A snowy Valentine's vignette from the 1940s Saskatchewan Mennonite novel CONSIDER THE SUNFLOWERS by Elma (Martens ) Schemenauer:
Frank stood at the top of the hill watching snow diamonds sparkle on his pasture. The air felt as brisk and cold as peppermints. What a great afternoon for sliding with his best girl!
He sat down on the toboggan, and three-year-old Klara plopped her solid little body into his lap. She turned her head, her red bonnet brushing his cheek. "Daddy?"
"When is Mommy getting the baby?"
"Soon. Grandma Janz says I'll have to go for Doc Muirhead any day now." Frank put his arm around his daughter and pushed with one foot to start the toboggan sliding.
It swooped down the hill, skidded to the left, twirled, and dumped them into a snowdrift. Klara jumped to her feet, whooping with delight. "Get up, Daddy!" She yanked at his arm. "I wanna slide down again."
"I'm too tired." He lolled back in the snow, grinning up at her. "We musta slid down twenty times already."
"Please, Daddy." She tilted her head, her smile digging dimples into her brown cheeks. Frank's mama had done that, the exact same way. It was a hard gesture to resist.
He hauled himself to his feet. "Okay, we'll take a couple more runs down the hill. Then we'll go in for supper. Mommy and Grandma are making cottage-cheese dumplings."
"Oh." Klara plunked herself down on the toboggan. "I hope Mommy gets a baby girl."
"I hope it's a boy myself. I already have the nicest little girl in the world."
CONSIDER THE SUNFLOWERS is available in KAMLOOPS, BC in Chapters and the University Bookstore / ABBOTSFORD, BC in the Mennonite Heritage Museum and the House of James / SASKATOON, SK in The Whimsy Store / REGINA, SK in Chapters Southland Mall / CENTRAL BUTTE, SK in Galloway's Pharmacy / ELBOW, SK in Back Home Bakery / MONTREAL, QC in Chapters Place Montreal Trust. It can also be ordered from Chapters Indigo Online http://tinyurl.com/ny8smwk or the publisher, Borealis Press of Ottawa http://tinyurl.com/lfdo9pf .
Elma Schemenauer CONSIDER THE SUNFLOWERS: 1940s-era novel about love, Mennonites, faith, & family. Set in Vancouver & rural Saskatchewan. Order from Chapters online http://tinyurl.com/ny8smwk or Borealis Press http://tinyurl.com/lfdo9pf . More info at http://elmams.wix.com/sflwrs . Book trailer at https://youtu.be/sBRuhh1xX7Y .