At my writers’ group Christmas party on Thursday night we each had to bring food for a potluck. We were supposed to prepare something that was related to a novel we have written. I have just finished the first draft of a middle-grade novel about a boy who travels by train from Kansas to Saskatchewan in 1907. Here is the excerpt from my novel that I used to plan my potluck contribution.
The next day at the station Mama doesn’t say anything about me getting on the train. Sometime during the night, Papa must have convinced her to let me go. She hugs me and two hot tears slip across her cheeks and slide down my neck as her arms squish the air out of my lungs clear to my ribs. Before I turn towards the boxcar with Prince and Gypsy inside she hands me an old sugar sack that smells of spicy pickles, smoked sausage, buttered bread and her dried cinnamon apples. I can tell Mama wants to say something. She gnaws her lips and opens them so wide I can see all of her teeth right to the back of her mouth, but only short frightened gasps come up from her throat. Papa shakes my hand strong and steady like I’m a real grown man and then he puts his arm around Mama’s shoulders and leads her away. She doesn’t look back at me.