Home Is Where the Heart Is
by  Dori


Could this never-ending pile of mending have come from just three men?

Well...two, really.

Murdoch might need the occasional sock darned or come up missing a button or two, but the lion's share of these tattered, ripped and torn garments belonged to Scott and Johnny. Between them, they could keep an army of seamstresses busy from dawn to dusk.

With a resigned sigh, Teresa reached for the shirt with the faded blue flowers and the ragged gap beneath the armhole. She must have grabbed it with a little more force than was necessary because when a button on the cuff tangled with the edge of the wicker sewing basket, the whole thing was upended. Shirts, socks, pants and underwear spilled onto the floor.

Exasperated, Teresa dropped to her knees and began gathering up the scattered items. Before she could stuff everything back where it belonged, she glanced down at the nearly empty basket and saw a piece of folded cloth lying on the bottom.

Spreading the fine linen out on her lap revealed the sentimental, but incomplete adage--”HOME IS WHERE THE HEA...”--stitched in brightly-colored, silk floss. A border of green ivy had been embroidered around the edges.

Memories came flooding back. She'd planned on giving Daddy the sampler for his birthday, working on it in secret while imagining how pleased and proud he'd be. This was to be proof that his little girl was growing out of her tomboy ways and finally taking an interest in female furbelows. Instead, of course, she'd remembered his birthday by placing flowers on his grave.

With the passing of time these unexpected remembrances brought as much comfort as pain. Daddy could never truly be gone when he was so much in her thoughts.

A scrap of overheard gossip once described her as a 'poor orphan girl', but she didn't feel like an orphan. Orphans didn't have families, and she'd watched her family take shape before her very eyes.

It hadn't happened overnight. Murdoch said—at the first—that his sons hated him. And certainly the old hacienda had echoed at times with the sound of angry male voices. Both boys had tried to leave. Johnny soon after he'd arrived and Scott as recently as a few months ago.

But Teresa knew...

They'd as soon have cut their tongues out as say the words, but it was there, as plain as day.

And Daddy would be so pleased, knowing she was happy—was surrounded by people who loved her.

Gentle fingers smoothed the wrinkled fabric. The mending could wait. Daddy's birthday was coming up once again. She would finish this piece. Framed, hanging in a place of honor, it would serve as a constant reminder—not of loss—but of the enduring power of love.









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