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Friday, November 30, 2012

BILLY HILL Chapter Five

Courtesy free clip art
 
Billy waited until darkness fell and the town was closed down.

He knew the hotel was the last place to close its doors.  He drove back into town and coasted the last two hundred feet behind the hotel.

Billy quietly entered the side door and made sure no one was in the foyer. When he got the opportunity to ease up behind the manager, he hit him in the back of the head with a rubber hammer which they kept for helping change tires on the car when they had a flat.

He jumped over the counter and was ready to give him another blow when he saw he was out cold.  

Quickly he went to the safe and found a large envelope with his money in it and then he saw a metal box with the hotels cash in it. They didn't trust the local bank, and that was the reason for the big safe they had.

Billy decided he would take most of their money as payback “interest” for stealing his.

Shoving the cash into his bag he then closed the safe and locked it.

After that he dragged the manager outside and loaded him into Logan’s car. Then he poured some of the spirits the manager kept for sipping onto the manager, and drove down to the local house of ill repute, and carried him in.   

The local madam welcomed him, and was willing to comply with Billy’s wishes.  She was instructed to undress the hotel manger, and when he awoke in the morning to act as though he had been with one of the girls all night.  At day break, Billy said to call the man’s wife and tell her to come and get him.

He gave the brothel madam one hundred dollars which was more than they earned in a week, and an additional hundred if they would spread the word that the hotel manager spent the night with them. They quickly agreed to do that.

Billy assumed the hotel manager would be so busy denying that he had been down there; he wouldn't have time to say he had been robbed, and besides no one would listen to him anyway after this.  

Leaving town in a hurry; Billy drove all night for he wanted to put as much distance as possible between him and the town he left behind.

Arriving in a major city, Billy went direct to the local Buick dealer, and told the owner that he wanted to sell his car to them.

Of course they wanted to interest him in a new car, and the car dealer did his usual song and dance.  Billy pretended to listen to them but told them he still wanted to sell his car to them, and after that he would probably buy a new Buick from them. When the dealer thought he had convinced Billy to buy the most expensive car he had on the floor, Billy went back to selling his old car to the dealer.

Finally after believing Billy was ready to purchase the new Buick he paid Billy a good price for the old car. The car was in Logan's name, and Billy signed over the bogus ownership papers to the dealer for cash. Then he told the dealer he wanted to test drive the new car over the weekend, and then he would decide whether to buy it or not on Monday. 

The dealer wanted Billy to sign a contract for the new car and Billy agreed to do so with the understanding he could tear up the agreement if he decided not to go through with the deal.
 
The dealer filled the tank with gas, and Billy drove off in his brand new car which was bought in Logan's name and not in Billy's.  

He drove the car directly out of State, and went to the first junk yard he found, and acquired a license plate from a similar car that had been wrecked.

Then he printed up some phony ownership papers in Logan's name and headed home for a visit, for it had been three years since he had seen his family.

To be Continued

Thursday, November 29, 2012

BILLY HILL Chapter Four


Old Truck at the Lumber Yard
courtesy photobucket.com
For the next year and a half Ricardo and Logan kept working the same scam and they had collected a large suitcase full of money.  

Logan starting giving Billy (Ricardo) more walking around money than he had before for he thought he had settled in and wouldn't leave him.  To train a new assistant would take too long and besides it would be difficult to replace Billy.

Things were going very well until they came to a small community of about six thousand population.  Billy didn't want to stop there, but Logan insisted.

They looked around town and decided the only person who looked prosperous enough to bother with, was the owner of the lumber yard, and Logan said we would have to change our approach to him and say we had a deal on a new truck.

They could see his old trucks were worn out so that was the deal Logan offered him, a new truck for a bargain price. The man was interested but wanted to think it over which was a complication Logan didn't like. Whenever a complication arose Logan usually backed off and moved on.

Something else that bothered Billy was Logan going off alone and riding around the countryside.  He said he was just selling some magazines to the locals.  He said that kept his edge up for he needed a variety to stay sharp.

On the fourth day Logan went out again, and a couple hours later drove really fast back into town. He quickly jumped out of the car telling Billy to park it behind the hotel out of sight where they were staying.  

Billy did as he said - - when all of a sudden, Logan ran out the back door with his suitcase in his hand. As he ran by Billy he shouted, “The money in the safe is yours,” and something else which Billy didn't quite get about a farmers daughter.
courtesy photobucket.com

There was a freight train going through town, and Logan threw his suitcase into one of the open doors of a box car and jumped in as it left town.

This was the last time he ever saw Logan.

Meanwhile there came a car load of farmers into town each with a shotgun.  They were looking for Logan, and after searching the town and not finding him, they took off down the road out of town.

Billy thought about the situation and decided he should leave also. He gathered up his suitcase which was already packed for Logan always insisted they keep their clothes packed in case they had to leave suddenly. Now Billy knew why he insisted on that.

