The old rocker squeked as it rocked back and forth on the front porch of the old farm house,
the sun had not made it's presence in the eastern sky yet
as the old man listened to the sound of the katydids and crickets.
He loved the early hours,
gave him time to think,
sometimes about things that made him sad,
but never the less he enjoyed his private time.

Jeb Wheeler would turn 85 in a couple of weeks.
He had seen a lot of changes in the world in his life time,
some good,
but his way of thinking- most bad!

The kids had all grown up and moved away years ago,
"hardly ever hear from any of them any more".

The rooster's were crowing now
and the sun was taking a peek above the trees.
Mira would be getting up about now, Jeb's wife of 60 years.

Jeb eased up out of the old rocker
and opened the screen door and walked to the kitchen for another cup of coffee.

Jeb was a tall slim man whose hard work all his life never let him get over-weight.
Mira was already in the kitchen cutting out her biscuits.

"You know we haven't heard from the kid's in quite awhile", said Jeb.
"Oh, they are busy with their own lives", she said, "They can't call and visit all the time Jeb"!
"I wouldn't call once or twice a year all the time", Jeb replied.

Jeb drink this cup of coffee at the kitchen table as he watched his wife put the biscuits in the oven.
She had been a very pretty girl when she was young.
The moment Jeb had seen her at the country dance-
he knew he had to win her heart and make her his wife.
She was still a good looking lady, not many wrinkles at all,
her gray hair fixed neatly in a bun.
Her clean house dress down to her ankles and of course her checkerd apron on.

"I wonder how the kid's are doing"?, said Jeb.
"Why don't you call and find out". said Mira.
But Jeb wouldn't have none of that.
"They should be calling here, no, I'm not calling anybody".
"You are just being stubborn", she said.
"You are just worried they won't show up for your birthday in a couple of weeks".
Jeb replied, "well they didn't last year, or the year before that".
"But this is different", said Mira, "this year you will be 85".
"Makes no difference to them" ! he said.

Jeb and Mira had two boy's and a girl.
Bill, who was the oldest, married with two kids,
then there was their daughter, Lucy who is married to a doctor in KC Mo., they had one child, a girl.

Then there is Ron who just never did find the right girl.
The kids had all left the Ozarks for the big cities right after high-school.

The old house was beginning to run down and needed much work,
But ol' Jeb just wasn't up to it any more.

Mira sat the plate of egg's and bacon before Jeb and then sat down across from him.
Jeb gave thanks for the food and began to eat his breakfast wondering what he was going to do this day.
He was tired of the same old thing everyday, of just sitting around.
Mostly thinking of the kid's lately.
He had to get his mind on ___ something else.
Maybe he would walk down and visit old Jack Luger today.
"You know Mira, I think I'll walk down and visit old Jack this mornin'! he said.
As Mira watched Jeb put jam on the third biscuit,
she said-" I don't know Jeb, do you think you're up to walkin' a half a mile"?
  Hey, he said , "with this breakfast you just fed me"-
"why I think I could jump over the moon"!

{Written By George}


Jeb finished his biscuit,
and drank down the last few drops of coffee from his cup and then winked and grinned at Mira.
She said, "You're welcome, dear."
Mira had come to know her husband quite well over the years
and knew that Jeb had ways of speaking his feelings and thoughts without ever saying a word.
He was a very good natured man, full of wry wit sometimes too,
that would get on her nerves occassionally,
but she always calmed down after Jeb left her alone for a while.

Jeb eased from the chair and walked toward the front room and turned to see Mira
already at work placing the breakfast dishes into the kitchen sink.
"I think I'll go ahead and take off down to Jack's. I'll be back before dark.", he said.
"Alright, dear.", Mira replied.

Jeb carefully took his favorite old hat from the coat rack standing by the front room door
and walked out onto the porch.
He placed the old hat gently on his head and
recalled the day his father had given it to him.
He started walking down the narrow country road toward Jack's.
The hat was getting very ragged and nearing the end of it's long use,
but Jeb never went anywhere without it.
It was the only item he owned of his father's and
was his reminder of the past, the good memories,
and some that he didn't like to remember, but knew he should.

