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Friday, January 24, 2014

IT DON’T MATTER Chapter 17 Secrets From the Wife


Can You Keep a Secret?
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Sometimes you find your self in a desperate situation and need some help but who to trust.  In my recent stressful circumstance I didn’t have much time to think about who to trust.

First off I needed someone who could advise me as what to do.  Then I needed someone who had the power to carry out the solution.  I found both in Judge Larson and Jake.

Without their wise counsel I would have turned to a more violent solution which could have been disastrous for me and the family.  Turning to Jake was the right thing to do for he is and always has been my mainstay.  Time after time I have had to call on him and he always answers the call.

I have known Judge Larson since I was a small boy.  As a young boy, I was afraid of him for his austere presence sent chills down my back.

Pa and he grew up together and remain the best of friends today.  When they had time they would hunt and fish until their business dealings took away the fishing times and now they just wave and say howdy in passing.

I have gone to the Judge concerning small problems which he helped me with but this last issue was beyond me and he came to my rescue.  

As long as I could keep this whole affair a secret from Nan everything would be alright.

After a few days she was up and around doing all of her necessary chores.

I insisted that she keep the widow on to help her for our big house was more work than I wanted her to do.  Besides I would rather for her to have more time to spend with the children.  

Some three weeks later she came in and sat near me and while nursing Mark she said, “Is there something you need to tell me?”

I wondered to myself, “What on earth is she referring to?  I haven’t been doing anything I shouldn’t even though it has been some time since we have been together in an intimate way.”

There was only one thing that came to mind and I didn’t want to tell her about that. Maybe she is just fishing thinking my conscience would force me to admit some wrong doing.

I did my best to put on an innocent face and deny there was anything she needed to know.  It was her nature to want to know the full details about everything that I’m involved in.  

After denying (in every way I could think of) there was anything she should know everything was quiet.  Mark had gone to sleep and Nan put him in his crib.

Then it occurred maybe someone saw me talking to a woman who wanted to buy one of the parcels and misunderstood the whole situation.  I asked her if that was it and she said, “No just keep thinking.”

It had me beat.  I couldn’t think of anything except “that thing” and that wasn’t going to see the light of day.  

After another period of silence she said, “I know.”

“You know what?” I replied.

“I know so you might as well come out and tell me every detail leaving out nothing.”

I wasn’t going to respond to that for I didn’t know what she was referring to for sure.  

“I heard him whistling outside the house and I could recognize that sound anywhere.  I looked out and saw him walking away from the house.  Does that help your memory?”

I was stunned, “She knows something about what happened, and now she isn’t going to stop until I fill in all the blanks.  It will better to get it out in the open and I won’t have it on my mind the rest of our life together.”

I started at the time when I left the house till the train left the station leaving out nothing.  

She smiled and said, “You know I’m beginning to love Jake more all the time for I wish I had a brother like him when I was growing up. If I had one like him I wouldn’t have married when I did.

When I thought he was dead, I tried to paint a rosy picture of him but lately something about the story didn’t seem right about him getting killed.  All I ever heard was the letter I got and the railroad never contacted me about a funeral. 

Later when I contacted them they said he had worked for them but they had no record of his death or any funeral.  I was so caught up with taking care of the kids I let it slide.

When I heard that whistle of his it instantly gave it away.  I don’t worry about anything but him staying away from our babies and I trust you to take care of that.

So far you have stood up for me at every turn no matter how serious it might be.  I didn’t know how but I knew you would prevail in this matter.  With the dissolution paper executed by Judge Larson everything is a clean slate.

Bessie had come in without us seeing her and she asked, “Who were you talking about Daddy?”

Answering her, I said, “Just a man from the past and he is no more.”

I had a tombstone placed on the gravesite I purchased for Nan’s ex just to remind us that the past is just that, the past.

My land sales were doing good, and money was accumulating to the point where it was the time to invest in something new.

From what some of my business contacts were saying the oil business was the place to invest.  I called Jake and Clayton to my office and discussed the possibility going with some partners and start drilling for oil ourselves.  

It was decided that Jake and Clayton would go to the oil country and buy some drilling rights along with the land.  Jake convinced the owners it was the right thing to do and besides there was some extra money in the deal.  

Some of the ranchers wanted to keep the land even though they sold the drilling rights but we wanted the land also.  

Clayton visited every oil field where they were making money.  By the time he completed his study he was well versed in what to look for in oil leases.

Jake had worked on a couple of rigs and had learned the mechanics of oil drilling. Jake had run the water well digging rig before but he wrote that drilling for oil was a lot more complicated.  

Clayton spent all our money on leases and land and now it was time to bring a couple of wildcatters who had all the equipment to drill with and as luck would have it they struck oil.  It wasn’t the best field but it was pumping out a lot of oil which translates into money.

With Clayton gone I hired a young man to help Ada run the feed store until Clayton wanted her to come to where the oil fields were and be with him.

Alice wanted to move to town so she and Sammie took over the feed store. Sammie wanted to expand it and put in an ice machine making plant.

We had the money so I sent Sammie to Chicago (of course Alice went with him leaving their kids with Ma) and he had the manufactures design the Plant for us. While Sammie was in Chicago he worked in a plant there learning how Ice was made.

We bought all the equipment and they sent an engineer to oversee the installation and stayed long enough to have it up and running.  It was a six months project but it immediately was paying off.  We were selling all the ice the plant could make.

Alice was happy to be off the farm and we put a share cropper on it in their place.  The same happened after it looked as if Jake was going to remain in the oil fields and his wife and their kids moved to be with him.

My pet project the Polled Herefords was doing good.  I didn’t want to sell any of them until the herd had built up into a larger number.  

Again I needed more pasture land and I tried to lease six hundred acres next to us but the owner didn’t want to lease but to sell it.  It took some haggling back and forth but we finally got him down to our price so we were set until the time came to start selling them off and then we could start recouping our investment.

The three cow hands who managed our herd were happy with their arrangement and wanted to stay on for this was the easiest job they ever had.

Our family never had any hard and fast rules about our money it was all ours.  When ever someone needed money for a project we, actually it was mostly me who would look deep into the possibilities for success and if it was feasible then they had their money.

The one thing we didn’t want to waste money on something foolish but sticking with what we knew, the oil business, and the ice plant being the exception.

Even that was fully researched before we took the plunge.  Maxi and Dr. Lester came to visit everyone and he was excited about a new car company named Ford.  

He wanted to give up teaching and start selling these cars.  He said he had enough money to get started but might need some eating money until things got rolling.  I didn’t like the idea for I was strictly a horse and buggy man but while I hated to admit it “The handwriting was on the wall.”

With the changes being made; with steam locomotion, with cities being lit up by electricity, automobiles as they were beginning to be called were inevitable.

The only question was how to be involved without going broke.

Dr. Lester was convinced that the low cost Ford would be a money maker.

I still wasn’t convinced but Maxi for all these years hasn’t asked for anything because they supported themselves.

I told them, “I would allow them fifteen thousand for backup money,” to which Lester said, “That is more than we will ever need.”

All I could say was, “We will see, whether they are a success or not.

“It doesn’t matter” or does it?

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