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Monday, April 25, 2016

NORTH OF AUSTIN - Chapter 12



Sweet Jeanie Ann
Chapter twelve

Today when we got home Abby announced she was with child for the second time.  I said , "I haven’t got used to Daniel yet and we are going to have another one?" She said, “Yep we sure are.”

I replied, “If we keep this up we are going to have to build a bigger house.”

A couple of months passed without any more upsetting things happening until Jeanie Ann, Abner’s oldest girl who was fourteen years old went to a dance and box supper where she was molested by an older man.  We set out looking for him but had no result finding him.

Days went by and everyone had to get back to their business so the hunt stopped.
 
Jeanie Ann came to stay with us for she wanted to be near to Abby.
 
I had to go out to the storage room to get some more covers because winter was coming on and as I was leaving I saw the army singletree I had used on the men that beat Howie and Ada. It looked different for some reason and then I realized that it had been cleaned. The last time I saw it there was a thick layer of dust on it. But now it was completely free from any sign of dirt.

All of a  sudden I got the picture of what had happened to the man that molested little Jeanie Ann and the reason we never could find him.

I knew it wasn’t me that had used the singletree and washed it. It had to be someone who knew what I did and what I done with it. As far as I knew there was only one person other than Abby who knew the whole story of the singletree which caused me to stop thinking about what might have happened. I don’t know for sure what occurred and I don’t want to know.

The one thing that came to mind was the fence rows had been cut off on the farming part of the home place. This was necessary because of the shade they provided would prevent any crops from growing there.

About every five years this had to be done and the brush had to be burned. The fires were extremely hot from burning the small trees that were cut down. We burned any dead animals in those fires that happened to die around that time. If the molester happed to fall into the fire no one would ever find or hear from him again.

Jeanie Ann was still staying at my house for she felt like Abby was her older sister. They would chat away about girl stuff and she was spoiling Daniel. She either held him or played with him and he loved it. The baby in Abby’s stomach was beginning to move quite a bit and Jeanie Ann liked to feel it moving.
 
Her mother would come over every so often to see if she was ready to come home but so far she always said, “Not yet.”

Up until the time I decided the culprit had been dealt with, I was too busy to stop and think about what had happened and the after problems. However for the last four weeks I had been getting more and more upset about the whole issue.

I wanted to do something to even the playing field somehow, but with him dead what more could I do. The circuit judge had been a friend of my Pa for many years. He also knew Abner and Jeanie Ann. After giving it some thought I went to see the Judge and said we were suing the molester in absentia.

Since there was no evidence the culprit wasn’t still alive the judge agreed to hear the case.
He said for me to bring the papers to him and he would rule on the case.  I told him I just happen to have the papers with me and gave them to him.
He looked them over and ruled in favor of Jeanie Ann after I told him there were no other members of his family that could contest the matter. He ruled that all properties including bank accounts were now the property of Jeanie Ann. He said the county clerk was away because of a death in the family and he was filling in for him.

He said if I would go down to the clerk’s office with him he would sign everything over to Jeanie Ann. The whole transaction had taken less than two hours. The judge said we couldn’t undo what has been done but he hoped what we did would help her in the future.

Jeanie Ann was now the owner of a thousand acre ranch with over twelve hundred head of cattle half of which was ready for the market. She had a bank account of 15,000.00 dollars. Actually none of which meant much to her at her young age for she had everything she ever wanted up till now.

I took all the deeds, bank books and paper work to my Pa’s and Abner and explained what I had done and told them it was up to them to set the ranch in order for I had done my part.

It took me two hours for me to convince them what I was telling them was real. Eventually they believed me and said tomorrow they would go over to the ranch and check out the ranch hands, the foreman and the rest of the people working there. They wanted to make sure no one had designs on stealing anything on the ranch.

Abner decided to move onto the ranch for there was too much at stake to trust it to the foreman. As soon as the hands heard Abner was moving in some quit and left the country for they knew Abner was all business.  Abner suspected they had already stolen a few head and they were afraid he would find out.