Gladstone Bag
courtesy photobucket.com
Going down to the office he asked for the large oversized Gladstone bag which held their money, and was kept in the hotel's safe. The manager went and got it and handed it to Billy who immediately knew something was wrong.  It was much lighter.

They had accumulated a lot of large bills as well as many gold coins; thus Billy knew the bag had been opened, and money had been taken from it.  He eyed the manager suspiciously but didn't say anything and left.  

Billy drove out of town a short ways and parked on a side road, actually it wasn't much more than a path but he was out of sight.
 
He was trying to think of a way to get his money back, and then he hit on a plan, one which he thought over several times. Each step was etched in his mind and he waited.

To be Continued

 

BILLY HILL Chapter Three


Buick 1936
courtesy photobucket.com
 
Billy was excited and put on his best Ricardo face for today they were going to begin to sell automobiles for the first time.

Logan went over all of the variables they might face as they presented their product; "The new Buick."  In the mind of the average business man this was the top of the line for them.  Of course there were some of the more expensive automobiles for sale, but even they didn't attract the attention the Buick did.

The plan was just the same as always just the product had changed, and the profits were far larger. This was where they were headed all the time, the big money, and they were ready.

In this town there were five marks picked out. They were made to order for the scamming.  They were tight fisted with their money, and would squeeze the last penny out of a deal.  Logan said to Billy; “The reason we will be successful is because there dwells a bit of larceny in everyone, bar none and this is the key to our success.”

Billy wasn't sure what that meant, so when he asked; Logan said. “Simply stated it means people want to take the advantage of others. Actually more crudely stated it means people want to steal from others, and if you present them the opportunity to do so, they become vulnerable and easy to be taken in.”

After a good breakfast it was off to the first mark. Logan went into the bank and asked to speak to the manager. When he appeared Logan engaged him in conversation about getting a loan for a brand new car.  It wasn't long before he had the bank manager's full attention for Logan told him about how he could get this car at almost half price.  

After about fifteen minutes he had an order from the bank manager for a new car for himself and paid up front with cash. The banker then called up his brother-in-law and had him to come over and he bought a car also.

Then it came Ricardo's turn.  He was going to have to sell to a widow woman and from all the information he had garnered she was going to be tough.

The important thing was she had the money and Ricardo was determined to get it.  

He knew she had a Rolls Royce, and to try to downsize her to a Buick would not be easy.  He could have tried to sell her a much more expensive car but there is a limit as to how much you can get people to part with without it taking a long time.  When he arrived he knocked on the door and a servant girl answered.  He gave her his card and said he was from Hollywood with a present for the widow. He knew he had to say something unusual otherwise he wouldn't get to see her.

He had found out that a lady from this town had moved to Los Angeles so he gave the widow a beautiful bouquet and said the lady in Los Angeles told him to look her up when passing this way.

Once he was in the house he turned on the charm, and after an hour he walked out with the money for a new Buick Roaster with a soft top.

Before the day was over they had sold six cars, one more than they hoped for.  In each case they indicated in order to get this low price there was something dishonest about the deal, but they (the marks) would be the beneficiaries of it.

It was as Logan had said; there is a little larceny in everyone.

To be Continued    

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

BILLY HILL Chapter two

Flim Flam Man
courtesy free clip art

Billy couldn't make sense out of what was happening to him, especially this Latin lover business. He had learned his lesson about who was the boss and didn't question out loud what Logan was doing.

While this transformation was happening they were out every day selling stuff people didn't want or need.  After a few days Billy had mastered the methodology Logan used on people to cause them to buy.

They would go from door to door and sign people up for books, magazines and anything else they could talk them into. The time spent in any one town was about ten days for they would promise to deliver the product within two weeks.  Since they didn't really have the merchandise, they had to get far away from the people in that town because they had collected the money in advance.

Logan taught Billy, I mean Ricardo how to size up people very quickly without spending a lot of time with them. This involved in figuring out how much money they had and what would interest them.  

Logan had catalogs on everything, and once he found out what the person would buy he would show them a picture of the product, this along with his description would bring it into reality for them.  Ricardo was learning all of the tricks, and methods of selling.  It was truly on the job training, and the money was pouring in.

Logan kept most of the money and Ricardo only had a little spending money with the promise that when they struck it rich, it would be divided.  Ricardo trusted Logan for he had learned so much from him and they were living like rich people.

As the word got around that there were "flim flam" men working the area they had to move farther away from the last town in order to keep ahead of their notoriety.   While at first it was from town to town now it was from county to county.

Billy had come to think of himself as Ricardo for everything he did now was in character, and he was beginning to see some of the logic behind this whole scheme.
  
