THE DRAMA OF SAMUEL'S LIFE CONTINUES WITH MARRIAGES,
BIRTHS, DEATHS AS THE MATTHEW FAMILY LIVES LIFE TO THE FULLEST.
IN - FOREVER AND A DAY - WE AGAIN VISIT THE
When Samuel's mother died from complications of childbirth, several months after Melanie was born, Samuel, who had declared Melanie his, took over complete care of the child he called Brownie.
When Brownie was a child, he put the toddler in front of him as he rode his horse. He educated her, teaching her to walk and talk, how to protect herself at all times. She soaked up his instructions, becoming proficient on and with animals and everything he taught her academically. He read books to her, showed her the letters, sounded them for her, and encouraged her to say the words with him and after him.
When she entered kindergarten, she had to be taught separately-she was so far advanced. She was allowed to stay in kindergarten class part of the time to bond with the children her age. A few years later, Samuel's father died.
Samuel buried himself in his anger. He decided he could no longer stay on the ranch. He had to leave. In his words, he had to "find himself." So began a long journey in Samuel's life with those he met along the way, with those who changed his life completely.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.49(d)|
Read an Excerpt
Forever and a Day
By Octavia Ruben Simien
Trafford PublishingCopyright © 2013 Octavia Ruben Simien
All rights reserved.
Samuel was afraid. All of the family were fearful. His mother Naomi was giving birth to her eighth child. With each child she came close to death. All of the family were praying.
Ten year old Samuel was kneeling just inside the bedroom door when Naomi birthed her baby. His father motioned him into the room. He crept closer to the bed and asked his mother if he could hold the baby. Naomi nodded whispering that he should be careful.
Holding her gently, Samuel smiled down at the baby and then gave a hearty laugh saying. "Look everybody. She's not different shades of black like we are. She's light brown. Oh look she smiled at me. Oh Mama she's mine. I will take care of her for the rest of her life. I'll call her Brownie. She's mine, Mama. O. K? She's mine!"
Everyone was laughing and trying to hold the baby. They all knew of Naomi's passion and constant praying that the Good Lord would give her all black babies. She didn't want any of her children to be as white as she. They were all different colors. As the baby whimpered, Samuel gave her to his mother.
"What's her name Mama?" her daughter Marian asked as she moved toward the bed.
"Brownie. Her name is Brownie," Samuel shouted. "All of you say I'm between black and brown and she is definitely light brown—so—she will be called Brownie."
"Samuel hush," Naomi said laughing. "My baby's name is Melanie Ann Michaels. Call her what you want, but that is her official name."
From that moment on Brownie became Samuel's primary focus in life. He played with her, bathed her, sang her to sleep. As soon as he came from school, as soon his chores were done, Brownie was in his arms. She was eight months old when he mounted his horse with her in his arms. His mother gasped and quieted as his father said, "It's alright, sweetheart. You know all of our children are proficient riders—excellent equestrians." He, however, knew that Samuel as young as ten was the expert. He would take care of Brownie.
Brownie was five years old when Naomi died giving birth to a still born son. Her husband Jack was devastated. He seemed to be living in a fog. He moved slowly and spoke sparingly. Never a big talker, he didn't speak unless he spoken to directly. His daughter, Theresa, called Tessa Rose, Walter and their two children, Walter Jr. and Agnes had moved into the house, taking over the household until things settled. Their home was in Texas. Because of his job, Wesley moved back and forth to be with his family.
Tessa Rose took over the household duties and the care of the family. She and her children would stay for a few months or as long as they were needed; however, Brownie was Samuels exclusively.
As Brownie grew, Samuel would drop her off at a private grade school. Because Samuel had taught her so well she was placed in Kindergarden class.
She was five when she passed all the tests the teachers gave her and was able to enter first grade.
After dropping her off, Samuel would then go on the Academy where he attended High School. Samuel was a Genius. The teachers allowed him to attend classes long enough to pick up instructions for lessons they gave him to do at home. He was taking advanced classes. He refused to be skipped because he wanted to be with Brownie.
Samuel would pick up numerous books for Brownie. He would read to her and she would read to him. Many times they would act out the different characters in the books he bought for her. Sometimes she'd have him laughing heartily about the antics of kids in her class.
Brownie loved to act. She would, in story form, act out the things which happened in the classroom or on the school grounds. When he didn't have time to listen, she would write down the activities she observed in class or on the playground. He would read her stories and sometimes act the stories out with her.
Brownie would laugh aloud at her Sam Sam, as she called him, as together they acted out her make-believe stories.
The Sisters at the school were overjoyed with Brownie. They helped her write simple plays for her classmates to read and act out in the classroom.
Brownie blossomed under the tutorledge of Samuel and her teachers. She was a happy child. When her head wasn't in a book, she practiced her riding skills and the skills of using a knife under instructions of whomever, sister or brother, was available; but, it was Samuel who taught her defensive skills. She learned how to shoot a gun, use knives without hurting herself and hopefully no one else.
Samuel taught her that the skills of boxing and knives were to used only in an emergency. She was like a sponge. She absorbed everything and remembered.
