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Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Fourth Man - Chapter 18

Winning Respect

James the punching bag

It was time for James to start his training at the military school Billy had attended.

Billy debated as to whether he should clue him in on what it was going to be like. He figured he should at least let him know what he could expect from the upper classmen.

Billy told him he could expect to be roughed up for that was the way it went until you put a stop to it some way.  In Billy’s case Jim taught him how to fight dirty like the older classmen did and after him trouncing a couple of them pretty good they left him alone.

James said, he would like to just shoot a couple of the thugs and it would be the end of it.

Billy had to straighten him out on that subject explaining it was different in the city and he would be put in the prison should he shoot someone.

With that in mind James wasn’t too anxious to go to school but Sarah insisted on him going.

Since he was no longer going to be under Rene’s tutoring and she knew what he was going to face largely in part because the way he talked.

She realized he was going to be ridiculed because he drawled when speaking. No one here ever thought anything about it for everybody spoke the same way on the ranch, but in New England things were going to be different.

In the months before he was to leave she spent time with James getting him familiar with the accents of the area he was going to live in.

He thought it was a bunch of foolishness but once he arrived at school he understood why she went to all that trouble.

After he was situated he fell back on her help in phrasing words as near as he could in the way people spoke in his new surroundings.

Boys who were from the south or west had a more difficult time adjusting.

Naturally he had to give up his guns and knives so he was on his own so to speak.

Before he left Jim had made him something like a pair of brass knuckles. He made them to fit his hands and told him to only use them in a case where he was being beaten very badly.

For instance if you’re having to fight more than one other fighter.  Jim had toughen James up and taught him how to defend himself. He was a lot better prepared than Billy had been.

James meets Alf

James was bunking with a boy from Boston named Alf.  He was a slight build, thin and on the weakly side.  James thought he wouldn’t be much help in a fight.

As it turned out the boy’s father was a ship’s captain and on one of his trips he brought an oriental man back from Japan.  This man was supposed to be a house boy but he had been trained in several fight disciplines.

Over the first six months Alf had been put upon by several upper classmates and had defeated each of them. The last day of school a half dozen of the seniors attacked Alf and James.

James slipped his hand into his knucks in his pocket and with each blow he put a guy away with a broken rib or worse.  

When they left for home James said he was looking forward to next year and hoped Alf would be his roommate next year. Alf said he didn’t know how it would work out for he was going to take summer classes and try to skip a grade.  He showed James his books for the summer and said James could buy them from the book store if he wanted to do as he was going to do.

James thought he had other plans for the next six months but the more he thought about it he decided it wouldn’t hurt to go ahead and buy the text books.

James moves in with Billy and Mamie

Rene’e was glad to see James and after he greeted everyone she checked his grades and was proud of his accomplishments.  He showed her the books he bought and she said she would help him with his studies and he could be tested to skip the next grade.

During the school year Slim, the foreman on Billy’s ranch had begun courting Rene’e and soon they were married.

Billy liked Slim and built them a house near where the ranch house was. James thought that was a good move for Slim for he needed a wife. Slim wasn’t as near educated as she was but that didn’t seem to make any difference to them.

James decided to move in with Billy so he could study with Rene’e when they had time together.

He said it felt good to have his guns on and a knife in a scabbard on his hip. After a few practices he could draw and shoot as good as ever. He was surprised at how rusty you get after not wearing them during the school term.

During the summer, James worked on Billy’s ranch for the most part but helped out on his dad, Les’s place when necessary.
James goes courting

While at school James met several girls at the school dances.  None of them perked his interest and he was wanting to see Betsy. They had kept in touch by mail while he was gone.

When he first saw her he kissed her in a way that embarrassed her mother. Usually they would hide from her mother when kissing but this time he didn’t care who saw them. Betsy was surprised at his boldness but kissed him right back.

He told her to come on and go for a ride with him and she was all for it. Her mother pulled her aside and told her; “Now listen to me. This boy is about grown up and he might want you to do things you shouldn’t do. I don’t want you to get all het up and carried away you hear me.”

Betsy smiled and said; “I’ll try not get too het up Maw.”

