Jasper and Jeff were dressed in their bronco busting gear, complete with chaps. Jasper was wearing the same green outfit he’d had on the day that Hana met him. He looked so handsome in the light of the setting sun, Hana wanted to kiss him.
Tyee and the band were set up on a small platform several yards from the barbecue pit. They struck up their first song, making Hana long to dance. Jasper happened to see her. He nodded at his grandfather, who took over grill duty.
“Would you like to dance, Miss Maisey?”
“Why, Tack Mosley, I sure would!”
He took her in his arms, humming and swaying to the music. His father had chosen a pretty ballad by Jon Allen, called When the Morning Comes. He’d persuaded Julie to sing with him. Their voices blended beautifully on the soulful song. Hana clung to him, remembering their first dance.
“I love you, Hana,” Jasper murmured. “You make me feel like I can fly.”
Hana snuggled closer. “Me too,” she replied. “I feel like my feet won’t ever touch the ground again.”
The evening was perfect. David wasn’t lacking for attention. All the single women in the family had made it their duty to see to it he had everything he wanted. He ate up the attention, thanking them all graciously. Hana was glad to see her brother so happy. She couldn’t remember a time when he had smiled and laughed so much.
After dinner, the music continued. Those who wanted to, played with the band. Others danced with each other and with the guests. Everyone pitched in to clean up and the music kept playing. Around 10:00, Aunt Enid asked to go to bed. Hana took her, chatting happily as they walked to the cabin.
“So, you’ve finally had some adult fun with Jasper,” Enid said with a sly grin.
“Oh, Auntie, it’s been so wonderful! He’s such an amazing man. I am so very lucky.”
“That you are, my lamb. I see the look in his eyes that Ed’s always had when he gazed at me. Even after all those years, the love never left him. I see that for you two as well.”
“I hope so, Auntie. I love him so much.”
Hana helped her aunt get ready for bed, marveling at how strong she was. She made sure Enid’s cellphone was nearby and turned on a monitor that connected with her house. Jimmy had also rigged it so if there was a problem, her cellphone would beep. Hana had no idea how it worked, but it was convenient and made her feel better about leaving Enid on her own.
Jasper was dancing with Julie. David danced with one of the guests, who was nearly old enough to be his mother. She was a friendly woman who reminded Hana a little bit of Aunt Enid. He looked very happy as he led her in a slow two step to Neil Young’s Harvest Moon.
Since they’d had an early start to the day, and had to wake early tomorrow, Jasper and Hana went back to their cabin around 11:00. He lifted her, carrying her over the threshold. Hana burst into tears. Jasper set her down, deeply concerned.
“I’m okay,” she explained. “I just had this wonderful feeling of being home for the first time. This is our place, our home—together. I love you so much! You make me so happy!”
Jasper held her close, kissing her from time to time, as she cried. Finally, she stopped and they got ready for bed. Making love in their new home was among the greatest moments of their lives. Somehow, knowing it was there place, together, woke feelings neither of them knew were bound up. When they reached their peak, it made them both nearly faint with pleasure.
The next morning, Hana helped Aunt Enid get ready for the day while Jasper went up to start breakfast. Many of the men were already setting up for the barn raising. A hardy breakfast behind them, they all set to work.
As if by magic, the walls of the barn rose, to much clapping and cheering. That accomplished, the real work began. Anyone who could wield a hammer, work a drill or handle a screwdriver lined up for jobs. Jasper directed the hammer squad, while Jimmy supervised the drillers and Jeff rode herd on the screwers. There was a good natured competition to see who could do their jobs quickest and the best. Hours of long, hot work later, they broke for lunch. The barn was nearly complete.
The women and children served a massive picnic lunch, after which, the men went back to work. Hana wasn’t much use in the actual building, but she helped with meals and clean up, pitching in to make dinner as well. By 7:00, the barn was finished, the base coat of paint drying in the gathering evening. The finishing and painting could take place the following day, at a less rushed pace. The horses were boarding with neighbors and would come back in a few more days.
By noon the next day, the barn was ready. The family members who lived far away, ate lunch and got on the road. The others settled in for a relaxed afternoon off. Dinner was another picnic lunch with music afterward. Everyone went to bed early.
The days and nights swept into a medley of daily activities, followed by nights of love making. Hana had never been so happy. She woke one morning, shivering when she got out of bed. The cabin was cool and she put on a sweater before going next door. She made sure Enid was bundled up and they walked together up to the big house.
Enid had made great strides since being under Tyee’s care. She could walk without her walker, and had put the wheelchair in storage. Hana couldn’t get over how much better she looked.
“Have you and Jasper talked about a wedding date?” Enid asked as they walked slowly back to their cabins.
©2022 Dellani Oakes