Zack still couldn’t believe that Abraham was dead. His older brother had been only thirty-five years old. “What happened to my brooder?” he asked. His brother’s widow never mentioned in her letter how Abe had died.
Lizzie went pale. “He fell,” she said in a choked voice, “from the barn loft.” He saw her hands clutch rhythmically at the hem of her apron. “He broke his neck and died instantly.” He felt shaken by the mental image. He could see that she was sincerely distraught. “I’m sorry. I know it’s hard.” He, too, felt the loss. It hurt to realize that he’d never see Abraham again. He thought of all the times when he was a child that he’d trailed after his older brother.
“He was a goot man.” She didn’t look at him when she bent to pick up her basket then straightened. “Are you coming in?” she asked as she finally met his gaze.
He nodded and then followed her as she started toward the house. He was surprised to see her uneven gait as she walked ahead of him, as if she’d injured her leg and limped because of the pain. “Lizzie, are ya hurt?” he asked compassionately.
She halted, then faced him with her chin tilted high, her eyes less than warm. “I’m not hurt,” she said crisply. “I’m a cripple.” And with that, she turned away and continued toward the house, leaving him to follow her.
Zack studied her back with mixed feelings as he lagged behind. Concern. Worry. Uneasiness. He frowned as he watched her shift the laundry basket to one arm and struggle to open the door with the other. He stopped himself from helping, sensing that she wouldn’t be pleased. He frowned at her back. Could a crippled, young nineteen-year-old woman raise a passel of kinner alone?
*Excerpted with permission from The Amish Mother by Rebecca Kertz.
Rebecca Kertz has lived in rural Delaware since she was a young newlywed. First introduced into the Amish world when her husband took a job with an Amish construction crew, she took joy in watching the Amish job-foreman’s children at play and in swapping recipes with his wife. Rebecca resides happily with her husband and dog. She has a strong faith in God and feels blessed to have family nearby. She enjoys visiting Lancaster County, the setting for her Amish stories. When not writing or vacationing with her extended family, she enjoys reading and doing crafts.
Her latest title is An Amish Wife.
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