For some reason that didn’t reassure her mother very much.

They rode out to one of their favorite spots and spent some time telling each other how glad they were to be together again.

Getting familiar

She said, “Now listen; ma told me not to let you get too familiar with me so I told her I wouldn’t.”

James laughed at that and said, “You might have to lie to your ma if she asks what I done.” 

Betsy said; “James you got to behave or I will have to be walking home.”

He said, “I’m just kidding you for I always behave myself besides you ain’t a woman yet.”

She jumped on him and they wrestled around in the dirt till both were dirty.

James said, “How you are going to explain this to your ma. You’re covered with dirt.”

She said, “I’m going to let you explain it and it better be good for pa has a shot gun all loaded up.”

He said, “I’m not quite ready for the shotgun but I’m going to skip a grade and the next year will be my last and then no shotgun will be necessary.”

Betsy smiled at that and said; “Do you want to marry me?”

He said, “Yes as soon as we are ready.”

She said, “Then we better tell ma for she is going to worry herself to death thinking what she is thinking.”

James said, “Now what would that be?”

She said; “You know that you are having familiar fun with me with no intentions.”

He said, “I have intentions and familiar fun is going to be a part of it, you can tell her that.”

She came back and said, “You need to keep it simple. Just tell her our plans and our time table. That will take all the worry from her for she believes you are honest and will always tell the truth.”


Friday, January 30, 2015

The Fourth Man - Chapter 17

Chen is the Best Cook Around

Something new is a coming

Mamie and I went to dinner at my folks place and I must admit Chen is still the best cook around. At times Mai tries to get him to change his method of cooking but on this issue he stands tall. For the most part she rules the roost but not on this.

Their little girl Cherri Leng is growing up like the rest of the kids on our ranches and just looking at his wife Mai, I think she is going to present Chen with another child rather soon.

I could ask Mamie for she keeps up on the woman stuff but I guess I’ll wait and see. While eating I was looking at Sarah my mom and it struck me that she was still a young woman.

Another thing I noticed was she and Mamie was talking about something more intently than usual. I wanted to ask about their conversation but I knew what the answer would be; “it is just woman stuff.”  That always shut me up but wasn’t a very satisfactory answer.

After some time they nodded in agreement and mom said we have an announcement to make.  
Guess What ?
Mamie and I are both with child. I dropped my fork at that news and Les turned a bit white.

I could see Les was having a lot of thoughts but after consideration he never expressed what he was thinking.

I was too limp to think and just sat there stunned.

Of course we had been married for four years but I couldn’t get a handle on this news.  My sister Missy was sixteen and James about fourteen with Caroline being somewhere around nine. Now there was no reason for Mamie not to have our first child but this would be number five for mom.

Les said it‘d better be a boy for these girls attract too much attention which caused Missy and Caroline to smile.

I had to agree with dad but it was out of my hands so it became a case of “whatever.”

Missy wanted to be right in the middle of the conversation for she was once again feeling womanly.

Les had hired the school teacher Rene’e who wanted Missy to go to a girl’s finishing school but Les was a bit hesitant to let her out of her mother’s sight.

With the new baby coming he finally relented and allowed her teacher to enroll her in a Boston school.  None of us were sure where Boston was just that it was east of us.

Les wanted Rene’e to go with her and get her settled in before the school year started.  Jim took both of them to the station and saw them off. Two weeks later Rene’e returned and said everything was set and that they should start getting letters from Missy very soon.

Missy Writes from school

It was hard waiting for the first letter but it finally arrived telling them about the first few days which had been somewhat an adventure.

She said, “At first I could hardly understand them even though they were supposed to be speaking English. They told me they had the same problem with the way I talk.

I soon caught on and now I can understand most of what the teacher is saying. Everything is so proper here. It is far different from the girl’s school I had been attending. It is a good thing that Rene’e helped me before she left for I would have really stood out as being uncouth.

My roommate is different from anyone I have ever met for she will hardly talk to me. Back home we have some shy people but this gal is worse than any I know back there. She studies a great deal but her grades aren’t that good for some reason. Since my grades are very good I told her I would help her if she wished but she didn’t accept my offer.