After a couple of months Lilly, Jeanie Ann’s mother wanted her to return home. Jeanie Ann said she was going to stay until Abby had her baby and a few months after to help her. Lilly didn’t argue but she was missing her first born.
She realized what her daughter had gone through and being with Abby was the best thing for her at the present.
TO BE CONTINUED

Sunday, April 24, 2016

NORTH OF AUSTIN CHAPTER 11


LOVE OF MY LIFE - - and a Good Friend

Chapter eleven

I was having trouble with my thought life for I had always been a gentle kind of person and had never killed anyone before.

The image of what the singletree did to those men was haunting me to the point I needed to get away from the scene where it happened.  Abby agreed it might be best for me to get away.

Since I had gone to Chicago on our honeymoon with Abby I decided to return there. I figured in Chicago with all the inviting activity, I wouldn’t have much time to think on the things that were bothering me.

Abby’s father put me in touch with a lawyer’s firm and they gave me the task of doing some research for them. Though I was only there for six weeks I learned so much that I am ever grateful for the experience.

I managed to find a couple of rooms above a restaurant where the owners lived in the back part of the building. They had a daughter Mirabel who was around twenty that I found interesting. She was a good conversationalist and when one of my moods would come over me talking to her would snap me out of the depression.

We began to go to the theater and other places of entertainment. She liked to dance, something I hadn’t been too fond of before but now with her I enjoyed it very much.
Mira as she liked to be called was usually available and was nearby so we were around each other continually. This closeness was beginning to be more than a friendship which was something I never thought could happen since Abby was the only one I had ever felt near to.

At first it was someone to talk to. Then I began to depend on her for support which has led to… I don’t know what.  Both my mind and emotions were totally confused. I knew I completely loved Abby but there was a kinship with Mira that came close to being love.

Then I received a letter from Abby and she said I had been away long enough. She said boys tend to get into trouble when they are running without restraints. She went on saying I have something I need to tell you and it needs to be said in person. You have been away from your wife too long and she needs you.

As I read the letter all kinds of thoughts came into my head. Had she become infatuated with someone, but whom? Were rumors floating around about me and Mira? As the questions increased the more uncomfortable I became.

I couldn’t lose Abby the love of my life. All of a  sudden my friendship with Mira didn’t seem so important ,it was as if I came to my senses. An hour later my bags were packed and a letter of goodbye left on the dresser to Mira.

Upon arriving home I had the surprise of my life.  Abby was unmistakably pregnant. She was so pregnant she appeared to be only a month or two away from becoming a mother. I gushed out is this what you wanted to tell me in person and she said yes.

I was so relieved I felt faint. All of the things that had been going through my mind disappeared in the blink of an eye.  I was going to be a dad, the very idea overwhelmed me. I wanted time to erase the memory of time I spent in Chicago which was still too fresh in my memory. It seemed impossible that I had experienced the feelings I did during those few weeks.

I felt guilty all the time but it wasn’t something I wanted to share with Abby. It was the first time I wasn’t completely open with her and I vowed it would never happen again.

I’m proud to say that I am now the father of a fine young boy. He is two months old and doing well.

Then the ceiling fell in. I received a letter saying that Mira would be arriving yesterday.

I was out of town when the letter came so Abby opened it and when I arrived home Mira was sitting in our living room with Abby. They were chatting away as if they had known each other for years.

There is no way on earth I can explain how I felt when I walked into that room. It is the only time I ever I felt like shooting myself, to put myself out of my misery.

Abby said Mira is going to spend a few days with us. I have given her the room next to the baby unless he keeps her awake then she can have the room at the end of the hall. The air in my part of the house was so thick I could hardly breathe. I had trouble responding to anything they asked me for I was in a fog.

I must skip over the next few days for the memory of them is torturous. We took Mira to the station when she was leaving. Abby hugged and kissed her on the cheek and Mira kissed me right on the mouth.