As they moved into more expensive products to sell Logan used Ricardo as a distraction especially when trying to sell women.  While they were enamored by Ricardo's smile and flirting, Logan would be making the sale.

This would happen even if the husband was home for he wanted them out and away from his wife and daughters as soon as possible even if he had to sign on the dotted line!
 
Ricardo began to get a high from this sales seduction as Logan called it.

What can I say, the money kept rolling in and Ricardo was mesmerized by the fact he had gained this power over people. They had progressed in selling by taking the "No" away from people. and leaving them with only a "Yes."

Their sales system now involved the marks in somewhat of a questionable transaction. Thinking they were breaking the law kept them from objecting when they realized they were the ones who were the marks. This happened when they moved on up to automobiles.

Sometimes Ricardo forgot that they were not going to deliver the merchandise, but were just stealing money from the "Haves."

Ricardo began to see the reasoning behind starting with small sales.  If you messed up there it didn't matter, and it was in the small stuff where he learned and honed his skills. Now they were going to make the big money.

He felt confident he could sell anybody something.

When they arrived in a new town they would spend a couple of day sizing up the town as to who the marks would be and then make their plans.

To be Continued     

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

BILLY HILL Chapter one


Country Folk
Courtesy photobucket.com
 
Billy lived in Washoe County all his life and from the time he was young he had one goal.

His daddy had worked as a share cropper all his life, and just barely managed to keep his family clothed and fed.  All the money the kids in his family were able to make went into the family pot, and this helped the dad to keep going.

Because of that Billy decided early on that some day, he would have a place of his own, and would be independent of the other land owners.

First off let me tell you that Billy wasn't what you might call a religious boy although he did go to all the church functions like picnics, weddings and also the funerals.

Because of Billy's whiskers beginning to grow at an early age he looked older than he was, and hard work had muscled him up.

It became clear to Billy that he could never reach his goal of owning his own place if he stayed working on the farm, so at the age of fifteen he left home and moved to the city to seek his fortune.  

Courtesy
free clip art
At first he couldn't find steady work, and had to do odd jobs to keep himself up, but one day he met a traveling salesman who said he would teach him how to sell stuff on the road. This sounded intriguing to Billy for he never considered making a living by traveling from place to place.

Logan, the salesman told Billy that he would stake him for two weeks, but after that he would have to start earning his keep.  

Logan took him down to the Salvation Army and talked them out of a wardrobe for Billy. The stuff wasn't new but it was far better than the duds he had been wearing.

Billy asked Logan what they would be selling, and he replied, “Everything.” The next thing Billy knew he was living in a nice hotel and eating regular meals and seemingly doing nothing.
 
Logan told Billy, this is where your education begins, and he took him to the barber shop, and had his hair styled or at least that is what they called it.

Billy thought it was just going to be a hair cut for the most part, until they started to smear some stuff called pomade on his head, and combed his hair in a slicked down fashion.  Billy took one look at him-self and protested having to look like this.

Logan got a stern look on his face and said; “Don't you ever question what I say or you are back on your own in a minute.”  This shocked Billy, as to who was going to be boss right then and there, and he decided it was going to be Logan.

He had never ate and slept so well, along with having regular baths in his whole life, and when he thought about going back to working hard and doing without the issue was settled.

Along with the new look Billy got some different clothes, and now his name was to be Ricardo.  With his dark whiskers and sun tanned skin he began to have a Latin look, and the clothes were the finishing touches.

Over the next three months Logan coached him to talk with an accent, and took him to movies where the Latin lovers were playing. The first month was the hardest.  Trying to forget his southern drawl required constant reminders from Logan.

To be Continued 
 
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Monday, November 26, 2012

THE WAY IT WAS/IS


Grandma courtesy
photobucket.com
Grandma;
My first association with Grandma was at the age of not being able to chew my food. She did it the old fashion way by chewing the food and then feeding it to me. A lot of kids died at a young age in those days.  I wonder why?

Brat award;
I earned my Brat award at the age of three. Of course I had been practicing from birth but I was three before my skills were perfected. I had continued success until the age of five when I entered first grade. It wasn't any fun being a brat at that age for my entire class were brats.

First romance;
My first romance happened at the age of four and a half. It wasn't true love and the parents opposed it from the start. Alas, it didn't last.

First job;
I became self employed at the age of eight. I owned my own shoe shine box. There were some territorial disputes which were not always settled in my favor, unfortunately.

First cooking experience;
Out of necessity I learned to open a can and heat soup at the age of nine.

First doctor;
I became sick and the doctor came. He charged a dollar for in home service. He went to medical school in the 1800s. He gave shots with a three inch needle. It wasn't sharp but he was strong enough to push it in. Ouch!   His specialty was child birth. His methodology was to arrive and watch the mother push the baby out and then tell them what it was, then ask: “Three dollars please.”

