The rooster crowed, and then the cows began to moo. Mary stumbled out of bed and into her slippers. Life starts early on a farm, each morning is a routine. She goes in and jostles her son awake along with his wife Peggy. She heads down to the kitchen and turns on the lights. She looks out the window and sees the horizon getting light. The sun is finally awake thanks to the rooster. She goes to the cabinet and gets out her mixing bowl. She pours flour into it and begins making doe. The stove is turned on and set to 400 degrees, a routine that she has done hundreds of times before. She rolls the doe into little balls and then puts them on a cooking pan spattered with fresh butter. Into the oven the biscuits go. Her son is moving around upstairs, he is like his dad in so many ways, an early riser and a hard worker. Her daughter in law not so much the early riser, having been raised in town, she drags a little in the morning but she will be up soon enough, expecting her second child, hoping for a boy on this one. Her daughter is already up, following her daddy like a shadow. Something about the way she goes after him, just like he used to do his dad, Mary’s husband. Mary stops and puts her apron to her eyes. She has to wipe away a few tears, she keeps forgetting that Thomas, or Tom is gone. It has been just over a month now and she still half expects him to be sitting at the breakfast table drinking a cup of coffee sniping at her because the biscuits aren’t ready yet. She moves on and takes out her skillet; she begins putting sausage on to fry and stars cracking eggs into a bowl. Everyone likes their eggs different, her Tom always like his scrambled, her son likes an omelet, and her citified daughter in law likes them poached. So there are a few eggs whisked up for an omelet. She always asks her grand daughter how she wants her eggs, she simply replies just like pappy eats his, meaning her late husband. So she carries on with the chore of cooking. Her grand daughter is the first down the stairs. She isn’t really old enough to help, but she looks so cute in her overalls and little boots, she is a farm girl if there ever was one. She always liked going out to the barn first thing, with her dad and pappy. She cannot do much but lord does she try. She comes in and pulls out the chair next to where her pappy used to sit. Again Mary begins to weep, but she can’t let the little one see her cry. So the turns her attentions back to the stove, heat billowing off of it. Her sausage needs turning and the biscuits should be hot enough to be buttered. She opens up the stove and gets a hot blast of air, just like a furnace this old thing, but it still does the job. Her husband Tom fixed it 3 times to keep it going. They don’t make them this big anymore he told Mary. She could get two turkeys in this one, but not in one of those new fangled ones. So on it goes, the daily routine, breakfast must be fixed in order to feed the farm help.
Breakfast passes just like it has hundreds or even thousands of times before. The little one is out the door with her daddy and her daughter in law waddles down the stairs late again. Mary set her a plate aside and goes about cleaning up the breakfast dishes. She really doesn’t pay that much attention to Peggy, since this is her second child, you would think she would be used to waddling around. Her husband swears that she is more contrary this time than the last. That is why Mary thinks it is a boy, a boy; Tom would have loved to have seen a grandson. Weeping again, what is come over me she thinks? She wipes her eyes with her apron and heads upstairs to change into her working clothes. She finds an old cotton dress and some comfortable shoes; she isn’t going out to the barn so she wears slip on loafers around the house. Her husband used to say she would look good in hip waders, but then he didn’t see too well. As she finishes dressing, she goes to make up her bed; only one side needs to be straightened. She just falls into the bed and begins to sob. Quietly, longingly she cries for her husband. It just isn’t the same, she weeps into his pillow, why did you have to leave me? A question she has asked a thousand times, but still no answer is forth coming. After about 10 minuets of sobbing, she pulls herself together. She hears Peggy lumbering back up the stairs; she doesn’t want her to see her like this. She knows that she will tell her son and it will just be a mess. So she pulls it together, continuing on with her daily routine like nothing is wrong. All the while she knows something is wrong, because she keeps seeing her husband’s ghost everywhere and everything she does. Her routine isn’t routine anymore, it is as if she is on auto pilot. She tries her best to muddle through the day. She has to change her apron two or three times a day so no one will notice the tear stains. She has to be strong for her family, no matter how much it hurts. Despite the fact that her husband is gone and that for the first time in a long time she stops to see things, the little things that she ignored before because they were so routine. Life is truly different now; life is a little empty. Funny she thinks how we take our routine for granted, at least until something takes an important part of our lives away.