I was so flustered by that I couldn’t speak. Both of the girls busted out laughing at me while Abby wiped the lipstick off my lips.

I felt a relief as the train headed west until I thought; now I’m going to get it. As soon as we got home I went directly to Daniel’s room where Abby’s mother was caring for him. Abby came in and took him up to nurse him for he was just beginning to get cranky. Watching him nurse gave me a moment’s respite from what I felt was coming. Her breasts are beautiful and even more firm since Daniel arrived. I wondered if they would always be well formed and perky or would sag as most women do.

Then I came to and began thinking about the business at hand. Daniel went to sleep after being burped and Abby’s mother headed home.

Alone at last, I wanted to clear the air but couldn’t find a starting place. Abby just kept staring at me as if she was expecting a confession of some sort.

She spoke and said Mira and I had a frank conversation concerning the situation, as I felt like I was slowly disappearing. She is a fine woman and I really like her because she is open and honest. She told me of her feeling for you and she thought you had some of the same feelings toward her. Lastly after we had a frank discussion about your time in Chicago she said she had to come and see for herself if you had a wife that was worthy of you.

Before she left she said she was completely satisfied you were well taken care of. Oh yes, she said she wished Daniel was her little man. I told her of the trauma you had been suffering from and thanked her for being there for you when you needed someone.
We have parted as friends and I’m glad you found her as a friend. She assured me that your friendship didn’t take the next step for that would have complicated things.

I am still getting over my part of the misfortune that happened because of evil men.

All my life my older brother Abner had handled things of this nature and I was insulated from the after feeling of such violence.

Slowly it is fading from my emotions but ever so often there is a flare up of guilt till I remember how near Howie and Ada came to death and the pain they suffered and still live with.

I kept the singletree to remind me of the justice it rendered. The sheriff apologized for not being able to do his job but I don’t think he is glad to be alive which he wouldn’t be if he had braced the men who hurt Howie’s family.  He wouldn’t have been able to handle it like I did.

In the months that followed there was a story that went around about what happened to the evil men but of the many versions of it no one could believe that I was involved in it. The sink hole has now been filled with garbage to keep live stock from falling in as they grazed near it.
That helped people to forget since there were no grave stones marking their graves like Boot Hill.
 
TO BE CONTINUED

Sunday, April 17, 2016

North of Austin Chapter Ten


Something Had to Be Done !!
 
Chapter ten

I thought long and hard about what to do with Abby telling me to get on with it. She was against all killing until this happened and now she was ready to go after them herself.

I knew the habits of the bullies and formulated a plan.

I went down to the blacksmith shop and found an old U.S. army singletree. It was used to hook the horses to their wagons.  One end was broke off and the back side had two sharp edges on it. There was still one hook to fasten the traces to, so I had the smithy cut it off.  The singletree was heavy but easy to wield.

I found out that two of the men who had attacked Howie were in town.  One was upstairs roughing up one of the saloon gals while the other had a woman behind the saloon. He was in the process of using the woman for his pleasure when I slipped up behind him and using the singletree gave him a hard blow to his head

He collapsed without saying anything.  The woman was paralyzed and I put my finger to my lips indicating for her to be silent. She ran off away from the saloon and it was days later before she returned.

I wiped off the weapon I had killed the man with, and headed up the back stairs of the saloon. I walked down the hallway and heard the woman trying to scream but could tell the man had his hand over her mouth.

Ever so quietly I open the door and before he could turn around I swung the singletree and it was over.

I whispered for the woman to slip back into the saloon and act as if nothing had happened. I showed her my weapon and said do not say anything or she would be next.  As far as I know she took what she knew to her grave years later.

When the two brothers didn’t return home, the father and the other two brothers came to town. The saloon owner had found the bodies and had slipped them out of the saloon area and threw then into a sink hole for he didn’t want to be associated with their deaths in any way.