Many of the girls now know Linda is my roommate and act as if I’m as dumb as she appears to be.  I have had to straighten a few of them out on that line of thinking. Some of them act as if they are tough but I figure they would be easier to handle than roping a calf and branding it which I have done. I will let you know if I’ve had to whip one of them.

There is another side to this story and that is some of them are sneaky and demean you behind your back. A couple of the meanest girls did some dirt to Linda (they call her Looney Linda).

I won’t go into detail but it had to do with dog poop and her drawers. I found out who did it and told Linda. She really got mad and while she didn’t say anything she was fuming.

Later I saw Linda in the general store buying some nasty glue. You could smell it over a block away. Anyway the girls that did Linda dirty found their shoes with glue in them and the clothes covered with glue along with much of their room.

This brought out a lot of laughing at the guilty parties for they had been bragging about what they had done to Linda.

The news that someone had gotten even with those girls amused the whole campus for they had pulled stuff on many of the other girls.”

Missy and the tough gal

One of the girls was known as the tough gal on campus. Later that afternoon she braced Linda and wanted to fight with her. It looked to everyone like Linda was going to get a whipping but she said maybe you got the wrong girl.  That deterred her for a minute.
Then I said you look like you want to get whipped. This caused her to backup and rethink the situation.

I told her that I have whipped bigger and tougher gals than you so if a fight is the only thing that will satisfy you - - then I’m here to make you happy.

She looked at Linda and said that she would get her later.

That was the last we have heard about the whole incident so far.

Linda said I guess it’s time for me to quit fooling around and start getting my grades up. She went on to explain about her mother bragged on her sister about the fact she got top grades to everyone so she decided to get poor grades on purpose.

She didn’t want to be put on display like her sister.

I told her I didn’t understand how anyone could study as much as she did and still get the poor grades she did so I’m glad she explained that.  

From that time on she got straight A/s and since we studied together my grades are almost as good as hers.

She began to talk to the girls and make friends with them. She started attending the dances at the boy’s academy with me and has become very popular.

The transformation of Linda was amazing. She is a very good actress for she had me and everyone fooled into thinking she was a dumb backward young lady.

Not coming home for the summer

Missy wrote Sarah her mom that Linda had invited her to stay with her and her folks for the summer and take some classes on debating.

Sarah wrote back and said, “You are good at arguing and if you learn how to do it right maybe you will get good at it.”

Missy thought that sounds like mom and I’m going to miss her and the ranch but if I went home I would miss out on something I’m really fascinated by.

Missy wrote back, “Linda and I are planning on teaming up and see how we stack up against the men at other schools.

Perhaps I will be able to hook up with James when he enrolls in the military school this coming year.”
To Be Continued

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Fourth Man - Chapter 16

James Wanted to Learn to Shoot

Young James grows up a bit

Sometimes we are so close to people we fail to recognize the changes there are in them and that was so with little brother James. He was a quiet little guy that never caused any trouble so much so we wondered if he was normal.

He was alone much and in the past he showed no interest in ranching but now he was becoming a young cowboy on his own. He would watch the other cowboys and then try to imitate what they were doing.

I could have saved him some time but sometimes it is best to let people do things their way. When you see them struggle it is hard to stand aside but sooner or later they find their way through the problem they are having.

Being the older brother he would come to me and ask for help after he had spent a lot of time without success.

In this case he wanted to learn to shoot like the rest of the family. This was a complete turnaround for him for up to now he showed very little interest in such things.

Normally I would turn something like this over to Jim or Les, but he was insistent that I help him out. I found my old holster and gun Les had given me when I was about the age of James and the small caliber rifle I still had.

I fitted the holster to his waist and then went into detail about the caring for a revolver. A great deal of emphasis went on controlling the gun and not shooting something you didn’t intend to.

Learning to draw without shooting yourself was something else we spent a lot of time on. He finally got the hang of pulling the hammer back as you drew the gun and the split second decision as to whether to fire the gun or not.

I wouldn’t let him have any ammunition until I felt he had full control of his weapon. The main guys on the ranch made it the practice of once every two weeks or so to go out and do some shooting.

