Amy slowly strolled through her flower-garden humming a tune and twisting her light brown hair around her pinky as she inspected the lovely flowers about her. “Those petunias need to be weeded, and those roses must be watered,” she said to herself. Then she added, “Oh dear. I don’t know if I can have any water for my flowers. We need it for us and the animals to drink at least.” That summer had been very dry from the start and still it did not rain. Even the weeds were not growing very well because of the lack of water. There was no mud anywhere; just dust.
Amy looked despairingly at her flower garden. She remembered how in springtime everything was alive and vibrant but now all the plants were struggling and sick.
For a moment she looked around sadly then decided to make the best of it and do what she could.
While hoeing weeds she promised herself she would ask Father if she could have a ladleful of water for her nasturtiums.
The nasturtiums were her favorite so after giving the other flowers their rations of water whenever she could Amy always gave the nasturtiums a bit more.
Soon later there was a terrific crash and a yelp that sounded as if it was coming from the barn. Amy dropped her hoe and ran to go see what the matter was.
Long before she stepped inside she could see what was happening through the door. Her younger brother, Alec, was trying in vain to milk the family cow and was having a very difficult time of it because the cow kept kicking him. The bucket flew across the barn splashing milk all over, and the boy leapt onto a stack of hay bales nearby to dodge another kick from the stubborn cow. “Come on, Domino. When will you ever behave?” Alec was saying, with a disgusted expression on his dirty face. He wearily ran his fingers through his dark hair making it stand on end. It was hard for Amy not to laugh, though she knew it was not funny at all for her brother.
Amy slowly approached, speaking to the cow in a gentle tone, and held out a handful of oats.
Domino shied, and Amy paused, scared to continue.
Then the black and white cow caught sight of the treat in Amy's hands and moved forward suspiciously.
As the cow ate the oats Alec ventured nearer with a new pail he had fetched. She stood quietly as he, somewhat nervously, finished the milking job.
“Thanks, Amy,” Alec grinned as they led Domino to the pen behind the barn.
“You’re welcome. It was fun!” Amy replied giving Domino one last push into the pen.
When Amy entered the house she found her mother in the kitchen finishing up supper. “Amy, will you please grab some nasturtiums for the salad?” Mother asked.
“Yes, Mother, I'll get some right away!” Amy said, as she flew out the door smiling to herself happily because she was glad her flower garden came to use.
She soon came back with two good sized handfuls of yellow (but slightly brown) nasturtiums in her hand. “Thank you!” Mother said, smiling.
When Amy left the room Mother's expression changed as she looked at the brownish nasturtiums lying on the counter. “Poor Amy. There is not much water to give to her beautiful flowers,” she said remorsefully.
Supper was set on the table and the family all gathered around thanking God for the food. They finished praying and there was a clatter of forks and knives being dug into their food: a potato casserole, a big bowl of salad, and a delicious dessert of two cherry pies.
Amy watched her two brothers, Arthur and Alec, shovel their food into their mouths and refill their plates seemingly dozens of times. She wondered how they ever managed to do it.
After supper was eaten and Father had read from the Bible, Mother, Amy, and Ann washed the dinner dishes then the children headed up the stairs to bed.
Amy woke up the next morning and rolled over. The sun was just beginning to come up and she felt cheerful as she pushed back her quilts.
“Ann, wake up it's the morning,” Amy said shaking her younger sister.
“Alright, Amy, I'll be downstairs in a moment or so,” replied Ann, turning over and pulling the quilt over her head.
Amy prepared breakfast then went to go wake the boys. She tiptoed to the boys' room and opened the door with a creak. The two brothers slept in a bunk bed and Arthur who slept on the bottom bunk was snoring peacefully with Boulevard the dog sleeping at his feet.
At the sound of the door opening Alec (who was a very light sleeper and Amy was surprised that Arthur's snoring didn't wake him) sat up immediately and said with a sleepy tone of voice, “Is breakfast ready?”
“Not quite yet,” replied Amy.
And then she sang to Arthur (and Boulevard) with a giggle,
When your socks are tight,
Don’t have fright,
Because the “Bed Bugs” won’t bite,
But the “Fleas” just might.”
Arthur sat up in his bed and began to laugh, “Amy, you’re supposed to sing the good-morning song, not a song about Boulevard's fleas.”
Amy laughed too, “I made up the poem last night and thought you’d be the perfect person to try it on!”
