How Do You Connect?

My, how the world has changed! With today’s technologies, we can be connected with friends from all over the world practically in an instant. I remember my grandfather telling me many years ago that the world was changing so fast, he could barely keep up. And that was before the personal computer saw the light of day. But I understand how he felt, because some days I feel I can’t keep up either. Maybe I have an old soul.

A hundred years ago, pioneers could only connect with others by one type of social media. It was called getting together and talking, face to face. People worked hard in those days–not that I’m saying we work any less–but they made time to connect with their neighbors, family and friends. They didn’t Skype, or have Face Time. They couldn’t email, or even phone someone. They simply hitched a team of horses to a wagon or sleigh and traveled to a neighbor’s farm for a visit. They appreciated their friends and took time to nurture their relationships.

As well as visiting, they also organized group events to keep in touch. The box social was a major function held in the fall after the harvest was finished. It gathered friends and family from the four corners of the district together in one place, usually in the one-room schoolhouse. At the same time they raised money for the upcoming Christmas Concert.

A box social was a simple concept. The women packed a lunch, wrapped it in some creative manner, and secretly took it to the social. The men would bid on the boxed lunches, and the woman who prepared the lunch would share it with the winning gentleman. More often than not, a husband knew which lunch was his wife’s, but there was usually a prankster in the group who loved to mix things up. Sometimes the outcome was good, sometimes not.

In my recently re-released book, Stubborn Hearts, the young school teacher has packed a lovely lunch for the box social. She wonders who will be the winning bidder. Will he be the blue-eyed Norwegian she rather fancies, or perhaps a father of one of her students? Or will he be that interfering, insufferable blacksmith she so despises? And who is that man funding the most hapless bachelor in the district? But no matter who buys the teacher’s lunch, he’ll be treated to some interesting conversation and delicious food.

Maybe the pioneers had the best means of communication after all.

 

 

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The premise

Can the love of an honorable man be enough to forgive a woman’s one felonious act? Should that woman risk everything to find out?

When Tom Carver, Whistle Creek’s blacksmith, tackles a youth prowling in his barn, he certainly doesn’t expect that youth to be the recently-hired school teacher, Beth Patterson. Her feeble excuses invite his suspicion, so for the next few weeks, he devises “chance” encounters with her so he can watch her every move.

Hiding from the law, Beth had hopes of starting afresh in the town of Whistle Creek. But with one brother obsessed with stealing a horse, and the other younger one befriending the town’s intrusive blacksmith, she fears her ugly past will be uncovered.

Tom’s deliberate encounters with Beth reveal she is a deeply devoted sister, and a beautiful, loving woman. Soon desire expels his distrust and he purposely courts her romantically. Denying her own yearnings, Beth knows she must reject his advances for the sake of her small family.

Surely Tom, a decent and respected man, would condemn her for her one tragic deed. Wouldn’t he?