The Choice by Suzanne Woods Fisher
An excerpt from Chapter One…
Carrie Weaver tucked a loose curl into her cap as she glanced up at the bell tower in
Lancaster’s Central Market. The clock had struck two p.m. more than ten minutes ago,
and an English couple was haggling with her stepsister, Emma, over the price of a crate of strawberries. After all, the man was saying, the market was closing for the weekend.
“Certainly, you Plain folks wouldn’t want this fruit to go to waste now, would you?
Tomorrow being Sunday and all?” He rested his hands on his round belly and fixed his
gaze on Emma, a satisfied look on his red face—as red and ripe as a late summer
tomato—as he waited for her to buckle.
But this red-faced English man didn’t know Emma.
Carrie saw Emma purse her lips and hook her hands on her hips in that
determined way and knew where this stand-off was headed. Emma wouldn’t drop the
price of her strawberries to anyone, much less an Englisher whom, she was convinced,
had a lost and corrupted soul. Her sister would plant her big feet and squabble over the price of strawberries until the sun set and the moon rose. Carrie picked up the crate and handed it to the man. “Abgschlagge!” Sold!
The man and his wife, surprised and delighted, hurried off with the strawberries as
Emma spun to face Carrie. She lifted her hands, palms out. “Have you lost your mind?
My strawberries are worth twice that price! What were you thinking?”
“I’m thinking that it’s past two and the market has closed and the van is waiting.”
Carrie pushed the leftover crates of red ripe strawberries into the back of the van of the hired driver and slammed the door shut, pinching her thumbnail. Wincing from the pain, she knew she didn’t dare stop to get ice. There wasn’t a moment to waste.
“Dummel dich net!” Emma muttered as Carrie opened the passenger seat door for
her. Don’t be in such a hurry! “You’ve been as jumpy as a jackrabbit all morning.”
Carrie reached out an arm to clasp her younger brother on the shoulder, pulling him
back as he started to climb in the van behind Emma. “I need to run an errand and take the bus home later today. Andy’s coming with me.”
Andy’s eyes went round as shoe buttons, but he followed Carrie’s lead and hopped
back out of the van.
Emma twisted around on the seat. “What errand?” she asked, eyes narrowed with
suspicion. “You know your dad wants you home to visit with Daniel Miller.”
Carrie blew out a big sigh. Silent, solemn Daniel Miller. He and his father, Eli, were staying with the Jacob Weavers this summer. Eli Miller and Jacob Weaver made no
secret of the fact that they had a hope for her and Daniel. Well, they could hope all they liked but Carrie’s heart was already spoken for. Spoken for and claimed, and the thought warmed her.
“Daniel’s mighty fine looking, Carrie,” Emma said. “Your dad is hoping you’ll
think so too.”
“If you think Daniel is such a looker, why don’t you visit with him?” Carrie stepped
back from the van to close the door. That had been mean, what she said to Emma, and
she reached out to give her sister’s arm a gentle squeeze in apology before she swung the door closed and the driver pulled away. Dear Emma, nearly twenty-seven and terrified that she would end up an old maid. Carrie felt a smile pull at her mouth and fought it back, as an unbidden image of a large celery patch popped into her mind. Emma and her mother, Esther, grew celery in the family garden in hopes that this would be Emma’s year.
Carrie shook off her musing and grabbed Andy’s hand and hurried to the bus stop.
She wanted to reach the Lancaster Barnstormers’ stadium before Solomon Riehl would
start pitching. Last night, Sol told her he might be a closing pitcher in today’s scrimmage, so she should be in the stands by the last few innings.
“What kind of errand?” Andy asked Carrie.
She shaded her eyes from the sun to watch for the bus. “It’s a surprise for your
“I won’t turn nine ’til October.”
Carrie looked at him and tousled his hair. “Consider it an early birthday present.”
She knew she wouldn’t be here on his birthday.
As Carrie and Andy climbed on the bus and sat amongst the English, she felt the
happiness of her secret spill over her. She didn’t even mind the pain radiating from her throbbing thumb. She was entirely preoccupied with the conversations she had been
having with Sol lately. Last week, he called her at midnight, as planned, from the phone shanty across the road from his father’s farm. During that call, he had talked to her about leaving the community and trying to make a living as a baseball player.
And he told her he wanted her by his side, as his wife.