The two brothers checked around town looking for their siblings without any luck. The old man went to the whore house and that was where I found him. I warned the madam not to ever say anything about what was going to happen.

The old man was abusing one of the girls when I found him. I rapped him upside the head just stunning him enough to disable him. I then told him he was going to pay for what he had done to Howie and Ada.

He tried to cry out but a sharp blow to the throat silenced him. It only took one more blow to finish him off.

I told the madam to dispose of the body and she could have any money he had on him.  She quickly got two of the patrons to get rid of the old man and all of the ladies were glad to see the last of him. She gave each of the men a bottle and by the time they sobered up they had forgotten the whole incident. 

One of the last two brothers decided to check on the old man and I got him when he left the whore house. I threw a rope around his legs and used my horse to drag him to the sinkhole.

It was late evening when the last brother headed out of town. I crawled up into the wagon before he saw me. He tried to pull his gun but the singletree did its job once again. I drove the wagon to the sink hole and deposited the last member of the family.

Then I drove the team out of town and got off the wagon. I sent the team on their way toward home where the hired hand would stable and care for them.

The next day I drew up some papers and signed in the place of the old man who beat Howie and went out to the ranch where the dead family had lived.

I told the hired help that Howie had bought the place and was the new owner.

I also paid them off after telling them he might be interested in keeping them on if they behaved themselves and didn’t steal anything.  I transferred the ranch, cattle, horses and the rest of the livestock to cousin Howie.  I felt he had it coming so I used my lawyer skills to bring it about.

Howie decided to keep some of the hands on and fired a couple of the worthless one’s.  Howie pretty well recovered but Ada was a little slow both mentally and physically from the beating she endured.
For the next month I had one of my hands staying over at Howie’s new place over seeing things, but after a month Howie was able to take over do for himself.

Ada still needed care for a couple of months but she wanted to move in her new home. We got a woman to help her with the chores the boys weren’t able to do.

Howie decided to farm the place and give up bootlegging. I was pleased with his decision for there was going to be problems with the demon alcohol if he didn’t.
To Be Continued

Your Lifespan


Seasons in Life


For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away.

The Apostle James hit the nail on the head with that statement. We are here and then we are gone. Unless we have made a statement of remembrance after three generations we are at best a footnote in history.

It is important how we view our lifespan and the value we place upon it. Whether you have a few days or many years each day deserves to be important enough to be considered special. It is a gift from the Almighty and should be recognized as such.

When you view each day in this manner your life takes on added meaning. Taking on a longer view will diminish the value of each day. Looking forward to a weekend trip can devalue the present day.   The Christian should never be found guilty of doing this but should always keep this in focus;

Psalm 118:24 This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Can you see how each day becomes more important and increases in value when you keep this Psalm in your mind set.  Do not allow problems to overcome our resolve and even in trials and tests we are to keep our positive attitude and not rob GOD of the glory due Him.

Romans 8:31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

2 Kings 6:16"Don't be afraid," the prophet answered. "Those who are with us are more than those who are with them."

Let tomorrow be filled with exaltation to the one and only GOD JEHOVAH for he is worthy to be praised.

Matthew 6:27"Which of you, by being anxious, can add one moment to his lifespan”?

The answer is no one.
Let us not shorten nor waste or devalue any of our days.
 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

NORTH OF AUSTIN - CHAPTER NINE


Howie's Family Business
Chapter Nine

It was a hot summer’s afternoon and I was sitting on the porch when I saw a man and woman driving up in a wagon. My dogs had them treed until I sent them under the house. The man got down and then helped the woman. I wasn’t sure who the couple was, but shortly I realized it was a cousin from Arkansas.
As best I could remember his name was Howie and he was of a slight build.  His Ada was a big boned woman and would have been a very large except for the fact she hadn’t been very well fed over the years.  While we talked, two small boys crawled out from under their covers that had been made into a bed under the spring seat.

