HUACHUCA WOMAN started life as THE GRANNY JO STORIES and was work-shopped, critiqued, revised, edited, and advised about more times than I kept track of. Now, the book, much modified from those early efforts, is about to hit the market which is you, my followers and, I hope, many others. I am sharing an excerpt today from the first of the 1952 segments that are interspersed throughout the book as Josephine tells the old tales to two of her grandchildren.

APRIL 1952

Early morning found Josephine Parthenia Lowell Judson Nichols moving stiffly across the kitchen, tea-cup in hand. Odors of oak and mesquite hung in the room. A thin braided rug covered a portion of the worn pine flooring, but couldn’t hide the years of wear and scarring. At the far end of the well-used room, pine-framed glass walls gave a panoramic view of the high desert, close in Huachuca Mountains and far-reaching sky. Rocking chairs sat in a half circle within the windowed alcove and it was to the easternmost rocker that the old woman headed.
She slipped into the rocker with its creaky protest and watched the sky lighten from pre-dawn lavender to a dusky rose. Rays of amber spread in slow motion into the desert moonscape. The promise of another dawn settled on her as muscles sculpted themselves to the contours of the oak rocker. A sigh fled her lips when Patches, the calico cat, leapt into her lap. Josephine set the tea-cup aside.
Wisps of whitened hair shadowed her face. A single braid, caught in a turquoise and silver clasp, reached to the waist of her faded dungarees. Rolled at the leg end and stiff from line drying, her pants gaped at the feminine waist they were never designed to fit. Curling leather boots stuck out below. A crisp new shirt of ruddy cabbage roses topped her outfit.
Josephine’s gentle strokes along Patches’ back soon took on intensity and such discomfort that the cat reached back, swatted her hand and flew from what had been a comfortable lap. He barely missed the much-mended wrist band from the Geronimo visit.
“Shoo, then, you ol’ varmint. Who needs you anyway?”
Frown lines ran across her forehead. She fingered the old band, then started her right hand thrumming on the arm of the rocker, beating out a wild drum roll. Josephine’s shoulders stiffened in a cramp as she fought against the conflicted feelings once again set in motion in the morning just past.



Filed under Arizona Territory, Fort Huachuca, Historical Fiction

16 responses to “HUACHUCA WOMAN…1952

  1. Ethel Riester

    Atmospheric, good. Curiosity arousing, very good.

  2. Ethel,
    I’m delighted that you are aroused! With your great history in English and a long-term reader, your comments are priceless.
    Love, Arletta

  3. Penny

    This passage is so beautiful and tenderly presented paragraph by paragraph. It is a privilege to read it.

  4. Hi Arletta, Such a joy to read how Jo’s morning is starting out. Fun to think of your book coming to fruition. I look forward to reading it.

  5. Dear Penny,
    I’m always delighted when another writer finds worth in my words. It is a special reward from you and I value it highly. Thank you, my friend.

  6. Barbara Toboni

    I did enjoy this, Arletta. The sunrise description was lovely. More, more! Cheers!

  7. Thanks, Barbara. The sunrises and sunsets in the high desert country are easy to write about because of their beauty.

  8. Arletta, What a lovely description. I’ve seen mornings like that. I liked the interplay with the cat, too. Clearly, Josephine has a lot on her mind!

  9. Hi Julie,
    Yes, Jo does have a lot on her mind….and I’ll reveal more, soon. Thank you for stopping by.

  10. Loved reading the excerpt of your book. What wonderful descriptive passages. Thank you for a great blog.

  11. As always, Gwyn, you are very sweet and kind. I’m pleased to have you reading and remarking on my work. I’ll post again later today or tomorrow with another excerpt.

  12. Pam Berlanga

    Arletta, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog. When will this be in book form so that I can purchase it?

    • Hi Pam,
      How nice to hear from you! I’m in the process of sending the book over to Amazon for Kindle and While I’ll edit the paperback version , I expect to bring out the Kindle version first…within the next 2-3 weeks! I’ll be shouting it from the rooftops so you will be sure to hear!

  13. Georgia Owens

    Arletta, I am Robin’s cousin. I don’t know how to “like” some one’s blog but I do like yours. My only comment on one item I read and that is; Calico cats are almost ALWAYS female.
    Thanks for a good read.
    Georgia Owens

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