The day Katie and Israel fought over who got a turn at the dishes, she knew she had to do something about it. Normally, they argued over who had to clear the dishes, but that evening it had been the other way around.
"I'll clean up." Katie said quietly.
"I can do 'em." Israel said. "Don't worry about it, Ma."
Katie Grace had already started clearing. "I'm doing it already."
Israel reached for a plate. "I don't mind."
She turned and looked at Daniel raising an eyebrow. But she could tell he was debating whether to join in the argument himself. Sighing she said, "Come on Rose. Time for bed." Ignoring her husband's offer to tuck Rose in she left them hoping it wouldn't come to blows.
By the time she returned, they seemed to have worked out a compromise with Katie washing and Israel drying. She reached over to put another log on the fire.
"I got it." Daniel said and crossing the room to take the log out of her hand, he tossed into the fire.
"Alright," She said. "That's it! Katie, Israel, come sit down. I want to talk to you." They looked up worried and immediately came and sat down.
"Ma?" Israel asked as they sat side-by-side on the settee. "Do you need something?"
Rising Daniel said, "Rebecca? Is everything all right?" She sighed and pointing her finger at Daniel she said, "Sit." He sat, puzzled. She sighed and stood at the fireplace facing them.
"Before I say anything else, I want to say this: I love every single one of you with all my heart." She paused and Daniel began, " Well, we . . ."
"Be quiet." She said to him. Surprised, he stopped.
"But you need to stop it. Listen, I am not made of glass. I'm fine." Facing Israel and Katie she said, "You realize you two have fought all day long? Over chores? I bet if I said I needed a bucket of water, you two would wrestle each other to the ground for it!" Daniel laughed. She turned on him, "You're no better! You offered to bake a pie yesterday!"
She drew in a deep breath. "Stop worrying over me! I'll be fine. I'm a Boone and nothing stops us." She smiled at them thinking again that she really was very blessed. Sighing she continued, "So, tomorrow, you two are going fishing and I don't even care if you do your chores first. And you," She said turning to her husband, "are going hunting. You will lose track of time and come home much too late - just like always." She stood hands on hips staring at them.
"We're sorry, Ma." Israel said.
"We just wanted to make things better." Katie said softly.
She crossed to them then and laying a hand on their shoulders, she said, "You do. How could I be sad with you two?" She smiled at them. "But enough is enough. I appreciate all you've done but there's no need. All the clean dishes, and folded wash, and stacked firewood, and chicken coops won't change it." She smiled at them sadly. "I know you love me, but some things can't be fixed, they just must be endured."
They nodded their heads. "Now off to bed!"
They rose and threw their arms around her kissing her cheeks. "'Night, Ma!" They said and disappeared to their rooms.
"And you," She said turning to her husband. "What on earth did you say to them? They've been waiting on me hand and foot!"
"Actually, I didn't say anything. Katie-Grace has a keen ear and nothing slips by her. There's no secrets in this house." He said.
He rose and put his arms around her. "I apologize for being so kind to you. I promise to improve." He said grinning.
She laughed and seeing her smile for the first time in weeks, he felt his heart skip a beat.
"That isn't what I meant and you know it." She said.
"No, I understand. You got a horrible problem on your hands. Your family loves you and is treating you too kindly. How will you endure it?" He teased her.
"Well, we frontier women are strong." She said resting in his arms.
"That you are." He said suddenly serious.
They both turned at the sound of knocking at the door. Cautious because of the hour, Daniel reached for his rifle before opening the door.
"Tom?" Tom Walker stood in the open door. Daniel set his rifle down.
"What are you doing out this hour? Come on in." He motioned him inside.
"Oh, no thank you. Cincinnatus just asked me to bring this by. It came late this afternoon. He was going to bring it to you in the morning but since I had to pass here on the way home, he thought I could drop it by." He handed Daniel an envelope.
"Good night." Tom said tipping his hat.
"'Night and thank you!"
He closed the door and turned towards her.
"What is it?" She asked but even as she spoke, Rose began to cry. "Oh! Tell me in a minute." She disappeared and soon he could hear her singing to Rose.
He was reading it as she came back into the room a half an hour later.
"What is it?" She asked again.
"It's from Mima!" He said with a smile.
"Oh! Dan!" She beamed. He handed it to her. "Is she well? What did she say?" She asked him.
Laughing he said, "You can read it for yourself darlin' She is well and wants you to come visit her in late March."
"March? She knows how busy it is in spring?"
"I reckon she does, but apparently your grand baby doesn't!" He smiled at her.
"Grand baby!" She fairly shouted it and jumped into his open arms. He laughed for joy and after a bit said, "Well, Grandma?"
She looked up at him with eyes filled with tears - joyful ones this time, and said, "My cup runneth over!"
Not far in the distance, two men stood at the rise of a hill. They watched as blue smoke drifted into the sky from a lone cabin.
"It shall be done, then." A Shawnee warrior said to the Choctaw standing before him.
"When?" He asked.
"In the spring would be best. It will take me some time to gather the men to my side. Do not fear. It shall be done. I've no love for this white man, and I've no fear of bringing retribution to his woman and children."
"I had heard the same. You will gain great fortune and standing if you are successful. There will be no question as to who best to lead the Shawnee once you have done this. And it will secure our loyalties."
"It shall be done then."
"You will have no need to send word to us. We shall hear of it." The Choctaw warrior turned to leave.
"And your loyalty will guarantee that we shall be able to control this valley. We shall be great united nations. Our names will be remembered for the generations that follow." He nodded.
The two men parted. Long after the Choctaw had left, Rising Dawn stood alone watching the Boone cabin. He smiled as he turned to leave thinking of his future glory.