Graduation; I self graduated after eight years of school. I didn't want to over tax my brain. 

Problem solving;
Decided it would be better to work than to go hungry.

Wife time;
Ran an ad in the paper; wife wanted, no experience preferred. Most answered saying; have had some experience.

Marriage;
Found a woman with more money than me. She had a hundred and fifty dollars when I only had fifty. Good reason for marrying her!

Kids; we got some.

Grand kids; we got some.

Present status; Older now - - but still trying to get my brat badge.

This post is shared at:  “Tell Me a True Story” http://letmetelluastory.blogspot.com/

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

THE MEGA AND THE MINI


Confusion
Image courtesy photobucket.
 
Today we have churches with huge church membership roles.  Pastors are akin to rock stars as they minister to hundreds of people. They accomplish this with words and programs that meet certain needs of the people and are a show case for the gospel.

They are often easy targets for critics of the Christian persuasion, and have to spend time defending their ministry or just let them rant on by ignoring them.

Though they serve a purpose in the kingdom of GOD the real backbone of church ministry are the thousands of smaller congregations.

My early Christian life was spent in one of these small churches. It was there I was saved and received what is referred to as the baptism of the Holy Ghost.  That experience has been the subject of debate among many denominations and the argument still goes on.

Being of sound mind, in being honest I must say this experience is the most intimidate experience I have had with GOD so far.  The new birth as outstanding as it is - - did not reach the level of intensity of intimacy as the Holy spirit baptism. It was Jesus himself that promised this interaction with the Holy Spirit and I will always treasure it.

I only mention the above because the church I attended preached this experience was available to all who were willing to receive it, and most of our members had done so at one time or another.

There is a strange phenomena that occurs in congregations of all denominations, and that is words when spoken by divisive men can separate the strongest Christians from their consecration to GOD.

If this were not so there would not have been so many warnings concerning this.  Scriptures such as; 1Corinthians 10:12 Even if you think you can stand up to temptation, be careful not to fall.

It is easy to be lulled into a sense of hyper-security when you have not been tempted by something that you might be susceptible to.
  
The word boredom has a broad meaning, and it is a condition that has brought many Christians down.  Seeking an escape can lead one in the wrong direction and cause you to become vulnerable.
 
One case of this started several years ago. There was a married couple who had three children. The husband worked for very low wages, and because of this he had to work at two jobs to care for his family. They attended church regularly except the father had to work most Sundays, and only came to church at night.  The wife was left alone except for the children a lot of the time and this went on until the children were grown. They were always included in all of the church happenings and were faithful members.

For twenty years they lived like this with just enough to get by on with him doing all he could to support his family.  Although his life was one of drudgery he hung in there but the lonely hours over time wore on the wife.

The kids were now grown and at last the husband got a job that allowed him to only work only one job.

By chance she met a man who used divisive words on her.  He knew what she longed to hear after the lean years she had been through.  She forgot her consecration to GOD and left her husband and kids for this smooth talking alcoholic who wouldn't work so she had to support him. They disappeared and I never heard from them again. The one thing we do know she left a good and faithful husband for a worthless man with sweet words.

This isn't an isolated instance for there are too many stories of similar circumstances happening in the church today. We all have weaknesses and they can take us down.

This is why we are admonished to be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might for the "common to man" temptations can do us in.

This post is Linked with Charlotte’s Spiritual Sundays
 
 

 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

MY WESTWARD TREK Chapter 19


Morgan's Dream Was for An Old Fashioned Girl
courtesy photobucket.com
 
After the dad called for Bessie to come on out, nothing happened.  At Morgan's insistence the dad went in the house to bring her out.

Morgan's first thoughts were that she was just shy, and as soon as they were together again she would get over that. Morgan called out, “Bessie, come on out I have a surprise for you.”

Finally from somewhere inside the cottage she said; “I have a surprise for you!”

Slowly Bessie was coming out to meet him, and she walked toward Morgan.

Not having words to speak was nothing new to Morgan but this was enough to render him mute for some time.

As she walked toward him he saw this large bulge around her midsection which could only mean one thing, she was with child. Bessie came over and hugged him and said; “I'm so glad you finally got here I've been waiting so long, we can have the wedding tomorrow if you want.”

The dad said; “I'm so glad you kept your promise, you are not like these boys that hang around here all the time.”  Bessie said; “I have my wedding dress just like you asked, and I can let out so as I can get in it.”

Morgan could scarcely breathe at this moment, and the dad seeing him looking faint got him a glass of water.

Morgan finally regained his composure and said; “She's with child!”

The dad answered saying;”Well that's true, and we are not sure who the father is, but none of the boys will have her in this condition. Now you promised to marry her and a promise is a promise.”  

About then the mother chimed in and said; “Yes a promise is a promise.”

Morgan said; “I'm going to make you another promise and that is: I promise you that I am leaving now, and you will never see me again!”

