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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

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