March 20, 1892 - (Day Fourteen)


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Dear Martha,

It rained all day today. It was miserable traveling in the rain. Mama put an oilcloth over us to keep us dry as we drove the team. Jester and Jingo were soaked. The road is full of puddles and mud, so we had to go slowly. A muddy road can mean danger for animals who are pulling a heavy load.

Baby Dylan cried all day. Mama thinks he’s teething. I spent a long time rocking him and singing all his favorites. He loves for me to sing “The Little Green Frog Who Lives in the Bog.”

When I went to get one of his books down from the shelf, he saw Veronica. You can imagine what happened then. He cried, “Ronnie! Ronnie!” I didn’t want to, but I let him hold her while I rocked him, and he finally went to sleep.

While he was sleeping, I put Veronica back up on the shelf. I don’t want her to get wet and dirty on a day like this. I sat by Mama on the wagon seat. “Am I selfish because I don’t let Dylan play with Veronica?”

Mama said, “I think you’re trying to take care of something that is precious to you. That’s not being selfish. You’re good to your brother.” That made me feel a little better. I love Dylan to pieces, but a baby could ruin a doll.

Today is Sunday, but we couldn’t have preaching because it was too wet. Folks rode in the wagons instead of walking alongside. That made the train very slow because of the heavier load and because of the mud. At times, it seemed like we were hardly moving. Most of the time, folks get down and walk along. That makes the load lighter for those of us who have mules instead of oxen.

Mama and I were going out of our minds with boredom. We played games, naming all the birds we could think of and then all the different kinds of trees we could think of. We told riddles. Then, I got an idea. When Dylan was taking his nap, I got my copy of Little Women and read it aloud. Mama loved it.

She said, “I read Little Women when I was a girl, Teddy. Beth was always my favorite. She’s the one who played the piano so beautifully.” There we were, under an oilcloth, in the rain, driving a team of mules, headed for Florida. But as I read, we both felt like we were actually in the story. Have you read it, Martha? The story is about four sisters: Jo, Amy, Beth, and Meg. Their father is a chaplain during The War Between the States. Jo is my favorite character because she loves to write so much (but sometimes she has a bad temper), and she’s a tomboy and loves adventure, just like I do.

Now, I’m reading two books at once: Tom Sawyer, which Miss Melman is reading aloud to us, and Little Women, which I am reading aloud to Mama. So today wasn’t a total loss with all the rain. Mama and I have a book to share.

Another good thing is that we caught rainwater in buckets. Pap and all the men filled their canteens. You never know when we might not have a stream or a river or a spring to camp near. Water is precious. We collect it wherever we can. Rainwater is like gold.

I have still been thinking of getting a dog. A dog would be a good companion. But we’re on the move almost every day, driving from one place to the next.
How will a dog ever find me?