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Sunday, June 26, 2016

North of Austin Chapter 21

Sewing and Gossip
Chapter twenty one

The sewing circle was where all secrets became gossip and rumors were respected as fact.

The advice I usually gave women was, “Living with your husband is hard but without him - - life will be much harder.”  

In most cases where I determined the man was at fault I made it my duty to try to effect some change in the man to improve the situation. I made it a point to run into him and engage him in a conversation saying something to the man like; “You have a fine woman. You better take good care of her cause a lot of men would die for a woman like her.”

Of course they would look at me suspiciously which was what I was aiming at.

I know for a fact it helped many men’s attitude toward their wives for I would see the woman on the street and they would give me a look of satisfaction. It also made me grateful for the woman I have.

As time went by I had fewer women coming to me for advice, because as a judge they weren’t as comfortable talking to me as when I was a lawyer.

I think the very word “Judge” had a connotation they weren’t at ease with. But at the same time there were more ladies going to Abby and telling all after a couple of visits.

I never asked Abby about her counseling sessions and she kept the things she heard to herself. I know for a fact a lot of the problems the ladies had, revolved around sexual things. That was an area where I wasn’t as proficient as Abby was.

I had to limit myself to generalities where Abby was free to discuss the mechanics of love making.

Once the sewing circle realized Abby was counseling some of the women they wanted her to share with them all the juicy details of her conversations with women.

They did this partly because they loved gossip and partly because they wanted to find out if they shared their problems with her would she blab it all over the neighborhood.

She wouldn’t even give a hint about anything she was privy to and that gave them confidence enough to tell her anything.

The women caused Abby to smile for they pretended to be shocked at the things Abby was telling them in private but she knew they loved every bit of it. The icing on the cake was when they got up enough nerve to return and tell Abby the things they tried and the success they had.

I could go on but let me just say that for some reason, the ladies who performed at the house on the edge of town couldn’t understand why their business began to drop off to the point where several of them had to seek another occupation.

As for me I’m sure it had something to do with Abby’s counseling sessions.

On another subject the deadline is a line which the locals have established and which the ranch hands do not go beyond. It was an agreement between the town and the ranches and the hired farm hands.

The town had enough of the rough housing of the weekend warriors from the ranches. People were getting accosted and even shot by these hirelings. What money they contributed to the community didn’t pay for the damage they did.

Everything they needed was below the deadline so there was no reason for them to go above it. This method gave the citizens a measure of safety for no guns were allowed below the deadline to which the ranchers agreed to most hardily. Without the guns they were losing fewer cowboys to gunshots.

The state appointed a new judge relieving me of that duty. I needed to get back to handling the business of the ranches. There was always something that needed my attention and the judgeship left little time to get it done.

My last case I had to handle was my most difficult because it had to do with a rancher’s son who had shot and killed a man. There was a lot of tension surrounding the case for the rancher wanted me to make the judgment call but the dead man’s family wanted a jury trial. Since we had no jury panel to choose from I had to gather a group of citizens I felt were honest and would render a fair judgment. No matter how it was handled I knew someone was going to be disappointed with the outcome.

After hearing both sides of the issue the jury was undecided and the whole thing was dumped back into my lap. What made it hard was I knew the boy since he was born and to have him hung was more than I wanted to deal with.

Still there had to be a resolution to the matter. I had a visit from both sides of the issue; each trying to influence my decision.

I read the transcript of the trial and brought the witnesses back to the court and asked the questions the lawyers failed to address. I restated the case in the terms as I saw it.

Of course it was over a girl. Both of the men wanted the girl or thought they did. One went too far in his attempts to get the girl to marry him and the other objected to what he had done. He had forced himself on the girl and tried to get her to marry him for he had already had her.

When the rancher’s son found out about it and when he asked why she chose the other man she told him the whole story. Upon hearing from the girl, that it involved rape, the boy found his rival and shot and killed him.

My problem was deciding which of the two wrongs, was the worst offence.

