Sunday morning, Ian was pacing around. “I’m worried about the weather. The sky’s clouding. Maybe my kallah should have stayed in New York. What if it snows?”
I was putting away my t’filin. “We get snow all the time in Vermont, but it’s been really mild this winter, with hardly any and its already March. I’m sure there’s no reason to worry about that.”
Aunt Mimi came into the room with a pile of socks. “You’re like a horse biting at the bit. Why don’t you go for a ride with Aharon after you help him with the chores?”
Uncle Nathan stepped inside, waving a paper. “I just got a telegraph with the weather for today and tomorrow. Here’s the report: “Fresh to brisk winds, with rain, will prevail, followed on Monday by colder brisk westerly winds and fair weather throughout the Atlantic states…”
Ian smiled. “Thanks for letting me know. Baruch Hashem, it sounds like good weather for traveling. Chaya Faigy will be fine.”
That day, when we fed the horses and cows, they acted skittery. We got ready to go for a horseback ride, but then it started to rain pretty hard.
“Her train is leaving late this afternoon,” Ian said. “I hope the rain lets up.”
“Let’s learn,” I suggested.
The afternoon flew by as we learned Gemara together. It was around five that the wind picked up and was howling outside. Uncle Nathan returned from his calls. He was soaked. “The rain is heavy with that strong wind. I could use your help to tie down the barn door.”
We followed him outside into the wind and sleet. I shivered and buttoned my coat to the top.
Ian was very quiet as we hammered the cross bars on the barn to keep the door shut.
As we ran back to the house, the heavy rain drenched us.
My young cousins Chezky and Shmuel were sitting by the window watching the wind whipping tree branches. “It sounds like wolves howling,” Chezky said.
We stood by the fire to dry. When I plopped down on a chair, Shmuel scooted into my lap. “Is it going to snow?” he asked.
Uncle Nathan was helping Aunt Mimi with the stove. “No, the weather is supposed to clear up.”
Ian stared out the window.
“Tell us about your kallah,” I said, hoping to distract him from his worries.
“She’s a really special person. She took care of her whole family when they had yellow fever. She nursed them back to health. She’s smart and she’s great at everything. She does needlepoint and she plays the piano.”
“She sounds very accomplished,” I said.
“She worked hard and saved up money for her wedding trousseau. Her family are hard-working, but money is tight with 11 children. She wrote me that she’ll be wearing a Eugenie hat with a red feather, so I’ll be able to spot her right away at the train station. She saved up a long time for that.”
Just then, we heard a tree snap and crash in the yard.
“That’s a mighty wind,” Uncle Nathan said, as he stared outside.
Ian was pale. “Do you think they’ll cancel the trains if it’s dangerous.”
“It’s not dangerous, and they will cancel if they need to. Now, no worries. Hashem is in charge.”
The train was due in at 10 p.m., and Ian and I headed out to the barn to hitch up the wagon to go meet his kallah at the train station. That’s exactly when the temperatures dropped to freezing and suddenly the sleet had turned to ice. Ian and I braced ourselves against the wind as we trudged towards the barn.
We both kept slipping and sliding on the ice. I fell twice. Uncle Nathan came after us. “You best wait a bit. It’s too treacherous right now to take the wagon out.”
Ian’s whole body sagged with worry. “What about Chaya Faigy? She’ll be frightened. I have to go fetch her.”
Just then, there was a loud, cracking sound. A tall spruce tree crashed to the ground a few feet in front of Ian.
Uncle Nathan yelled over the screeching wind. “The train will stop and wait out the storm. I’m sure it won’t be coming in tonight in this.”
If only his prediction had come true…
To be continued…