It is a dry, windy day at the ranch and the house creaks involuntarily with the breeze. Mrs. Crawley, just finishing clearing away the dishes from the Master’s breakfast, looks out the window into the garden and wonders how people’s lives can change. She has been the housekeeper on Castellon Ranch for ten years now, serving the Master, Mistress and five children day in and day out. Her duties go far beyond the kitchen and bedrooms, though. She manages the farmhands and keeps the ranchers in line, too, adding to her long work days and endless caretaking. She scrubs the pots and pans and scanned the rosebushes, palm trees, and fountains outside. Could she ever be anything more?
The missus had gotten up earlier than usual this morning and rang for Mrs. Crawley at dawn. The missus was dressed and made presentable for breakfast tea in the parlor to discuss trivial matters with her arriving guests. Mrs. Crawley had heard them from the kitchen.
“Lady Margaret will have to marry soon. She is almost of age. The suitors will no doubt be getting in line.”
“I do hope she makes a good decision.”
On and on the women went about town gossip, complaints about their butlers and cooks, and whining about the weather. Meanwhile, Mrs. Crawley worried about feeding her children, getting her weeks pay on time, and helping her husband out with his sickness.
She continues to stare into the garden, reminiscing on the morning events. She can’t stand the way the ladies spoke of such simple things. They are so set in their ways and have never worried about anything. Mrs. Crawley mustn’t forget to tell the ranchers to get fresh milk today. She mustn’t forget that the eldest Castellon daughter, Anna, has her annual ball tonight and needs her frock mended. She can’t forget that the ladies that had tea with the missus this morning would also attend supper tonight, so there needs to be more food than usual. And she mustn’t forget to polish the master’s shoes for tonight.
Last night, the youngest daughter Eliza asked Mrs. Crawley something as she was being tucked into bed.
“Mrs. Crawley, will I be a princess when I grow up?”
“Why would you want to be a princess, Eliza? You have a magnificent home and plenty of land for riding horses and hosting fairs.”
“Because I want to live in a castle.”
“There are many people who would say this is a castle, sweet one.”
“This? It’s just a home on the ranch.”
“Did you want to be a princess, Mrs. Crawley?” Eliza asked.
“No, dear. I was just happy I had a home. Goodnight, dear.”
The bushes rustle and the trees sway with the breeze. Mrs. Crawley is captivated by the wind as the cleaning is done. She knows people can change and knows things can begin to look up.
But would she ever be anything more? She wouldn’t have time to be.