I finally ruled in favor of the shooter and released him on that count but I gave him six months in jail for having a gun below the deadline.
The odd thing was when he had served his sentence he didn’t want anything to do with the girl because the other man had her first.
To Be Continued

Monday, June 20, 2016

North of Austin chapter 20

Back Home to my Abby
Chapter twenty

I was glad to get back home after my stint in Chicago but I was a little disappointed the boys didn’t make over me as much I thought they would.

Daniel had a dog and he thought more of the dog than me. Sammie was still tied to his mother’s apron strings and is suspect he will be vying for his mother’s attention in competition with Sally Loraine for years to come.

Sally Loraine was crawling now and she would pull to a standing position by pulling on my pants leg and then stand there with her arms stretched upward wanting to be picked up.

I could tell she was going to be as pretty as her mom, by looking at Abby’s baby pictures. I often think back to when we were kids and I first became infatuated with her.

I had many fights with other boys who were in love with her when I told them she was my girl and future wife.  I got whipped most of the time but would do enough harm to discourage the boys to want to fight me again.

It was hard to wait for the day to end and the children to be in bed for it had been three weeks since we had been alone, and I was ever so glad that I had married such a passionate woman, just lucky I guess.  As a result of an amorous evening Abby was pregnant again. It didn’t seem to bother her because she loved all of her children and didn’t mind having another one.

Boy or girl it didn’t matter now since she had both. Before Lorry was born, Abby was desperate for a girl to go with her boys but now she didn’t care.

I was always fond of boys but that was before we had Lorry. She won me over rather quickly so now another girl would be just fine. Four kids before we were thirty years old. That sounded so strange to my mind

City wise things were too quiet for me and I kept waiting for something to break loose.  The City aldermen wanted to have a new judge appointed for the city’s court house. Our town had grown so much that the citizens wanted to make our town the county seat and appoint me as its judge.  The townspeople finally won out and I became the judge like Abby’s father had been before me.

I made it clear that I would only hold the position until they could get a permanent judge appointed by the state.

You really need a sense of humor when holding court otherwise you would get mad at some of the silly things people sue for. 
Chickens, eggs, someone beating your time with the widow down the street and occasionally a serious matter like when a soldier beat one of the local whores quite badly.

One of the other ladies of the night proceeded to stab the soldier and they both had to be tended to by the local doctor. The army didn’t want me to preside over the case but I felt otherwise.

The army threatened to make the town off limits for all of the soldiers which got the town tradesman get upset.  Seems they didn’t want to lose all of the army business. Not only would they lose the soldiers pay but the army also bought much of their supplies from the local merchants.

Then the army said they wouldn’t buy any beef from the ranchers or any horses which they trained and sent west.  All of a sudden we were talking serious money. My family were also going to be affected by this money wise for they supplied feed and beef to the depot for shipping to the western outposts.

Then Abby got involved saying even if she was just a whore the soldier needed to be judged by me to make sure he got what he deserved. I enquired for some advice from a guy I knew who was in the Adjutant General's Corps and he said; the army will come down harder on this soldier than you can for even if he is found guilty the army won’t allow you to put him in prison.

His input helped me to come to a more reasonable decision and I decided this is just the way things are at present. He went on saying it would be best if you try the woman who stabbed the soldier and let the army handle the soldier for they are pretty mad at him for stirring up this mess.  If he gets well enough he will be sent to where no one wants to pull duty.
I thanked him for his advice and after thinking it over accepted his counsel.

After having a hearing on the stabbing I found that the second woman acted in a reasonable manner and set her free figuring the beating her friend got was enough punishment.  By this time the whore that got beat up was back to work and was laughing about what happened.

Seems she had done something to provoke the whole situation, which I won’t discuss here, but she felt she had got even in advance.

Overall I felt all things came out even and every one seem to agree. Some of the more prominent women were glad that things were back to normal for during this episode they were forced to do their marital duties.

