“Papa! Suppers ready!” Dolly called from the front door of the Cape Cod house on Ross Street.
Raitt’s voice boomed from across the street. He untied his apron, set the
pruning sheers in the bucket, picked it up by the handle. “Come on, Rosy,” he told the goose. She lifted her head
from the dirt clods where she had been grubbing for worms and followed Dr. Raitt across the street. Papa walked down the driveway and opened the picket gate into the back yard, standing to one side to allow
Rosy to waddle past. He shut the gate behind them and climbed the steps into
the back porch, bent down to remove his gardening boots which he placed side by side against the wall. He slipped on his slippers and walked through the kitchen.
“Mama,” he said as he passed her.
replied without looking up from the pot of stew she was stirring. Papa entered
the dining room and sat down at the head of the table. His four daughters, Dolly,
Janet, Dotty, and Marjorie turned their faces expectantly toward him, their hands folded neatly in their laps.
“We’re ready,” Papa
called. Mama emerged from the kitchen, wiped her hands on her apron, and stood
next to Papa’s chair. Everyone bowed their heads. “God bless this food,” Papa said.
He was a large man with a shock of reddish-blonde hair and eyes
blue like the lakes in the homeland of his Scottish ancestors. His
full lips were sensitive, yet strong.
Mama disappeared into the kitchen and returned with bowls of steaming dumplings
and stew. “Mama’s dumplings are so light, you have to watch out that
they don’t float away,” he warned his girls. Mama didn’t sit down, but flitted back and forth
between the dining room and the kitchen working while the others ate.