Larry, when he wasn’t tending animals and the generator, spent his time making and mending dog harnesses or carving small but beautiful and intricate figures in bone or ivory. Nancy worked on the bead and quill work that was her way of contributing to the family’s finances, and Martha knitted. Margadele felt quite useless. She had done a little sewing, but had never really made anything more complicated than a simple top or dress. She was fascinated by the beautiful designs Nancy produced on the items she made; small purses, pouches, belts and headbands, and the most beautiful shirt. It was for herself, and Margadele was envious; she would love to have one like it.
When she told Nancy that, Nancy smiled, got up and went to the store room. She came back with a piece of the softest, supplest leather Margadele had ever felt. “Ok, Marg,” she said, “how about making yourself one lie it? You can use this, and I’ll show you how to create the design and do the beading and quilling.”
“Oh, Nancy, do you mean it? This is so soft; it must be worth a fortune.”
“Not really,” Larry said. I found the half grown faun dying next to its dead mother. I tried, but I couldn’t save it, so I skinned it. Someone had killed the doe and wounded the faun, and left them where they dropped. I reported them to the RCMP in Yellowknife and they let me keep them. Martha is expert at tanning and softening the hides. We had put them aside as we didn’t need them, so you might as well have it. Nancy dyed that one blue, and the colour will be perfect for you. With her help, you will have a lovely new top to take home with you.”
Over the next two days they worked, talked and laughed, getting to know each other. Margadele felt quite at home and comfortable with them, but was still worried about her friends and family at home. She had decided to decorate her shirt in a Celtic Knot pattern and Nancy was fascinated by the intricate over and under effect.
“Marg, that is beautiful!” she exclaimed. “The green, lilac and coral look so pretty against the Copen blue. It looks like it is woven. I’ve never seen that pattern before. Can I learn to do it?”
Margadele looked up and smiled. ”Sure you can, Nancy. I can show you how to draw this one, and I have a book with instructions for several types of Celtic Knotting. When I get home, I’ll send you copies.”
Martha and Larry exclaimed over the intricate pattern too, and Larry thought he could maybe carve small picture frames in it, and paint them. “They should sell quickly. And if I can get some larger pieces of wood, I could make bigger frames, too.” I think having you drop out of the sky for a visit will turn out to be an even bigger blessing. Not only will we have made a new friend, but our work will be enhanced.” He paused, listening. “I think the storm is dying. I’m going to check the weather station, and see if the radio works. Be right back.” He strode off, heading for the station. “I’ll feed the dogs, too – it’s time,” he added.
The next day the storm had died to almost nothing, and Larry was able to radio Yellowknife and have them radio Red Dear that Margadele O’Brien was safe and would be home as soon as the Yellowknife airport was opened after the storm. Later, they opened the front door. The outside door had a window in the top, and it was completely covered in snow. Margadele was shocked. “How are we going to get out?” she asked.
Larry smiled and said “no problem, just watch. He went to the storage room and returned with an odd contraption that looked like a cross between a snow blower, vacuum cleaner and garden hose. He carefully opened the door window and aimed the nozzle at the snow, and flipped the switch. The hose end snaked out of the room and into the back. The snow melted and was sucked into the hose, and away. When Margadele asked where it went, Nancy told her the hose went to the cistern. The snow melt would be added to their water supply. Any excess would drain out deep underground and help water the garden in the summer.
Two days later Margadele was packed and ready to leave. She was glad to be going home, but sorry to leave her new friends. Dressed in her beautiful new doeskin shirt and dark blue pants, she looked lovely. The balloon, basket and extra packs were packed for shipping. All she had was her backpack, and a book Martha had given her with recipes and stories. Martha had compiled the recipes, many were her own, and written the stories. Margadele was pleased with it. She liked having he recipes and the stories were based on events in Martha’s life. With one last hug, Margadele followed Larry out.
That evening, the plane landed at the Red Deer airport, and she went through the arrivals area. She was surprised, as there was a great shout, and she saw a large crowd waving and smiling at her. All of her friends and family had gathered to welcome the wanderer home.