Normally they were excused from this task because their husbands were patrons of the house on the edge of town.  Most of their husbands were not up to snuff when it came to love making and the unsatisfied ladies had a saying which went something like this; ‘better not to try than to be unsatisfied.’

Perhaps I shouldn’t have told you that but everybody in town knows it so why not tell you.

I know quite a bit about the women in this town for when I was a lawyer many of them came to see me about their marital problems. In many cases I ended up being little more than a marriage counselor.  

I tried to help them find a way out of the situation they were in but in the process a lot of them formed an attachment to me. They would want to favor me with what belonged to their husband and I would have to reject their offer without it seeming like I was rejecting them.

The one thing that worked rather well was to say you know we’re dealing with something only a woman can understand so I’m going to have you talk to Abby.
She is smarter than me and is the rock of discretion. Your name and nothing you tell her will ever be spoken of in the sewing circle.  
Upon me recommending they talk to Abby the woman would lose any interest in a tryst with me.
To be Continued

Sunday, June 12, 2016

North of Austin chapter 19

Any Job Will Do
Chapter nineteen

One day a man about twenty two showed up in town and was at loose ends looking for a job.

He stopped me on the street and asked if I knew where he could find employment.

“Find employment,” I thought?  “This man has to be from the big city talking like that.”

I spotted Abner across the street so I told the young man to come with me and he did. After chatting with Abner I asked if he could use another hand and he said; “Well I could use someone to clean out the stables.”

I turned to the young man and asked what his name was. He said Lawrence but most called him Larry.

I said, “Larry will do - - just go with Abner and he will give you a job.

I must say this city boy went through hell for no one cut him any slack but he got tougher each and every day.  He learned how to care for the stock and began to ride.  Eventually he began to break horses, rope and all of the cowboy stuff.

Until he arrived at the ranch, he had never shot a gun.  Abner gave him one of his repeating rifles and taught him how to shoot.  As it turned out he had a keen eye and could hit anything he shot at.

So far he had spent all his time working on the ranch then one day Abner said for him to go to one of the farms and help out there.  Larry felt he was starting all over in the learning process.  He found farming was a little harder than ranching in many ways.  Up at dawn and plowing until dark, planting, weeding with a plow and hoe, and all of the other chores was a job to be respected.

After a year Abner called him back to the ranch which pleased Larry to no end.

Larry had been tested in both ranching and farming and Abner was pleased with the result of his labors.  Abner had protected Jeanie Ann after her bad experience to the point that no man would come near her. She was satisfied with the arrangement for the trauma she suffered was still having some affects. 
He was at the point now where he wanted her to find a man who was right for her and would consider getting married.  He thought he had found the right man in Larry. He was polite, well educated, good looking and wasn’t a trifling type like so many cowhands.  He had stood up to every task they threw at him and Abner was pleased with him.  Jeanie Ann was twenty years old and should have already been married so time was wasting.  
Abner told Larry to come to supper this evening which he did after cleaning up.  While eating he said to Larry, you know Jeanie Ann and Larry said yes but I haven’t got acquainted with her. Abner said well we should do something about that.  After supper you can sit in the parlor and get to know each other a bit better.

Jeanie Ann and Larry exchanged glances and were wondering what Abner had in mind. They adjourned to the parlor and after sitting and exchanging a few remarks Larry said, “Maybe I should go and get ready for work tomorrow.”

Abner said, “Sit down and get acquainted.”

After an hour the two of them began to loosen up.

Abner asked Larry, “Did you enjoy the food tonight?”

He said, “Very much it was so much better than our regular chow.”

Abner said, “You come again tomorrow and have supper again and get acquainted some more.”

This made Larry nervous for he knew how protected Abner was of Jeanie Ann. He didn’t want to end up getting shot.

This went on for two weeks and now Larry was expected every night. There was the usual time in the parlor. Now added to that was going for a ride for an hour or two each day.