This time James told me he wanted to be included in the gang. I said okay but he would have to stay close to me and listen to everything I said. I didn’t want him to get shot or to shoot anyone.

Shooting is one thing but when you are practicing your fast draw it changes your control of your weapon a lot.

I found my old scabbard for my rifle and attached it to his saddle and he proudly put his rifle in it. All the guys were teasing James about him trying to be a bad dude with a gun.

He didn’t take to all that teasing very well and said he would show them when we got to the range. I kept James near me at the shooting range and had to slow him down when drawing.

I said you are trying to draw faster than you can control your gun. Little by little he began to draw and shoot smoothly which made the guys shut up about his ability with a gun.

In him I could see myself when I was his age and just learning how to control my gun.

Les was watching and came over and said I had done a good job with teaching him. They went off together and I could see he was really proud of his off spring.

 From that time on Les and he were shooting together and after a while James could draw his small gun faster than Les.  Les told him he would have to learn all over when he moved up to a forty four because of the difference in the weight and size of the weapon.

James was already chomping at the bit to get his first full size gun but Les said he would have to wait until he was ready and told him that I would be the one to decided he was ready.

Until then he would have to be happy with the setup I had fixed him up with besides he had a lot of other things to learn to do like roping and breaking horses if he was going to be a cowboy.

I remembered how hard it was being ten and wanting to be twenty and a man with the respect of everyone.  I enjoyed the time we were spending together and kept telling him he was right on schedule so not to worry about growing up too soon.

He kept wanting to try his hand on breaking some of the horses but I told him he didn’t need any broken bones yet and to concentrate on riding the young calves and steers.

I would tell him when he was ready for one of the mustangs. Waiting was going to be most difficult because a person could be maimed for life, trying to ride something like greased lighting before you were ready.

Those lively young ponies would put me on the ground from time to time and James certainly wasn’t quite ready for them. When he would try to get me to let him break on of the mustangs I would tell him I had something more difficult to do.

I would not tell him what it was but it would calm him down.

I knew he would be able to talk Les into letting him ride so I made sure Les left him to me to care for.

A hard thing to do

Finally I told James I was going to let him try to do the hard thing I had been telling him about.  I made him take a bath and put on his best clothes and he and I and some of the other cowhands rode while the ladies took the buggy. We went to a dance that was being held at the main hall in town.

James had always stayed home before. I said he was going to have to tame one of the young ladies and do it out the dance floor.

He turned white for he hadn’t learned much about dancing as of yet. Missy had made him learn a few steps but he had a lot to learn yet. We went in the hall and the hands were teasing him about his prowess with the opposite sex.

James hid out behind me for a while until me and Mamie began to dance and then he went over to where some of the boys his age were hanging out. Several of his friends were as embarrassed as he to invite a girl to dance.

I finally picked out one of the pretty girls and led her over to James and told him this was Betsy and she wanted to teach him a few steps.

He looked as if he wanted to chastise me severely but took her hand and she led him over to a corner where there was no one dancing. She finally got him to follow her and he was dancing after a fashion.

The rest of the evening went well with a couple of skirmishes outside because of some guys had a few drinks and wanted to dance with the same girl. This always made the girl proud to have two guys fighting over her.

By the end of the night James was doing pretty good and having a good time. The young lady Betsy who spent time with him said he was doing the steps pretty good and if he came to the next dance she would help him some more.

I must say James was looking proud on the way home and was looking forward to the next dance next month.  Betsy went to the same school as James and before the dance he never paid any attention to her but now he was talking to her at every chance he had.

She wasn’t encouraging him too much until one of the other girls began to talk to him then she decided maybe she better warm up a bit.

Betsy walked to school for she lived near town where her folks had a very small farm but James rode his horse from the ranch each day. He finally convinced her to ride double with him and took her to her house. Her mother usually gave him something to drink before he headed home.

Some bad news

One afternoon James came home and just put his horse in the corral instead of unsaddling and brushing him down. Jim grabbed him and started to get after him for not taking care of his horse until he saw James was pretty well beaten up. After he talked to him for a couple of minutes Jim threw a saddle on one of the fastest horses we had and took off at a gallop.

