Sunday, March 7, 2021

[BOOK EXCERPT] Seminole: Some People Never Give Up by Tina Siemens

 Author Tina Siemens' book SEMINOLE: Some People Never Give Up is not just an account about her family. It's a reminder of what we can get through and overcome. Enjoy this excerpt from Chapter Twenty-One of her book, and get your copy on Amazon. 

Chapter Twenty-One

Two long years passed after that initial meeting. Of course, there were more meetings and more plans. During one of them, David found himself surrounded by a determined group of men interested in permanently leaving the colony for Seminole. This time, though, he would have to speak. His palms were sweaty and his throat was dry as he waited for his turn. Mr. Reimer went first.

He told the men he had been working with a lawyer in El Paso to process potential groups from the Old Colony and EMMC into America. He’d assured them that their children would be properly educated, the rubber tires would stay on the tractors, and other mandatory hardships would be done away with—the main point being that each man could live his life as he saw fit.

This was what David needed to hear. No matter the obstacles, he was now fully committed.

“Gentlemen!” Mr. Reimer shouted. “We have another report to give you. Let me call your

attention to Mr. David Rempel.”

David rubbed his palms on his overalls before stepping onto the stump, unaccustomed to being

the center of attention. He cleared his throat, swallowed hard, then started talking. “Four weeks

ago, Mr. Schmitt and I hitched a ride with Mr. Reimer, who was driving to Seminole to pick up

some farm equipment. We stayed in Seminole for three weeks, at the Teepee Lodge. I learned

that the Reimer family has spent so much time in Seminole that the owners of the Teepee

Lodge asked them if they would be interested in buying the motel, since the owners are ready to

retire. Mr. Reimer agreed and is moving to Seminole to run it when the purchase goes through. I tell you this because it means we will have people from our colony in Seminole— people who know their way around.

They speak the language and have connections. I don’t know about you, but that makes me feel


The group of men nodded at each other. David continued. “We stayed in Seminole for three

weeks, at the same Teepee Lodge Mr. Reimer is pur- chasing. I spent the entire time looking

around. Since Mr. Schmitt wanted to earn money for his way back, he had a chance to work at a

machine shop there. Mr. Schmitt can tell you there is plenty of work because he found some

and doesn’t even speak the language.”

“What’s the land like?” an anxious man called out.

“The land is good,” David replied. “It’s dry, but there’s farming going on. They need more of the

mesquite land cleared and planted.”

Several men smiled, apparently satisfied with the answer. David con- tinued. “I want to tell you I

liked what I saw. I told my wife that they have these machines for the dishes. No one has to

wash dishes anymore. The machine does it all for you. And they have little houses for dogs.

Imagine a place so rich that they build houses for dogs.”

A buzz raced through the group with several men shaking their heads in disbelief.

“After three weeks, we hopped on a bus and came back here. I don’t know about you, but I’m

moving my family to Seminole. Are there any questions?”

One man raised his hand. “How do we buy some land?”

David was ready for this. “The Reimer family is putting together a joint purchase. They’re

looking for a large piece of land, enough for all of us. When they find some, they have a lawyer

who will draft a contract and obtain financing for the first year. After that, we will make payments

directly to the bank. The good news is we will only have to deal with the Reimers. They will

handle everything.” 

Heads bobbed up and down, smiling and grinning, as the men realized how easy this entire plan

was coming together. David answered a few more questions before stepping down and talking

individually to several men. When everyone was satisfied, he climbed into his Volkswagen and

headed home.

If only Anna was as agreeable as the men, he thought, setting his jaw. It didn’t matter, though.

He had waited two full years before putting his plan into action. It was past time they left.

Stepping through the door of his small house, David heard some splash- ing from the room

containing the bathtub. With no running water, they took their baths in a small clawfoot tub in its

own little room. The water was heated up outside and carried in, which his wife was doing right

now. He thought back to Seminole, where the water came right out of a faucet. And it was hot or

cold, depending on how the knobs were turned. The colony was so far behind that he now

dreaded his daily trips to the outhouse, thinking of the nice commode and endless supply of

toilet paper at the Teepee Lodge.

