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Seeking Out Wisdom


Clara Redmond Lutz
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Mature Content: No

 

With: Clara, Emeline
Location: Lick Skittle Diner
When: May 1, 1876
Time of Day: Morning

 

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  Given that Clara lived outside of town on her family farm, usually by the time she arrived at the diner, the owner and her employer, Emeline Blakesley, was already started on the necessary baking for the day. A large pot of stew was simmering on the stove. Upon entering in thru the back door straight into the kitchen, Clara could instantly smell the aroma of the soup, it was a popular one with the customers. Clara looked forward to a bowl of it if there was some left at the end of the day.

 

"Good morning," she nodded as she took off her coat and put it on a hook next to the door.

 

"It is rather ....fresh out there," was Clara's word for 'too cold'.

 

"Anything special planned for today?" she inquired as most days they would vary the menu a bit, daily specials that sort of thing.

 

@Bongo

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It was always a pleasure when Clara showed up, and even Buster was quick to trot over and rub against her legs.  Even though the girl was relatively somber, Emeline enjoyed her company, and they always found something to chat about.  And even the silence was comfortable between them. 

 

And, as usual, Clara was punctual, her arrival giving Emeline an idea of how long they had until opening.

 

"Good morning, Clara."  Wiping her hands on her apron, she took a moment to talk.  "It is a brisk out, isn't it?"  She chuckled.  "The chickens were none too happy about giving up eggs today.  I didn't have anything particular in mind for the restaurant, but Mrs. Orr asked us to make a cake for her daughter's birthday party, so that will take some time."

 

While cake decorating wasn't a particular specialty, Emeline could make a tasty cake, and options in town were limited.  "She wants vanilla cake with lemon filling, so it shouldn't be too difficult."

 

@Wayfarer

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"Good morning, Clara."  Wiping her hands on her apron, Emeline took a moment to talk.  "It is a brisk out, isn't it?" 

 

"I eagerly await warmer weather," Clara declared.

 

She chuckled.  "The chickens were none too happy about giving up eggs today.  I didn't have anything particular in mind for the restaurant, but Mrs. Orr asked us to make a cake for her daughter's birthday party, so that will take some time."

 

"I do not blame the chickens," observed Clara in that dry manner of hers.

 

"Very well then, a cake," Clara did not have to wait to find the details of what sort of cake.

 

"She wants vanilla cake with lemon filling, so it shouldn't be too difficult."

 

"Certainly not," Clara was confident but just in case she asked, "I take you checked to see if we have a can of lemon filling on the shelf?"  Not a lot of lemons in Montana afterall.

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"I have some lemon curd in the pantry, we can use that for the filling," Emeline explained, "and make a nice vanilla icing.  As for decoration, I think I can manage some flowers and perhaps the girl's name."  She grinned.  "How are you at handwriting?   I'm afraid mine is atrocious!"

 

While cakes weren't a specialty, and she didn't make then often, she could manage the basics well enough, but doing something elaborate, or making them beautiful was iffy.

 

@Wayfarer

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"Very well, that will have to do. I am happy I never much cared for lemon cake," Clara shrugged then replied to Emeline's next question.

 

"My handwriting is quite legible, Mother would make me practice a lot so my letters were impeccable. The funny thing was her own penmanship....well, could have used work. Oh, do you know the name of this daughter? I do not know this family so I cannot help you with that."

 

"Speaking of helping people out....would you mind if I asked you a few questions and perhaps got your take on some things that are currently on my mind?" she suddenly asked.

 

"It is about men...well, boys."

 

A weighty topic indeed.

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"My handwriting is quite legible, Mother would make me practice a lot so my letters were impeccable. The funny thing was her own penmanship....well, could have used work. Oh, do you know the name of this daughter? I do not know this family so I cannot help you with that."

 

"Oh, her name is...Anastasia."  Emeline chuckled and rolled her eyes.  "Such a burden to a little girl...and we'll need to find a way to fit it on the cake.  Maybe arch it along the top?  We can practice."  Once the decoration was applied, it was hard to take it off, and tedious to start over.

