Today's Reading

CHAPTER ONE
San Marcial, New Mexico
August 1916

"Hello, Mama." Cassie Barton sat down and smiled. "I couldn't keep myself from coming today. I miss you so much." She leaned forward and placed a small bouquet of flowers on her mother's grave. She glanced to the left and sobered. "I miss you too, Papa."

It had only been a few months since her father departed the earth, and she hadn't quite gotten used to his absence, whereas Mama had been gone for seven years.

"It still feels like yesterday, though." Cassie tried to keep tears from her eyes. How she missed them both. They had been the very center of her world.

"It's going to be another hot day," she said, not really caring. "Sometimes I wish I could be with you. Nothing is the same since you went away. I can't help but think of you both all the time. When we sang 'A Shelter in the Time of Storm' at church, I remembered how it was one of your favorites, Mama. Especially the line, 'The Lord's our rock, in Him we hide, a shelter in the time of storm; secure whatever ill betide, a shelter in the time of storm.'

"I remember your strong alto voice." Her smile returned. "And Papa, you would just mouth the words because you couldn't carry a tune. It always made me giggle because everyone around us knew the truth, yet you sang on in silence."

She arranged the flowers between the two graves and got to her feet. "I have so much to do, or I would just sit here with you all day." She paused and glanced heavenward. "I know you're not here, but it somehow comforts me to find you in different places. Every time I'm near a train engine, I think of you, Papa. And when I cook something, I can almost hear you instructing me as you used to do, Mama. You will both be with me always. No matter where I am, I will feel you near."

She wiped tears from her eyes and drew in a deep breath. They were in a better place. But she was alone. Completely alone in this world, despite having a younger sister. A sister who wanted nothing to do with her.

Cassie headed down the hill from the cemetery and past the Mexican grocery store in the Old Town of San Marcial. Why was she still here? Why did she stay?

"God, help me, please. I don't know where I belong."

****

"Well, Miss Cassie, what's it to be today?" Mr. Brewster asked from behind the mercantile counter.

"I need thread," she said, looking at her list. "Four white, two black, and two navy."

The older man gathered the items and placed them in front of her. "Anything else?"

"Have the scissors I ordered come in yet?" She looked up, hoping he'd reply in the affirmative.

"'Fraid not, Miss Cassie." He shook his head. "Not sure why it's taking so long."

Cassie nodded. "I don't suppose it can be helped." She looked back at her list. "Oh, I need a package of needles—the regular sewing needles. I also need a good leather needle."

Mr. Brewster quickly collected the items. "How about fabric?"

"Not today. Most of my work has been mending rather than making." She glanced around the store. "I will need a few things for the kitchen, however."

"Of course. What'd you have in mind?" They moved in unison toward the opposite side of the store, Mr. Brewster on his side of the counter and Cassie on hers.

"I'd like two cans of peaches, some baking powder, and some peppermint oil." She tucked the list in her pocket.

"We got some new saltwater taffy in just yesterday. Came all the way from San Francisco." He grinned, reached for a piece, and handed it to Cassie. "Here, try a sample." He knew all about her sweet tooth.

"If you insist." She unwrapped the wax paper and popped the taffy in her mouth. Immediately, she tasted cherry. "Mmm." It was all she could manage to say, as the taffy seemed to grow larger as she chewed. It was quite delicious.
...

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Today's Reading

CHAPTER ONE
San Marcial, New Mexico
August 1916

"Hello, Mama." Cassie Barton sat down and smiled. "I couldn't keep myself from coming today. I miss you so much." She leaned forward and placed a small bouquet of flowers on her mother's grave. She glanced to the left and sobered. "I miss you too, Papa."

It had only been a few months since her father departed the earth, and she hadn't quite gotten used to his absence, whereas Mama had been gone for seven years.

"It still feels like yesterday, though." Cassie tried to keep tears from her eyes. How she missed them both. They had been the very center of her world.

"It's going to be another hot day," she said, not really caring. "Sometimes I wish I could be with you. Nothing is the same since you went away. I can't help but think of you both all the time. When we sang 'A Shelter in the Time of Storm' at church, I remembered how it was one of your favorites, Mama. Especially the line, 'The Lord's our rock, in Him we hide, a shelter in the time of storm; secure whatever ill betide, a shelter in the time of storm.'

"I remember your strong alto voice." Her smile returned. "And Papa, you would just mouth the words because you couldn't carry a tune. It always made me giggle because everyone around us knew the truth, yet you sang on in silence."

She arranged the flowers between the two graves and got to her feet. "I have so much to do, or I would just sit here with you all day." She paused and glanced heavenward. "I know you're not here, but it somehow comforts me to find you in different places. Every time I'm near a train engine, I think of you, Papa. And when I cook something, I can almost hear you instructing me as you used to do, Mama. You will both be with me always. No matter where I am, I will feel you near."

She wiped tears from her eyes and drew in a deep breath. They were in a better place. But she was alone. Completely alone in this world, despite having a younger sister. A sister who wanted nothing to do with her.

Cassie headed down the hill from the cemetery and past the Mexican grocery store in the Old Town of San Marcial. Why was she still here? Why did she stay?

"God, help me, please. I don't know where I belong."

****

"Well, Miss Cassie, what's it to be today?" Mr. Brewster asked from behind the mercantile counter.

"I need thread," she said, looking at her list. "Four white, two black, and two navy."

The older man gathered the items and placed them in front of her. "Anything else?"

"Have the scissors I ordered come in yet?" She looked up, hoping he'd reply in the affirmative.

"'Fraid not, Miss Cassie." He shook his head. "Not sure why it's taking so long."

Cassie nodded. "I don't suppose it can be helped." She looked back at her list. "Oh, I need a package of needles—the regular sewing needles. I also need a good leather needle."

Mr. Brewster quickly collected the items. "How about fabric?"

"Not today. Most of my work has been mending rather than making." She glanced around the store. "I will need a few things for the kitchen, however."

"Of course. What'd you have in mind?" They moved in unison toward the opposite side of the store, Mr. Brewster on his side of the counter and Cassie on hers.

"I'd like two cans of peaches, some baking powder, and some peppermint oil." She tucked the list in her pocket.

"We got some new saltwater taffy in just yesterday. Came all the way from San Francisco." He grinned, reached for a piece, and handed it to Cassie. "Here, try a sample." He knew all about her sweet tooth.

"If you insist." She unwrapped the wax paper and popped the taffy in her mouth. Immediately, she tasted cherry. "Mmm." It was all she could manage to say, as the taffy seemed to grow larger as she chewed. It was quite delicious.
...

Join the Library's Online Book Clubs and start receiving chapters from popular books in your daily email. Every day, Monday through Friday, we'll send you a portion of a book that takes only five minutes to read. Each Monday we begin a new book and by Friday you will have the chance to read 2 or 3 chapters, enough to know if it's a book you want to finish. You can read a wide variety of books including fiction, nonfiction, romance, business, teen and mystery books. Just give us your email address and five minutes a day, and we'll give you an exciting world of reading.

What our readers think...