Sparrow Dreams for Beulah
In the wee hours of Wednesday morning, Petrona, a rock sparrow and Beulah’s power animal, flitted from the small cottonwood tree on the banks of Mud Creek behind Beulah’s home in McAlester, Oklahoma. Beulah was sleeping, but Petrona needed to tell her about the special visitor on the front porch. She twittered her song, then whispered to Beulah, “Your daughter is here.”
Beulah sighed in her sleep. “Teah is in Albuquerque, you silly bird.”
“I know that. Your new daughter is here. She is practically a baby.”
Beulah chuckled. “I can’t have babies.”
“You can have this one. She is already born.”
“Okay, but I’m sleeping right now.”
“I know but wake up! She is alone on the porch.”
“No, she isn’t. This is just a dream.”
The bird flitted around, chirping and clacking her beak. She settled on Beulah’s head and started pecking at the silver strands in her hair. Beulah reached up and brushed her hair. The bird tugged on a bright, silver hair. She tugged harder until her human said, “Ouch! Stop it and let me sleep.”
“Nope. Not gonna do it. Wake up, lazy woman. You have a new daughter and she is waiting for you.”
Beulah rolled over and pulled the covers over her head. The sparrow gave up and went to the front porch to watch over Beulah’s new daughter instead. If she had to wake Beulah, it would take drastic measures. I might have to wake the dog.
Beulah woke earlier than usual, mainly because she was hot with the blanket over her head. She muttered, “What the heck was I doing all night?” She reached up and felt of her head. “I must have been tugging on my hair.”
She looked at the bedside clock and saw it was a little earlier than usual, but not by a lot. Ranger, her border collie, jumped up on the bed and licked her cheek. “All right, buddy. Let’s get up and at ‘em.”
She got out of bed, went to the bathroom and then pulled on her robe. She walked through the house with Ranger on her heels, his toenails clacking on the hardwood floors. She walked through the kitchen and opened the back door to let him out for his morning run. She turned on the coffeemaker to start the coffee brewing, then went back to her room and dressed for the day. She pulled on a fleece lined denim jacket, picked up her egg basket and went to the henhouse.
She gently reached under the hens, removing their eggs. She talked quietly to them, thanking them for their eggs. As she worked, she remembered her dream of the previous night. She smiled softly at the possibility of having a daughter and murmured, “It’s still just a dream.” She shook her head, knowing she was blessed with Teah, and the new family that had formed around her. It wasn’t the same as having children of her own, but it was very nice. She loved every minute of her life, despite not having children of her own.
Once she’d gathered all the eggs, she carried them to the kitchen and muttered, “No way I have a baby daughter. Petrona was just teasing me, I’m sure.” She walked back out to the back deck, looking to the east as the sky was lightening a little. The sun was at least thirty minutes away from rising. Ranger stood beside her, looking up at the sky with her. He whined a bit, and she said, “We’re getting started early Ranger.”
She picked up her two clean stainless-steel buckets and carried them to the barn. She pulled up her milking stool to the first cow. She rubbed her hands together briskly to warm them a bit and said, “Good morning, Dolly. I know it’s early, but Ranger and I are here so let’s get the milking done.” The cow turned her head and looked at Beulah and the dog at her heels. Beulah chuckled, sure that Dolly rolled her eyes, and patted the cow’s back. “My hands are as warm as they’re going to get.”
She milked Dolly, nearly filling one bucket, and when she finished went to Parton to repeat the process.
She sighed as she stood up from her milking stool, and placed it against the wall, out of the way. She opened the door to the little barn and said, “You ladies go out and about. It’s a cool day, but it is supposed to be sunny and in the mid-fifties. It’ll be a perfect fall day, girls.” Parton walked outside and Dolly looked around, not really sure she wanted to leave the warm barn. “Up to you, Dolly, my girl,” Beulah said with a grin. “But you won’t have a lot of warm, sunny days in a few weeks.”
She shook her head, loving the two cows who kept them in fresh milk and cream. She carried the buckets of milk into the kitchen, still thinking and wondering about children. She was having trouble getting the dream out of her head.
She put clean cotton towels over both buckets, then scooped kibble into Ranger’s bowl. Beulah poured herself a cup of coffee, added sugar and cream, and sat the coffee mug on the table. She shook her head, “I think Petrona was just teasing me. I’ll get the paper and drink my coffee before doing more work.”
She walked from the kitchen, through the dining room and living room, and opened the front door. She stepped out onto the porch and clucked her tongue. “Peter is falling down on the job again. If he doesn’t start getting the paper all the way onto the porch, I’m going to quit giving him a tip.” She walked across the porch and down the three steps to the sidewalk where the daily paper lay and picked it up.
She opened the paper, looked at the headlines, snorted, and muttered, “Not much changes day-to-day. The world is still a right old mess.”
She walked up the steps on to the porch and felt the warmth of the rising sun. She looked to the east and gasped at the sight she saw. A small child was sleeping on the porch swing. The child was tiny and wrapped her body around a pink stuffed bunny rabbit with very long, dangling gray ears. The little girl wore a pink puffy coat with a piece of paper pinned on the coat. On the floor under the swing was a small, pink Dora the Explorer suitcase.
Tears streaked down Beulah’s face and she whispered, “I’m sorry I doubted you, Petrona. I should know better. After all these years together, I should pay attention to my power animal.”
She walked over to the swing and gently touched the child’s head. The little girl opened her eyes and smiled. “Are you my new momma?”
Beulah laughed and brushed the tears from her face. “We’ll see. Are you hungry?”
She nodded and said, “Uh-huh.”
“How do scrambled eggs, bacon and biscuits sound?”
“I can have eggs, bacon AND biscuits?”
“Absolutely. Plus, I have butter and homemade jam.”
The little girl laughed and clapped her hands. “I love jam.”
“What’s your name?”
“I’m Rayna. What’s your name?”
The little girl nodded. “Then you’re my new Momma. My old Momma told me Beulah would love me and take care of me. Abby said so, too.” The child held up her stuffed bunny rabbit with pink body and gray, long floppy ears.
Beulah didn’t know what to say, so she said nothing. She took the little girl’s icy hand, “Let’s get inside so you can warm up.” She picked up the pink suitcase, and they walked into the house to eat breakfast.
Beulah knew she had to call the police but for now, she had a little girl who called her Momma. I’ll feed her and get her warm. Everything else will come later.
Audio Version Narrated by David Clemens