The guilt was sometimes more than he wanted to bear,
but Jeb's past still bore in his mind of the events of days long passed.
Jeb had been a little wild years ago, moonshine had once been his best friend and
worst enemy and some things he'd done still haunted him.
He'd said the words to Mira, about jumping over the moon many times and
she always knew exactly what he meant,
his drinking days were long over.
The last horrible words that he had spoken to his father
and the deep pain that he had placed on his family were his most hated memories.
He had made terrible mistakes, that seemed not even time could erase.
He knew that this was the reason his children were so distant,
but he was too stubborn to talk with them about it,
for fear things might get worse than it already was.
He was a little angry at them sometimes, but after thinking on the matter some,
he always understood that they had plenty of reason for keeping their distance,
and he was so thankful that Mira was such a forgiving woman.

Jeb found himself on Jack's weathered porch in no time at all,
the chickens were pecking away at the ground and
the old windmill turned slowly in the soft morning breeze.
Jeb was feeling a little proud of the fact,
that the long walk hadn't bothered him much,
he felt pretty good for a man his age, he thought.

Jeb knocked on the front door and it slowly creaked open,
as the golden rays of sunlight shown across the floor.
"Jack, it's me, Jeb! Are you home?", Jeb called.
Jeb could see broken shards of glass sparkling on the floor and
an overturned chair with one wooden leg broken and
laying a few feet away from where he stood.
The eerie stillness in the home caused his heart to race.
Jeb stepped into the front room and called again,
but still no reply was heard.
Jeb stood there motionless looking around the room and
down the dark hall searching for some movement,
but saw nothing but shadows caused by the dark curtains,
moving from the summer breeze just outside.
The window beside the davenette had been left open
to allow the warmth of the house to escape many times before,
to Jeb's recollection, so this came as no surprise, but why wasn't Jack answering, he wondered?
The broken glass upon the floor, the overturned chair,
the door ajar and Jack not answering his calls made Jeb uneasy.
Horrible thoughts raced through his mind of possible events and then from behind him,
a shotgun went off causing Jeb to fall to the floor.
Jeb was lying on the floor and hearing faint sounds that seemed to be miles away.
He had had this feeling once before, when he had fell from the roof of the old barn,
when he was replacing the shingles after a big storm.
He had broken his leg back then and thought that this time things must be much worse.
He heard what seemed to be footsteps running across the wooden porch and
then broken bits of glass being crushed under someones feet.

"Jeb, can ya hear me?", came a voice, that Jeb was unsure of.
His eyes were opening now, but everything was fuzzy to him, both sounds and sight.
"Jeb, are ya alright, can ya hear me?
Shoot, I'm so sorry! I didn't shoot ya or nothin, I just wanted to scare ya.
Didn't know you'd pass out on me like that.
Ya alright?", came the now recognizable voice of Jack.
Jeb now realising that he was not shot or injured, just a bit shaken,
begin to manuever his way off the floor.
Jack helped him to a chair at the table and lit the lantern.

Jack still refused to have modern conveniences and
sometimes still worried about the revenuers coming after him someday.
With a little anger in his voice, but relief at the same time,
Jeb asked, "Jack, are you drunk again"?
Jack slowly replied,
"Just a little bit.",
and he held up his hand to show his fingers making a symbol of a small amount,
and squinted his right eye.

Now, that Jeb's breathing had returned to normal, his full awareness of the situation,
recalling his crazy experiences with Jack in the past
and the realization that his overhauls weren't in need of changing,
Jeb began to laugh uncontrolably.
When Jack saw that his good friend was taking his horse play in stride,
he soon began to laugh too.

{Written By Felecia}


"How bout a cup of mud?", Jack asked. "Yes, I think I will.
Maybe it will get my nerves calmed down after your crazy shootin' prank!",Jeb replied.
"Well",Jack said; "I thought you was one of them dang revenuers,
but I guess next time I oughta make sure it's them before I shoot!