He walked up to the bathroom door and knocked. “Who’s in there?” “It’s me, Tina.”

He could hear her splashing around in the tub, something she loved to

do. “Are you almost done?” “Yes, Dad.”

Tina took baths with her cheap plastic sandals on. They were one of her most precious

possessions. Anna had told him that his daughter wore them directly into the tub to clean off the

hard-packed mud from their soles. After removing all the mud and pebbles, she would bathe in

the dirty water and somehow clean herself up. He smiled, amused by the little girl so attached to

those sandals that she refused to take them off.

David checked on the other children, finding them scattered about the house, waiting for their

turn at the tub. Then he spotted Anna—out back, tending the fire and heating up water for the

next child. When she noticed her husband, she frowned.

“You’ve been at another meeting,” she said.

“I have,” he replied coolly.

Anna stared down at the boiling water. “I suppose you’ve made up your mind.”

“You know I made up my mind when we left for Canada. I’m just sorry that didn’t work out.”

“When are you going to tell the children?” she asked, shoving more fuel onto the fire.

“Tonight, after supper. It’s the best time.”

She didn’t meet his eyes. “It’s going to be your job, not mine.” “That’s fair,” he said.

Anna and the girls put away the last dishes as David sat in his favorite chair, working over a

toothpick, waiting for his wife and daughters to join him and his son. When the entire clan had

assembled, he looked at them, sitting up a little straighter.

“Children,” he said confidently, “I’ve got something to tell you.”

Tina raised her hand. “We forgot to tell you about our turkeys. Remember?” “Turkeys? Why...

oh, yes. Go ahead,” he said, unhappy with the delay. Tina ran to her room and brought back

three pieces of paper. Each one had fabric glued to it. David studied them as Tina explained.

“While you were away, we had a project at school. The teacher wanted us to make our own turkey.”

“I see,” David said. “They look nice.”

“Yes,” she replied, clearly not through with the story. “The teacher told

everyone to bring some fabric to school, and the other kids had a few pieces in tiny plastic bags.

But we brought a big cracker box of scrap fabric. When we pulled it out, the other kids laughed

at us and said, ‘What were you thinking?’ But we had the scraps left over from all the dresses

Mom makes for us.” She lowered her voice. “The other kids don’t dress like we do.”

At EMMC, David knew that his kids looked different because of their clothes. He was hoping

that would change in Seminole.

“Anyway,” Tina continued, “David, Elizabeth, and I started making turkeys with all the scrap, and

they were looking really good. That’s when the other kids—the ones making fun of us—started

coming over and asking if they could have some. We were very popular!”

David’s face lit up. It was important for Tina to feel she could help others. She loved learning,

and especially loved being asked to do import- ant tasks—ones that required trust. There was

something in her spirit that needed to be needed.

“That’s wonderful!” David told her. “I’m so proud of you.”

Tina beamed, nudging Elizabeth and David. They hid their emotions better than her, but David

could tell that they were pleased by his words, too. Of course, two-year-old Nancy could only sit

and listen.

David put his hands on his knees, looking at each one of their happy faces. “I have some news,

too. Your mother and I have decided to move to Texas. The town is called Seminole.”

Suddenly, the smiles disappeared. “Are we leaving the colony?” his son asked.

“Yes, we are,” David told him.

“And our friends?” Elizabeth ventured.

“Yes, but you’ll meet new ones in Seminole.”

“Can I take my sandals?” Tina asked, ready to cry if the answer was

not what she wanted to hear. “Yes.”

“And my doll?”

“Of course.”

Before he could say more, the single lightbulb hanging from the ceiling

dimmed. David got to his feet and trudged outside, switching out the car batteries. This was the

only light they had at night, unless they pulled out the expensive oil lamps. He couldn’t wait to

leave this place and turn on all the lights simply by flipping a switch. What a day that would be!

A horsefly buzzed around looking for a place to land. David swatted at it then heard his father

kicking some dirt clods out of the way as he shuffled to his barn, where David waited. This

would be another goodbye, one that David hoped would be permanent.

SEMINOLE: Some People Never Give Up available on Amazon

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