This is a sweet romance from the 1950s by award-winning author Betty Thomason Owens, shared in celebration of her coming release of ANNABELLE'S JOY.
This story will be released as a serial, and the mailing list of serial recipients will be discarded when the story ends. Join to get the daily serial HERE! We hope you LOVE it!
Bon Voyage to the Kids!
Annabelle Cross stood with her young cousin, Judith, and best friend, Lillian Wade, at the train station. Annabelle touched her hankie to her lips as Joseph’s little hand pressed against the passenger car’s window. He mouthed words she couldn’t hear but his excitement was evident. His momma blew kisses, and his daddy smiled and waved.
Annabelle fluttered her hankie and tried to keep a smile on her face, though saying goodbye to her family was one of the most difficult things she’d ever done.
Lillian grabbed her hand. “Lord, bless their journey.”
Annabelle nodded, too choked up to speak. God knew her heart.
The train left the station, amid a great amount of noise, westward bound for San Diego. Though she didn’t really envy them the long trip ahead, Annabelle had to admit, she’d love to be with them.
“Hawaii, here they come,” Judith said while tucking a wayward red lock back into her ponytail. She turned her gaze on Annabelle and Lillian. “Well, y’all ready to go?”
Lillian hooked arms with Annabelle’s. “Come on. No use standing here weeping.”
Annabelle couldn’t seem to tear her eyes from the departing train. “Who’s weeping? I don’t see anyone weeping.”
“No, but you will be if you keep watching. Let’s go. Miss Judith has other things to do.”
Judith laughed. “I’m free most of the day. I’m helping with the inventory tonight, though, so I have to be there by closing.”
“Good. We have time to stop for lunch.” Lillian patted Annabelle’s arm. “That’ll cheer you up.”
Any other day, it would. Annabelle took a breath but held her tongue when she caught sight of the smile on her friend’s face. Lillian would return to an empty house. No toddler feet pitter-pattering. No Connie and Alton helping her pass the time. Just long hours of nothing but whatever it was Lillian did in midwinter.
Annabelle knew all about loneliness. She’d made friends with it after Connie married Alton. Though she’d missed that baby boy every day. In the beginning, she’d worn a path over to Sutter’s.
It took some time, but her life settled into a routine after that. She became content. That was mid-summer, right about the time Connie told her they were planning this trip.
The smoked pork on Annabelle’s plate dwindled to nothing, though she didn’t remember eating it, and couldn’t say whether it was tasty or not. She glanced at the others, but they seemed tickled as punch to be here.
All Annabelle could think about was that train, making its way west. Oh, the sights they’d see in the next few days.
“Aunt Annabelle, where are you?”
Annabelle met Judith’s eyes. “I’m sitting right here.”
Lillian scoffed. “Could’ve fooled me. We’ve been waiting for several minutes to know whether you want dessert.” Without waiting for Annabelle’s response, she turned to the waitress. “Bring it on.”
Annabelle frowned. “What did you order?”
“You’ll see when it gets here.” Lillian nodded at Judith.
“Don’t worry, Aunt Annabelle. You’re gonna like it.”
Annabelle figured she’d better come to herself and take part in the conversation. No telling what else those two might decide to do.
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