Oklahoma Summer
Lisa Vogel

A s Rebecca surveyed her garden, the sun beat into her neck and back. She paid it no mind. For the okra had finally sprouted, as well as the lettuce and beans. A quarter mile it was to the Morten's well if it was an inch and she hadn't the strength to carry more than one bucket at a time. But see? It was worth it. With her own well dry and there being no alternative, she might as well say so, anyway. Let God judge the truth.

At least Nathaniel couldn't see what she had come to. And the boys. Natey in the Great War. Zeke by influenza this winter past.

Dabbing at the sweat on her face, Rebecca continued along the rows, using her hoe as a cane. The tomatoes, melons, and squash were stunted but present and accounted for. When they flowered, oh, how pretty the garden would be. Perhaps then she would invite over the few neighbor ladies left, under the guise of showing off, but really to reinforce old friendships so there might be somewhere to turn if the need ever came.

Rebecca bent over for a closer look. Even now the garden held beauty. She got down on her hands and knees and was surprised to see how the seedlings all reached the same level, with no part higher than another. So! Uniformity left in this incomprehensible world where she least expected it! As long as the rains came she would be fine.

First published: November 2000
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