his hand. But now with Luke's reminder, Belinda's excitement flooded through her again.
Melissa is coming home!
She now was finished with her teacher's training in the East and would be spending a few weeks at the farm before continuing on to her home and family in the West.
Belinda glanced down at her soiled dress. She sure didn't want to leave Luke with the cleaning, but she did need a bath to freshen up, and she just had to do something with her wayward hair. Missing out on welcoming Melissa on the afternoon train was almost unthinkable. It had been a long time--a long,
time since she had seen . . . well, had seen her niece, who was only a bit older than she and had become a dear friend during the two years she had lived with the Davises. Belinda was glad she didn't have to explain their complicated family very often.
She gave Luke a warm, appreciative smile and turned reluctantly from the untidy surgery.
"Sorry," she apologized.
But he assured her, "No reason for you to be sorry. It isn't your carelessness that has been filling our office with accident cases."
Belinda reached up and pulled the pins from her hair, letting it tumble down about her shoulders. She eased slender fingers through the curls to gently shake out the tangles.
"Have ya ever seen a week like this one?" she asked her brother soberly.
"It's been a bad one, all right," Luke admitted. Then he sighed deeply and said, "I sure hope it's about to come to an end."
"Now you'd best hurry;" urged Luke. "You don't want to be late for that train."
Belinda scurried from the room. She did want to be there when the train pulled into the local station. Her whole family would be waiting for Melissa. Would she have changed much? Would the two of them still be able to share secrets and understand--sometimes even without words--how the other was feeling? Was Melissa still pining over Jackson Brown, or had she found another young man? What was teacher's training like? Did she like the city? Belinda had so many questions.
Yes, they had written frequently, but it just wasn't the same. There were some things that were not easy to put down on paper. Belinda did hope there wouldn't be any awkwardness between them. She was filled with anticipation and just a bit of apprehension.
She set the portable tub on the mat in her small upstairs room at Luke and Abbie's house and carried pails of warm water to fill it. As she settled into her bath, her thoughts went back to the first time the family had gathered to wait for the arrival of Melissa. That time she had been coming from her home in the West. None of them had known what to expect as they waited for the stagecoach to arrive. Belinda could still remember the butterflies and the questions. What would she be like? Would they like each other? Would they be able to get along? Maybe it would be like having a sister her own age.
And so it had turned out--Melissa had been like a sister, even though she was in fact a niece. Belinda had grown to love her dearly and had missed her greatly when she went away to normal school. And now the days had ticked by and Melissa was coming home again--this time by train from the East. And the train was coming to their very own town.
This was a new and welcome luxury to the people of their
community They were getting used to hearing the whistle and the
of the metal wheels on the iron tracks, but Belinda still had not quite gotten over the thrill of it all. Often she dreamed of boarding the passenger car and being taken to some faraway place that she had only seen in picture books. But so far it only remained a dream.
She did not allow herself the pleasure of a long soak in the tub. There just was not time. The train, though sometimes late, was far more dependable in its travel than the stagecoach had been, and Belinda knew if she did not hurry she would miss the excitement of Melissa's arrival.
She rushed around as she dressed and hurriedly pinned up her hair. With each glance toward the dresser clock, her heart beat faster. She was going to be late in spite of her scurrying about. She still had the tub to empty and--
She called an answer to a gentle knock, and Abbie opened the door only wide enough to poke her head into the room.
"My, don't you look nice," she said with a smile, then quickly added, "Luke said to tell you to leave the tub. We'll take care of it when we get back."
Belinda glanced sideways at the tub. She did hate to leave things undone, but Luke was right--there just wasn't time before going to the station. She nodded to Abbie in resignation.
"Everyone ready?" she asked, and Abbie indicated they were as she pulled on a glove.
Belinda grabbed her own gloves and a small handbag. She took one last look in the mirror to be sure that her hat was on straight, smoothed the hipline of her skirt, and hurried downstairs after Abbie.
Thomas and Aaron had already left the house and were waiting at the end of the walk. Aaron, the younger of the two, was giving Thomas a ride on the front gate, even though both boys had been told not to swing on it. As soon as their mother
appeared, Thomas dropped quickly to the walk and turned his attention to the ants that were scurrying back and forth across the boards, as though he had been studying them the whole time.
"Thomas," Abbie said sternly, not to be fooled, "what have we told you about swinging on the gate?"
Thomas just lowered his head and did not answer.
"There's a nice swing in the backyard," Abbie continued. "I've told you before that the gate will sag if you swing on it." Still Thomas did not respond.
Abbie hurried down the walk, and when she reached the small boy, she laid a hand on his shoulder. "No dessert for dinner," she said quietly but firmly.
Belinda saw his eyes quickly lift to his mother's face. Thomas loved desserts.
"Now, let's hurry along," Abbie prompted both boys, dismissing the matter. "We don't want to make Aunt Belinda late for the train."
"But Papa--" began Aaron.
"Papa says for us to go ahead. He'll join us at the station."
Belinda felt another pang--she should have been the one cleaning up the surgery room instead of leaving it for Luke.
Abbie must have sensed her hesitation, for she quickly added, "Papa says it's more important for Aunt Belinda to be there on time. She has missed Melissa more than any of us."
So saying, Abbie herded her charges toward the train station at a brisk pace. Belinda didn't protest further and fell into step.
The Davis family had never gathered to meet the train before, only the stagecoach. Clark and Marty, already waiting on the wooden platform near the tracks, had come into town from the farm by wagon. Beside them stood Amy Jo, her brownish red hair swept rather carelessly into a loose knot on the top of her head. Her green velvet hat looked none too secure to Belinda's eyes, but Amy Jo wore her apparel in the same lighthearted fashion that
she did everything else. She smiled and waved exuberantly at Belinda in greeting.
"Isn't this jest too exciting?" she enthused. "Imagine traveling by train--all by yerself. Wouldn't you jest . . . jest
Belinda doubted that she would die--but there was something inside that did yearn to have such an experience. She greeted Amy Jo warmly and then turned to her mother and father.
"I was afraid ya'd been held up," said Marty "an' I knew how special this is fer ya."
held up," responded Belinda. "In fact, I should be back scrubbing the surgery--but Luke let me go."
"Isn't he gonna make it?" This time Marty's question was directed to Abbie.
"He hopes to," Abbie answered, "but he did need to do the surgery first. He never knows when he might need it again, and one can't stop and do the cleaning up then."
Marty nodded in understanding, and Clark asked, "Would it help iffen I were to--?"
He didn't have a chance to finish his question. Abbie knew what he was about to ask and answered quickly, "No. No, he wouldn't want that. No use you missing the train, too."
have stayed--" began Belinda, but Abbie reached out to give her shoulders a quick squeeze.
"He wouldn't have let you, and you know it," she said firmly, closing the matter.
Amy Jo moved over and crowded in against Belinda. "Isn't this . . . isn't it jest . . . jest . . . ?"
For a moment Belinda's mind flew back several years, and she could imagine Amy Jo finishing her sentence with
a word Amy Jo had chosen to describe almost everything during her early teen years. But this time Amy Jo picked another word, one she