Mud Between My Toes

After they walked a little farther down the trail, Grandma grabbed Mary Belle by the shoulder and said, “Stop . . . don’t move.”

Mary Belle Duncan never imagined gathering eggs, making homemade ice cream, helping milk the family cow, or churning real butter with her grandmother. She’d never picked strawberries, tomatoes or green beans fresh from the garden. She’d never woke up to the sound of a rooster crowing, nor cows mooing in a ranch pasture. And, Mary Belle had never heard of feather beds, down comforters or homemade quilts. These were only a few of the new experiences facing her when she joined her grandparents for the summer on their Oklahoma ranch. Add fireflies, honeybees, croaking frogs, baby calves, skunks and the adventure of fishing for the first time and she was about to have the experience of a lifetime. Mary Belle would soon learn there was more to ranch life than idyllic scenes and boring days. She would learn about important differences between city and country life. Then there was that feeling of delight when mud squeezed between her toes for the first time, along with the feeling of cool breezes against her cheek while sitting on the family’s front porch each night.

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