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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
 
 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Robert for sharing your interesting story with us here at Tell me a Story

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