More About Roxy
Folded at the foot of my bed is the Friendship quilt I made when I was in high school. Each piece was given me by a girl friend and has her signature embroidered on a white square in the center. Roxy Buzzard's block is in the middle of the quilt. Even now the sight of the soft grey gingham with its tiny pink rosebuds conjures up a memory of Roxy singing blithely as she washed up the dishes after our evening meal or sat quietly absorbed in her studies under the big oil lamp hanging over our kitchen table.
Roxy Buzzard and I were close of an age, but her thirst for "larnin" was so great that she was two years ahead of me in school. She had lived with my family in town while going to high school, and returned after getting her teachers diploma from Normal School to attend my graduation. She was to spend several days with us before going home for the summer, so it was at our house that Claud Rumson found her.
Claud was a distant cousin of the Buzzards, sent by their Grandaunt Roxalinda, the white witch-woman, to claim Roxy as the bride she "fore-saw" as his. He rode up to our house on one of Ox's fine horses, having been sent on from the Buzzard farm.
"Good land, who can that be?" Ma exclaimed as we watched the golden-haired young giant stride to the door. "Do you know him, Roxy?"
"Hit must be Cousin Claud," Roxy replied, smiling serenely as she went to answer the bell. "Maw wrote that Grandaunt was sending him."
"Cousin Roxalinda? I have come at our Grandaunt's bidding." We heard the words spoken in a rich baritone with the piquaint turn of phrase that the Buzzard elders still had.
"You be welcome, Cousin Claud. Do you come in and meet my hostess and friends." Roxy fell easily into the same pattern though she had abandoned it years before except with her family.
Pa came home to find the house dominated by this quiet-spoken young man who stood near seven foot tall in his heavy mountain boots. That evening we listened, entranced, as he told of his home and family and his plans for the future. Roxy worked silently on some sewing, occasionally glancing at her cousin appraisingly and absorbing every word.
Roxy and I shared my bed that night, giving her room over to Claud. While she brushed out and rebraided her waist-length hair, I fired questions at her.
"Why has Grandaunt sent him? Do you like him? Isn't he handsome? Will you marry him if he asks you? Isn't it romantic?"
"Very romantic, lovie," Roxy laughed as she swept me into a hug. "If I marry him, you shall be my little bridesmaid and come to stay with us in the mountains later. He may not like me well enough to ask for me. Perhaps he'd rather have Maddie though he'll have to wait a few years for her. She must finish school first. He'll have to wait for me, too, for I must teach and earn money to help send the others on to school. Now, go to sleep, chatterbox. We must be up early to fix breakfast for a mountain man."
The next day Roxy and I drove the buggy to the Big Farm with Claud riding beside us. He and Roxy talked some and we sang part of the time. Slyly I watched them, trying to read in their eyes and faces some sign of their feelings for each other. I stayed at the Big Farm for two weeks and Roxy came down to see me several times, usually with Claud in attendance so we had little chance to talk.
Finally, the day before I was to go back home, I could bear it no longer and hustled her off to my bedchamber on some pretext.
"Roxy, tell me! Have you and Claud fallen in love? Are you going to marry him? He's such a lovely big man and you look a perfect picture together! Oh, tell me! I can't go home without knowing."
"You precious little moony-eyed thing, there's not much to tell. I like Claud and I think he likes me. But we shan't be wedding yet awhile. He understands I'm to teach this fall at least and probably for several years after. I want to help Maddie and Hannie go to high school and Normal, though Paw says I needn't. Mayhap they'll have a need for a teacher back over the mountains one day soon. Then I shall go back to Grandaunts to live and teach there. Then ...... we shall see." Roxy smiled at my expression of dismay. "But you shall know as soon as, and IF I say Yes to Claud. And you shall be my bridesmaid as I promised."
Roxy taught that fall and the next spring she went back over the mountains at her Grandaunt's bidding. What Grandaunt had "fore-seen" came to pass and that summer I stood beside Roxy in the little country church as she said "Yes" to her Claud. For many years she taught in the little mountain school, even while her own children were arriving. Five Ransom boys swelled the ranks of kin and near kin in the small community.
I never made the trip back over the mountains, never saw my childhood friend again except in stiff photographs which she sent occasionally. Her letters grew more infrequent but were always happy and contented. My thoughts of Roxy Buzzard are still as warm and bright as the colors of her square in my old Friendship quilt.