Chapter 3: Introductions Can Be Confusing
The very first member of the Rose family that Belle ever saw was James Rose. He still lives on Cherry Hill Farm today. He is a tall slender man of 88 years. Even now he is strong and quick though he is given to a nap after lunch. James can still put in a full day's work. His wife of 68 years is Melissa Anne Rose (Lissa for short). She still runs the ladies' quilting club. Together James and Lissa share the large downstairs bedroom of the big white house. It is the very room where he was born.
James and Lissa's son Dr. Steven James Rose is 67. He and his wife Jillian are retired veterinarians and live on North Side Farm next door. They turned the little farm into one of the finest equestrian hospitals in the country.
Travis Steven Rose is the first born of the next generation. He is 44. He and his wife Rebecca live in the big house with Grandfather James, Grandmother Lissa and their family.
Travis and Becca (as she is called) have a daughter named Marie (23) and twin sons named James Travis (called J.T.) and Jonathan Aaron (called Joe). The boys are 16 years old and in high school.
But, the most important person in this story is the youngest Rose of all. She is only 4 1/2 years old with pale blond hair and light blue eyes. She is very small for her age but she is smart and quick and a very good helper. She is very curious and she never misses anything. Her name is Michal Hanna Witherton Rose but everyone calls her Lil Mike though Grandfather James is fond of calling her Mouse. (So the mouse in this story is called Belle and the girl in this story is often called Mouse. Are you confused yet?) Michal is the daughter of Marie. Michal and her mother live in the great attic of the big old house. Lil Mike loves to live so high up in the world. She pretends that she is a princess living in a grand white castle.
In all reality that is quite the truth, for there is not a member of the Rose family that doesn't adore her. And, there is a little mouse with blue wings that loves her as well.
There are four other members of the Rose family you will need to know. They are the guardians whose purpose in life it is to care for Lil Mike. They watch, love, and protect their little girl and sometimes they work as her conscience. All of them know Belle very well and listen to her without question just as their ancestors did before them.
There is Pal, a huge Manx cat (1/4 bobcat on his father's side). He has tufts on his ears and huge paws. He stands nearly as tall as Buddy.
Buddy is a salt and pepper colored heeler dog with a black mask and ears. Buddy is quite capable of herding cattle but his job from puppy-hood has been to keep watch over Lil Mike.
A cottontail rabbit named Wink is kept very busy carrying information from Belle to Pal then Pal to Buddy then Buddy to Belle and back again. There are days her head nearly spins.
The last guardian is Snow, a white pony that Nanna Jillian rescued from a carnival show where cruel men had mistreated her. Now safe at Cherry Hill farm and in the care of Belle and the Rose family, she is strong and very protective of Lil Mike.
I realize that you may think this is far too many people all living together and far too many people to keep track of. Believe it or not many generations living together is not really unusual in the world or in history. Also it takes quite a few people to care for a large farm like Cherry Hill and family does it best.
So there you are. You now have the most necessary information. It is time for our story and its adventures to begin.
THE ROSE FAMILY TREE
(living when Belle arrived)
Airabella Quick of Cherry Hill Farm is © copyright 2008 by Kimberlyn Kammerer. All rights reserved.
May not be reprinted elsewhere without permission from the author/illustrator.