I saw her for the first time as I unexpectedly went around to the back door of the house where she lived. She was scrubbing the kitchen floor. As she arose to answer my greeting, the scrub water dripped from her shapely arms. Her face flushed for just a moment, and then resumed the expression fitting the task she had in hand. I introduced myself, and inquired for the father or the mother.
“Mother is out,” she replied. “She will not be long. Please step around to the front door, and I will let you in. You see, it is quite impossible for you to get past my scrubbing pail.” She smiled.
I did as I was bidden, and was given a chair. I had business with her parents, but I was also interested in a girl who could be so at her ease and so unruffled before “company” in the performing of so menial but so necessary a task as the scrubbing of the kitchen floor; and so I watched her go about her work just as if there were no “dressed-up” individual about.
It was haying time on the farm. Father and brother were crowded to the limit from daylight to dark to gather in the harvest.
“I fear the men-folks will be too busy to milk, this evening,” said the mother to the girl. “I guess we’d better do it.”
“All right, I’ll see to it,” answered the daughter.
I caught a glimpse of her in enveloping apron and old shoes as she drove the cows home from the nearby pasture. The mother brought the pails to the yard and would have helped in the milking, but she was “ordered” into the house to finish getting supper. I lingered in the yard, watching the girl go about milking those cows in a strictly business-like way. Carefully, she cleaned away all dirt which might contaminate, and soon, under the pressure of the strong fingers the milk arose in foaming whiteness to the top of the pail. I talked “knowingly” of cows and milking, and was permitted to carry one of the full pails to the house.
The next morning the girl tripped lightly down stairs dressed in gray blouse and khaki suit, wrapped leggings and heavy shoes, with an old straw hat pressed well down over the ear puffs. She was ready for haying; and after breakfast she rode with her brother on the jolting rack out into the hayfield. At the coming of the second load into the yard, I could not resist the longing to go out with them and take a hand myself. It was an inspiration to see the girl deftly stick her fork into a pile of hay and easily lift it to the rack. Then when someone was needed to stamp and build the rising load, freed from entangling skirts, she performed that task well.
It was Saturday afternoon. The hay was all in, thank goodness, for there was a storm coming and the weather was cold. The girl was busy finishing a dress, a dress which I learned by questioning which had been “made over” by the girl herself. Deftly and skilfully the not too delicate fingers folded and stitched and fitted until the dress was complete. I saw it next morning on the owner and it gracefully and neatly and amply clothed the shapely figure of the girl.
Early Sunday morning the girl was busy with her books. She was a teacher in the Sunday school, and she was preparing her lesson. In due time I joined her, and we discussed the subject matter of the text. Our talk led to other topics in which the girl was well versed. I brought up the subject of “boys.” She smiled in a way which would indicate that she was not keenly interested. This, of course, was only subtle subterfuge: all girls are interested in boys.
“I suppose I’ll see the boys this evening?” I ventured.
“Oh, yes, some of them come to meeting,” she said.
“And then they come here?”
She just smiled, and dipped again into her book.
I would not be put off so lightly, so I continued:
“I should think the parlor would be full of boys Sunday evening-after meeting.”
“Boy’s don’t like my kind,” she replied without looking up.
“What do you mean?”
“I can’t do the butterfly stunts.”
“But you can do so many wonderful things.”
“Wonderful?” She seemed to be really surprised, as she closed her book. Which led to a real heart to heart talk, from which I learned the girl’s ideas of what an acceptable young man should be: not necessarily brilliant nor rich, but first a true Latter-day Saint, a good, clean, sensible fellow.
“And are there not plenty of such boys in the town?”
But before she could answer, we were called to prayers and to breakfast. At the table I could not help looking admiringly at her. I noted that her face was somewhat irregular and not beautiful after the doll-like pattern; but the face was one through which the fair spirit could shine, unhindered by any artificial coating!
There were a few minutes to spare before Sunday school time, which were spent about the piano. The girl played without hesitancy any of the common songs, and her untrained voice had great possibilities.
I had an appointment at the meeting in the stake tabernacle. This building is one of the finest in the Church. A pipe organ adds to the excellency of the choir. The audience was large that day. The presiding officer announced the hymn, and then the organ pealed forth, clear and true. I had not noticed who was sitting at the keyboard. I turned and looked. It was the girl. She was the tabernacle organist.
The girl is not a creation of the imagination. She is real flesh and blood and spirit. I know her name and address. Is there not hope for Zion?