This week I’m hosting Kathi Macias with The Moses Quilt, Gail Gaymer Martin with Her Valentine Hero, Anita Higman with Texas Wildflowers, and Kelly Irvin with Love’s Journey Home. If you want to enter the drawings for the books, please leave a comment on one of the post during the week with your email address. I will not enter you without an email address (my way to contact you if you win). If you don’t want to leave an email address, another way you can enter is to email me at email@example.com. The drawings end Sunday (Feb. 3rd) evening.
Interview with the heroine: Helen Crouch from Love’s Journey Home by Kelly Irvin:
1. Helen, tell me the most interesting thing about you.
I feel funny talking about myself. There’s nothing special about me. I’m a widow with four children, three girls and a boy. I live in my parents’ house so I can help take care of my mother, who is losing her eyesight. I help support my family by making jams and jellies and selling them at Planks’ Pie and Pastry Shop. I feel good about that. It’s something I know how to do. It might not be very interesting, but it’s who I am.
2. What do you do for fun?
I love visiting with family and friends on Sunday afternoons. We get together at one house or another and everyone brings food. Sometimes, I bring my mustard potato salad, five-bean salad, and a couple of peach pies. We have such fun visiting and catching up on everyone’s news. The children play baseball or kickball or volleyball. If it’s volleyball, I’ve been known to join in. I love a good game of volleyball and my children get such a kick out of seeing their mother run around like a little kid.
3. What do you put off doing because you dread it?
Not much that I can put my finger on at the moment. If there’s something I don’t like doing, I do it first. Best to get it done. Doesn’t matter if it’s cleaning the chicken coop or the outhouses at the school. When we have a job to do, we have frolics, we make it fun. We get together for the day to can vegetables from the garden or have a sewing frolic or build a new shed. Being together and visiting while we do these things turns a chore into fun. Nothing to dread there.
4. What are you afraid of most in life?
It might be wrong to say this. It might show a lack of faith. I try to put my faith in God’s plan for me at all times, but since you asked so nicely, I’m afraid of not being a good mother to my children. My husband George died seven years ago so I’ve been their only parent for a long time. Edmond, my son, has done some things during his running around that went too far. I’m afraid it’s because I haven’t been strict enough with him. I have a soft heart, too soft, some might say. Nothing is more important than making sure he grows up to be a good, strong, faithful Plain man. It’s my duty to make sure that happens. I won’t get another chance. So I pray I make the right decisions along the way to raise my children the best way I know how.
5. What do you want out of life?
I want to grow old with my family, knowing I did everything I could to bring them up in our faith. I’ll be content if at the end of my life, I see them raising their own families in that same faith. Truth be told, I want to have a husband to share that life with. I loved my George very much, but he’s been gone a long time. I know he would expect me to marry and give our children a father. I want that too. I just haven’t figured out how to do that!
6. What is the most important thing to you?
Faith, family, and community, in that order.
7. Do you read? If so, what is your favorite type of book to read?
I like to read stories about the pioneers who settled America. They overcame so much in order to make homes and a life for their families. They were strong and I want to be strong like that. I like to imagine what it must’ve been like to travel across the country, hunting, fishing, and gathering fruits and nuts, until they found the place they would call home. Starting from scratch with everything. It would’ve been so fulfilling.
8. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I wouldn’t be so clumsy and tongue tied all the time. I think that’s one of the reasons it’s taken me so long to find a new husband. In our community, we’re expected to remarry when we lose a husband or wife. It’s best for the children and the family. I just never seemed to find someone new. George, my husband, had this great sense of humor. He laughed a lot and I liked that. It made me feel more at ease. He never got mad when I broke a plate or dropped a bag of beans all over the floor. He just chuckled and helped me pick it up. That’s hard to find in a Plain man. Besides, there are so few men looking for wives at this season in our lives. It would help if I didn’t go mute every time I run into a man like Gabriel Gless, who is so sure of himself. He’s raising eight children without his wife and he seems to be doing fine, even though two are special little girls who need extra help. He reminds me of Thomas, his cousin. He’s not a big talker, which makes it even harder for me, since I can’t seem to carry on a conversation. Every time I see him, I stumble over something or stutter. I don’t understand that!
9. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?
We don’t have any pets that we keep in the house, but I do like the kitties that live on our farm. They are so sweet. When I hang clothes on the line, they wrap themselves around my ankles and purr until I pet them. They are important members of our family because they like to hunt mice. Sometimes they bring me a mouse and meow until I tell them they’ve done a good job! In the summertime, I sit out on the porch and drink lemonade and two or three of them will always join me. I like having the company without having to make conversation.
10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?
Well, like I said before, I like reading about the pioneers who settled America. I wouldn’t mind riding in one of those covered wagons over the mountains to a new land that I’ve never seen before. I know it would be hard work, but we do hard work now. It might be dangerous, but it would be exciting and the land would be so beautiful and open. It’s getting harder and harder to find open space for farming. In those days, you could go for days without seeing a settlement. Farm land would be there for the taking. They made all their own clothes and grew all their food, which is exactly what we do now. We’d fit right in!