 

"Speaking of helping people out....would you mind if I asked you a few questions and perhaps got your take on some things that are currently on my mind?" she suddenly asked.

 

"Certainly, of course."  While she had only known the girl for a few months, Emeline thought of her as a sort of sister, and she enjoyed their conversations, although the topics hadn't seemed so serious before.  "Ask me anything, and I'll do my best."

 

"It is about men...well, boys."

 

"Oh, well..."  Emeline couldn't help but laugh.  "I guess I know a little on that, but I'm no expert, so don't expect too much!"  She was actually a little surprised that the young woman was asking about boys, but also pleased.  Had something happened at the dance?  "What do you need?"

 

@Wayfarer

 

 

 

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As Clara had hoped, even expected, Emeline was quite willing to oblige her request even after hearing the planned topic.

 

"Oh, well..."  Emeline couldn't help but laugh.  "I guess I know a little on that, but I'm no expert, so don't expect too much!" 

 

Clara hardly thought the topic was comical in the slightest but was determined to press on, to her it was quite important.

 

"Thank you," she started with a quick nod of appreciation then got right to it, "Now I know your experience with men is far more extensive than mine. You were married and I imagine you may well have had suitors prior to that, given your beauty and charm. And now you have attracted your current fiancee, Deputy Pike."

 

"Now me.........nothing. No one. In fact, those few young men I have met and conversed with...cowboys mind you .....seem to share one thing in common regarding myself. They do not like me. Even though two of them danced with me, I still got the impression they remain quite unimpressed with me. So be it. I do not need them."

 

"However....I did meet a farmboy, Jacob Lutz. He lives outside town....obviously, farmboy after all," she realized she probably hadn't needed to include the last bit, Emeline could figure that out easily enough.

 

"He was quite the gentleman. And conversationalist too. He loves books and knew quotes besides just knowing about farming. And he was also full of compliments about me....." she paused then as if suddenly thinking of something.

 

"Oh and again thank you for letting me wear that beautiful dress. He declared how pretty I looked in it," there was a wisp of a smile on her features this time.

 

 

 

 

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Ah, the age-old dilemma of love! 

 

It was good that Clara was finally dabbling, and Emeline had no doubt that she'd do well in that regard, as discerning as she was.  She just needed to learn that there was no wrong nor shame in not jumping into the arms of the first man who made a flattering remark.  And she highly doubted the girl's assessment of her dance partners' opinions of her.

 

"I'm glad you liked the dress.  You did look lovely, and you carried yourself well."  It was one thing to put on a dress, and quite another to actually fit into it.

 

"It sounds to me that this Jacob boy might be worth seeing again," she observed, "he has interest in some of the same things that you do, and that's a good foundation."

 

The fact that the young man was interested in reading was a good sign, it seemed that too often men got caught up in work and had no time for the frivolities that made life worth living.

 

"And he compliments you?  He isn't just trying to turn your head, is he?"  She hated to suggest that he might not be genuine in his flattery, and sincerely hoped that he was sincere.  Clara didn't need any disappointments when it came to love!

 

@Wayfarer

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"I'm glad you liked the dress.  You did look lovely, and you carried yourself well."

 

"Oh thank you, I appreciate that," Clara treasured any praise she got from a woman like Emeline because she felt it was always said sincerely.

 

"It sounds to me that this Jacob boy might be worth seeing again," the woman observed, "he has interest in some of the same things that you do, and that's a good foundation."

 

"I was thinking the same thing," nodded Clara, but it was good to hear that she wasn't the only one who felt that way.

 

"And he compliments you?  He isn't just trying to turn your head, is he?" 

 

That was indeed a fair question, Clara had considered the possibility already, more than once even. But still...

 

"He might. I agree. However he says he compliments me because he is impressed and likes me. And when you think about it - how does one really know when the compliments are said for the right reasons or for ulterior motives?" Clara mused.

 

 

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"Honestly, I'm not too worried about some boy turning your head," Emeline observed, "in fact, quite the opposite.  Caution and skepticism are good, they protect you, but they can also inhibit you."

