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Friday, February 1, 2013


The rest of the night seemed to go ever so slow as Lee and Sam's family waited in the darkness. They didn't want the lights on until they were ready to go.

Lee figured they could leave just before the break of dawn. This meant they would have to fire the boilers for steam by four o'clock, and be on their way as soon as the steam had built up enough pressure to turn the paddle wheels.

The night was long and soon Sam and his wife were snoring.  It left Lee and Odette time to chat albeit in whispering tones.  

Lee hadn't talked to her since way back when he first arrived at their house.  All recent conversations had been about how to get Sam out of prison, and away with no chance of being incarcerated again.

Odette told him she had just turned sixteen and wondered if he remembered what she had said to him when he first visited their home six years ago.

Well he remembered it alright but said, “No, I don't remember you saying anything.”  She answered him saying, “I can tell when you are lying and you are lying now, because you do remember.”

He tried to lie again, but he wasn't convincing at all. Those words, one by one went through his mind, “When I'm ready I guess he'll do.”

She asked, “Do you want me to repeat them to you?”  Lee said, “No, I remember all too well.”

She said, “I am almost ready so you had better get ready also.”  Then she reached over and pulled him close to her, and kissed him on his cheek and then snuggled against him.

Lee began to sweat, he thought about her folks lying right near them and what if they woke up and saw her cuddled so close to him?

He didn't think about that very long for it was time to wake the firemen, to fire the boilers and get ready to leave.

With the lights on shore they would be able to leave in less than an hour.  He woke Sam and asked if he still could handle a ferry?  

Sam smiled and said, “Let me at that wheel and I'll show you.”  

Lee got a couple of deck hands out of bed and they threw off the dock lines and pushed the ferry away from the dock far enough to clear it.  Sam eased the boat over into the channel and they were on their way.

The trip was as uneventful as the Mississippi would allow, and after two weeks the lights of St. Louis came into view. The captain had left everything into Sam and Lee's hands and rested on this trip.

As soon as they docked, Lee and Sam's family left the pier and blended with the people on the streets.

Lee felt sure they could stay at the Club Louise if she was still there. When they arrived, things were dark, and the front door was locked and bolted.  Lee said, come on
I know a way to get in and led them around to the back. He knew where the cellar door key was and they enter through the basement.

Leading them up to the kitchen he told them to stay there and he would see if anyone was there. After a few minutes he returned with a large woman whom he introduced as Madam Louise.

He didn't keep any secrets from Louise so he quickly explained the situation to her and asked if they could stay with her for the night.  She answered sure, follow me and we will get you situated. Once they had their rooms she took them back to the kitchen, and fixed them some food.  

Lee told her he had to leave and make some arrangements for tomorrow, but he would be back before long. Soon he found a railroad man he could trust and purchased their tickets and also got permission to be in the cab with the engineer.   

Louise had some railroad caps and engineers clothing that had been left when the place was closed.  
Lee returned and laid out their plans and suggested they go to bed for they were going to be leaving early. After the others went to bed, Lee sat down and talked with Louise and she told him what had happened since the last time he was there.
After two hours he hugged her went to bed for some much needed rest.     
To be Continued

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