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The Kings of Oak Springs - Episode 45 - William McDonald’s 18th Birthday Celebration
They shared the birthday cake
Sunday afternoon birthday celebration
Karl King and family were among the several families invited to participate in the 18th Birthday celebration for William McDonald by his parents at the Methodist Church building. Jane and Daniel McDonald had arranged to use the building for the afternoon to host the other four families of the members of William’s senior class at the high school, the Cranes, the Kings, the Campbells and the Carvers. Charlotte Cranes’s parents were Thomas and Grace, of course, and she had a younger sister, a freshman, Cora. Kate King’s parents were Karl and Katherine, with her brother, Kent, a sophomore, and Karla, a 5th grader. Vic Campbell’s parents were Ralph and Sally. John Carver’s parents were Hiram and Millie along with his two younger sisters in attendance: Janice, a sophomore, and Judy, a 6th grader. For many, this was reminiscent of Fourth Sunday gatherings in Oak Springs, in years long gone by.
Jane had arranged a cooperative dinner with the other women. They were each accustomed to this as all five families were members of the church and this was a fairly common activity. Men, women and children all pitched in to assist setting up and arranging furniture and food for the dinner. The invitations were “no gifts” for William, but each family included one of his favorite dishes among their contributions. Katherine King was known for her potato salad. Charlotte made a scrumptious fruit salad. Sally Campbell made an excellent green bean casserole. Millie Carver shared homemade pickles in several varieties. The McDonald’s provided a ham from Orchard’s and fresh baked rolls from Ward’s … along with a large birthday cake for later.
Everyone enjoyed the fine meal together and everyone helped clean up after, before they had the birthday celebration. They came back together around the cake to recognize William on his 18th birthday - they all knew it was actually Tuesday, the 31st, not Sunday. His parents said a few words of how proud they were of him, and his class, and then he gave a little speech.
William: Thank you all for coming together here today, to help me celebrate this very special birthday. The five of us, in the senior class, only have a few months left until graduation. At that point, even though we’ve been together for years, we’ll each go our separate ways. While we’ll always be friends, things will change with this graduation, and our lives will take different directions. We each have plans for that time, but one never knows for sure what the future will hold. This afternoon, we five families have a chance to both remember the past and look forward to the future. Have a great afternoon of conversation, and fun. Now, let’s have some of that birthday cake!
They talked about their love of farm life
Some familiar, some new discussion groupings
As folks finished their cake, coffee, tea and punch, some natural groupings formed for conversation. The men, and the women, of course, tended to start off together - or in twos and threes. The five senior young people gathered around William to wish him well and comment on his ‘speech.’ Cora, Karla and Judy made up the younger girls group, with Cora getting to play the unusual role of ‘big sister’ to the two younger girls. This left fellow sophomores, Kent King and Janice Carver, together, outside the other circles of conversation. Although they had been in the same class for two and a half years now, and knew each other, they had never really spent any time talking one on one.
At first, Kent and Janice simply talked about school... assignments, teachers, and activities. Somehow, before long, their conversation shifted to their farm duties, and they were soon caught up in sharing what each did on the farm. They each shared a love for work and life on the farm, it turned out. They talked, and talked, and talked.
Karla and Judy each wanted to talk to Cora about being at the high school. They each had older siblings, but it was fun for them to ask someone else, who would listen to them, what she had thought about her first few months there. The girls had a fun conversation. Cora was pleased to be able to share her thoughts with these new friends, even though they were much younger.
Would the mill want these trees?
The afternoon passed by quickly for everyone
Daniel: How are things over on the west side of the valley? I really don’t get over that way very often.
Hiram: Only a few miles apart, really, I’m the same way. I go into town, from time to time, but rarely get east of town. Although, I do get out to the mill a couple of times a year. Oh, and I did cut and sell some trees to the mill. That was an experience.
Daniel: I didn’t realize you would have trees.
Hiram: Actually, there were three that were large enough for Riley to be interested in them, along the creek. They really weren’t doing us any good there, and he paid a reasonable price.
Daniel: I’ve heard others say that, as well. Our trees along Oak Creek are two small to be of interest. There are some up on the ridge he could probably use, but I really hadn’t given it much thought, to tell you the truth.
Hiram: Well, you might think about it. I think he is still interested in big trees, from time to time.
As folks were beginning to think about getting around and heading back home…
Katherine: Thank you, so much, Jane, for inviting us all today. This was really relaxing and fun to get to spend time with you all.
Millie: That is for sure. We were especially pleased that you asked us to join you. John enjoys his classmates, very much, even though they are in couples, they are very nice to him. This will give him more fine memories.
Sally: I noticed that John and Vic were talking there a while ago. I overheard just a bit and they were talking about each of them being at Washington University later in the year. They hope to be able to see each other some there, when their studies permit.
Jane: Thanks to each of you for all your help, as well. This was fun.
Grace: It was interesting seeing the interactions that came out of this group of families today. I don’t think Kent and Janice even know, yet, that we’re getting things around to go home.
Katherine: I know I’ve never seen my son and a girl together, talking like that before. This alone may end up making this a most memorable occasion. [Big mother smiles were seen all around the circle of friends.]
Note from the author
This is the forty-fifth episode of this short story series, and the fifth of what will be Volume Three. The stories are set in the Ozarks Mountains setting of “The Homeplace Saga” series of family saga historical fiction. This Episode is set in January of the calendar year 1882. The 20-Episode Series OSx, “Life in Oak Springs and more” fills in the gap of time between Episodes 40 and 41 in this series. These episodes move the story forward for the entire "Saga" series.
The earlier episodes of the King Family series have now been compiled into two eBooks, titled: "The Kings of Oak Springs,” Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 (20 episodes each). See the link, below, to get yours.
“The Homeplace Saga” historical fiction family saga stories are the creation of the author, William Leverne Smith, also known as “Dr. Bill.”