Short Stories on Wednesdays is a weekly event hosted at Bread Crumb Reads to encourage people to read at least one short story a week.
Whistle for the Wind, fourteenth story.
17 pages long.
First published in Good Housekeeping July, 1991.
Flowers In The Rain & Other Stories published 1991.
Now that I've committed to reading a weekly short story, I look forward to Wednesdays. I have put all my short story collections on the same shelf,
and as Wednesday draws near I begin to wonder what I will read. Sometimes I pick up a book, find a story, and know immediately that this shall be my selection. But sometimes a day like today happens. I have been irresolute and unsettled all day. I'd go to the shelf, pick something up, begin a story, and put it back on the shelf. I tried Hemingway. I tried Ngaio Marsh. I read a bit of Katherine Anne Porter and Irwin Shaw and Kay Boyle. Then I stopped and thought, well, I guess no story this week. But then I saw Rosamunde Pilcher's Flowers In The Rain, and thought that's where I want to be - inside a Rosamunde Pilcher story. And so, even though I offered one by her a month ago, I'm offering another today. Maybe I'll write about a Pilcher story on the last Wednesday of every month.
I begin to think that I like her stories even better than her books. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's just because I love these stories so much. I think I mentioned that I've read the whole book before, but it has been quite a few years.
When I was a girl and had to fill out forms, the address line always said 'town.' Now it says 'city.' More people live in cities than ever. I wonder how many towns there still are in this country. What I know is that people who choose to live in my area, do so because they love it. The jobs are not high paying. Many people work two or three jobs, and almost every two-parent family has both parents working outside the home. But we love our mountains and our air. We are even sort of proud of our winters. We're rooted to this land. And this may be why I'm so drawn to the writings of Rosamunde Pilcher. Her people are one with their surroundings - the lochs or the sea, the hills or the beaches. Wherever the books are set, you know that her characters are where they belong. In this story, young Jenny Fairburn loves her homeplace so much that her mother had to talk her into going to Edinburgh to take some courses, and when they are done, she comes right back home. And when she was younger and at boarding school, she was so miserable that her friend Fergus Fenton 'persuaded her parents that Jenny would do just as well, and be a thousand times happier, at the local Creagan High School.'
And Fergus, who is six years older, also taught her to fish. The title comes from the words Fergus would say:
"Too still for fish. We'll need to whistle for the wind."Now Fergus has become engaged to a television actress, and bought a flat in London.
What could you do about a man who had been part of your life since you were a little girl ... and finally turned out to be - she knew - the only man she could ever love?When his fiancée, Rose asks Jenny,
"you've always lived here?"To which Rose replies, "but you can't stay here for always."
"Born and bred. I even went to school here. I was in Edinburgh for the winter but it's heaven to be back."
If you've ever read even one Rosamunde Pilcher book you know that Rose is wrong. Jenny is as much a part of the land as her beloved river. There is some conflict in the story, but the reader is very sure it will all work out in a most satisfactory way, and it does.
A lovely, calming, uplifting story. I loved it.