Billy saw James and asked him what had happened. He didn’t want to talk about it, but Billy wouldn’t let him alone until he told the whole story.

It seems Betsy’s mother wasn’t home when they got there and James got up the nerve to try to kiss Betsy after a try or two she let him kiss her and then continue to do so.

The hired hand came in and hit James hard and then grabbed Betsy and began to try to kiss her himself. She struggled with him but he overpowered her.

James got back to his feet and began to kick and fight back with the hired hand but was getting the worst of it because of the larger size of the guy.

He slammed James down hard and then went after Betsy again.
This time when James got his breath back he pulled his knife out and began stabbing the guy in the groin area.

The guy started yelling and running toward town.

James was hurt but managed to get on his horse after making sure Betsy was alright and headed for home.

Billy said, “Well courting can be hard on a guy sometimes.”

To which James said, “Yeah but from now on I will wear my guns and it won’t be near as hard on me.”

Billy asked how Betsy was and James said, “I guess she is alright except for being shook up. I’m pretty sure she is okay for she kissed me before I left for home.”

He said, “Jim was pretty mad about what happened.”

Billy said, “I don’t envy the man that hurt you for he is in for the hardest time of his life.  You do know that Jim likes you even better than me or Missy and you know how fond he is of us.”

It took Jim a while to find the hired hand and when he did he was at the doctor’s office. He stormed into the office and was going to beat the man nearly to death until he saw what damage James had done with his knife.  He had sliced the man in the area where he didn’t want to be cut. The doctor was trying to sew the pieces back together but wasn’t sure how successful he was going to be.

Jim said to the doctor I guess I will stay over at Lily’s place if the sheriff needs to talk to me about this.

The next morning Jim went to Betsy’s place and talked to her folks and to get her side of the story.  She told the same story as James except she left out the part about the kissing.

Jim didn’t mention it or ask about it since her mother was standing there. He then went back to the doctor’s office and the doc said I sent him to the hospital in St. Louis for he was too cut up for me to help him. They may be able to save his life but I just don’t know… Jim said I’ll stop by the sheriff’s office and explain what happened and put an end to this event. The doctor said he would go by later and tell the sheriff his side of it also.

It was an extra day before James was able to go back to school and I talked him into leaving his gun in his saddle bag instead of wearing it into the school.

Even though he was very young I could see a lot of his father’s traits in him and that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. His dad wouldn’t put up with any foolishness and it was obvious that James was going to be a lot like dad.

The kids could see that James had been in a fight and the word got out that James had defended himself and Betsy from a man.

No one wanted to mess with James from that point on and Betsy was proud of her man.

He continued to take Betsy home and would get a kiss out behind the barn before they went into the house.

They went to the monthly dances through the summer and fall and she would only dance with James. Other girls wanted to dance with James but he only had eyes for Betsy.

Billy told Mamie that he must have made a good choice when he picked out a girl for James to dance with back at the first dance. She said, “I have to agree with that for she is a lovely girl and is in love with him even at this young age.”

Billy said well we will see how it plays out for he is going to military school the next year.
To Be Continued


Monday, January 26, 2015

The Fourth Man - Chapter 15

Fixing the Buck Board

Back to business

The most important thing on Billy’s mind was how the ranch had done in his absence.

He fully trusted Slim to run the ranch, but sometimes things happen beyond a person’s control. As it turned out everything was fine.

Mamie lit into the work of getting the house in order to suit her, she had already changed things twice, but Billy let her do what she wanted to.

She planned to cook for her and Billy most of the time but sometimes she would eat what the cook for the ranch hands had made. She especially liked the way he made chili.

After checking the herd over Billy worked on the buck board the rest of the day. He put a lot more padding on the seat and changed the springs to weaker ones so the ride was softer. He made a top that could be put up if it rained and a tarp to cover the load in the back. The last thing he wanted the flour and stuff getting wet if they got caught in a cloud burst.

They went to church most of the time but they both rode horses much to the chagrin of some of the women parishioners. It was only when there was a pot luck that they took the buck board.  They usually ate Sunday dinner at one or the other of their families.

