by cheri block
Emma Ann Squire
Twelve sisters came together last summer in Nova Scotia to put Momma under, visit Daddy’s grave nearby, and select their keepsakes. There they sat in a different colored chair, each sister with a cup of tea and a biscuit. Decorating the northern rim of the sundial that is our family’s land, our eyes gazed across the Annapolis Basin and beyond to the Bay of Fundy.
In the far left Adirondack chair, the deep purple one, I sat–the youngest sister. But don’t let my youth betray my wisdom.
There’s a reason I selected the purple chair: My name is Emma and I am the Queen of the Squire sisters, all–but me– delightful women with little regard for their own needs who spent their lives caring for their land around this province, for their children and grandchildren, and for their husbands.
For the most part, life has appreciated their sacrifices.
How did Momma do it? Raise twelve girls and tend to her husband’s needs?
The weather helped.
In the sanctuary that was Momma and Daddy’s bedroom, their snuggles to keep warm during the cold Nova Scotia winters produced eleven variations on the same theme. Some blond, some brown, most sturdy and active—all compliant, like eleven Labrador pups in one likeable litter, the Squire sisters live to make others happy.
My entry into the world marked the end of my parents’ sex life. Momma put her foot down. Enough is enough. Daddy would have to make a fire in the wood stove instead of in the bed.
After my birth, Momma sighed often.
I suppose my temper wore her out. After all, she was over forty when I arrived and unprepared for a redheaded baby and all of the gossip my hair color would create.
Where did that red hair come from? Asked everyone who came to the house with a small gift of baked goods.
Probably from some wayward great aunt back in Scotland, she answered, without missing a beat.
But she knew better.
Down west in Yarmouth, a red-haired French farrier drove the last nail into the hoof wall, tapped the frog, and set Darling’s hoof down.
All Rights Reserved. 2010 No portion of this book may be copied or reproduced for any purposes except for brief quotations in critical reviews and articles.
By Edict of Judge Blah.