One Year Later

"Well, ain't you a purdy little thang," Rad said to his newborn daughter, Pearl.

"She's sure got a lot of her daddy in her," added Lou. They both watched admiringly as Pearl grimaced and flailed a tiny fist.

"And some of her mama as well," said Rad. The only thing he had left to show from his bout with polio was a slight limp, which he'd probably always have. He'd returned to sharecropping with Reeve months before, and Lou had been able to leave her job at the plant.

They both still missed Charles, and always would, but time had taken the edge off their sorrow, leaving them with bittersweet memories of a life tragically cut short.

"Ruby's going to be so excited to have a baby sister," said Lou.

"She's a little miracle, all right," Rad agreed. For him, the baby was tangible proof that his recovery from polio was complete.

"She's beautiful," Lou said, raising a tiny fist and kissing it. "It's hard to believe that she came from you and me. From our love."

Pearl opened her milky blue eyes and gazed into her mother's face.

"That's right," Rad whispered to her. "You're our beautiful little miracle, and Mama and Daddy love you very much."

Lou felt love for her husband and children wash over her. She couldn't wait to get home and introduce Pearl to her sister and brothers.