A Sunday right after they got married Mamie took Sarah aside and said, “Thanks for the help you gave Billy.”

Sarah said, “Whatever do you mean?”

Mamie said, “Do you want me to spell it out for you step by step?”

She smiled and said, ‘No, no, that won’t be necessary I know what you mean.”

Mamie said, “I just wanted you to know I really appreciated you talking to him.” She went on and said, “I realized he was young but with your help he caught on real quick.”

Sarah asked, “I’m not going to be a grandmother am I?”

Mamie said, “No not for quite a while I hope.”

Sarah said, “Good, you two still have a lot of growing up to do.”

It was through such discussions that Mamie and Sarah grew very close.

Billy would ask Mamie what they were whispering about and she would answer just woman talk.

He was sure some of that woman talk was about him and he wasn’t sure he wanted to be involved in their conversations.

Missy brings home a boy

Missy came home from school and she brought a young man from the military school Billy had attended.  She was fifteen now and was pretty sweet on this young man who was just a year older than she was.

She was acting rather familiar with this guy named Regan.  Les wasn’t too happy with the way she was acting and told Billy about his feelings.

Billy said, “You know she is a bit high strung but she will get over this after a while or at least I think she will.”

Les said, “I’m ready to send this Regan a packing.”

Then Missy made the announcement that she and Regan wanted to get married.

This caused Les to come apart. Billy tried to calm him down enough to talk in a reasonable tone and get her to see what she was about to get into.

Les told Billy to handle this for he said he was ready to make the young man disappear.

Billy knew what he meant about that and said, “I will take care of it.”

He took Missy aside and told her, “This isn’t going to work for he has never had a job and certainly can’t support you.”

She told him, they could run a ranch for she knew all about running cattle.

Billy asked her how they were going to buy a ranch since he didn’t have any money and his folks were not that wealthy.

She said, “Daddy will just have to give us one of his ranches.”

Billy said that isn’t the way it works; dad will never agree to do that. There are several reasons for that. One you aren’t ready for the responsibilities of marriage. Regan doesn’t have a clue about taking care of a woman. He still runs to his mother when he has the slightest problem. The two of you need to get an education before you even consider dating much less marriage.”

She said, “We could move in here and go to school during the semesters.”

Billy said, “Girl, you are living in a dream world. I knew this boy at school and he flits from one girl to another and you are just one of many he has romanced. He is hoping to get some money from dad to get rid of him. He has done that before. I know the people he has pulled that on and can put you in contact with them if you like.”

She said, “I don’t believe you and you just don’t want me to be happy.  Where is he for I haven’t seen him since early this morning?”

“Jim has been shown him what it is to be a rancher, starting with cleaning out the stalls in the barn. The last I heard he has decided he doesn’t want to be a rancher and wants to go home to his mother.”

Missy said, “You have done this just to keep me from marrying him.”

Billy said, ‘That is true in a way.
You needed to see him in a different light and believe me by the time you return to school he will have had two or three new girl friends he has dropped.

You can say goodbye to him in the morning before he leaves. You must realize he isn’t cut out for the ranch life and he has yet to learn how to support himself in the city. When you are ready to marry you need to find a man instead of a boy. Right now you are old enough to have a baby but you are not ready to be a wife and mother.”

The next morning Jim and Chen went to town to get some supplies and took Regan with them.
Missy didn’t bother saying goodbye to him for she was still thinking about what Billy said; “Old enough to have a baby but not old enough to be a wife and mother.
To Be Continued

Sunday, January 25, 2015


This is a true story
My fictional Continued story will resume very soon.
Farm Life

As a youth I spent much of the time on a farm and I witnessed many animals give birth.  Like women not all births are easy and at times it requires some aid from the farmer.

Women have been given the task of carrying forth the existence of mankind but not without much discomfort and pain.
The mother of Christ discovered that doing her work for GOD required a willingness and commitment. Mary must have endured the suspicion and the whispers of people she knew. She found out that giving birth cause her pain and was difficult.

