Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, Nov. 6, 2000

A family for the farmhouse


This is the last story in a series about Joe, the pot-bellied pig, and his owner, Fred. Fred and Joe live in an old farmhouse in the country. While they were doing some remodeling, they found three boxes hidden within a wall. Joe tells the story.

The first two boxes we found in the walls were empty except for a note telling us to look for a third box.

When we opened the third box, we found something that looked like money stored inside. But it was the strangest looking money we had ever seen.

Fred took it to the bank and asked if they could tell him what it was. The bank said that it was, indeed, money and it was very old; in fact, it was from the time of the war between the north and the south.

According to the bank, in those days, colored people would put their money inside small boxes and hide the boxes inside mud walls, similar to the old walls in the basement of our house.

Fred said that when he catches up on his work, he would like to try to find some family of the people who hid the money in our house long ago.

Fred and his friend, Betty, trimmed the Christmas tree for the holidays and it looked very pretty.

Betty was spending a lot of time at our house, coming every night for a few hours to help Fred with his work.

One day, Fred told me, "I am going to ask Betty if she will quit her other job and work every day for me. If she helped me all day, it would free me up so I could work harder and make a good salary. Then, I could pay Betty enough to make it worthwhile for her. I will ask her tonight."

Before Betty came over, Fred asked me to watch TV downstairs so they could talk.

Fred told me that when he suggested his idea to Betty, she was very excited. Fred helped her sit down and write a letter of resignation to her old boss and together, they made plans to start working together right away.

Then, Betty said, "Oh look, it's snowing outside. I hope I don't get stuck in your driveway."

"Why don't you just stay here tonight?" Fred asked her.

"Oh, my, what would people think?" Betty said.

"I will just tell them that there's no reason you shouldn't stay here, Fred said. "After all, its your home.".

"Oh, Fred, do you mean it?" Betty asked.

"I do," Fred said. "Will you marry me?"

Oh, yes," Betty said, happily.

Fred and Betty were married after New Year's.

In the spring, they built on to the other side of the farmhouse and added a bigger office and another bedroom.

They need the other bedroom because today, they told me they are going to have a baby.

I am going to help Fred build a cradle for the baby. And I will help rock the baby and feed him, too.

A real baby. I can't wait.

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