With those words racing into the wind, Morgan quickly got on his buggy, whipped that horse into a gallop and left as fast as he could.

As he settled down and brought the horse to a walk, he was astounded that he felt no sadness, sorrow or anything except trying to grasp the novelty of the whole situation.

For some reason he started to laugh at them, and also at himself.  He mused “How could I have gotten myself into this mess?”   

Thinking back he reminisced about all the hours he had thought about Bessie, and how he had wanted the days to pass quickly so he could be with her and be wed.

He knew he should feel something, some outrage, frustration or disappointment.  He could feel nothing except numbness about the entire situation and he could only laugh.

Arriving back at the stable he told the groom that he had given the horse a good run so to brush him down and give him a good feed. With that he gave the groom a couple of dollars extra and went straight to the sailing office.

While looking at the sailing registry he saw the "Westward Ho" sailing tomorrow for the orient.  He ran down to the dock and found the ship he first sailed around the horn on.  On deck he saw the Captain he had been fond of.

Morgan waved and got the Captain's attention and when the Captain recognized him he waved him aboard.

After reminiscing Morgan asked if the Captain needed a deck hand and the captain said; “No I have a full crew and we sail on the morning tide for the Orient by way of the Hawaiian Islands. If you show up before sailing time and a crewman doesn't show up I'll put you on, but realize we shall be gone for a long time even I don't know how long before we return here.”

Clipper Ship Courtesy
Photobucket.com
The next morning Morgan was there early and the Captain said; “Five more minutes and we sail, and the first mate isn't aboard.” A couple of minutes later he said; “If you think you can handle the first mate's job then throw your gear aboard for we are casting off now.”

Morgan ran aboard and started shouting, “Take up the anchor, throw off those lines, and unfurl those sails and let the wind take her.”

Morgan took a deep breath and said; “I think I need a long sea voyage.”  

The End

MY WESTWARD TREK Chapter 18


They Struck it Rich
courtesy free clip art
 
Morgan having spent the last three months just about snow bound it was good to see the sun melting the snow.

He had a surprise visit from Virgil who came up with the pack mule and the dog. The fresh supplies were surely appreciated, and seeing the dog was also a welcome sight though the dog was cold, wet and dog tired.  It was still difficult to do any mining but Morgan was probing around looking for a new vein of gold.  There were some veins that at first looked hopeful but they played out after a little digging.

He figured if the weather stayed the same they could get back to work in a couple of weeks. This sounded good to Virgil and they made plans to get some new equipment to speed up their operation. Morgan gave Virgil what gold he had found figuring that it would be enough to pay for the supplies and new equipment without taking money from the bank.

Two weeks later, Virgil showed up with the pack mule loaded, and he had a man with him to take the mule back because they didn't need his help.  They would have had to feed and care for him which would have taken them away from their work.  

Over the next few months they took out a good amount of gold, enough to make each of them rich by most men’s standards. They did so well that a commercial company wanted to buy them out. With winter coming on neither of them wanted to keep mining so they agreed on a price and sold the claim.

When they bought it from the old miner they had never dreamed they would be so successful. Morgan was thinking about Bessie and getting married. It had been two years since they parted, and he had promised to marry her about now.

His plans were to get married and return to New York and rejoin his father in his business.
 
He said his final goodbye to his best friend Virgil for they had been through many hard times together.  Morgan thought to himself, “How do you say goodbye to your friend whom you will never see again?”  There would surly be an empty spot inside him he knew.

He said a special goodbye to Virgil's wife for she was like a second mother to him and lastly it was goodbye to dog who had warned them of danger more than once.

Morgan went to San Francisco and boarded a ship to Portland.

There he found out where Bessie's folks lived and he wanted to see them as soon as possible. He shopped around for some gifts he thought they might need and hired a buggy to make the drive to their place.

He rehearsed what to say when he met them again, and wondered if he should grab Bessie and kiss her or just take it easy until everyone had time to relax.  She would now be sixteen, and he was twenty, two years older than when he saw her last.

He wondered, and expected her to have filled out and to look more womanly than she did at fourteen.  

As he neared their place their watch dog announced his arrival, and the dad came out and greeted him and said; “We never expected to see you again.”  

Morgan thought that was strange.  When the mother came out, she also said; “We never expected to see you again.”

He kept looking for Bessie but didn't see her.  Morgan was getting more anxious by the second, and he called for her to come out.  Her father echoed the plea; “Bessie come on out!”

To be Continued

Friday, November 23, 2012

MY WESTWARD TREK Chapter 17


Gold Miners
courtesy photobucket.com
 
The house Virgil bought wasn't very large but it had a good size barn and a few acres.  

He and Morgan increased the size of the corral, for he had six horses and a pack mule. Then he filled the barn with hay so his wife could feed the stock while he was away in the hills panning for gold.

