Surface Design & Glaze
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For the Love of Wolves
Category: Historical Literature
The third and final story of the three book trilogy of novels based on the life of Maggie Elizabeth Harrington, who lived in remote Central Mine, Michigan, in the late
The author dedicates this story to Maggie Elizabeth Harrington, who inspired this iconic character and three
“For the Love of Wolves” is an imagined story featuring a historical person. Maggie Elizabeth Harrington is a recluse living alone in the ghost town of Central Mine, Michigan. Maggie is the previously thriving town’s only inhabitant. She passes her days mostly in memories of Tommie Stetter, her first great love, and a pack of young wolves they tried to save from Bernard Lemieux, a bounty hunter.
Maggie finds evidence of what she perceives is a wolf living in the back of her yard and believes the wolf has returned to bring joy and purpose back into her lonely life which has become routine and meaningless
Chapter One – Reflection
I have always believed God had a plan for me. Always thought He meant for my life to be about something. Now I more often feel one of us has failed. Either I never understood His plan, or there never was one.
While I waited for His plan to appear I lived in two worlds. In the
My grandmother used to tell me life has three phases, ‘Learning in the beginning, experience in the middle and reflection at the end.”
It didn’t make much sense to me when I was thirteen, but it does now. It is at my ending where I have come to roost, time spent in memories of what I have learned and experienced. After all these years my life is now lived mostly in reflection. Still waiting for God’s plan to appear
I have accepted two things about life, that I can’t live it
On this chilly October day, Tommie Stetter is in my head. Of my two worlds, the one that God has chosen, and the one of my choosing, I am reliving a day from my faraway past, recalling when Tommie left Central Mine for the last time. I remember my last sight of him as the carriage passed my living room window and I took a final glimpse of the love of my life as he left into the future, to a place I would no longer be a part of, where I could no longer stand and look into his brown eyes that drew me spirit and soul into him. The carriage passed as if the Grim Reaper himself was at its reins, taking Tommie, his wife Stephanie, their little girl and Tommie’s mother to a land so far away there is no light. Images of Tommie forever lost in the darkness distance creates
I loved Tommie Stetter from the first moment I saw him on a Sunday morning in the Central Mine Methodist Church. He made my heart flutter like the wings of a hummingbird. When I looked at him I became mindless, there was no room for another thought in my young head, not even of God, or my father, or Reverend White as he preached the need for redemption. I stood there in church, mouthing the words of the hymns Mrs. Daume played and I was a blank slate, erased, empty of thought, except for Tommie Stetter
Now, here on my porch, in the fall of 1945, I have him with me once again. No, I cannot touch him, I cannot feel his strong arms pull me to him, he cannot hold me, but I can remember his beautiful brown eyes that glisten, and I can return in my head to a Sunday in church. I can feel the same twitching in my chest, the fluttering of the valves of my heart, and it is summer, 1892 again, I am young, and I am filled with love on a day that is otherwise a bit gloomy
It’s young Joseph Marquardt whose father owns the house across the street. His father uses it for a hunting camp on
“Good morning to you, Joseph. Are you here to hunt?”
“Yes, my father and brothers are already out, went early this morning. Earlier than I wanted to get up and so they left me here with Poochie, the old hound.”
The black and tan, a bit wobbly on his legs, stood behind him and listened to the sound of our voices. Joseph and the hound stepped closer to my porch. “I’m not fond enough of shooting rabbits to get out of bed at dawn, not like my father and brothers.”
“Do you like the stew?” I asked
“Would you like some coffee and toast with thimbleberry jam?”
He took a step back, embarrassed, but his eyes said yes. He is perhaps about ten. I imagine my little girl
“Yes, ma’am,” Joseph said. His voice returned me to October and my porch. Whisked me out of the drift I had fallen into with my despair.
“I’m hungry, too. Let’s go sit in my kitchen. You can see the rock piles from out the back window while we eat.”
“Maybe I’ll see my dad, and Louis and Julius.”
“Indeed. And you’ll see good crusty bread and jam and some hot coffee for this crisp morning.”
We sat at the table in the kitchen and looked out at the same rock piles I have stared at all my life. It’s as if the earth had never been different, they have always been here, these huge stone monuments in honor of the miners who had torn them from the womb of the peninsula. The old wood stove was still warm, I stoked it with a little wood and in minutes we had warm coffee and toast off its dark cast iron surface.
Joseph peered out into the distance, to the heavily treed forest beyond the mine. He was a patient young man, polite, a quiet one I thought, more like my Jeremy than the proud confident Tommie Stetter.
We watched together for signs of the hunters, but there were none, although I was sure I heard the howl of the hounds, and Poochie responded with his own howling from out on the porch. “I hear the dogs,” I said
“We can wait on the porch. You’ll see right away if you’ll be getting rabbit stew for dinner.”
“Julius cooks it. He makes it really good, just like my mother. She’s German, and she calls it a hasenpfeffer, it’s a funny name. It’s just rabbit stew.”
There are three old wooden rockers on my porch. I can’t sit in one of them and not imagine my father in one and my grandmother in the other. The three of us, sitting there, rocking away a Sunday afternoon, grandma roasting a chicken in the oven with her sage dressing for our dinner. Those were grand days. Life was different then. The mine was working, the village was full of hardy Cornish families. There was a steady flow of people walking the nameless streets, visiting, talking, smiling, everything was good, especially on Sunday, the miners only day off, a day of prayer, but also a day of visiting and rest. Now it seems that every day is a day of rest. When Joseph Marquardt and his sons aren’t here on a weekend to hunt there is no one. Central Mine is as empty as the mineshafts that once were filled with men and copper, but no longer reverberate with the sounds of mining. The streets are no longer filled with the laughter of children, and the voices of women, as they chat endlessly about plans for next Sunday, or the Fourth of July picnic when we all gathered for games and listened to the Central Mine Cornet band play Swanee River and Beautiful Brown Eyes late into a July afternoon.
All of a sudden Joseph stood up out of his rocker. Coming up the hill from the highway was one of the hounds, followed not far behind by a couple of more dogs, his father, Julius and Louis. As they approached my house Julius holds up a pair of rabbits by their hind legs, his prey, and their dinner.
“We shot eight,” he said. “We’ll be eating rabbit stew all next week.”
“He hasn’t been a bother, has he?” Joseph’s father asked, motioning toward Joseph with his head. “He’s old enough to take care of himself.”
“No, he’s no bother. I was grateful for the company.”
“I’ll leave you one of the rabbits if you
He’s a nice man, thin and rangy, with a full head of dark hair. He has a pointed nose and thin slinky eyes, but he is warmer as a person than his looks belie. “I’d be happy to have a rabbit. Joseph and I had just been talking about how much we like rabbit stew.”
“We’ll be heading back to Laurium soon as we get them cleaned. But I’ll drop one off for you before we go.”
“Thank you, Mr. Marquardt, it’ll be well appreciated. And indeed will be for my dinner.”
Mr. Marquardt set his shotgun down off his shoulder and stood. “I run a store in Laurium. If there’s ever anything you need, let me know and I’ll be happy to bring it down here to you. Save you the walk all the way to Eagle Harbor. Winter’s coming and it’ll be difficult with the snow.”
I nodded. Yes, he is a very kind man. “I’ll do that. The six miles over the hill to Eagle Harbor gets a little hazardous. But I manage.”
“It’s no trouble for me. We hunt down here all winter.”
I watch as the three of them crossed the street and enter the house that in
Food has a way of lightening your spirit but weighing on your eyes, it makes you sleepy. It was dark by the time I finished dinner and I retired to my bed, to my sleep
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