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Monday, March 17, 2014


The next day after the incident with the wolves, El was up early and ready to start felling trees.
He managed to get four two man crews and told Clarisse and Missy to bring them a good lunch around twelve. The big breakfast they had would be little more than a memory by noon.
By evening all the logs were down, cut to length and all the branches cut up for fire wood.  El said tomorrow we start sledding them to the barn to be shaped and fitted.
It took a week to trim two sides so they would stack on top of each other and interlock. The large room had walls with holes cut for windows and a door to the outside and into the main ranch house.  El said, “One more week and I’m moving in.”
It took a little longer than that but when the roof was on at least the snow was kept out.  

Mayfield and Sid had bought the ranch next to them from an old man who wasn’t making it due to the stealing from him that was going on.  There was a new store bought bed in the farm house which El said was his.
He took a little more furniture from the place and once the new heating stove came from town he was all set.  His new room was three times as large as his old one.
Missy claimed El’s old room for she and Clarisse had been sleeping together since she was born and she was old enough for her own room.
After seeing the progress El made with his project Sid decided to take over the ranch house they bought from the old farmer.  It was in need of repair and the barn needed to be enlarged.  He also wanted to build a new smoke house with a storm celler under it.
With his plans made he first went to work on the house.  As soon as it was fixed up he was going to move into it.  Then the barn would be next.  It was going to take most of the year to accomplish what he wanted to do.
Mayfield and Clara just assumed Sid was going to marry Lucy and move into the farm house but when their relationship would reach a certain point it would cool off.
By March things slowed down because the ranch was requiring more of the hands time.  Still by the end of May everything was ready for the new tenant.
It had been noticed that Sid was making trips over to Sanders’ place more often. Sanders had a daughter who was in her late twenties and Sid was quite interested in her.  He decided he would rather have her than Lucy so he asked Sanders if it was alright for them to get hitched up.
Sanders said, “She is a big help around here and I hate to lose her.  I don’t know how my wife can keep up with everything without her.”
Sid said, “Well if that is the way it is maybe we should forget it.”
Sanders said, “Now let’s not get too hasty, perhaps if you could sweeten the pot a little we could come up with some solution.  I could use another team of mules and if she could help out at hog killing and canning season.”
Sid said, “I don’t know about the team of mules.  I will have to talk to El and Mayfield about that.  Maybe the other stuff can be worked out, I just don’t know.”
El said, “It is okay with me but whatever Mayfield says about it… after all they are his mules.  He bought them with his money.”
Sid couldn’t decide between the two women.  One minute it was Sander’s gal and then it was Lucy.  That mule deal was hard to get around because Sanders was insisting on it.
Sid wanted to talk to Lucy and he walked in on her by mistake while she was bathing. A week later they were moving into their home.
El teased Sid that it was the inadvertently seeing the merchandize that tipped the scales in Lucy’s favor but Sid swore it had to do with the mules.
Mayfield and Clara reasoned that it made more sense to just keep things as they were (except for a small adjustment in the sleeping arrangement) in stead of making a wholesale change in everybody’s life.
Their thought was Sid and Lucy was a better idea than Sid and the Sanders gal. Sanders was happy that things didn’t switch around but his daughter wasn’t sure if she was happy about it or not.
El asked Sid how is everything going and he answered; “I should have done this a long time ago.”
Clara asked Lucy if she had any questions about being married and she said no.  Clara then asked, “How is everything going?” And Lucy said, “Fine.”
“Are you sure you don’t have any questions?” Clara asked, and Lucy whispered and asked something.
Clara turned red and said, “You ought to be ashamed thinking about things like that and don’t ask me anything else.”
Sid went over to Sanders place driving a couple of head of cattle back that had wandered over to his place and said, “Keep an eye on these cows for they like to wander.”
Sanders said, “I have rethought that deal we had or were in the process of making and you know I don’t need those mules so we can forget about them.”
Sid said, “It’s a little late to be thinking about that.”
Sanders said, “Yea, I know but if it don’t work out I’m willing to talk.”
Sid said, “I don’t have two mules for you but here are two cows.”
As it turned out the Sanders gal became single minded about this marriage thing and ended up marrying a farm boy from the next county who didn’t have a cent and wasn’t too fond of working either.
Sanders said, “Them two mules I didn’t get sure were expensive.”
The two girls, Clarisse and Missy decided it was time to tease El again.  They said, “Now that you have a big room, room enough for two, isn’t it time for you to get married like Sid?
Sid married in house.  Maybe you should do the same.  We’re both ready to get hitched.  Which one of us do you want?  You can’t have both of us.”
El was going to do his best not to let them get under his skin so he said, “Why not?  I got to have both of you.  Both of you get in my bed and we will see if we fit.”
They weren’t going to let him get the best of them so Clarisse said, “Shall we take our clothes off?”
He still determined said, “Why not?” and started pulling his shirt off.
The girls looked at each other and laughed and pulled their dresses over their head.
Down went his pants with no underwear on.
This was a case where no one was going to back down.  Off went the last of the girl’s clothes.  

As they stood there trying to stare each other down then door opened and Clara came in and started laughing and said, “You have gone about as far as you can go haven’t you?  El, you might as well take your hat off for the girls don’t have anything else to take off.”
So there they stood all four of them looking at each other.  Clara said, “I think if I were you I would get dressed before Mayfield comes in and sees the bunch of you… I think I hear him coming.”
All at once they grabbed their clothes and were dressed in record time.
El said, “They won’t leave me alone and this time I…pushed the envelope too far.  Well you see where it went.”
Clara said, “I know.  Canning season starts in a week and they will be so tired they won’t worry about you.”
Clara said, “When it’s time for you to take a wife you need to look around and be sure you get the right one.  You should include these foolish girls in your search.  They will grow out of their silliness before long and make someone a good mate but until then they had better stay out of your room.”
It was time to cull the herd and ship their beef to market.  Mayfield went to town and met with the buyers at the stock yard.  A stranger approached him and asked if Mayfield would ship direct to Chicago instead of selling locally. 
The stranger suggested that Mayfield would make a lot more money and that he could handle the deal for him.
To be Continued 

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