You could see that one of the boys was going to grow into a man with a rough exterior while the other one was going to be of a more delicate nature. While we were talking Abby came out and I explained to her who these people were and where they were from.  
Immediately she invited them in and gave them some refreshment. I felt a little embarrassed for I would probably just left them outside until I sent them on their way. Abby invited them to stay overnight and fed them. The boys ate like grown men or were making up for not having ate for a couple of days. Abby checked the boys over for lice and gave them baths.

She then told their folks to get into the tub and scrub themselves till the smell they had acquired over their long trip was gone.

Abby wasn’t afraid to come right out and tell people like it is. She said they were more than welcome but they were going to be clean when they slept in her beds.

There is something about Abby that didn’t offend when she would come right out and tell them they needed to clean themselves or to watch their language. They could tell she was concerned about them and wasn’t trying to put them down but really cared for them.

She and Ada managed to get some fresh clothes washed while the sun was still high and dried their clothes. There was a difference between Abby and Ada like daylight and dark but they hit it off right away, but that was the way it always was with Abby.

People took to her and didn’t mind her bossing them around if necessary. I still wonder today why she took up with me for she was so much classier than I am.

I asked Abner why he thought she chose me over any other men that were so much more refined than me. He said; “I guess she just liked a challenge and that you were the most pathetic looking thing around.”

I responded by saying; “I was hoping it was something else but you’re probably right.”

After a week staying with us, Howie said he noticed that not far from us was a big patch of woods and wanted to know who owned them. I told him they were mine, about one hundred sixty acres of them. He wanted to know if I would sell him about twenty acres and the small cabin he saw while coming to my place.

I said I would give him the small parcel he was speaking of but he insisted on paying for it. I said there is no way you can make a living of such a small patch of land that had not been cleared. He assured me it would be just fine.

I finally said okay, but I had a fifty acre farm he could have to raise his boys on and make a good living off of it.  He wouldn’t have it any other way,  so we made the deal.

Abby gathered up a lot of furniture and household goods we had stored in a shed out back. Shortly they were moved in and had set up housekeeping. Even though they were only seven miles from us I seldom saw them after that. Abby would see Ada in town ever so often and Ada assured her they were doing fine.

Some months later I had come home from the law office for dinner, just in time to see Howie came dragging himself in for he had been beat half to death.

I had trouble understanding him but finally realized that some bootleggers had beaten him and Ada something fierce. I got him in the buckboard and headed to the doctor while Abby headed for their place with four of our cow hands for protection.

When she arrived she saw Ada was in worse shape than Howie was. They threw a mattress in the wagon and headed to the doctor. A short distance from town she found the boys heading for our place. When the trouble started they ran into the woods and the men couldn’t find them. They knew they would be safe if they could get to our place. She quickly got them into the wagon and they made it to the doctor’s office where he had just finished working on Howie.

The doctor examined Ada briefly and said he didn’t know if he could save her. They had brutalized her in about every way they could. He spent the rest of the day and night treating her. The next morning he told Abby that Ada was a strong woman so she had a fighting chance.

Abby spent the next day with Ada and then the doctor’s wife and nurse took over with Abby visiting a couple of times a day. The doctor told me neither would be the same even if they lived which didn’t set well with me.

I knew who had harmed them and I went to the sheriff and discussed bringing the perpetrators in and charging them with attempted murder. He said he was short of deputies and the one’s he had were chasing down some cattle thieves. He said he couldn’t bring them by himself for they would just kill him outright.

I understood and agreed he was right. Abner was the one who usually settled any wrong done to our family but he and most all of the ranch hands were on round-up and couldn’t stop that to deal with the situation I found myself in.

Abby was madder than I ever saw her for she usually was such a gentle soul. Visiting Ada each day kept her stirred up.  I finally told the sheriff I was going to deal with this and he said go ahead but understand that these men are killers and would do me in if they got wind I was after them.

I didn’t know just how I was going to deal with these men. There were four of them plus their father who raised them.

