" Kosher Hog Heaven: For the Love of Nellie"
A/N- This fanfic depicts a possible meeting between the two husbands of Walnut Grove's most infamous citizen. Being that the "Little House" books and series(plural) are owned by various entities, I'm seeking and making no monies off this but have put this forth for pure entertainment. Also, there actually was a real company called Harvey House founded in the 1870's that set up what's considered to be the world's first restaurant chain via the rails.
"Come on, Jack! I know it's raining hard but we can make it to town before the storm gets too hard and soon you'll be in a nice, warm barn!" 25 year-old Isaac Cohen pleaded to the skittish horse on the farm road on afternoon -as he was trying to drive a covered wagon with the emblem 'Harvey House' on the side.
The horse called Jack suddenly reared its front legs as a large boar ran across the road.
"Whoa, Jack! We don't want to any harm to come to this pig. Mr. Harvey wouldn't want us to pay for extra bacon!"Isaac pleaded as he grabbed the reins and tried to steer the horse away from the runaway pig.
"Percy! Landsakes, where's yer head, boy?" 20-year-old Luke Simms yelled as he jumped over the wooden fence to chase to the hog while the rains came down even harder.
Suddenly, Jack the horse veered the wagon straight into a tree on the right side of the dirt road- resulting in the wagon being overturned with Isaac being pinned beneath.
"Pa! Get out here! Mama Eva, bring the blankets!" Luke called over the storm out after seeing the accident.
"Sir, are you okay?" Luke asked.
"Apart from having this wagon on my leg, I'm great," Isaac groaned.
42-year-old Adam Simms ran out first,saw the overturned wagon and immediately chastized his son.
"Luke, what did you do now?" Adam sighed.
"Nothin' ,Pa. I just was tryin' to catch Percy when he startled this man's horse- and it's Matt's fault anyway," Luke sighed.
"You should have been watchin' your brother closer," Adam snapped.
"Yes, sir, Pa," Luke groaned.
"Excuse me, but could you two finish this argument some other time? This wagon's too heavy for me to lift off my leg and we're all getting wet," Isaac groaned.
"Well, why didn't you say so? Luke, you know what to do,"Adam insisted as he flexed his arms.
"Yes, sir, Pa! "Luke gulped as he lifted the wagon off of Isaac's leg then set it upright on its wheels-to Isaac's astonishment.
"My word! Are you alright, young man?" 37-year-old Eva Beadle Simms asked as she brought the blankets out while holding the black umbrella above her head.
"Apart from the shock of seeing someone that strong, I think my ankle's crushed," Isaac winced as he lay on the side of the road.
"So your horse's! He won't be trotting again for at least a fortnight,"Adam groaned.
"Great! The restaurant's supposed to open tomorrow. How am I supposed to get this equipment set up before then?" Isaac sighed.
"Restaurant?" Luke asked.
"Yeah, son. Didn't you hear me and yer Ma talk about the news of it openin' up at the railway station?" Adam asked.
"But that's near 40 miles from here, Pa!" Luke gasped.
"Well, you men are getting soaked to the skin and it won't do you any good trying to go anywhere tonight in this storm so we need be getting back to the house," Eva Beadle Simms pleaded.
"I'll get the horse," Adam insisted as he unhitched the wagon.
"We can't leave the wagon here!" Isaac protested while straightening his glasses.
"Luke'll take care of it," Adam insisted- as Luke started pushing the wagon up the hill towards the barn.
"Yes, sir, Pa! Then I'll catch Percy!" Luke insisted as he listened for where the boar's grunts were coming from.
"Come on, sir. Lean on me until we get you inside," Eva pleaded while Isaac stood on his left foot and hopped with her helping to support the weight.
It was several minutes before the group made it from the road to the small log cabin that Isaac could see was the family home. Meantime, Luke had pushed the wobbly wagon from the ditch in the muddy dirt road up the hill to the side of the barn- and then had been able to give chase to the boar and was able to drag him back to the large pen. By this time, the rest of the group had made it to the cabin's front door and Luke was able to run up to them. Right before they opened the door, Isaac saw a certain disparity between the group. Both men were wearing denim overalls ,straw hats and grey flannel shirts while the blonde woman folding the metal ribbed umbrella seemed a bit more refined than the men wearing a green paisley patterned linen dress, a lavender silk bonnet and an ivory cameo broach.
"Luke, Adam, you know we don't want any mud inside," Eva warned- as she scraped her boots on the bootscraper next to the door-prompting Isaac to do the same despite his bad right ankle.