Abner was getting a bit impatient for he wanted to see more progress in the steps to matrimony.

Actually there was more happening than he knew about. The fact was Larry had his eye on her before Abner began his attempt at matchmaking but he was afraid of showing any interest in Jeanie Ann; and she had cast an eye in his direction as often as she could.

She took Abner by the arm and sat him down at the table with her mother.

She said now that you have found me a husband when do you think the wedding should be?

Abner looked stunned for he thought he had set it up in such a way that - - - .

Her mother spoke up and said, “Will a month be enough notice?”

Larry just said, “Yes that will be okay.”

Abner said, “Don’t you think he should ask me for your hand?”

Jeanie said, “He asked me so consider yourself asked.” She said, “I told him about my bad experience and he said it didn’t matter.”   A friend asked her, “But do you think he meant it because men don’t want girls who have had a man.”

Jeanie Ann answered, “Well he said after the first night all women are the same so don’t worry.”

I liked Larry well enough but there was something that bothered me about him. During the time he had been working at the ranch he hadn’t spoken about his family and any attempt to get him to talk about his past was unanswered.

I decided to have the detective agency check him out and come to find out he was from a different city than he had told us at first.

He was from Chicago originally and the town he said he came from was just a place he stayed at for a month or two.

None of that bothered me but the agency found out he was from a wealthy family that didn’t know where he was at and his family had no idea he was going to be married.

Upon further investigation I found out that an uncle was trying to take over Larry’s father’s holdings and leave him destitute. The uncle didn’t have much of a claim but the father wasn’t fighting very hard to ward him off.

I decided to brace Larry and see how he felt about the uncle stealing his father’s estate. I gave him a copy of the detective report and at first he was a bit nonplussed about the whole thing - - until I asked him if he loved the uncle more than his father.

This riled him a bit and he said, “Absolutely not.”  He hated his uncle because he was a leach and had lived off of his father most of his life.

I went into the details a far as I knew them and told him what must be done to defeat the uncle’s suit. I asked about his father’s attorney’s and he said there was only one who could be trusted the rest were crooked.

We decided on a plan and headed to Chicago and I met with the attorney he could trust. We decided the first thing to do was get his father to give Larry full power of attorney. Without anyone knowing about it this was done.

Now Larry had full control of his father’s estate. We filed a suit against his uncle for fraud and filed to get all claims dismissed against the father’s estate. With the threat of many other suits being filed against him and the lawyers that were working with him folding and they quickly paid back the money they had stolen from his father.

The father apologized for breaking up Larry and a girl he was in love with. It was this that caused Larry to leave home and end up at the ranch. He met the girl he had been in love with and they renewed their relationship with the father’s blessing.

This left me with the task of telling Jeanie Ann the whole story and that Larry had decided he was going to marry his old girlfriend.

I wasn’t very popular around the home place for some time but eventually they all saw it was for the best.

Monday, June 6, 2016

North of Austin - Chapter 18

Chapter Eighteen

When we went to bed Abby said, “I don’t think it will be necessary to bring up old news after all,” and that was the last I heard about her father’s new life.  Except one night she said; “You know they aren’t divorced.”

I had been waiting for this to come up so I said, “I knew you would bring this up someday so just to ease your mind, remember when Len was back east and I filled in as judge?”

She said, “Yes I remember.”

“Well while he was gone I annulled your folk’s marriage and filed the annulment so far back in the files no one will ever find it.”

She said, “Does that make me illegitimate?”

I told her turn over and go to sleep.

She said, “Yes but…”

I said, “When I married you it made you legal, okay?”

She answered, “Okay, thank you.”

The days were passing and the pregnant duo was getting bigger as the days went by. Then it happened. Sally gave birth to a little girl. This put a lot of pressure on Abby for she wanted a girl also. Then a week later her dream came true. She was the mother of a screaming female who made twice the noise as both of the boys. I had kinda wanted to call her Missy but her mother overruled that and named her Sally Loraine.