Howie had recovered enough to tell me the story. He had set up his bootlegging equipment and had started to cut in on the business of the men who tried to kill him. He started to sell to the saloons in town as well as to people who bought directly from him.

The angry men came on him before he knew what had happened. He just had time to tell his boys to run for their lives. They could run like little deer and the man who chased them was left standing in the dust. He threw a couple of shots at them missing them both.  Howie heard one of the men say we will get them later.
TO BE CONTINUED - -

IS TRUTH IRRELEVANT TODAY?



IS TRUTH IRRELEVANT TODAY? 

The simple answer is yes because we now live and are controlled by political correctness. A given set of facts must be filtered through P C and then be given the spin treatment before anything can be judged to be true or not.

Jesus had a different view on the truth; in fact he said that I am the embodiment of the truth.  “Jesus said to him, "I am the way and the truth”.

Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, if ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. 

In contrast to those who are Disciples of Christ we find those who worship at a different altar, the altar of the lie! One could say the center of “The Lie” kingdom can be found in Washington D.C.; where the worship of the lie is continuously performed twenty four hours a day. 

There are those who infuse the world with lies whose origin is found in the heart of our leaders are all too obvious and constantly promoted by them. The scripture speaks this way about them; “You people are from your father the devil, and you want to do what your father desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not uphold the truth, because there is no truth in him.  Whenever he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44.”  Adam and Eve are witnesses to this fact.

Even as the gospel truth sets you free, the lie places one in bondage and servitude whether it is a person or a nation the principle and the result is the same. There are many who will participate in the coming election and the question at hand is who are the liars and who tells the unvarnished truth?

This is the litmus test for all who are running.  Those who are liars are automatically disqualified. It matters not what political affiliation they profess to belong to; the lie will render them ineffective as a leader.  Choose ye well!

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. Hebrews 4:12-13

Sunday, April 3, 2016

North of Austin - Chapter Eight



Keeping a Secret is Difficult
 
Franklin, my youngest brother started to come and visit me quite often and I couldn’t figure out why.  I asked Abby if she knew why he had all the sudden taken this big interest in us.

She started laughing at me and said; “Silly don’t you know?  It’s Junie.”  She is always here when he shows up and they sneak off to be alone.  She said, “I have known this since it first started. I have told her not to get carried away and let him get too familiar with her and she promised me she wouldn’t but I think you better set Franklin down and lay down the law to him.”

I must admit I felt a little stupid not to have figured that out.  It made me mad to think he was using his visits to have a romantic interlude under my roof instead of going to her house and court her there. If something happened as often does; I would be blamed for the whole thing.

I ranted to Abby about this and she said for me to settle down and show a little understanding about the whole thing. She said, “Just remember back not so long ago when you were coming on strong and how you felt. You were driven by desires you didn’t understand. He is just becoming a man with normal feelings and so far he has acting pretty much like he should at this stage of courting. You know how strong desires can be hard to control and she feels the same way as he does.  Instead of flying off the handle use what wisdom and experience you have and help the soon to be man through this difficult period. They are almost old enough to take the next step and get married so be a friend as well as a brother.”

That little talk from her, straighten out my thinking and I did understand.  When love and lust hook up, young people need a little help to get through that (using the words Abby did) period.

I sat Franklin down to have a good talk with him but he did most of the talking. He said, “June is old enough to get married but everyone thinks I should wait another year even though I’m a year older than she is.  I don’t think I can wait another year for I want to get married now.”

I listened to him for several minutes and finally told him there are several things to consider in addition to; “I want to.”

I told him it hasn’t been so long that I can’t remember what it is like when those feelings overpower our common sense.  Then I went through a whole list of things he needed to consider to have a successful long term marriage.

We discussed how many of the things on the list he had accomplished and found he had done almost none of them. Then I said, “She will be here a year from now and during that year you can prepare yourself to be a husband whether you believe it or not and she needs that time to prepare for being a wife instead of a woman to live with.”