At that point, Isaac saw the older man scrape off the mud from his solid farm boots on the metal bootscraper next to door. Afterwards Luke was seen to scrape off mud from his own bare feet then wipe them with a small cloth from his pocket before following the others.
Luke himself seemed a bit puzzled by this unusual little man at least a foot shorter who wore glasses and a suit- and whose hands had never seemed to have touched a plow.
"Luke, ain't ya forgettin' yer manners?" Adam asked as Eva opened the door.
"Yes, sir. Pa. Welcome to my farm. I'm Luke Simms," Luke gulped as he shook Isaac's hand as gently as he could but Isaac still felt as though his hand had been crushed by almost as much weight as the wagon that had fallen atop his ankle.
"Pleased to meet you, Luke. Mr and Mrs. Simms. I'm Isaac Cohen," Isaac grimaced while Eva opened the door.
Isaac could see a pretty 18-year-old girl in glasses with her blonde hair in sausage curls in a maroon silk dress and carpet slippers sitting in a rocking chair while reading "Little Women" by the fireplace- with a small crib on each side of her.
"You ain't met the rest of ma kin!" Luke insisted once they got inside.
"Luke," Eva and the girl said together.
"Sorry, Mama Eva, Charlotte. I meant to say. You have not met the rest of my family! Isaac, this here is my bride of a year, Charlotte Campbell Simms,"Luke introduced.
"How do you do, Isaac? What brings you to this part of Kansas?" Charlotte asked.
"I was on my way to open a Harvey House when I got delayed by an accident but your husband and in-laws have helped me," Isaac explained.
"I also want you to meet our babies John Simon and Mark Peter Simms who just turned a week old today," Luke introduced as he picked of his animated , blanketted and blond newborn sons out of the cradles and into his arms.
"And this little rascal's my younger son Matthew. He's due a spankin' for letting Percy out of the pen and causin' your accident," Adam groaned while mussing up his 4-year-old son's brown hair. Matthew wore overalls like his father and older brother but also had on a fresh, blue cotton collared buttoned shirt- and boots.
"Pa, Percy told me he wanted to run in the rain!" Matthew protested.
"Percy didn't say no such thing!" Luke scoffed.
"Any such thing," Eva and Charlotte said together.
"You don't mess with your brother's livestock. Is that understood?" Adam scold
"Now, dear. He misses home and he's having to adjust to being an uncle," Eva sighed.
"You may be right," Adam half-laughed.
"You're still to be punished for your mischief, young man but we'll be back home before too long," Eva pleaded while wagging her finger at then hugging her son.
"You mean, you three don't live here?" Isaac asked.
"No, our farm's five miles up the road but we've been staying here these past two weeks to help out Luke and Charlotte while they adjust to being parents," Eva explained.
"I thought this was your farm the way you order. ..Sorry, I didn't mean to," Isaac gulped.
"Don't mind Pa none. He'll always be my Pa even on my farm!" Luke laughed.
"Suppose it's a hard habit to break," Adam laughed.
"My father's that way,too. He'd be bossing me now if he weren't in New York City," Isaac laughed.
"New York City?" all the adults and Matthew exclaimed at once.
"Where's that,Pa?"Matthew asked.
"About as far away as the moon," Luke half-laughed.
"Not quite! It's about two thousand miles from here," Isaac explained.
"So, you said that you were openin' a new restaurant at the train station. Ain't there restaurants in New York City?" Luke asked- which caused the other Simms adults to roll their eyes.
"Hundreds if not thousands and I worked in a great many there. Ever since I was about Matthew's age and first saw how big our country was on a map, I wanted to make my way to the rest of the United States- and I wanted to bring good food to hardworking pioneers. That's why I became part of the Harvey House company," Isaac explained.
"That's what it says on the side of the wagon! " Luke said with a start.
"Yes, sir! A few years back, Mr. Fred Harvey got fed up having to travel on the rails with almost no good food to speak of so he got the idea of opening restaurants in all the rail stations to serve the passengers during whistle stops so that's what we've been doing with the Atchinson-Topeka and Santa Fe!" Isaac beamed proudly.
"And you wanted to ride the train when we moved here from Minnesota four years back. It'd have cost more and we wouldda starved," Adam scoffed.
"Pa, I just thought it would be easier for Mama Eva an' Matthew, "Luke protested.
"Luke, it was a nice thought but your brother and I are hardly made out of bone china and we all made the journey just fine in your Pa's covered wagon with the fresh game the you two provided on the way!" Eva protested as she started pouring hot coffee into a mug for Isaace
"Forgive me for interjecting, Mrs. Simms but,compared to Mr. Simms and Luke, you and your younger son and daughter-in-law do seem a bit more .. more. .." Isaac gulped.
