As Cowboy trotted from the barn lot, pulling the small, two-person riding cart, Beulah Opalinksi grabbed her town hat and hurried out the front door of the small house she and Jamin shared. The morning was still young, but Edwin Swarth was reining Cowboy onto the narrow dirt road, just as she arrived at the edge of the front lawn.
“Whoa!” he commanded the gentle horse, pulling back slightly on the reins. Turning to Beulah as she approached the cart, he called, “Good morning! Need a ride into town?”
“Thanks, Eddie,” she replied, “I was planning to ask today if you or Elizabeth were planning to go into town soon, but I didn’t get over to your house before I saw you were already on your way! I do have some business to attend to, if you don’t mind some .”
Edwin and Elizabeth Swarth had been close friends of Beulah’s when she was a child, and they had kindly allowed her son, Jamin, and her to live and work on their farm since Jamin’s father had finally left them in the city. The blessing of their friendship was appreciated beyond what Beulah could possibly express, but they made it clear from the first day that it was their blessing to have the Opalinksi’s presence on the farm. Jamin was a hard worker, and had developed a truly delightful personality since he’d surrendered his old self to God. Likewise, Beulah’s gentle ways and motherly care were cherished by the Swarths and their six children.
Beulah aided Elizabeth regularly in the responsibilities of mother and farm wife, which was often much more than one woman could accomplish alone. From baking, cleaning, laundry, and babysitting, to feeding chickens, sheep, and cows, the women were never short on things to do. Edwin, Jamin, and two other part-time helpers worked no less diligently to manage the small dairy of nineteen milk cows and farm nearly three-hundred acres of crop land.
It was rare for Edwin to take time to travel into town, and even less usual for him not to take the large wagon to bring back supplies. Beulah inquired as to the occasion.
“Got some legal work to do in town that I wasn’t plannin’ on, and I just got supplies last week. So, I figured I could get there and back faster with old Cowboy than with the big rig. If you got something you need to get accomplished in town too, you might as well climb in. I should be in town for at least a few good hours. Will that suit your plans?”
“That would be just perfect! I promise not to hold you up. You tell me where to meet you and I will be there promptly.”
With that, Beulah climbed on board, and they circled back to the main farm house to inform Elizabeth of Beulah’s temporary absence. After hugs all around from the four youngest children, they started off to the big city. Beulah honestly had no idea how this day would turn out, but there were two things that she felt she really must do. She prayed as she rode in the gentle autumn sunlight that God would give her wisdom to carry them out with grace.