The bringing forth the new birth process was fraught with much of the same physical and psychological stresses ending in the death of Christ. The offspring of that was the creation process whereby men can be born into the kingdom of GOD.

I was thinking about the time I watched as a calf was born. The cow did her part and the calf was soon born. It wasn't necessarily easy for the calf as getting to this state was a process he went through. Moments after a cow had given birth she turned around and first looked at her offspring, then nuzzled it as the calf's tongue flicked out and licked her nose.

There was an immediate bond between the two and the mother proceeded to clean the calf up. As the calf sought nourishment the mother gave forth the necessary food to sustain and strengthen her child. 

From there the two were not parted. They walked side by side and enjoyed the green pastures.  

As I thought back to the time of my new birth and the process I went through before I came to the point of being born again. Being convicted by The Holy Spirit isn't the most comfortable thing I experienced.  

As soon as I was born again something like the cow and calf occurred.  It was a bond of love established and again as the cow cleaned up her calf I was washed of all my sin.
I experienced a hunger I had never known before and the Lord brought me to HIS banqueting table and I was fed with the sincere milk of the word. As I walk with the Lord his words echo in my heart “I will never leave you nor forsake you”

Psalms 23:1-6 A Psalm of David. Jehovah is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul: He guides me in the paths of righteousness for his name's
Sake. Yea, thou I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no
Evil; for thou art with me; Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.
Thou prepares a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou has
Anointed my head with oil; My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and loving kindness shall follow me all the days of my life; And I
Shall dwell in the house of Jehovah for ever.


This post is shared at “Tell Me a True Story.”




Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Fourth Man - Chapter14

Country Girl
These country girls

Being finished with the book learning things were heating up back at the ranch.

On some nights Mamie would stay too late to go home in the dark so she would stay over in one of the extra rooms. This caused some gossip even though Billy swore nothing was going on.

Although he would bring up the memory of the time they went swimming and he was wondering how she had changed in the last three years.

Then one day she told him to come to her house and they would go on a picnic and go swimming. That sounded good to Billy for he was caught up with the work.

He picked her up around ten and they rode at a slow pace for they were in no hurry. Billy said I’ll hang the food on a limb to keep the ants out of it and then we can go swimming.

Billy first took off his guns, something he didn’t do very often until he went to bed and then stripped to the skin.

Then he waited for Mamie to do likewise. She took off her dress and had a swim suit underneath. Billy looked as if someone had knocked him in the head with a stick.

She said let’s get in and walked in while saying “Brrr for the water was a bit chilly.”

He went in and had a refreshing time.  He said, “I was expecting… but am surprised… you know about the suit.  It was I was expecting…to just go without clothes on.”

She said, “All the girls wear them all the time and besides… do you remember what I said?”

“Well you talk so much I don’t know what you mean.”

She said, “Yes, you do I can see it in your eyes.  I told you to look me over cause you wouldn’t see me like this again until we are married.”

He said, “Yes I do remember but you didn’t have to keep your word on that one.”

She said, “I’m ready to keep my word if you are ready.”

He said, “Let me think about it, but I don’t want you to be encouraging any of these guys who are coming around just to see you.”

She said, “If I was you I would think fast.”  

Billy went to talk to Mr. Bartlett about something that was beyond his understanding.  He had his ranch doing well with the help of Slim and the hands Slim hired. In another year he will begin to sell the cattle for the eastern market. He had been at it for three years now and Les was happy with the results so far.

But getting back to Billy’s talk with Mr. Bartlett.  He said, “Does it seem to you that these country girls grow up faster than the city ones?”

Bartlett said, “Why would you ask me something like that?”

Billy said, “Well for the last couple of years we have been having trouble keeping Missy from wanting more courting that she should have if you understand what I mean.  

And then there is Mamie… well she is all over me and she wants to get married right away.
I’m afraid that if we don’t go ahead and get hitched she might run off with one of these guys that are sweet talking her when I’m not around.

She has a lot of good arguments on why we should go ahead and get married. We or I have a good ranch that is all fixed up like she wants it. I have enough money and the future looks good for there is a good market for my beef and she keeps saying she is a full grown woman and is ready for a husband.