"Civilized?" Adam half-laughed.
"Well, that wasn't the word I was looking for but. .." Isaac groaned.
"Don't bother us, none. It were me an' Pa on our own from the time I was barely suckled after my own Ma got her reward," Luke explained.
"I only met them when Luke was almost full grown and Adam enrolled him in my schoolhouse," Eva explained.
"So Mrs. Simms is your second wife?" Isaac asked as he took a sip of Eva's coffee.
"I think of her as my last one- just like Luke does for Charlotte," Adam explained.
"Mr. Simms, you mean your son was married before, too? How could you and Mrs. Simms have let him. ..?" Isaac asked.
"Now, hold on there. That were something Luke did wholly on his own. You think I'd have let him do that. He didn't have a farm back then only a prize sow!" Adam laughed.
"So, you eloped?" Isaac asked.
"We had to! Nellie's Ma wouldn't let us see each other and it was the only way we could figure on stayin' together," Luke protested.
"So Nellie's Ma didn't want her daughter marrying a farmer like she had, right?" Isaac asked.
At that point all the Simmses laughed.
"Oh, that's a good one! No, Nellie's Ma were no farmer's wife. She an' her husband owned the town store and she took one look at Luke's bare feet an' didn't think he were good enough for her daughter," Adam explained.
"Pa,I wore my best overalls for the dinner. I couldn't figure out why anyone would have such nice rugs if they never got to really feel 'em," Luke shrugged- and curled his toes.
"So, you eloped? "Isaac asked.
"It wasn't quite that simple but, essentially, yes. Of course, I must admit I had already fallen for Adam myself so when Nellie asked me if anything should stand in the way of true love, I told her no- thinking only of myself," Eva recalled with a loving sigh.
"So, you didn't mind marrying someone who already had a son and daughter-in-law?" Isaac asked.
"Well, by the time we and Nellie's parents caught up to them, we were able to get the marriage annulled because they were too young," Eva started to explain.
"An' me and Nellie hadn't truly known each other like in the Bible," Luke piped up.
"Luke, Isaac didn't need to hear that," Charlotte groaned.
"Anyway, while we were getting their marriage annulled, we decided the time was ripe for us to get married," Eva beamed.
"Yep, an' I was my Pa's Best Man!" Luke proudly added.
"No one else could have better to have whupped any challengers?" Adam heartily laughed while grabbing Luke's right bicep.
"Yeah, but I wasn't about to find out if I were stronger than any shot from Nellie's Ma's rifle!" Luke groaned.
"Shot?" Isaac gulped.
"Don't worry. Nellie's Pa made sure that only the hotel room ceiling got it," Adam shrugged.
"So, instead of Luke marrying the storekeeper's daughter, Mr. Simms married the town schoolteacher," Isaac surmised.
" An' I did the same when I met Charlotte," Luke added.
"And, Charlotte, you didn't mind marrying a barefoot pig farm boy who'd been married before?"Isaac asked.
"Well, we all insisted that Luke have his own farm before he married her so he could provide for them!" Eva related.
"So, may I ask why you moved to Kansas from Minnesota?" Isaac asked.
"Our town came into a terrible spot due to a conflict with the railroad and just about everyone had to leave- including Nellie and her family. I hated leaving my town and my pupils but we needed a good, stable place to farm to support both our sons so we came here," Eva explained.
"If we hadn't have moved, I've have spent the rest of my life mopin' over Nellie and have never met Charlotte," Luke beamed as he took Charlotte's hand.
"I ain't so sure Nellie was worth mopin' for," Adam groaned.
"Pa, you know I wouldn't have it any other way but bein' wed to Charlotte but Nellie was one of a kind special- like Percy's favorite sow Sukie who ain't like the others with her split left ear!" Luke explained.
"Oh, I don't think Nellie would appreciate you comparing her to a sow," Eva laughed.
"Well, to hear Mr. Ingalls tell it, that Nellie was meaner than a snake to his little girl. I heard quite an earful from him and everyone after it was found out how close Luke an' her came to gettin' hitched," Adam half-laughed and half-groaned.
"Adam, Luke was a positive influence on Nellie's disposition while they were courting- and I think a good, honest man may be just what she needs where ever she may be now," Eva pleaded.
"You mean like in 'Taming of the Shrew'?" Isaac laughed.
"No offense, Mrs. Simms but I thought that was one of Shakespeare's most absurd plays ever. That sort of thing could never happen in real life. I mean once a shrew, always a shrew," Isaac laughed- and spat out the last sip of his coffee.
"And how'd you know? You ever been married?" Luke asked.