We talked a long time and I promised to be available to answer any question that might come up.  He asked me one more thing to do which was to take Junie aside and talk to her like I did to him so she would understand why it was wise to wait.

I said I would and I did. I told them both that it would be easier to control their emotions if they both made a plan and stuck with it.

Happily they did as I suggested and are now man and wife. They have their own home near the family farm and I had Abner give him the: “How to please a woman” talk which I had found most helpful.

Later Franklin asked me why I didn’t tell him instead of Abner and I just told him Abner has had more experience and I was afraid I might leave out something. I could tell by his expression he was thrilled he had gained the knowledge Abner had imparted to him.

With Franklin getting married that left only Lester being a bachelor. He seemed to be content as he was. The rest of us boys were chomping at the bit to get us a woman but he wasn’t hurting for one like we were.

Some of the wives were asking us boys if something was wrong with him. I didn’t know how to answer their questions so I quieted them down by saying; “Ask him.”

This went on month after month with the interest heating up.  Lester would attend the dances but would just sit there unless some woman would ask him to dance after which he would just go and sit back down.

This was really getting to the wives and they were at the point of demanding that he get him a woman. For the life of me I couldn’t understand why this bothered them so. I asked Pa about it and he said; “There are some things that pertain to women. Things a man can never understand.”

After we sat there quietly he spoke and said; “Don’t concern yourself about them things.” That helped, I guess but I decided to ask Abner and he smiled and said; “At the next dance just watch and observe.”

Well that wasn’t much of an explanation but I determined to do as he said and watch.  I told Abby to watch with me and she said she would. I knew if there was anything to see she would spot it.

I waited and waited and watched and watched and all I saw was Lester had gone to the refreshment counter twice. While getting some punch a young widow also came to the counter and Lester gave her the glass he had filled for himself. Then they both went and sat down.

Later when Abby and I were dancing I noticed the widow had gone over and asked Lester to dance. There were several other women who did the same thing. The evening wore on and the last dance was called and the widow beat the rest of the single women to Lester and they had the last dance together.

After the dance he just turned and walked away as she did. I asked Abby if she figured anything out and she smiled and said, “Yep, I got it.”

I couldn’t believe she saw anything for I had concentrated on him all evening and saw nothing unusual.  Abby was almost laughing now at me and said, “Why don’t you follow the widow home at a distance and tell me what you see.”

I felt like a fool but agreed to do what she said.  As I was following her I was thinking that George my stepfather had followed numerous of people while working for Pinkerton’s.  When she got home she went in and then I saw someone enter the back door in the shadows.

When I arrived home Abby was looking expectantly and asked, “Did you figure it out yet?”

I chuckled and said; “Yes I got it.  He has been seeing the widow on the sly, the devil. With all of these people trying to make something out of him not dating he has them all fooled.”

I asked her if she knew how Abner figured it out and she said: “Just like I did.” Before I could ask how she figured it out she said it was the way he held her and looked into her eyes when they were dancing.  He didn’t hold the other women like that so it was the telltale moves that told off on him.

Later I asked Abner if he thought Lester was going to marry her and he said, “There are complications or they would have already been married.”  He said, “When her husband of four weeks found out he was dying and wouldn’t last but a few days he set up his will so if she got married before one year had passed or even was involved with a man she wouldn’t receive his large fortune.”

I asked him how he knew that and he said, “I inadvertently saw the will on his lawyer’s desk and read it.”

“You snooped on him?”

He said, “No the attorney left it so I could see it so I could warn Lester. There is only one more week left and in two more weeks the expectations of several single women and widows will be dashed for Lester and Missy will be man and wife. This will stop some of the gossip about Lester not needing a woman in his life.”

I had to ask why didn’t you tell me about what was going on and he said; “Do you know the best way to keep a secret?”
I answered and said; “Don’t tell it to anyone?” - -  He said, “Right.”