Mary Ellen was sitting at the table outside after school. John Boy pulled up in his car. He was carrying his books.

"Hi John Boy." Mary Ellen said and waved half-heartedly. He walked over to her.

"What's the matter Mary Ellen?" She sighed.

"I'm not sure. I feel like I should be growing up faster than I am. Everybody expects things from me that I don't think I can give them. I have responsibilities that I don't think I can handle." John Boy sat next to her.

"Mary Ellen," She looked up at him.

"Yeah?" He laughed as he moved some hair out of her face.

"Growing up isn't easy. Nobody likes it. It's difficult and confusing."

"Even for you?" Mary Ellen asked. John Boy nodded.

'I was the oldest Mary Ellen. Plus, it's not easy to grow up." She sighed.

"But I'm the oldest girl and mama and daddy expect me to act differently than Erin and Elizabeth; just because they are younger." John Boy laughed.

"It's no fun being the oldest is it?" Mary Ellen shook her head.

"No. Everybody wants to marry me off just because I'm seventeen and had my quilting. I didn't even want it. Grandma pushed it on me." Mary Ellen looked at the table.

"She has a tendency to do that. Grandma loves us and wants what's best for us." Mary Ellen looked over at him quickly.

"Even if it's not what we want for ourselves? I'm tired of everybody telling me what I want. What if I don't know what I want?"

"Who knows what they want at seventeen?"

"You did." Mary Ellen said quietly.


"You've always known what you wanted. You've wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember."

"I do want to be a writer, but you said you wanted to be a nurse."

"I did, but I went to take my test and failed. I don't know Algebra and Chemistry." John Boy laughed.

"You'll learn Mary Ellen. You can't be a nurse overnight. You'll study. You'll learn." Mary Ellen nodded.

"But what if I can't? What if I forget something?"

"Mary Ellen, you don't usually act like this." She paused and sighed.

"But I don't know what I want to do. I'm confused John Boy. Some days I think about how great it would be to be a nurse and then other days I just want to be at home with Mama and for her to take care of me like she does Elizabeth."

"Elizabeth is a child; you are growing up to be a wonderful young lady."

"You think so?"

"Of course I do Mary Ellen."

"I don't understand." John Boy sighed.

"Mary Ellen, whatever your life has in store will come in time. Don't seek it out. Ask Mama if you have questions. She's been through this before and can help you with everything you need."

"Thanks John Boy."

"You're welcome Mary Ellen." John Boy looked up at the door to see Olivia standing there. "Come on, Mama looks like she could use some help." John Boy and Mary Ellen got up from the table and walked into the house.

"Hi Mama." Mary Ellen said. Olivia nodded. She took John Boy by the arm.

"Thank you." Olivia stated.

"You're welcome Mama." John Boy responded. "She needed to be able to talk to somebody." Olivia hugged him.

"She's so mixed up right now. I'm glad you were there for her." John Boy smiled.

"Not a problem. We all get confused sometimes." John Boy and Olivia walked into the house.