How's Mira doin' these days Jeb?"
"Oh, she's doing alright.", said Jeb.
"I think she's missing the kids like I am."
"Ah", Jack said; "They'll come around agin' in time."
"I don't know."said Jeb. "I think Mira stays pretty busy just to keep her mind off of missing the kids so much."

Jeb was right about Mira staying busy.

Back at the old house Mira had finished the dihes,swept the floors and decided she would put a pot of beans and ham on for supper.
One of Jeb's favorite meals along with corn bread and hot peppers!

Mira did a few more chores around the house and checked on the beans once again.
Lifting the lid from the big pot, she added more water.

Thoughts of her mother came into her mind as she began to stir the beans with an old wooden spoon.
An old spoon that had once belonged to her mother.
She remembered a day when her mother had fixed beans and corn bread in their small kitchen back home in Missouri.
Mira tugging at her mothers apron
and her mother bending down to give Mira a small bite of corn bread before supper time.
These memories were so precious to Mira and she hoped her children had memories of her like this.
Thinking of the past had now brought Mira wanting to look at all the things she had saved in an old trunk upstairs.
Making sure her beans wouldn't burn she turned the flame down on low and started for the stairway.

She slowly walked up the steps that led to their children's rooms.
Each day she would climb the stairs,
open a window in each bedroom so the fresh air would flow through.
Just in case the children came home for a surprise visit.
Each room still had some of their things sitting on their dresser
and Mira was always glad to see them there.
She sometimes would go in each room,pick up a small item from their dresser
and press it close to her heart,as if she was holding each of her children close.

Mira went to Lucy's room, walked over to where the trunk set on the floor just beneath the opened window.
"What a beautiful day.", she thought.
She pulled one of the lacy white curtains back and draped the end over the dresser top.
She then placed a small book of poems that was given to Lucy from Jeb,
on top of the curtain to hold it in place.
She thought about Lucy's eighth grade graduation
and how Jeb had wrapped the book himself
and tied a pink ribbon around it.
He knew Lucy loved poetry and came home one saturday from town with the biggest smile on his face!
"Mira!" Jeb said. "Look what I found at the old country store today!
Old widow Taylor gave some of her books to Zack and , he's selling them real cheap!
Mira remembered they were having hard times back then and they couldn't afford much on a gift for Lucy.
She could still see Lucy that day she unwrapped the gift and gently untied the ribbon.
Lucy walked across the livingroom and had her dad tie the ribbon around her long dark pony tail.
Lucy then sat on the floor close to her dad's feet and finished unwraping her gift.
It didn't take much to make Lucy happy and any gift from them would bring a smile to her face.
"Oh dad! Thank You!" Lucy exclaimed as she got up from the floor and hugged his neck.
Lucy then went over to her mom and hugged and thanked her too.
As Lucy was hugging her mother,
Mira noticed Jeb wiping a tear from his face.
Mira knew this was one precious moment Jeb would cherish forever.

Mira put her hands on the old trunk and slowly ran one hand over the top,
recalling the day that Jeb's mother and father gave it to them.

Jeb's mother had said to her,
"Mira, this is for all your keepsakes , whatever you hold dear to your heart."
Mira lifted the lid of the old trunk, and for a moment had forgotten how many things she had kept in it.
It had been a very long time since she had gone through it.

They had moved the trunk to Lucy's room from their bedroom after Lucy had moved away.
Their bedroom was so small and Jeb had complained about stumping his toe on the end of the trunk many times,
so their youngest boy Ron helped move it upstairs before he left home.
Mira had already looked at many things from the trunk when she came upon some white tissue paper.
Wrapped inside was a silk blue and white scarf.
"Oh dear,she thought; as she ran the silky scarf gently through her fingers.
"This is the scarf I was wearing when I first met Jeb."
She recalled the evening she was at the country dance.
Jeb walked through the door, looked all around and then his eyes met hers.
He walked over to Mira and ask;"Will you do me the honor of dancin' with me?"
Mira stepped back a little, brought her hand up and flipped her long dark hair over her shoulder
and repied; "I don't even know your name."
Jeb took a step toward her and with a half grin on his face said;
"My name is Jeb and I would be pleased if you would dance with me."
Mira then told Jeb her name and after that evening at the country dance,
they both just knew someday they would always be together.
Mira carefully folded the scarf and placed it between the layers of paper.
Wrapping it and thinking how one day she should share these memories with her children.

