We worked on for awhile, and I was growing weaker all the while. Finally, I couldn't work any more and dropped to the ground, in a faint.
The next thing I knew, I was in the living room, lying on the couch. My sister, Rosie, was rubbing my hands and face. I could hear her calling my name, "Zebbie, wake up! Wake up!
What did you do to him, Grandpa? Did you whip him again?"
"No, Martha Rose, I didn't! We were working and he just fainted and fell."
"He hasn't had any food since yesterday at the diner, and then you whipped him last night and threw us in the cellar. Is that any way to treat your grandchildren? What kind of people are you anyway?"
"He has to learn to obey!" our Grandmother said. "Missing a few meals won't hurt him! Since he is apparently too weak to work right now, I guess I could let him have a cold biscuit and some water. Get into the kitchen, boy, and sit at the table like a human being. You're not going to mess up my living room floor with bread crumbs. The rest of you kids get outside; feed the chickens and gather the eggs into that basket over there on the kitchen counter. The feed is on the back porch. Be sure and clean the mud and stuff off your feet before you come back in. And, don't break any of those eggs like you two younger ones did when you first got here. Now get out!"
I got up wearily and walked into the kitchen. I had missed a night's sleep and I was hungry, so I was glad to get even a biscuit and water. There were several biscuits in the plate on the table, along with butter and jelly along side them. I wondered if I dared put some butter and jelly on the biscuit I picked up. Yes, I would try. I looked around, but decided that I should better do it in the open rather than try to hide it. After all, she hadn't said I couldn't.
She came back in as I was putting the spoon back on table and the biscuit into my mouth. I was sure she knew what I had done, but she said nothing. I breathed a sigh of relief and bit down into the biscuit, savoring it's flavor. When I had finished that biscuit, I reached for another, but received a slap on the hand and was refused the pleasure of eating another.
"I said one and I meant one. Now drink some water and go take a nap. Apparently, you didn't sleep any last night, and you need to be able to work some today. I'll expect you in here on time for lunch. If you sleep through lunch, nothing till supper. Now, go!"
"Yes, ma'am," I replied, thankful that I could go rest for awhile. I went looking through the farm house for what would be mine and Les' room. When I found his clothing, I lay on the bed very carefully on my side, so that my back would not hurt, thankful for the mercy of sleep. I said a "Thank you prayer to Jesus" and went to sleep.
When I awakened, I looked out the window and saw it was approaching dusk. My muscles ached from the work earlier that morning, plus the welts on my back were sore as well. I wondered briefly if help was coming from home. It seemed we were on our own for awhile.
(To be continued)