Elkanah Devine sat on the edge of the little stream that fed his farm. He tossed small pebbles into the as he thought. He’d spent several years hacking brush piles and cultivating the soil. The modest log cabin was built by hand with the help of his father and brother. Having received the land and cattle from his father as a start in his own life he had no debts on his farm. He had managed to make a decent amount of profit in his first year and in his second season he purchased the wedding ring. Adelaide was a good wife. They had grown up together and the relationship had come a long way from their first encounter when he dipped the very tip of her braid in the inkwell on his school desk. He was pretty sure that she had forgiven him by their first dance at the harvest party. The trickling of the stream continued to be a hymn in his ears as he contemplated the choices that would change their lives forever. Being a godly man he had spent the past several days in prayer and he knew what he had to do. What he must do. With a heavy heart he pulled out silver locket from hos shirt pocket. He’d dug into his savings on his last trip off of the mountain and purchased the gift to soften the blow when he told her. He spotted the small blue flowers near the water’s edge. He had presented her with a bouquet of these very same flowers when they started courting and again when he proposed. A tear fell into the mud as he plucked a few.
Elkanah made his way into the house and explained his decision to join the other soldiers from their area and fight for Virginia. War was coming wether they wanted it of not and the only thing he could do was defend the land. Adelaide resisted but she knew that what he said was true. As they cried together she opened the silver locket and placed a few of the flowers inside and then she noticed the inscription. “Forget Me Not”. Adelaide had no words. She didn’t need to speak for Elkanah could read her heart in her eyes. She left the room for a moment and returned to present Elkanah with a lock of hair bound with red yarn. The hair was stained with ink and looked to several years old. Tugging at the chain on Elkanah’s belt she pulled his watch from his pocket and placed the hair in the chamber on the back.
The next morning Elkanah rode out to the soldier’s camp and signed up to fulfill gi s duty.
At their first engagement Elkanah heard the pop of a rifle and the hiss of a minie ball before it impacted his left leg in the thigh. The world went dark as he lay on the forest floor bleeding from the snipers shot. He remembered the voices in the dark and the doctors debating if they should remove the leg. Eventually, he woke up in the prison hospital and there he would spend the rest of the Civil War. But as far as prisoners of war go he was treated well. The doctor managed to save his leg and had even arranged for him to spend most of the war right there in prison hospital. Elkanah’s knowledge of the Bible and general good nature allowed him to serve as a minister for the other prisoners.
When the war ended Elkanah found himself limping home. A lot of the landmarks had changed but the terrain was the same. His beard had grown long and streaked with grey. He weighed about 2/3 what he did before he left home and a good portion of that was recovered weight gained on the voyage home. As he walked he heard the sound of a wagon roll up behind him. A woman and her daughter were out alone. The child was very young. She couldn’t have been any older than 5 years. But Elkanah was looking into the sun and couldn’t really make out much detail about them. The woman spoke and offered Elkanah a ride and a meal in exchange for few chores at her homestead. Elkanah agreed as he climbed up in the back of the wagon. As he road along the little girl climbed into the back with him and gave him a small blue flower. It was a little ragged from being handled by such a young toddler but it made Elkanah smile in earnest for the first time since he rode out on that fateful morning. “Forget-Me-Not” the little girl said. That’s what mommy calls them. They go in her locket. Elkanah gasps and called for the woman to stop the wagon which she did. “Adelaide!?” He cried as he ran around to the font if wagon. Adelaide leaped from the driver’s seat and met him halfway. His long hair and beard had hidden his face from her but when he called her name she knew his voice. “But your daughter?” He stammered with his eyes on the child still in the back of wagon. “Your child.” Adelaide replied. “I didn’t know until a month after you left.” Elkanah embraced his whole family and when they got to the modest cabin and it’s farmland the little blue flowers were planted everywhere they would grow. Elkanah learned that every night at bedtime Adelaide had opened the locket and told their daughter stories about her father so that if the worst happened he would not be forgotten.
The flowers in tonight’s feature image are Forget-Me-Not. There’s several stories about the origin of the name and the most popular ends with a man whose last act as he drownds is to toss the flowers to his lady in the shore and cry out “Forget me not!” I don’t really like sad endings so I created my own version based on a young husband in the American Civil War.
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