In Come What May, the sequel to Seldom Come By, Rebecca and Samuel’s children come into their own. The story opens where Seldom Come By left off — in Newfoundland in the summer of 1939. Jonathan, their eldest is twenty-one years old and has remained in Montreal, but their other four children are with them in Salvage. Abigail is twelve, Morton is eight, Gene is nearly six and Joel, just four. Here’s how Joel came into the world — a deleted scene from Seldom Come By. FYI, Leise is Analeise, Samuel’s older sister.
Rebecca thought the phone was a fabulous invention, particularly on a day like the one she was having. ‘Hi Leise. How are things?’
‘We’re home alone without the children. It’s weird, hard to get used to. They’re all at the flicks. What about you?’
‘Oh, I’m coming along,’ said Rebecca in a sing-song voice.
‘Coming along now?’ asked Analeise in alarm.
‘Oh I think so.’
‘Is Samuel with you?’
‘No he’s taken Jonathan ice sailing down on the lake. I’ve got the girls and Morton here with me.’
‘Pack your bag,’ said Analeise. ‘We’ll be there in five.’ Seven minutes later Rebecca heard Analeise calling out for her. ‘Where are you?’
‘In here,’ cried out Rebecca.
‘In the bathroom,’ queried Analeise.
‘Yes, come in. I’m sure you’ve seen it all before.’
Rebecca was inside the bath, squatting. Her bottom half was naked. On her top half she was wearing just a singlet.
‘My God, Rebecca!’ Leise rushed to her side. ‘Is the baby that close?’
‘Like a steam train,’ she said. ‘Talk about an iron will,’ and then another contraction came over her and all Rebecca could do was grunt and push with it.
‘Are you pushing already?’
‘I’m pushing, he’s pushing,’ she said between puffs. ‘I swear this child is a boy. It’s like Morton all over again but ten times as fast.’
Analeise leant over to have a closer look at what was going on. Her gasp said it all. Meeting Rebecca’s eyes she said, ‘Well, he’s about to head into the world, that’s for sure.’
Swallowing, Rebecca said, ‘That’s what I’m counting on,’ as she blew the air away.
‘Just hold your horses,’ said Analeise. ‘Wait a minute while I wash my hands at least and grab some clean towels.’ Analeise tore off her coat and washed her hands and went to the linen cupboard down the hall.
She returned with some towels, one of which she knelt on as she crouched next to Rebecca, patted her on the shoulder and said, ‘Okay I’m ready.’
On the next contraction, out came the baby’s head and then after another half minute his whole body. A boy, as Rebecca had predicted. Rebecca took her bloodied son to her chest and collapsed back into the bath ‘Oh sweet Jesus,’ Rebecca said. ‘I am so pleased that’s over with. Thank you,’ she said looking at Analeise.
‘Hey, I didn’t do a thing.’
‘You were here. I wasn’t alone. That was plenty.’
When Samuel came back an hour later, he found Analeise in the kitchen and his brother-in-law Randal reading to his children.
‘Hi,’ he said. ‘This is a surprise. Where’s Rebecca?’
‘Hi back,’ said Analeise. ‘She’s upstairs.’
‘Has her labour started?’ asked Samuel, suddenly very alert.
‘I’d say you’re not far off,’ said Analeise.
‘Thanks for coming over,’ said Samuel giving his sister a quick hug as he walked by. ‘If you need to go home, Jonathan can look after the kids now.’
‘Oh we’re in no rush. We don’t mind,’ she said.
‘Okay, Thanks. I’ll just have a shower and then we can go.’
‘I’d probably look in on your wife first if I were you.’
‘Ha,’ said Samuel.
When he walked into their bedroom he found Rebecca asleep and a baby tightly bound nestled beside her. Samuel had to shake his head and blink three times. He picked the baby up and took him to the window to have a closer look at him. He was stunned at the day’s events and that his wife and Analeise had delivered this healthy robust baby without him.
‘I thought we might call him Joel after your friend,’ said Rebecca in a weary voice.
Samuel started and turned to her. ‘I think by your superhuman efforts today you’ve earned the right to call him whatever you want.’ He bent his head and kissed his wife. ‘Congratulations. You’ve got all that you asked for haven’t you? Two boys and two girls.’
‘Yes,’ sighed Rebecca, ‘after all those years in the wilderness I have been blessed.’
They stopped at Joel Adonis Dalton.
Here’s a pic of ice boat sailing then and now. The b&w pic taken in 1912 on Lake Ontario.