A Logger’s Life

Kate sighed as the loggers filed in for lunch. It was always the same. And it had been since she had been living here with her father since she was seven. There were other vague memories before that time. Living the city life in Boston. A big beautiful room in a big beautiful Victorian house. All the best dresses and fancy teas. And it was taken away in just one instant in a nightmare of flames and smoke . In the end her mother, grandmother and grandfather were all gone. She alone was left to keep the memories alive.

She remembered the first day here. The sights, the sounds of the big logs being dragged from the forest and the smell of pine pitch all around. Meeting her father, the large man with the black beard . Everyone had been kind to her, making her the princess of the camp. Her room was full of crudely carved homemade dolls and a quilt she had made out of loggers’ flannels.

Now, though, Kate was nineteen and wanted more. Through school, she had visions of the other world she vaguely knew, a city world she wanted back. All the loggers adored Kate and she felt they expected her to marry a logger and stay at the camp. That’s why she kept her city dreams to herself. She couldn’t bear to disappoint the ones who had raised and cared for her.

“Ahh, it’s Princess Kate at the head of the line. We’re being served by the loveliest lady at the camp.” Kate smiled at Angus Murphy’s words. He had become sort of a godfather to her over the years and despite his missing teeth and constant pitch on his hands, he thought the world of Kate, and she of him.

“I’m telling you there’s something up at the store,” said a logger. “I spent almost my whole pay buying supplies.”

Kate’s ears perked up. This wasn’t the first of these complaints she’d heard and the loggers seemed to be grumbling more and more of late. Yet when Kate added up the prices of what the loggers bought the total was correct.

The loggers depended on Kate for much more than serving meals. Many of them were barely literate and others had a hard time computing numbers. Kate meanwhile had graduated top of her class at the little country school she had attended. She had lost herself in books during her school years to make up for the taunts from the other children about her way of life.

A large kettle of beef stew soon emptied and then a second kettle was quickly used. “Kate you’ll be needing another pot will you?” her father, the cook, called from the kitchen.

“That I will,” said Kate.

When Kate had returned with the third kettle, she saw the foreman enter the dining hall. “Back to work now all of you. Bronson and his father will be visiting soon. We all want to be hard at work when they come, don’t we?”

Bronson. Kate’s heart skipped a beat. Tall, with dark curly hair and cinnamon brown eyes. His handsome good looks made everyone turn their heads when he came to town. That’s where Kate had decided her future lay. So why did it seem every time she thought of him or spoke to him she felt like she was betraying the loggers she loved?

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