When Samuel was busy, the Art of Defense was taken over by her Uncles and Aunts or Cousins, whomever was available. Their fathers had taught each of their children self defense because of the danger due to the prejudice and hatred among some whites against black people.
Both Jack and Naomi were slaves. Because of the indignities Jack and his brother Wes had suffered, he was determined that his children, girls and boys, would be able to defend themselves. Each of his children were proficient at boxing, using knives or whips. They could ride any horse, wild or tame, shoot a pistol and take care of any kind of business.
His wife Naomi was brought up in the home of her white father. Her slave mother died at her birth. Her fathers wife gave birth to a daughter on the same day and at the same time his slave birthed Naomi. The two girls were raised as twins. Naomi wasn't treated as a slave, nor did her father treat his slaves with cruelty. She had witnessed the cruelty of Blacks on other plantations.
Samuel made sure that his Brownie would be able to defend herself from any one no matter who.
While Samuel was working on the ranch, or helping and/or teaching Brownie, he was watching his father. After Naomi died, Jack seemed to be moving in a fog. He did chores, working on the ranch as he always did; however, he would be working, all of sudden he would stop. He'd be very still and seemed to be listening to something or someone. He seemed to be around, but not really there. He would listen to his family speak but didn't seem to understand what they were saying—unless they touched him. Then he would seem startled and say, "I'm listening. I hear you."
Jack was leaning against the corral fence watching his men who were trying to tame a particularly uncooperative horse. Jack stood it as long as he could; he shook his head and entered the corral. His brother Wesley tried to tell him that the horse was too wild to be tamed; however, an expert at taming horses, Jack didn't listen. He approached the horse and started sweet-talking him. He saw the crazy look in the horse's eyes and felt the first jolt of fear. He'd experienced fear before with wild horses. What he didn't realize was that at his age he wasn't as flexible as he once was.
The horse allowed him to get into the saddle. Jack relaxed a bit. The horse sensing this, bucked before Jack was settled and threw him off his back. Jack sailed over the horses head and flew into a brick post. His head hit the brick post. He was dead before he hit the ground. Samuel screamed and started running. His father was dead before could get to him.
After his fathers death, Samuel knew he had to leave. He hated a God who took his Mother and made his Father die such a horrible death. He didn't let Brownie out of his sight. He knew he couldn't continue to live on the Ranch. He didn't know where he wanted to go. He just had to get away from a place that constantly reminded him of the death of his parents.
Brownie cried copious tears when Samuel told her was leaving.
"Sam Sam don't leave me. Please, please, please don't leave me" she cried when he told her he was going away and he didn't know when he would return.
"Listen to me baby. I told you I would never leave you. I meant that. I may not be here in body but I will always be with you in mind and heart. I will write you every day. I will call you when I can. I may not tell you where I am, but I will tell you what I am doing.
"But Sam Sam?" she the hiccuped.
"Sh h h h", he continued as he put his finger on her lips. "I will write and when I can I will call you. I will get a message to you every chance I get. This way we will always be together; especially in heart and mind. Do you understand?"
Brownie nodded her head, crying as Samuel rocked her in his arms. He didn't let her see the tears he was shedding.
Brownie wouldn't let Samuel out of her sight. He had told her he expected no shirking of her duties at home and absolutely no dropping of her grades at school.
"I will write you every day when I can. I will get my letters to you whenever possible. This way we will always be together. Do you understand?" As she nodded her head, he continued.
"When I get ready to leave, I will take you with me as far as Matt and Elvira's house. You know you always like to spoil their children and they love their Auntie Brownie."
As Brownie cried, Samuel enfolded her in his arms. He didn't let her see how much he was hurting.
Brownie wouldn't let Samuel out of her sight. He constantly told her he expected her to complete duties at home and at school. A month later Samuel told his sister Tessa Rose that he and Brownie would be visiting their brother Matt and his wife Elvira for a few days.
"Oh Sammy, I'm so glad. Especially for Brownie. She's been mopping these few days with a sad face and sometimes I see tears in her eyes. I try to get her to tell me if she has a problem. She just hugs me and walks off. I haven't had a chance to ask you, what the problem is. Do you know? In fact you aren't your fun-self lately. Would you like to tell me what's going on?"
"Oh, we'll both be alright after our visit," Samuel answered. Hugging his sister tightly, he let her go and walked away.
Tessa Rose watched Samuel walk away. She didn't believe him for a minute; however, she hoped things would be better for them when they returned. A month later Samuel told his sister that he and Brownie would be getting ready to visit Matt and Elvira.
"Oh I'm so glad. She always looks so sad. I'd put her on my lap and just hold her. You know what, Sammy, I think she's still mourning daddy's passing. I'm, glad you're taking her to Matts. She likes to play with their kids. I really was thinking we'd have to do something before she made herself sick. Samuel nodded and walked away.
Tessa Rose watched Samuel as he walked away wondering why he and Brownie were acting so strangely for the pass month. She sighed thinking that things would get back to normal when they returned. The trip would do them both good.
