Lewis is soft and gentle. It’s not just a personality trait, but a look as well.
He’s got a head full of pale, blonde curls; tight ringlets that frame his face and brush his shoulders. He’s got soft, pale blue eyes that always seem to hold a gentle smile. He’s all long, lean muscle. He’s the tallest in the family, having finally passed William last summer. He keeps an eye on how Sanders is growing. “Still a chance he could be a tall one.”
Lewis had been helping on the farm for as long as he could remember. He’s been working the farm with his brothers ever since they’d arrived here in Iowa. He’d become Meridian’s right hand man when William had gone off to find work on the railroad.
It was a good thing he’d been paying attention. Meridian had gone and got married last year, and now him and Mary Ellen are headed to Nebraska to be with her family.
Now, he finds himself taking the reigns of the farm and family. He’s got Mary to help him. She gives him an ear to listen. She’s so smart. She can work out problems and suggest a solution when he’s blinded by his own frustration.
So far, Meridian’s always been there, breathing over his shoulder, making disapproving noises every time Lewis makes a wrong choice.
Meridian and Mary Ellen leave soon and Lewis will be on his own for the first time. No “tsks” or loud sigh to tell him he’s doing it wrong. Mary says what works for Meridian doesn’t have to be his way. She says he’ll find what works for him.
Lewis knows she’s probably right, but he’s still afraid. What if he does something that costs his family everything? What if they don’t have food for the winter?
He’s got the knowledge. He is capable. He’s never done anything on his own. He lacks confidence. He does, however, have determination by the cart loads.
He awakes every morning before the sun. He takes a walk outside, enjoying the feeling of the cool, dew kissed grass between his toes. Connecting with nature centers him and helps him think. He walks the whole of the farm, making mental notes about anything that requires attention.
He collects eggs from the chicken coop and then heads back inside to start the coffee. Once the percolator is on the stove and the fire is started, he wakes up Mary. While she starts preparing breakfast, Lewis heads off to find Sanders. He’s usually snoring away in Sweet Princess’ stall.
The smell of coffee and breakfast usually draws everyone else out of bed. Lewis takes up the seat at the head of the table. He looks out over his family, laughing and smiling while they all talk excitedly about their plans for the day.
He will not fail them. He won’t be the reason that they stop smiling. He smiles as he joins the conversation, assigning chores and discussing plans for the farm.