Jem Perkins was happy with her comfortable city life. She was the belle of society, with a handsome husband and a new baby boy. But when her family fortunes take a turn for the worst, her husband Seth moves them to a homestead in Nebraska. Jem must adjust to her new home—a sod house!—and to the rigors of prairie life. As Jem learns to churn butter, feed chickens, and endure the terrible weather, she also learns more about herself, her role, and her God. Will this be enough to withstand the trials to come?
Enjoy this excerpt from the newly revised Whither Thou Goest, I Will Go by Naomi Dathan—releasing in print and in a revised digital edition in late April 2016!
At midnight, Charley woke shivering in his trundle bed.
He rose, but couldn’t see his mother’s form in the faltering lamplight.
Still no answer. The cast iron stove was dark and silent. The wind outside howled like a wolf and caught at the door of the sod house, swinging it open and shut. Where was Ma? Why wasn’t she making the stove hot or snuggling him warm under the covers? Was she outside with the wind-wolf?
Charley went toward the door. Ice blew into his eyes, making them water. But he wasn’t crying. Not yet. Warmth brushed his legs and a wetness caressed his cheek. The big dog, Zeke, curled his shaggy body against Charley, pushing him backward—away from the open door.
Charley pushed back and shook his finger at him. “No! Bad.”
Zeke whined and pressed harder. Charley fell, landing on something warm and solid. It didn’t hurt, but he set to wailing anyway, protesting his alone state, his empty belly, and the bitter cold that bit at his eyes and ears and nostrils like fierce ants.
No one came to comfort him, so his cries soon dried up.
He scuttled across the still form on the floor, pausing at a tinkling sound. “Ging,” he said, remembering. “Ging, ging, ging.”
The bell. Pa had rung the bell today. Ding, ding, ding.
He’d stoked the fire high and hot, gave Charley cold mash to eat, and clung to the doorframe, ringing and ringing the bell. Once, Pa had fallen to the dirt floor, but after a long while, he pushed himself upright, clutched the doorframe, and rang the bell again.
Now Pa was on the floor again, unmoving.
Charley stepped on Pa’s head as he went to look outside
“Ma!” The storm sucked his voice away so fast that he didn’t even hear himself. The winds answered in high voices, scared and scary at the same time. Was Ma out there in the black with the wind voices?
At last, Charley made up his mind. With Zeke making little worried sounds close beside him, Charley stepped out into the blizzard to find Ma.