A few days later Tessa Rose waved at Brownie as Samuel galloped away. Brownie was seated on her horse when Samuel stopped his horse near hers. Getting off his horse, he reached up put his arms around Brownie and lifted her onto his horse. He removed the satchel and his saddle bags to the front of her. Getting behind her, he urged the horse into a trot down the path and on the lane leading off the property. Samuel pulled Brownie closer to him and whispered in her ear.
"Brownie baby. We're riding together because you won't need your horse. Matt and Elvira will bring you and the kids back here in their car. It really is time they visited for awhile." He knew Matt would want to speak to the family when he found out he'd left for parts unknown.
Elvira and the kids were overjoyed when they saw Samuel and Brownie get off the horse at the side of their house. After the hugging and kisses, Elvira told the kids to go into the house while she talked with Samuel.
"Sammy," she said as she joined him at the fence where he was tying his horse. "I am overjoyed to have you and Brownie here but tell me are you alright, and everything is alright at home. Why didn't you let us know you were coming and what's wrong with Brownie? She looks like she's been crying?"
"Everything is fine, Lil Sis." Samuel called all his sister-in-laws Lil Sis. "Brownie has been a little sad since Papa passed and I thought a visit here would cheer her up."
"Okay. It's just that she looks so sad, and by the way Matt is over at Mr. Roscoe's house helping with something or other. I don't know when he'll be back."
Giving her another hug Samuel said, "I know where Mr. Roscoe lives. I'll just go on over there and see if I can help out. That way Matt can finish earlier. We'll be back as soon as we can. Tell Brownie Matt and I will see her later."
When Elvira entered the house alone, Brownie jumped up and shouted. "Sam Sam ...!"
Frowning, Elvira grabbed Brownie before she could run out of the house. "He's gone to meet Matt. He said to tell you he'd see you when he gets back. "Okay?" she asked giving her a hug and a worried frown when she saw the tears in her eyes. Brownie nodded and went back to the children.
Although Brownie was subdued, she played with the children until it was time for dinner and bed. She stayed close to Samuel until he told her to go to bed and he'd see her in the morning.
Brownie didn't sleep well. She got up early. Samuel, Elvira and Matt were eating breakfast when she appeared in the kitchen. She went to Samuel and sat on his lap.
Elvira and Matt looked at each but didn't say anything. They had already discussed the strange behavior of Samuel and Brownie. They knew Samuel and Brownie always seemed to live in the realm of books and a fantasy world. Samuel was always Brownie's playmate until the need arose and he became her big brother who would correct and/or chastise her. He could get stern with her when the occasion demanded it.
Matt got up from the breakfast table saying, "I have to go back to Mr. Roscoe's house to get a few more things taken care of. I want to finish up with him today. When I come back kids, we are going on a picnic."
The kids started laughing and shouting, surrounding Brownie saying, "We're going on a picnic. We're going to have a real good time, huh Brownie?" Brownie smiled and hugged each of the three children. She didn't say anything. She looked at Sam. The look that passed between them spoke volumes.
Samuel said, "I'll go with you Matt." As Matt started to shake his head, Samuel said, "Look, two able bodies can get more done than one and we'll get back for the picnic sooner."
Samuel had already gotten up so Matt looked at his wife but didn't say anything. The kids hugged their father and started towards Sam. He kissed each of them and gave them a hug. He then moved to Elvira, hugged her tightly and kissed her. She looked at him strangely as she kissed and hugged him back.
Looking at the three children sadly, Samuel called them each by their given name rather than the nicknames he had for them.
"Millicent, Benjamin, David. I want you to stay in the house. Don't come outside. Kiss your daddy goodby and stay in the kitchen. OK? My horse is a little skittish and I don't want you to get hurt. Now let me have another great big hug and you can help your Mom plan the picnic food."
Elvira started to protest. Seeing the tears in Samuel's eyes and the brief shake of his head, she decided to wait until he returned and then she would find out what was wrong with him and Brownie.
"Brownie, walk with me," Samuel said.
She didn't answer nor did she look at him. She walked slowly to him. She put her hand in his and they walked out together.
Before mounting, he lifted Brownie high in his arms, hugging her tightly.
"Brownie, my baby," he said. "I'm not deserting you. I have things to do. I know you know that I love you—for always-for ever. I must go. I will write you often." He held her tightly, kissed her and let her slid out of his arms to the ground. Samuel straightened up, mounted his horse and galloped away. He was far down the road before Matt caught up with him.
Elvira had given the children tasks to do. She stood just behind the screen door and watched the exchange between Sam and Brownie. The child was in hysterics as Samuel galloped away and didn't look back.
She rushed out the door watching as Matt pushed his horse to the limit trying to catch up with Samuel.
She heard her husband scream. "I don't know what's wrong with you baby brother, but I'm dammed sure going to find out so you may as well slow down." He knew Samuel couldn't hear him but felt good shouting at him.
Excerpted from Forever and a Day by Octavia Ruben Simien. Copyright © 2013 Octavia Ruben Simien. Excerpted by permission of Trafford Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.