Interview with the heroine from Waiting Out the Storm by Ruth Logan Herne:
1. Sarah, tell me the most interesting thing about you.
Margaret, I’m pleased and honored to meet you, although I find your question a mite odd. I’m a simple woman of mixed blood and great ethnic heritage, a shepherd and farmer who takes pride in my chosen profession although it’s drawn scowls from my step-family. And others, (if you must know), especially the classy, to-die-for good looking doctor who’s building his gorgeous house right across the street from me. Seriously, what was God thinking???? I love books, I love learning and I find great peace by hand-spinning fine woolen thread at my wheel, but real life has intervened, leaving me little spare time since my nieces and nephews have moved into my now-cramped bungalow. In the shake of a sheep’s tail I’ve gone from my quiet, singular life into mayhem.
2. What do you do for fun?
Well, this is a problem. There isn’t any time for fun by normal standards, not with the farm by day, keeping accounts for local businesses by night (I was a business accounting major in college, you see), and now with Livvie, Brett and Skeeter here, I’m finding fun is a whole new category marked by confusion. We have new puppies in the barn. I love that. Both the Maremmas (my wooly white and gorgeous guard dogs) and the Border Collies have babies, and there’s one tiny Collie that’s taken a shine to my new neighbor. I keep telling her he’s off limits. We (I mean SHE, of course) could never fit into his heart, his home. He’s different, and there’s no use in pretending otherwise, right?
3. What do you put off doing because you dread it?
Housework. And confrontation. My Native American heritage has brought me restraint, but sometimes that’s at odds with my African and Caucasian ancestors. They insist I stand my ground. Go the distance. Housework… well, I’d do it more often if there was more time, but my goal right now is to develop my farm into a money-making entity and that’s not easy. So I keep books for others at night, and that bites into household tasks. It didn’t matter so much before, but do you have any idea how quickly three kids can destroy a house? Milliseconds. Sigh…
So then I insist they help clean, and that puts us right in the middle of a confrontation. Which (as you may note from above) I hate. But I’m strong with the land, and one with the Spirit and I do what I must.
But I DO put it off as long as possible. I think a nice, thick slice of Rita’s lemon pie would help, don’t you? Fresh baked goods are great soothers.
4. What are you afraid of most in life?
The people have a saying: Fear nothing, respect everything. I abide by that, but I have fears nonetheless. My mother died when I was a young girl. I miss her still. She was my shining light in a family of darkness, a Christian stronghold in a house of non-believers. So I would have to say abandonment. I fear being left and so I protect my heart while God governs my soul. It’s not a BAD way to live, you know? Although a bit lonely at times. Still, we all have those moments, don’t we?
5. What do you want out of life?
Peace. I want time and God to erase my self-doubts. And I want to be (please don’t laugh…) pretty. Like the other girls. Not like Craig Macklin’s parade of pretties with their jazzed-up heels, flirt-skirts and perfect nails, but I’d like to feel attractive when I look in the mirror. Rita says I’m lovely, she calls me ‘earth-mother’, and Craig has sworn that I’m beautiful, but he probably says that to all the girls, don’t you think?
6. What is the most important thing to you?
My relationship with my heavenly father because my earthly father is not a good man. How blessed are we to have that option?
7. Do you read? If so, what is your favorite type of book to read?
I have so little time, but when I do have time to read, I love adventure stories. I went off to New Zealand after college and worked a sheep farm there, just for the experience of learning about others, their wants, their ways, their needs. That’s where I finessed the art of spinning wool. Did you know that some wool is better for hand-spinning than others? Finer? Less coarse. It surprised me that Craig knew that, a veterinarian who hates sheep, and yet he understood the intricacies of wool. How odd…
8. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
My appearance, with no hesitation. I’d lighten my skin tone, soften my hair, brighten my eyes. For so long my half-brothers reminded me that I’m not normal, that I’m not attractive, that I’m different.
I want to stop feeling different.
9. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?
Some would say I have a hundred pets, but they would be mistaken. On a farm, you cannot afford to call your work animals pets, even the dogs, although my affection and respect for them is keen, as it should be.
The dogs would be the closest thing, and they are part of my heart and soul, the backbone of a sheep farm. And when I nurse a tiny baby lamb to strength and health, I love the delicate feel of its body, the slightness of limb, but then I must separate myself and offer the lamb back to its mother. She is much better equipped to raise her baby than I.
10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?
Please take no offense, Margaret, as you are a lovely and gracious women, great in your own right, but I do not think I would do this.
As a woman, I love this time, the current time. I respect the past but because of my mix of heritage, there is no spot in the past for me to be the strong, independent woman I am today. My mixed culture would find little sympathy in many places (perhaps New Orleans, but I don’t see a sheep farm there, do you????) and the fact that I’m a woman would only make it worse.
Today most people (some of my family the exception, of course…) think nothing of my cultural blend, my deep-toned skin, my heavy hair, but historically… I think I’m safer right here!