 

She wasn't sure how well she was expressing herself, and she hoped she didn't sound too harsh, or just plain silly, especially since she truly did admire Clara's attitude toward the opposite sex.

 

"I think it might be more difficult for you to accept that a boy would compliment you and be genuine, but because of that, once you give in, you can be well assured you're right."

 

Taking a breath, she admitted, "It can be difficult in any event to give that trust to another person, no matter how much your heart tells you it's right.  But once you do, it's amazing."

 

@Wayfarer

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"Honestly, I'm not too worried about some boy turning your head," Emeline observed, "in fact, quite the opposite.  Caution and skepticism are good, they protect you, but they can also inhibit you."

 

"Oh?" Clara was all ears. This was exactly why she had come to Emeline about this topic, she would not varnish her opinions but give it to her straight. So was the woman thinking she was too inhibited?

 

Emeline continued, "I think it might be more difficult for you to accept that a boy would compliment you and be genuine, but because of that, once you give in, you can be well assured you're right."

 

"I see," Clara nodded, even if she didn't quite 'see' but she thought she knew what the woman meant.

 

"It can be difficult in any event to give that trust to another person, no matter how much your heart tells you it's right.  But once you do, it's amazing."

 

And THAT was exactly what she wanted, she wanted the  'amazing'. Her life often seemed to be all chores and work, constantly mindful of the many responsibilities she had. Not that she was bitter about it, she loved her father and little brother, but the reality was she had had to take on roles of both wife and mother by running the household with all that entailed such as cooking, laundry, and sundry other requirements. And this job at the diner, more hours of work but that too, she loved it, especially spending time with Emeline who she practically hero worshipped.

 

"So you are saying that I should rely on my feelings. And if I feel good about the boy, I should trust that and take a chance on him? "  Clara now ventured.

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"I think that you'd be safe doing that, you have a good head and practical mind."  Well, in a way, that didn't exactly sound like a great thing even though it was far better than being flighty and having your head easily turned.  "You have such an advantage.  I've seen plenty of ladies who have jumped hastily into a relationship because they felt desperate, that they'd never have another chance, and then they find out they were wrong, or they meet the right man, but..."  She shrugged, then chuckled.

 

"I'm afraid there are no easy answers in the matter of love, but I have no doubt you'll do fine."  Then she grinned slyly.  "You should invite him here for pie sometime."  She was curious to see what manner of young man had caught Clara's fancy.

 

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Emeline stopped in the middle of some more of her observations, which all had Clara's rapt attention too.

 

  "You have such an advantage.  I've seen plenty of ladies who have jumped hastily into a relationship because they felt desperate, that they'd never have another chance, and then they find out they were wrong, or they meet the right man, but..." she chuckled then.

 

"So one cannot know unless one gives the person a chance to prove themselves one way or the other?" Clara thought she got it now. It did seem quite logical now that she heard it someone say it aloud.

 

"I'm afraid there are no easy answers in the matter of love, but I have no doubt you'll do fine." 

 

Emeline's confidence in her only boosted Clara's own hopeful assessment. Yes, she could handle this. One must not get intimidated by a boy one way or the other.

 

Then the woman grinned slyly.  "You should invite him here for pie sometime."

 

"Oh, but he has been in here before. He comes in on occasion when he is in town for a slice of pie and something to drink. And.... I think he comes in to see me too," Clara announced.

 

"I will introduce you though next time. His name is Jacob Lutz."

 

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"Is that so?"  Emeline raised an eyebrow.  "So, he's not here for the amazing pies?"  She laughed then and patted the girl's arm.  "I'd love to be introduced when the opportunity arises.  I'm curious as to which he is." 

 

Even if Clara didn't realize it, Emeline had a suspicion that there was more than one cowboy who came by for more than just the good fare.  Despite her misgivings, Clara was not at all homely, and she was charming, especially in a society that was overwhelmingly male.

 

"It would probably be good practice, too," she pointed out, "in case you need to introduce him to your father."  Because that would be a natural progression, if things progressed!

 

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"So, he's not here for the amazing pies?"  She laughed then and patted the girl's arm. 

 

"Maybe a bit of both," Clara conceded with a hint of a smile.