They bought plenty of food stuffs and prepared to head for the gold fields.

Morgan had fixed him-self a room in the barn, while Virgil slept in his bed in the house. This was the last time he could do that for at least a month when he would return for more food.

They took their guns and plenty of ammunition for they didn't know what they would face upon arriving at their claim.

When they arrived they discovered a couple of claim jumpers working the claim but they left as soon as Virgil pulled his gun and cocked it.  He shot in the air by accident so he said and that sped up the men's departure.

An old miner came by, and asked for a job for his claim played out, and he was broke.  Neither Virgil nor Morgan knew as much about mining as the old man did, so they took him on, and he taught them many secrets for getting the most from their mine.

The first month went by fast and they were doing very good with the old man’s help, when they decided Virgil should return and replenish their supplies. He was gone several days, taking the gold they had found and when he arrived home, he converted it to dollars, and placed it in the bank.

A lot of miners had been robbed while on the way to Sacramento but Virgil stayed off the regular trail, and had no trouble.

While he was gone the two of them struck a vein that produced a lot of gold. By the time Virgil returned they had become rich. The old man was invaluable, and they rewarded him accordingly.  For the next few months they worked the same vein till it ran out and winter was coming on.

It was time to return home and bank their earnings. Without telling anyone the three set out before daylight and were well on their way by sun up.

They took a route that no one else would travel. Although it added an extra day to their journey, they always had the high ground, and it would have been difficult for robbers to sneak up on them.  Without any trouble they made it to town and to the bank.

They paid the old miner his share, and divided the rest between themselves.   The old man figured that he had enough of mining, and so he took a job cleaning the saloon for a few dollars plus room and board.

Morgan had decided to spend the winter at the claim in the shack that was there. It had a good cook stove, and could heat the shack also.

Virgil returned to the claim with Morgan and carried enough supplies for the winter. It took both the pack mule and a horse to carry it. Then Virgil returned with the animals, and prepared to spend the winter with his wife.

Between cutting wood and a little work at the claim Morgan was kept busy but being alone his thoughts were about Bessie, and his coming wedding next year. He tried to picture her face and her shape. Sometimes the image of Ellie would cause Bessie's likeness to fade away.  He couldn't understand why that was so.

Morgan was prepared for the coming months with wood and supplies, and during the bad weather he would have time to read some books he had traded for.

He would visit the claim every clear day and from time to time he would find a nugget that had washed out of the ground. It was too cold and the ground too hard to try to mine for gold.  

To be Continued!

 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

MY WESTWARD TREK Chapter 16


Widow's Country House
courtesy photobucket.com
 
The first night after the wagons had parted was quite lonely for Morgan. He wandered about the camp talking to friends he had made, but his mind was elsewhere.  

He couldn't believe that a little fourteen year old girl could affect him so. What made him angry was that at times he came close to tears and that threatened his He-Man status.  While he had missed his mother it was never anything like this.

During the days his mind had to focus on what he and Virgil were doing but at night the loneliness would return. There was a lot of danger in killing these animals for meat. These buffalo didn't take kindly to being shot, and the bears didn't go down easy.  They usually would get a few rabbits and squirrels and the people would argue over who got them instead of the meat of the larger animals.

They had reached the point where some of the stock was worn out. When they pressed against their yoke or harness it wasn't done with the same power as before. You would see them stumble and have a hard time keeping their balance. For the teams of horses, the weak horse would be released out on his own which in most cases they would lay down and die but for the oxen they would be killed for meat.

On the level ground it didn't make that big a difference but when they hit the upgrades and mountains they had to leave one wagon using the extra oxen on the other wagon.
 
The horses was different when a horse was turned out one of the out riders would put his horse into harness and they would continue on.  Finally they reached the Sierras and little by little made their way through the passes till one day they reached the top.  
 
Morgan was thinking about his trip around Cape Horn, and the stormy weather they went through and concluded it didn't compare with his trip overland.

When it came to cooking Virgil had picked a winner for his wife who was a marvel at fixing food.  Morgan ate with them as often as possible.  Cooking for three wasn't any more work than for two.  Her good cooking put a different attitude on the hardships they endured.

Morgan wondered if Bessie knew how to cook like Virgil's wife, as he thought he concluded probably not.

It was about a day and a half till they would reach Sacramento and Captain John gave Morgan and Virgil their pay and told them they could leave and ride on in the town. This meant they would be in Sacramento in a few hours and a full day before the wagon train.

Virgil told his wife he would find a place to live and would have it ready when she got there. This sounded good to her for she had driven her wagon for almost six months and wanted to be shed of it.

There was much to do when Morgan and Virgil got to town, the first thing was to eat and then find lodging.  
 
