Home is Where the Heart is"

Chapter 8 CARRIE'S WALK

Carrie was standing behind a big tree looking down the hill. Down there was her home. The little house were she had lived most of her life. But the woman hanging laundry next to the house wasn’t her Ma, and the man fixing the roof of the barn wasn’t her Pa. It sure felt strange to see strangers there! Now she saw two boys running towards the house. The oldest boy had brown hair and appeared to be about the same age as Carrie. The other boy was blond, and looked a few years younger. Carrie watched them as they went into the house, then she walked away. She wished she hadn’t gone there. She had thought it would make her happy to see her home again, but instead she only felt more sad.

Carrie decided to walk into town instead. When she was little she had loved walking along the road from their house to Walnut Grove. Soon Carrie was feeling happier, she even smiled as she walked down the road. It was nice to see everything again! When she came into town she was happy to see that it still looked the same. She sure had missed it!

Carrie decided to go to the mercantile. She knew the Olesons still ran it. Mr. Oleson was really nice. One Christmas many years ago Carrie had bought a beautiful silver star from him for only a penny. She learned many years later that the star was actually a lot more expensive. She had been so proud the day she walked home with the star together with Laura. The Ingalls family still had that star in their Christmas tree every year. Every Christmas when Carrie saw the star she thought about how kind Mr. Oleson had been. But Mrs. Oleson was another story. Carrie had been rather afraid of her when she was little. But now Carrie realized she had even missed Mrs. Oleson!

“Good afternoon, Mr Oleson”, Carrie said as she went into the mercantile, and saw Mr Oleson standing behind the counter.
“Carrie Ingalls?! Is that really you? It’s so nice to see you again. My, it’s hard to believe you’re the same little girl who used to come in here and buy licorice. You’ve become a beautiful young lady now.
”Thank you, Mr Oleson. It’s really nice to be back”
“ I hope you’re parents and siblings are all doing well?”
“Yes, they’re all fine. Thanks.”
“So, can I get you anything?”, Mr Oleson asked.
“Well…”, Carrie blushed slightly, “I would like some licorice”. It was still her favourite candy, and she knew the Olesons always got the best kind of licorice in their store. Mr Oleson laughed and filled up a big of licorice.
“Here you are, Carrie. I’d like you to take this as a small welcome back present”.
“Thank you! That’s really nice of you, Mr Oleson!”.

Carrie decided to walk back to Laura’s house now. It was probably close to supper, and she didn’t want to upset her sister by being late. She was in a better mood now, and decided not to taste the candy yet. She was going to share with Jenny and Rose. Carrie hurried down the road. But when she got back Laura was already upset.

“Where have you been Carrie?”, she asked in a high voice. “I’ve been really worried. You promised to be back in time for supper”.
“I’m late?” Carrie asked. She couldn’t believe she was really late.
“Yes, you sure are. We ate over an hour ago.” Laura said angrily. “Now, where were you?”
“I was just at the mercantile”, Carrie said.
“For three hours?!”
“Well….I guess I walked around a little bit too”. Carrie didn’t want to admit that she had been at their old house. It felt like a childish and stupid thing to do. “I’m really sorry, Laura. I didn’t mean to be late”.

Laura looked a little less angry now. But then she saw the bag of candy in Carrie’s hand.
“What’s that? You’ve been eating candy? No wonder you weren’t hungry enough to get back in time for supper. You can just go to bed now, Carrie. That will teach you not to eat candy before supper.”
“That’s not fair! I said I was sorry I was late, it’s not fair to send me to bed without supper. Besides I’m not a little kid anymore! You said so yourself! And I didn’t even eat any of the candy, I saved it. I was going to share with Rose and Jenny.” Carrie put the bag of candy on the table and ran out of the house. She didn’t want the others to see that she was crying.

But Laura ran after her sister. She found Carrie sitting in the swing that hung in the big tree behind the house. Almanzo had hung it up a few months ago for Jenny and Rose.
“Carrie…”. Carrie turned around at the sound of her sister’s voice. She quickly dried her eyes. “I’m sorry if I was too hard on you”, Laura said. “I didn’t mean to be unfair. I shouldn’t have assumed you had eaten the candy, and even if you had it didn’t give me the excuse to yell at you like that. I’m sorry. Maybe it’s just hard for me to realize that you’re not a little girl anymore. It was really sweet of you to bring it home to share with Rose and Jenny”.
“Mr Oleson gave it to me” Carrie said quietly.
“That was nice of him. Did he tell you to share with Rose and Jenny?”
“No. I was going to eat it on the way home. But then I decided to share it instead.”
“That was really nice of you. Was it licorice?”
“Yeah..”
“Well, then I’m really impressed! I know how much you love licorice. I remember when you bought some licorice to give to Pa as a present when he had been away for a while, but you ate it all before he even got back!” Laura said, laughing.
“Don’t remind me”, Carrie said. “I felt so bad afterwards. But I did give him a bag of licorice for his birthday instead.”
“Yeah, I remember”, Laura said. “That time you went to the mercantile the very same day, so you wouldn’t have the chance to eat it yourself!”
Carrie smiled. She remembered how she had hurried home with the bag of candy for her Pa. She had given it to him as soon as she came home, and she remember how happy he had been. Her Pa loved licorice too. It felt like a lifetime ago.
“Come on”, Laura said. “Lets go inside and get you some supper.” Carrie jumped out of the swing and followed her sister.


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