This is a continuation of Rocky Ridge Farm by T L Tedrow.

Frustrated, Manly snapped the buggy whip above the horses, “Laura, why won’t you marry a farmer?”

Straightening herself out and smoothing the lap robe to keep the dust off her pretty dress, Laura looked sternly into Manly’s eyes.

“I don’t want to marry a farmer because a farm is too hard a place for a woman. There are just too many chores to do. There’s the cooking, the cleaning, feeding all the hired help and no telling who you’d bring around.”

“Oh Laura,” Manly said disappointedly.

“Oh, Laura yourself,” she snapped, “I’m not going to end up saying my work prayer every day.”

Manly shook his head, “What’s wrong with prayin’?”

Laura got that certain stubborn look in her eye that Manly knew was a sign that she was getting irritated. “If this is all a woman has to pray for, God help us:

‘Wash on Monday,

Iron on Tuesday,

Mend on Wednesday,

Churn on Thursday,

Clean on Friday,

Bake on Saturday,

Rest on Sunday.’”

Manly soon began to laugh because Laura was getting upset and looking all the more silly for it. “Sounds good to me,” he said in a tone of voice he knew would irritate her more.

She looked at him and set her jaw. “The only poem for men should be:

‘Yap on Monday,

Mosey on Tuesday,

Poke around on Wednesday,

Sneak a nap on Thursday,

Smoke a pipe on Friday,

Go to town on Saturday,

Sleep on Sunday.’”

Turning away from Manly she looked out over the countryside. “No, I’m not going to end up like my Ma.”

“And how’s that?” Manly asked, with a ‘well look at you’ expression.

Laura wasn’t going for any of it She snapped her fingers on the first word. “Broke. A farmer just never had any money. He can’t make any because the merchants tell him what they’ll pay for what he’s got to sell.”

She sat up and continued with determination, “Then they overcharge the farmer for what he needs to buy. Of course he’s planning to grow what they want to sell, but oh yes, those merchants are always gracious enough to give him credit at high interest rates.” She paused to catch her breath. “It’s just not fair!

Laura was so lost in her thoughts, that when the wagon bumped again, she fell over against Manly’s shoulders and startled him. At that the moment he turned towards her, he almost bumped into a wagon filled with happy Swedes in front of him.

Manly smiled and reached his arm around her, “Laura, you falling against my shoulder reminds me of that buggy ride where I finally agreed to marry you.”

Laura looked at him with a flabbergasted look in her eyes, “Manly Wilder, it was I who finally agreed to marry you!”

Manly laughed and poked her in the ribs. Rose giggled from behind them, quite used to her father’s games. Manly smiled and kissed Laura’s ear. “Aren’t you glad you married me, Honeybee?”

Laura had heard him but didn’t want to respond. She was “counting to ten” trying to calm down.

Manly poked her again, “I said, aren’t you glad you married me? Don’t you remember that buggy ride where you agreed to say ‘I do’?”

Laura crossed her arms, “Manly, take your mind off that buggy ride where my mind must have been possessed and I agreed to marry a farmer.”

She looked over at Manly who was grinning from ear-to-ear. He blew her an air kiss with his lips which broke down all her defenses.

Manly fluttered his puppy-dog eyes, “Gimme a smooch, Laura.”

She grinned and shook her head, “No!”

He edged closer, “Please, Honeybee.”

She looked over and laughed, “Alright, just one piece of sugar,” and quickly pecked him on the cheek.

The simple kiss was part of their continual bonding ritual. The pioneer girl and the farmer boy. Both bound together, on the road again, looking for a better life.