So what I want to know is; Do country girls mature before the city gals?”

Bartlett said, “You got me, I don’t know, maybe so.”

“Well that don’t help me much but do you have any idea who might help me understand?”

“Well there is one thing you could do and that is; you and her will be sixteen in about three months. Why don’t you tell Mamie that you will marry her in four months and that will give you some time to come up with a better answer if there is one?”

Billy said, “I guess that is the best advice I’ve heard so far and if it doesn’t solve the problem I guess I will be a married man in four months.”

Bartlett said, “She is out riding with Missy but should be back shortly in fact here they come now.”

Billy’s mouth was dry and it was hard to speak. He asked Bartlett if he could help himself to a dipper of water.

After Billy got his water, Bartlett told his wife to come out on the porch. The girls tied their horses up to the hitching rail and came bouncing up on the porch.

Mamie came over and gave Billy a kiss on the mouth. Billy looked at Bartlett who said, “I guess it’s okay go ahead.”

Billy said,  “Well Mamie since you won’t leave me alone I think we should get married in four months, what do you think?”

She said, ‘What do I think? What I think is we should get married next week for you have been wasting a lot of time. You should have asked me four months ago if you wanted to wait four months.”

She looked at her mother and said, “Mom the wedding will be a week from Sunday.”

Bartlett looked at Billy and said, “In answer to your question yes, I guess these country girls do grow up faster than city gals.”

The wedding goes on

Billy was stunned by the sudden change of events. Missy had already rode home and told everybody the news.

Dad has a talk with Billy
When Billy got home everyone was congratulating him. He was in a state of shock. He told his dad he didn’t know if he was ready for this and his dad said, “You don’t have to get ready you just do it and ready comes upon you.
 Maybe I should tell you a few things that will help you and your mother will have some good advice also.”

After what his dad told him he didn’t know if he should talk to his mother. He had always been able to talk to her but this was different.

As it turned out he didn’t have a choice for his mother sat him down and made him feel very uncomfortable, but as it turned out later on he was glad for all the information she gave him.  It was more detailed than what his dad told him.

That night at supper he said, “Now I feel ready, so bring on the bride.”  His folks had to laugh at that one for he had been so reticent before.

The next days were busy for Mamie spent time fixing up the house and making her wedding dress. Actually it was already made she just had to let it out a little for she had grown since she first made it.  She figured if she went ahead and made the dress it might speed things up a little.

After church on Sunday the preacher came out to the ranch and the crowd gathered. It was a big crowd for they knew there was going to be a party afterward with lots of food and drinks.
It was the biggest doings anyone could remember. For Billy and Mamie it was a solemn occasion that they had looked forward to for a long time and the wedding vows were a meaningful experience.

After greeting their many friends Jim drove them to the railroad station and they were off on their honeymoon.
It was going to be almost a day before they were in their room in New York first to Chicago and then on to New York.
They had a compartment for privacy but Billy was too nervous to do anything except kiss and hug Mamie.

For once she wasn’t pushing the issue like she usually did. They arrived at the hotel at four thirty in the afternoon and after getting their room they had supper. When back at the room Mamie started removing her clothes and before putting her gown on she strutted around and asked him if she had changed much from the first time he saw her like this.

He said, “Yes quite a bit. You have filled out nicely and I’m proud to see it.”

It was nearly noon before they got dressed the next day after which they had dinner and ventured out into the byways of the city. It was the first time they had been to a city as big as New York and the whole time was an exciting adventure. Toward the end of the two weeks Billy was anxious to return to their ranch.

As previous arranged Jim met them and took them to their home. The next day Billy hooked up the buck board and they went to Mamie’s folk’s ranch and visited for a few hours.
Her mother wanted to know about everything. Every so often Billy would blush when Mamie would say now mom that part is private and you don’t need to know that and I don’t need you to ask me about that later.

Afterward they went to Billy’s folks and went through a lot of the same things only it was Missy who asked the embarrassing questions.

Mamie said I’ll tell you everything when we’re alone sometime.

Later Billy said, “Don’t tell her everything.” 
Mamie just laughed and said, “After all she is your sister.”
To be Continued