"No, siree! I mean may one day but right now it's out of the question. I travel all the time for Mr. Harvey and I don't have a place of my own," Isaac explained.
"And you think that's what you want out of life?" Charlotte asked while discreetly nursing her son Mark beneath a shawl.
"Hey! It suits me fine! I only have to answer to one boss. No wife and no mother-in-law trying to make a new meaning of a shotgun wedding- and I've got enough temper for an entire family so I'd stay clear of any shrews," Isaac scoffed.
"Suit yourself but, in the meantime, have some roast pork chops with gravy+biscuits," Eva insisted as she started making a plate for Isaac from the fireplace.
"Sorry, Mrs. Simms. I can't," Isaac gulped.
"But Mama Eva's cookin's almost as good as Charlotte's- when she's ready for cookin!" Luke pleaded.
"I'd like to but I can't eat it. I'm Jewish and pork's not kosher- that's another reason I can't marry anyone right any time soon," Isaac groaned.
"You remember all those laws given to Moses," Eva concurred.
" Mama and Papa wanted to arrange a marriage like their own had been in Russia but I told them we're in America and in America, we marry for love not arrangements," Isaac recalled.
"Well, at least have some of her biscuits. You could use some fattenin' up," Luke insisted.
After Isaac took the Simmes offer of hospitality for the night, he awoke the next morning quite early to find Luke and Adam already in the field- gathering some extra grain for the hogs.
"Thanks for fixing the wagon wheel and putting up Jack and me for the night,"Isaac exclaimed as he got ready to shake hands with the Simmses for the last time.
"Much obliged. Sorry about Matt's lettin' out Percy like that!" Adam shrugged.
"It's okay. I can't remember when I last had a good home cooked meal like that. Are you sure you won't let me make breakfast in return, Mrs. Simms?" Isaac asked.
"Oh, no thanks. I'm already here to help Luke, Charlotte and our grandsons," Eva explained.
"I think I should be able to make the restaurant opening in time and set things up. Drop by some time for a good meal!" Isaac insisted.
"Well, we normally just eat good home cookin' but maybe for me and Eva's Anniversary, we could make the trip," Adam surmised.
"Take care of Percy and the other pigs and give them my best!" Isaac laughed as he started to drive off.
"He seemed a nice young man but he sure seemed a bit rudderless- in spite of all his plans for himself," Eva sighed-as they watched Isaac drive off.
"Yep, but maybe he'll change his mind about marryin' one day," Adam pondered.
"True, let's not forget that Isaac was Sarah's response to God telling her she was going to have children late in life," Eva recalled.
"That's right! 'Isaac' means 'she laughed'. Maybe Isaac will have the last laugh on him!" Adam laughed.
Unfortunately, due to an error in the map, Isaac was still an hour late to the opening of the latest Harvey House and as a result he was fired on the spot- and ,with Jack the horse and the cart being company property was left with only the clothes on his back. Worse still, the manager told him he'd see to it that Isaac Cohen would never be hired anywhere in state of Kansas again.
"Hmm, I guess I'd better get a new name for myself. Percy the pig kind of caused this so maybe my new name should reflect this. 'Percival', that's it!" Isaac exclaimed as he walked out of the office.
A few months later, Percival had thought he was adjusting to his calling of being a 'restaurant/bookkeeping consultant' while advertizing in the Midwest newspaper classifieds but then out of dozens of restauranteurs he'd trained, the impossible had happened, Percival had fallen in love . Not just with anyone, but one who was easily the most impossible of his clients (though, nowhere near as impossible as her mother). Despite all the verbal and physical assaults his beloved had done to him, Percival oddly enough didn't consider himself worthy of her so he was surprised that she found herself worthy of him and proposed and didn't seem to be the least bit bothered by his being Jewish. . He was walking with his intended bride as they were ready to be married by Doctor Hiram Baker but decided there still something important he had to disclose.
"There's something I need to tell you. My real name's Isaac Cohen but I've been using Percival Dalton so I can get jobs," Percival explained.
"That's nothing. I'd marry you if your name was Rumplestiltskin. You want to hear something really bad? I was married once before!" Nellie laughed.
"Really?" Percival laughed.
"Don't worry. Thanks to Mother's shotgun getting in the way, you'll find me as pure as the driven snow in spite of all the rotten stuff I've pulled,"Nellie laughed- and pointed to herself as they walked toward Doc Baker.
"Shotgun? By any chance was your first husband's name Luke?"Percival gulped.
"Yes! How did you. ..?"Nellie gasped ..
"Let's just say that the world's a lot smaller than we may think- especially in a pig's eye!" Percival laughed while Nellie soon joined him in hysterics right moments before they exchanged vows.