Mira reached in the trunk once again and pulled out a round tin box with a picture of a faded flower on top.
The box had once been a shiny silver color and the flower on top had been a bright pink.
The color of both had now faded with age.
She removed the lid and what she seen inside brought a tear to her eyes.
Pressed between a white hanky was a flower that had once been a beautiful pink rose.
It of course now had become dry and crumbly
and after all these years, only Mira would know what it was.

Her thoughts took her back to when Jeb had come to see her after several months of dating.
She remembered it was a warm afternoon with a slight breeze.
She was sitting on the porch steps with bare feet, the skirt of her dress pulled down over her knees and touching the tops of her feet.
Her long dark hair was pulled back and held neatly with a silver clip on each side.
By her right side was a pan of green beans that had been picked fresh from their garden.
In her lap was another pan which held small pieces of beans she had snaped already.
Not thinking Jeb would be by that afternoon,
she was surprised to see him coming up the path way.
"What is he doing here this time of the day!", she thought.
She knew she didn't have time to run in the house and get cleaned up,
so she ran her fingers down through the back of her hair, stood up and smoothed out her dress with her hands.
She then leaned against the old porch post as if she looked like a a million dollars!
With a slight grin and in her soft spoken voice she said;
"Well, hello Jeb. What are you doing here so early in the afternoon?"
Jeb reached up and took her hand and said; Mira, sit down here on the steps with me.
I have something to ask you.
" Mira, I know we've only been seeing each other for seven months,
and I know some people might think we need more time,
but I love you and I know you love me too.
I'm asking you if you'll be my wife?
I promise I'll take care of you till the day I die."
Mira looked into this young,handsome man's eyes and replied; "I love you too Jeb,and yes I'll marry you.
I'll be the best wife I can be to you."
After they embraced one another Jeb noticed the rose bush bloomed by the corner of the porch.
"Wait right here Mira! Don't move!"
Jeb stepped over to the rose bush and picked a pink rose.
He hurried back over to her and held the rose out for Mira to take.
As Mira held the tin box tightly in her hand,
she could hear Jeb clearly as if he was in the room speaking the words this very moment as he did that day.
He had said to her as he handed her the rose;
"From this day on my love ,you will be my own sweet rose."
Thinking of those words, Mira wiped her tears away with the hem of her old checkered apron.
These were not tears of sorrow but tears of joy and love for the Jeb she knew back then
and the old Jeb he had once more became after so many years of heartache in between.
She had thanked her Heavenly Father so many times for her kind loving Jeb back.
Mira began to put the keepsakes back into the old trunk,
thinking there would be another day to look at the rest.

The thought of how great it would be if the kids showed up this year for Jeb's birthday,
was racing through her mind when all at once she heard the sound of a dog barking!
Standing up and pushing back the old wooden chair she had been sitting in,
she looked out the bedroom window.

Walking slowly up the old dirt road, still aways off she could see Jeb.
Walking a little ahead of Jeb was Jack's old coon dog 'Useless'.
Jack of course had named him that because, as far as Jack was concerned, the dog was useless!
Jack always said; "You caint' git that dog to hunt fer a coon no matter what ya do!"
So Jack changed the dog's name from 'Red' because of his color, to 'Useless' because of his laziness!

Mira fixed the curtain back in place and laid Lucy's poem book on the dresser.
She gave one more look around the room before she headed down stairs to meet Jeb at the door.
Before she got there she heard Jeb holler out, "I'm home my sweet Rose!
What's for supper?"

Written By Shirley