Wednesday could not come fast enough for Kate. She tried to concentrate on her sketching but her mind always wandered to the upcoming meeting. As for Bronson, she was just glad he was out of her life. After turning his proposal down, she felt like a bird taking flight after having been caged.
Wednesday arrived and Kate made sure the dining hall sparkled when she cleaned up after breakfast. Locke came in early from work to attend the meeting and Angus met Kate in the kitchen. They were soon all at the dining hall table awaiting the mill owners. “Why do I feel like I’m waiting for a tree to fall on us?” said Locke.
“Can’t,” said Angus with a smile, “already has.” Kate’s father had offered to be at the meeting as well but Kate declined. This was her problem not his.
The door opened and Bronson and his father walked toward the table. Behind them were several other men in suits that Kate didn’t recognize. Bronson had a smug smile to his face. He knew that the fate of the three people at the table hung in the balance. He wasn’t used to being turned down and this would be payback.
“So these are your three spitfires,” said one of the men who was introduced as another camp owner.
“That they are,” said Bronson’s father, “and glad of them I am too.” The shocked look on Bronson’s face was one Kate would remember for quite some time.
“Kate,” continued Bronson’s father, “I’ve been thinking about safety myself a lot lately, especially after Angus’ accident. Thanks to you three and the outcry the article and sketches have caused, we as camp owners have decided to take action. We’re holding a panel discussion on the topic, the end of next month. We’d like you three on the panel.”
“That would be great,” said Locke. “This is what we hoped the article would do.”
“Meanwhile,” continued Bronson’s father, “I’ve got some samples of safety gear with me. The men can try them out and let you know, Locke, as the new logging manager, what works.” Bronson was livid, his face turning bright red.
“Well thank you,” said Kate. “I’m sure we’ll all be there.”
“Despite Angus’ accident, we still have one of the best records in the state. As well as one of the best cooks,” he smiled as Kate’s father brought cooked chicken dinner for everyone. “So I thought after we eat I’d give the other owners a tour of our camp.”
Kate was bursting with pride. What had begun as the worst day of her life had turned into the best.
After the meal, Angus quietly asked Bronson’s father for a moment. “Sure. Bronson, you go on ahead and I’ll catch up.” Bronson eyed Angus warily. Kate didn’t interfere but when Angus called her over she told him of the complaints she had been receiving since the spring.
“Angus, thank you for your loyalty and honesty. I’ll have to speak to Bronson as to where the money has gone. If it is the logger’s, they will be repaid.” Bronson’s father sauntered off with a scowl on his face. The minute he left, Kate raced to the kitchen.
” So Miss Kate will I be packing up my pots and pans and moving on?”
” Not unless you want to,” Kate said smugly. She relayed what had happened at the meeting.
” I knew he’d see sense,” said her father. “We’re losing experienced loggers which is costing him money. Kate you may have the rest of the day off to sketch.”
And sketch she did. Sketches of the visitors and the new equipment. The mill owner talking to a logger and taking a swing with a newer safer ax. The day passed in a blissful blur. She reappeared in the kitchen.
” Good an extra hand. I’m afraid that’s the last sketching tome you’ll have for several weeks.”
” Why” asked Kate concerned.
” Well it seems that Mr. Bronson has been cooking the books and the money has been coming from the loggers.” Kate smiled, she wondered how she could have ever cared for such a man.
” And it seems to pay them back the owner has declared Saturday a Logger’s Holiday with log rolling and all.” The sketching she could do that day. “If you help me prepare I’ll give you Saturday off for sketching.”
” A deal!” said Kate happily.
” Here’s your meal, now out with Angus and Locke with you.”
” But why?” asked Kate curiously.
” Don’t know exactly. I was just given strict instructions that that’s what I was supposed to do.”
Kate took her plate and did as she was told. Angus waved to her. He was up to something. As she got closer she saw the carved wooden heart with her initials and Locke’s carved into it. “Did Angus put you up to this?” she said smiling at Locke
” No thought of it all on my own. What do you say Kate. A Logger’s Life’s not all that bad is it? Kate looked at Locke and gave him a big hug. No, Angus was right, a logger’s life was not bad. In fact it was downright perfect from her vantage point.