There were no rooms to rent because of all the miners in town, but Virgil found a small house on the outskirts of town for sale by a widow.  He thought she wanted too much for it but took it anyway.  He had to borrow some money from Morgan to pay for it because she wanted all cash.  She had enough of all this gold mining business, and was going to live with relatives in Oregon. Virgil bought the house, furniture and all so he was ready for house keeping.

The next morning they set out looking for men who had struck it rich and peddled their jewelry to them. The men were willing to pay whatever they asked for it, and by noon it was all gone and they had a pocket full of money.

Their next item was to buy the necessary equipment for their mining needs. They were out near Virgil's new house when they saw an old miner with a pack mule and some mining gear. They learned he had made out well and was leaving for home. They asked him if he was willing to sell his gear and he said he would sell his gear, pack mule and more importantly his gold claim for there was still a lot of gold there but he was wore out.

He said they might have to run off some claim jumpers so be ready for that. They paid him and they were now in the mining business.

Morgan and Virgil rode out to meet the wagon train and collect Virgil’s wife, and for the first time in six months he and his wife slept in a real bed.   

To be Continued   

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

MY WESTWARD TREK Chapter 15


Image courtesy photobucket.com
 
Leaving off the story of hardships for they were unimaginable without even mentioning the mountains.

(Just a postscript (Morgan's notes) to the story of our trip. we had very little trouble with Indians which made a difficult journey easier.  Some of the more aggressive ones were off fighting the soldiers. As I told you before Captain John had married one or more squaws in most of the tribes we came into contact with. Some of them were quite angry when he would first meet them again but Captain would load them up with gifts and all was forgotten and well again, in fact they looked forward to him leaving and returning with more stuff. The chiefs all received gifts which included a nice knife which they prized.

I noticed Virgil would disappear each time we met a new group (this was before he got married) and our supply of bowie knives was getting smaller. I'm pretty sure he was doing what I called "Rent a squaw," and that was what was happening to our knives.  I never asked, for what difference would it have made if he said he did. When the camp was well supplied with fresh meat we would go hunting with the tribe we were near and kill some extra food for them and that was a help in getting through their territory without trouble.)     

A few more days and the train would come to the parting of the ways. Some of the party would branch off toward the Oregon Trail and others to the California trail. There was a lot of preparation needing to be done.  Morgan and Virgil was busy trying to supply meat for both groups for the Oregon people would have to hunt on their own after the separation.


Virgil wasn't about to let his girlfriend go to Oregon so he proposed, and the parson married them right then and there.  He had some forms he had printed up for such an occasion and filled them out making everything legal.

Morgan found himself alone in the evenings since Virgil spent all his free time with his new wife. Morgan wanted to ask Virgil many questions about married life but he was too embarrassed, and he almost knew what Virgil probably would have said; “Its none of your business get your own wife.”

Morgan was considering that very thing, but he knew if he did he would have to set aside many of his immediate plans.  His mind went back and forth while thinking about it.  
      
Walking with Bessie each night didn't make things any clearer; they had not only held hands but now were passionately kissing when away from the campsite.

He had to make a decision soon, for in the next couple of days the train would split, and Bessie would head to Oregon.  Her parents were saying a lot of things with their looks, and Morgan knew what they were thinking. When he couldn't stand it anymore he gathered Bessie, and her parents together and told them he would like to marry Bessie but there was something he first had to do.  He told them that he would come to Oregon in two years when Bessie was sixteen, and they would be married.

courtesy photobucket.com
This pleased the parents for Morgan always did what he said he would do. Bessie was quite pleased about everything for Morgan searched among the jewelry he and Virgil had bought to sell in the gold fields and found a ring and gave it to her.  

She pranced through the camp showing her ring to all the girls just to make them jealous, her shyness was now a thing of the past.  It was the first time Morgan had kissed Bessie in front of her parents, and there was no objection from them.

Some of the single men of the camp ragged on Morgan unmercifully and Virgil had his fun also. While it was all in fun it began to get on Morgan's nerves and seeing that they did it all the more.

The day came to go separate ways and the camp was extremely busy. The wagons were not in order, and had to separate as they drove forward. People were exchanging items for things they thought would better serve them where they were going.  

Morgan said goodbye to Bessie and said; “I'll see you in two years and have your wedding dress ready.” Then they kissed longingly to the last minute. Morgan rode along side her wagon for awhile until he had to get beck to his duties. She looked out the back of the wagon and waved goodbye.
 
While looking back at her he whispered; goodbye my love as she disappeared from sight.   

To be Continued 

MY WESTWARD TREK Chapter 14


Image Courtesy photobucket.com

Having dealt with some of the romance issues in our last chapter I will move on to the hardships of just traveling.

River crossing was a great danger not only was goods, and stock lost, there was also loss of lives.  Some were in a hurry to get the trip over with, and didn't always use good judgement.  