She said, “I will call her Lorry and will shoot the first boy that comes near her.”

I chuckled at that and said, “If she is anything like her mother you better go buy a lot of shells for you will need them.”

Abby retreated a bit by saying; “Well they had better behave is all I have to say.”

I looked into Lorry’s blue eyes and thought, “Momma you got your work cut out for you.”

The second stage of weaning was taking place as the boys were taking to me more than their mother. The first stage was giving up the breast feeding. Somewhat reluctantly I might add.

After a year Abby told each in turn you’ve been pulling on these things long enough. Neither of them gave up their comfort zone without a fight. They would crawl up into her lap and slyly unbutton her top to try to stroke her. She put up with that for a short time and then it was hands off. So now it was time to find comfort from dad.

The boys being close in age almost progressed at the same speed. What Daniel did Sammie wanted to do. As I said before there were distinct differences in them but the way they related to me was the same. 

My cousin Howie, had four boys and Cody the oldest one was great friends with Abner. He and Abner’s boys also got alone real well.  He thought the sun rose and set in Abner and the boy stayed at his house most of the time. Abner had taught him to ride and shoot better than most. He taught him how to draw his pistol before some of the fastest gun hands could get theirs out of the holster. He also taught him how to fight to win. He said you fight to win whatever it takes. He said confine fighting like a gentleman to the boxing ring. I never saw any body whip Cody.

Our sheriff was getting a little long in the tooth as the saying goes so Abner took Cody to town and told the sheriff to hire him and he would last a little longer for Cody would do most of the difficult tasks for him.

The sheriff looked Cody over and said I’ll give him a try for these deputies I have are worthless. Several hoodlums in town were always causing the sheriff trouble and his deputies wouldn’t back him up. The sheriff gave Cody a badge and something he called a black jack.

He also gave him a black vest and a hat to match. His badge stood out on the vest and the hat made him look like a man with a mission.  The first action Cody had was a call from the general store where a man didn’t want to pay for his goods.

The sheriff called him by name and told him “Pay up or get out.”

The man cursed and said he wasn’t paying for anything.

Cody stepped up and rapped the man across the nose with the black jack the sheriff had given him, smashing him to the floor.

The sheriff had a couple of men who were friends of the man take him to the doctor.

The doctor said to Cody if you have to hit these men this hard try to not to break so many bones. His nose will never be what we like to think is normal again. He likely will have to breathe through his mouth from now on.

Cody said “I gotcha doc. I shouldn’t have done so much permanent damage to him but maybe from now on people won’t deserve it as often.”

Doc said, “Maybe not, I know I won’t.”

The sheriff said, “Son you going to make a good deputy after I teach you a few things.”

The sheriff taught him some restraint and what to watch for when patrolling the town late at night. He said, “Always have a deputy on each side of the street when patrolling. That way you protect each other being able to see across the street things you might not see walking close to the buildings.”

Sheriff also taught him to shoot to kill but only when necessary.  

“If they draw on you they mean to kill you, so stay calm and shoot fast and hit what you are aiming at.”

Years later Cody admitted that the things the old sheriff taught him either saved his life or from being shot up very badly.

As soon as the people got to know Cody the crime rate went down for no one wanted to tangle with him. The drunks sobered up rather quickly when he told them to settle down and behave themselves.

The sheriff walked proudly down the street with Cody walking behind him. He remained sheriff years longer than he would have had it not been for Cody backing him up.

The day came when he had to give the reins over to Cody and he did so proudly. He learned to love Cody like a son and Cody always respected him as his elder.

Cody had been working with two of his brothers teaching them and training them to be his main deputies. His other brother just didn’t take to facing down ornery men so he stayed home with his folks.

Our town was what you might call peaceful except for the week end drinking.  Seldom would it get out of control but there was that occasion with someone from the outside - - thought he was tough.
They usually ended up with a head split open from being whacked with a pistol barrel and put in jail.
To Be Continued