Alec stumbled down the ladder and eagerly went to the dining room. Arthur and Boulevard followed more slowly.
That afternoon was very busy.
Mother was in the kitchen scrubbing the floor when the door creaked and opened. It was Father and he said, “Alice, that needs to be the last washing for the floor. The creek is almost dried up and the water in our well has gone down much farther,”
There was silence and then Mother asked, “Is there enough water that we could spare for Amy's garden?”
“I'm afraid there isn't enough to spare; we need water for us to drink, for Domino, and the horses too.” Father replied, shaking his head sadly.
Amy overheard them talking as she was knitting in the living room. She let the knitting fall to her lap and buried her face in her hands. “O God, we need rain so much...” She prayed, her voice faltering.
“Amy,” Mother said coming in, “You may have this pail of water. The floor is clean enough.”
Amy wrapped her arms around her mother, crying happily, “Oh Mother, thank you so much!”
When Amy poured the water on the flowers they eagerly sucked it up thirsty for more. “There,” she said, “You look much better.”
The next couple of days it did not rain. The creek dried up completely and the well had just a little water left in it. It made it worse when occasional dust storms swept in laying a thick layer of dust on everything.
One morning Amy went outside to see her flowers and Domino. The barn was closer to the house so she stopped there first. Domino was taking a nap so, being careful not to startle her, Amy crept nearer and laid her hand on the cow’s back. Domino looked up uninterested and laid her head back down again.
Then Amy went to check on her garden. A sad sight awaited her. Many of the flowers were bent over and brown. Some were completely dried out or buried in dust. She quickened her steps toward the petunias. They were certainly dead. The dust storm the night before must have finished them off. All the rest of the flowers weren’t looking so good either and they reminded her of how thirsty she was herself.
She tried to tell herself not to cry but a tear managed to come and slide down her cheek.
Then Amy noticed something. Through all that brown, sick, destruction a yellow plant way out in the corner of the garden stood as a glimmer of hope. She thought it very peculiar and decided to go look at it.
Amy got on her hands and knees in the dust and fingered the flowers. She thought they were nasturtiums but they couldn’t be. They didn’t have the pattern that nasturtiums have but instead were solid yellow. She noticed a spot where there was a little peel. It looked like there was a second layer behind it! Taking hold of the tab she pulled back a little strip. Behind it was the brown nasturtium pattern with curled up brown edges. It was all very strange.
Amy looked up when her little sister, Ann, walked into the garden. “Hello Amy! Sorry your flowers died. What are you doing?” asked Ann.
Amy stood up, replying, “I’m looking at my nasturtiums. Look, they grew a second layer over top-all yellow-not a bit of brown!”
Ann looked closer and nodded, pretending to look surprised.
Amy picked one and sniffed it. “Ew! It smells!” She yelled, dropping it in the dust.
Ann smiled showing all her missing teeth. “Amy,” she blurted out, “I painted them!”
Amy had a look of amazement cross over her face and she reached out to hug her sister. “Oh, Ann, thank you! I needed that color and life,” Amy said, “I have an idea. Let’s pick a bouquet of nasturtiums and put them on the table. I’m sure everyone else will be happy to see some bright yellow not dull, light brown!”
The sisters set to work right away and picked a good bunch of the nasturtiums putting them in a jar on the table.
The next morning Amy was awakened by a pitter patter on the tin roof. She hauled herself out of bed and went to the window. Pulling back the curtain she gasped in delight. It was raining! Amy hurried to Ann’s bed and shook her. “Ann! Ann! It’s raining!” she exclaimed.
Ann sprung out of bed and went to the window too. “It is! It is!” she said bouncing up and down.
Before Amy could suggest that they should go tell the boys Alec thundered up the stairway and arrived in the doorway. “It’s ra….” He started to say.
“We know!!!!” Amy cried, interrupting him.
Arthur and Boulevard joined the happy group soon later. “Let’s go dance in the rain!” Ann suggested.
When they got downstairs they saw mother making breakfast. “Go ahead,” she said reading their minds. Alec danced a jig, Arthur swung Ann around off the ground, and Amy hugged Boulevard despite his fleas. While the happy children let the rain pour into their mouths and soak their clothing Amy prayed silently, “Thank you, God.” Then she nudged Ann and said, “Thanks for the painted nasturtiums.”