Chapter 5- The Life and Times of William Roy Caple- Lida has a birthday

     After breakfast on June 1st, 1900, Roy scooped up his sister Lida from her highchair. He kissed her on the cheek. “Happy birthday, my dear little sister. Can you tell me how old you are?”

     Lida held up one finger.

     Roy laughed and held up one of his own fingers, “Yes, you are one today.”

     His mother turned from the batter she was beating in a big blue bowl. She motioned to Richard and Roy. “Before you boys run off, I want you to move the table out into the yard. Looks like it’s going to be a good day for a picnic.”

     Roy set Lida down and handed her a rag doll. He motioned toward his mother, “best leave her alone until she gets your cake in the oven.”

     His mother tipped the mixing bowl and poured the batter into the round baking pans. “I’m making our dear little Lida a chocolate cake. And I will not have your clomping feet make my cake fall, so off with the table and stay out.”

    “She sure is going to a lot of bother,” said Richard said as the two shuffled the table out the door and into the yard, “for a birthday Little sis won’t even remember.”

     “Your right,” said Roy, “but we are the ones benefiting from good eats tonight, so I’m not complaining.” He rubbed his stomach, “there’s no meal I love better than Mother’s fried chicken, biscuits mashed potatoes and gravy. Besides, with our leaving soon, might be the last time we get to enjoy such a meal for a spell.”

     “What do you think it will be like in Washington state.” asked Richard. “Is it anything like here? I was born there, but I don’t remember it at all.”

    “I can’t recall much either” Roy answered, “except  Cheney is  kind of dry like here. I remember living in Puyallup a heap better. But until we moved here, we never stayed anywhere long.”

     “I don’t really remember any place but here,” said his brother. “I kind of wish we were staying. I will miss Milo.” 

     “I know but he is determined to see to his homestead claim through to the end. For once I have to agree with father, this place doesn’t have much to offer anymore. Might be different if Sammy lived and Uncle Will was still alive. The whole family could have gone into the cattle ranching business like they talked about. I just hope we don’t start moving from place to place again like we used to. I am ready to put roots down, except not here. It’s just too hard to eke out a living. Someday I hope to marry and have a family of my own, and I want them to have one place to call home.”

     Roy’s mother hollered from the doorway, “would you entertain your sister outside for a spell. I’m not able to get anything done with her underfoot.”

    Roy went to the doorway and took his sister in his arms. Come on Lida, let’s get a carrot. “I let you feed Tango.” 

    “Hosy,” said Lida.

     “Horse,” said Roy,” but I guess for one hosy is good enough.”

     Roy couldn’t help but have a soft spot in his heart for his baby sister. I mean, who wouldn’t with her dark curls and sparkling, brown eyes. His family had been so sad after his brother Sammy had died; she’d been like a breath of fresh air. She was the one who could make his mother and father smile whenever their thoughts went to the ones they’d lost. All she’d have to do was reach her chubby, arms out for a hug to put a smile back on all their faces. She’d been a life safer for the whole family.

     Out in the barn, he handed his sister a carrot and held her up to Tango so she could feed him. He let her sit a spell on his back before put her back down.

     “I’ve got more chores to do let’s go find Richard, I bet he’ll swing with you in the orchard.”

     He was throwing fresh hay down for the animals when his father and brother Joe returned with the wagon from their trip to Hardesty.

     His Dad jumped down and handed the reins to Roy, “I got everything squared away for our move west. I’ve got a cattle car reserved for our horses and wagon. You and Joe will ride with me in it to tend to the animals.”

     Roy frowned as he started to unhitch the horses from the wagon. Riding in a cattle car did not sound enjoyable.

     “What about Mother, Lida, and Richard?”

     “They’ll be riding coach,” said his father. “Technically the railroad only allows one person to ride in cattle cars to tend the stock. I figure since I’ll have the whole car to myself I can get away with having you two in there. Wouldn’t do to have your mother and Lida in there and Richard is young enough to ride at reduced fare, he can help your mother out.”

     He helped Roy put the harnesses away and led the horses to the corral, then strode toward the house, “Going inside to let your mother know we leave in 10 days.”


Author’s notes: Information on this move came from my grandfather’s stories.

Photo is of Samuel Hugh Cape


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