My Way or the Highway

Watercolor sketch titled The Road Less Traveled by Wendy Harty 2019. The Puritans tried to take the less traveled road but ended up saying, “My way or the highway!”

Forbidden – Keziah a novel cont’d below

The Puritans had escaped from the persecutions they encountered from the King’s in England and landed in the New World. Their progress was slow but the trees were felled and homes and families established. They believed they were doing God’s service and were sincere and honest in their cores. Guards with muskets stood by their meeting place doors for their Sabbath services to guard from Indian attacks. They forgot human rights as they tried to maintain their separation from the world. Children were to be seen and not heard; never to speak unless spoken to; always to break the bread not to bite into a slice; take a clean knife for salt. By the time Keziah was born the people had striped and branded heretics and bigotry had sat at their tables for over one hundred years. Sin existed in the eyes of the beholder and eyes were everywhere. In 1692 they lived through the witch trials. Keziah’s great grandfather Edward Bangs lived in the time when the government made laws that all must observe the Sabbath. He was in charge of putting offenders into the stocks after warning and fines didn’t work. Most people did not transgress and were deemed sour, dour and obsessed with religion, although a robust sexuality springs forth from the pages of the record books.

Forbidden – cont’d

Keziah was jealous. And jealousy was a sin. Her jealousy was mostly due to a new baby being born on the night of October 15, 1733. Her new step father, Elisha was elated with the baby and named him Edward Higgins. As her mother nursed little Edward, Elisha’s children, Jane and Sarah and Elisha Jr. crowded around to admire the ten little fingers and toes. Keziah wanted a look at the new baby but there didn’t seem to be any room for her to inch closer. Jane and Sarah also got to hold the baby first being eleven and eight years old and that made Keziah not the oldest girl in the family anymore, and not the favored one. Baby Edward had made a hasty sudden appearance and though Dorothy Doane had been sent for she hadn’t arrived in time. When Gramma Dorothy bustled through the door she took over the care of the baby and then whisked Keziah and Jerusha away so mama could get some rest.

The next morning Keziah asked to help her grandparents by going next door to Uncle Jonathan’s house. She was supposed to bring back the freshly churned butter but her real reason was to see her cousin Bethia, whom she missed terribly since her mother had remarried and they had moved to her new home. Bethia was able to toddler after her and the two entertained themselves with a sticks and stones game until Aunt Martha nudged her out the door with the butter.

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