 

"I'd love to be introduced when the opportunity arises.  I'm curious as to which he is." 

 

"Then I shall make it a point to do just that next time he comes in. I think you will like him. He is very pleasant and a real gentleman. Oh, and this is different...... he likes poetry, he even writes some," Clara revealed.

 

"It would probably be good practice, too," she pointed out, "in case you need to introduce him to your father."

 

"You may have a point there. They can both talk farming, Jacob loves to talk farming," the girl nodded.

 

 

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"Poetry?  Really?"  That was pretty unusual for a farmer, they stayed pretty busy and had a lot of other things to dwell on.  "That's good, it shows creative thinking and varied interests.  I have a couple books of poetry you can borrow...Shakespeare's Sonnets and some collections."

 

It was all the better for Clara, that the young man was well-read, she had a good mind and curious nature, and if a gentleman couldn't keep up with her intellectually, she'd be bored and unhappy.

 

"What sort of farming does he do?"  It was good that he had that in common with Clara's father.  "He seems young...that's good that he's got that sort of work ethic." 

 

Seemed like young Jacob was a good potential match for Clara.

 

@Wayfarer

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"Oh yes, he does love poetry but just between you and me, the poems he has written are....awful," Clara leaned in as if she was revealing some momentous state secret.

 

Emeline offered some books on poetry but the younger girl had to wave that off, "Thank you but he has informed me very clearly he has a real aversion to borrowing ...books, anything. He worries about owing anybody anything."

 

"What sort of farming does he do?"  Emeline then asked, "He seems young...that's good that he's got that sort of work ethic." 

 

"He is a crop farmer, no cattle. He is a year older than me, so seventeen. And he does not own the farm, it is his grandmother's. But it sounds like he has to do the lion's share of the labor," Clara explained.

@Bongo

 

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"That's quite a bit of responsibility for a young man," Emeline commented, impressed.  "It shows a good deal of character."  Hopefully not at the expense of life in general and Clara specifically.  It was too easy to be consumed with your work and not have time for anything else.  but if he could find that time, Emeline thought that he might be the sort of gentleman that Clara needed.

 

"Well, you know he wouldn't owe me if he borrowed books, but I understand.  He does seem like someone that would be good for you to get to know better.  Maybe you should ask him on a picnic, I'm sure we can spare some fried chicken and a slice or two of pie!"

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

ooc: Sorry, in my mind I thought we had wrapped up this one, duh!

 

IC:  "Oh, he certainly is quite the character. Never met a boy quite like him," Clara replied but then quickly added, "I know how you meant it though and I believe him to be very upstanding, a proper gentleman."

 

"Well, you know he wouldn't owe me if he borrowed books, but I understand.  He does seem like someone that would be good for you to get to know better.  Maybe you should ask him on a picnic, I'm sure we can spare some fried chicken and a slice or two of pie!"

 

"Actually we have already agreed to meet again. I am very much looking forward to it," Clara announced.

 

"Thank you for talking to me about this. I hope you do not think it strange of me to go to you rather than my father. But....well, he is a father and I wanted a woman's take on things."

 

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Emeline laughed and shook her head.  "No, a man can't understand the problems a young lady faces, and you are welcome to come to me any time you''d like."  In truth, she really liked Clara and was honored that she'd come to her for advice.  "Of course, I can't promise how good my counsel will be, so be sure to take it with a grain of salt!"  She laughed again.  "And that is exactly what my own mother told me."

 

 

 

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"Exactly," Clara full agreed with Emeline's opinion on the matter, plus the woman assured her she could come to her for conversations like this anytime she wanted to.

 

"Thank you! It means a lot to me," Clara assured her.

 

"Of course, I can't promise how good my counsel will be, so be sure to take it with a grain of salt!"  Emeline laughed again.  "And that is exactly what my own mother told me."

 

"I could picture my mother saying pretty much the same to me. But so far, your words of wisdom have certainly seemed both logical and sensible," Clara nodded.

 

With that the conversation moved on to kitchen topics once more, for now Clara was quite satisfied. It was back to work!

 

FINIS ?

 

 

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