Fiction


Betsy Two


Photo Credit: Canadian Stories
Betsy waited patiently beside the old remodeled hay barn. She couldn’t understand what was taking them so long. They had carried away everything they wanted days ago and what they didn’t want had either been sold or given away. There was nothing of any value left inside – except maybe a few memories.

She had memories too. How well she remembered the first day Jim had brought her here. It was just him and Daisy then. The children came along later, three of them, but they were all grown up now and had moved away to build their own lives.

Jim had thought it was time to upgrade things, keep up with the times, and had decided that a horse-drawn cart was not the way to deliver his produce anymore. He had gone into town alone and when he returned, he called out to his wife. ‘Daisy, come out here and meet Betsy Two.’ She came to the door, laughing. ‘Betsy Two?’ she asked. Jim nodded. ‘Since she’ll be taking over some of the work from Old Betsy, the mare, I thought it was a good name.’ Daisy shook her head. ‘I’ll never understand why men think of their vehicles as female.’ Momentarily quiet, Jim realized that she was right. He called the tractor Annie and the wagon Gert. He smiled and kissed Daisy’s cheek. ‘I guess it’s because you’re all important to us,’ he said. Betsy chuckled at the memory and her motor hiccupped.

What exciting times that had been. Jim had been so proud to use her for delivering his farm produce during the week. On Saturdays he brushed, swept, washed and polished until every inch of her was dust-free and gleaming. But Sundays were the best, especially during the summer. After feeding the animals, Jim took the rest of the day to spend with his family. In the morning he happily drove them all to church but in the afternoon they set off with a picnic basket, looking for, and always finding, a grassy spot beside a creek. Betsy would sit there; enjoying the sun’s warmth on her shiny metal body and watching the children play in the creek. After the picnic supper was eaten, they packed up again and left for home. As the children got older they were permitted to ride in the box. But that was all in the past now.

Finally, she saw Jim and Daisy coming towards her, hand in hand, and she knew this move was right for them all. Just last week she’d heard Jim say, ‘I think the old girl needs another new coat of paint.’ Old girl, indeed! Betsy thought. And while you’re at it, my footwear is a bit worn too. Not to mention my brake shoes and my shocks feel like they’re getting a bit soft. But she knew that Jim would not be looking after her anymore. He and Daisy were moving to a seniors’ cottage and she was joining the classic collection of some billionaire.

© 2017, Fay Herridge
Published in Canadian Stories, Aug/Sep 2017

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