Captain John was under constant pressure to take chances, but he advised against being reckless, and then he was blamed when things went wrong.

There was a mixture of animals pulling the wagons. There were Oxen, Horses and Mules each of which had pluses and minuses. The bottom line was they had to be fed, watered and rested in order to keep going.   

To lessen the weight of the wagons the women and children who were fit walked along side the wagons.

There were also a few dogs that followed along. One was a cross breed dog that took a liking to Morgan, and went with him when he was hunting. For the most part he slept, ate and hunted with Morgan and Virgil; several times he warned them of a danger ahead.

The terrain was rough and walking was tiring. People walked in the ruts barefooted most of the time when it was only dirt underfoot. The sun bore down when they were out in the open and increased the need for water both for the people and animals.

The biggest concern for them was sanitation. Sometimes the water wasn't free of germs and sickness of many kinds was the result.

The need for expelling bodily waste was an issue of all it's own that was solved by many means.  As long as there were bushes available the problem was lessened, but out on the prairie everything was barren, and no place to hide.  Some carried a bucket in their wagon while the outriders would ride away some distance and get behind their horse. Once darkness came the camp was very busy, and the time for relief came.

The older pioneers were not suited for such harsh treatment, and several of the elderly never made it.  It caused Morgan to wonder why they would set out on such a difficult journey, perhaps they didn't understand what they were going to face.  Both the doctor and the parson were quite busy between the birthing, dying and the marrying.

Washing Up at the Creek
Courtesy photobucket
The trip was extremely difficult for the new mothers, and the new born babes. The women would try to clean themselves up using very little water but the men didn't worry about that and would only bathe when they came to a river or creek.

Since Morgan and Virgil were out hunting they ran into small springs or water seeping from rocks and were able to wash up more often than most of the others could.

All in all the wagon train wasn't the most pleasant smelling place to be but the travelers got used to it.  
 
To be continued

Monday, November 19, 2012

MY WESTWARD TREK Chapter 13

Romance courtesy photobucket.com

Morgan continues his journal;

"Our trip took about six months and it being impossible to cover everything on a day to day record I decided to put them in categories starting with romance on the trail.”  

Captain John was adamant about sexual conduct on the journey; for the married, they were on their own to do as they pleased. There were times it seemed like no one was driving the team and the teams were just following the wagon ahead of them. Since the children usually walked along side the wagon this led some to suspect something was going on, maybe.

The men employed by Captain John were given strict orders not to mess with any of the women or they would be left beside the road on their own. The crew took that very seriously and except for a few that could not obey they had to be dealt with harshly.  

Captain John cautioned the parents to keep a watch on their girls, especially those who were unmarried between the ages of thirteen to twenty and they should know where their boys were all the time.  

He wasn't against courting but the courting was to be done out in the open and not in the bushes. If as in some cases the romance became too heated and the parents were willing the parson was available to marry them. This happened several times, a couple of times out of necessity."

Morgan and Virgil were not immune to interest in the opposite sex and in fact Virgil became enamored by a woman in her late thirties who had never been married.

She wasn't altogether uncomely in fact she was attracting interest from several of the men who were aiming to seek for gold. Virgil took offence at the attention she was getting and took these men aside one by one and advised them that it would be better for their health if they ceased having interest in her.  For some reason he would be sharpening his long Bowie knife while talking to them.

Rather sudden like, it seemed Virgil was the only one interested in her. She was a little puzzled by this, and wondered what she had done to turn the other men away.  

Anyhow she felt good about having Virgil show interest in her for he was a man with prestige being a scout and hunter, and because of this he was a very prominent person in the camp.

Most of the evenings Virgil would sit around the fire talking to her, and from time to time they would whisper in each others ear where no one else could hear.  When Morgan asked what they were saying, Virgil would say; "None of your business."

With the memory of Ellie still fresh in the mind of Morgan he was a little slower than Virgil to become friendly with the ladies, but there were three or four prospects that had caught his eye.  Of course there were also other young men interested in them also which he was aware of.

Since he had set up Ellie as his ideal none of the girls seemed to measure up to her and that became a problem for him.

Then one day he noticed a shy young girl who was fourteen years old, whose mother shooed away any of the boys that came around her. The girl kept her bonnet down on her face, and looked down as she walked.  Often Morgan would bring a rabbit or squirrel as a special treat for her folk’s dinner and soon he was one of their favorite people.  

His good manners and his respect for the family soon dispelled their objections to him talking to their daughter named Bessie.  He would join the family in the evenings when he was free and sit next to Bessie and chat, he didn't whisper in her ear for he wasn't as bold as Virgil.  Sometimes they would walk through the encampment and when out of sight of her mom they would hold hands.

He felt he would like to kiss her but wasn't sure how he felt about her and having been burned once he decided to take it slow.   
 
To be Continued