Tumbleweeds

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chuck j
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Re: Tumbleweeds

#481

Post by chuck j » Thu Oct 11, 2018 4:20 pm

Zeke went in the cabin , she was putting cookies on a plate to cool before packing them . He said ...We got company comin ma'am . Lone rider comin from the east slow . Get your rifle and make sure it's full loaded , put two pistols on the table . Me and Captain Jack will meet him in the yard . You stay in the cabin and crack the gun port . You don't open your wound ! We will handle this !

She readied her rifle and laid out the pistols then pulled the stew to the edge of the coals in the fireplace . It was not like when Zeke came and she was so afraid , she was different now . Danger from the outside was expected and just to be dealt with . She was not afraid .

Captain Jack and Zeke stood in the yard watching the rider , Sam was in the shed with his rifle and out of sight letting Zeke and the Captain call the shots but he was ready . She opened the back gun port and watched to make sure no one was coming from behind . They were all ready without being told what to do . She worried about Wade and Don being out on their own but she knew Wade could handle any situation . She had seen him at the fight on the river , he was fearless in a fight .

The rider got closer and Captain Jack said ...It's Ed Rawlins ! You can't mistake that long legged horse . Zeke hollered to her and Sam it was Ed coming , they all relaxed and Sam came out of the shed .

Zeke said ...I doubted that he would ever come back , I wonder why he is ? Captain Jack said ...We most likely will find out . He is welcome here and maybe he will stay a while after we leave to help out . It would make me feel better about leaving to know there was a man like Ed here in case of trouble .

She remembered Ed liked sweet tea so she put water on to boil for tea . She was happy inside to hear he was returning , she had felt that he should never have left when he did . Ed was a strange man , a mystery


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Re: Tumbleweeds

#482

Post by chuck j » Thu Oct 11, 2018 4:31 pm

They waited . There was much wondering but Ed drew near .
Last edited by chuck j on Thu Oct 11, 2018 5:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.


Topic author
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Re: Tumbleweeds

#483

Post by chuck j » Thu Oct 11, 2018 4:34 pm

Ed rode into the yard . He dismounted and tied his horse to the mesquite tree . Captain Jack , Sam and Zeke walked to him , Captain Jack had his hand held out to welcome him .

Ed stood by his horse and shook hands with the Captain and Zeke and Sam , they told him they were glad to see him . Ed seemed reserved and hesitant as he said ...I did not know if I would be welcome here again . Captain Jack quickly said ...Ed no one is mad at you brother , we were all sad that you needed to go .


Ed asked where Wade and she were and The Captain explained Wade and Don working the cattle and that she was inside . Ed said ...I would talk to her alone if that's alright with ya'll . I will be talking to each of you individually to apologize but I need to talk to her first . They all said that was fine and she would be happy to see him and they would water and tend his horse .


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Re: Tumbleweeds

#484

Post by chuck j » Thu Oct 11, 2018 4:38 pm

Ed walked into the cabin taking off his hat laying it on the floor . She sat at the table waiting for the tea to make and said … Ed I had them put your nail in the wall , hang your hat there . He sat across the table from her on the bench and said ...Thank you but let us talk first , you may ask me to leave . I want to apologize to you first . You took me in , you fed me and you were kind to me . I repaid you with hate and anger . I gave you silence when you gave me encouragement , I was deaf to you . I took it everyone here was against me when they only tried to help me .


I am full of hate ma'am but in times I know how wrong I am . Since a days ride of leaving here I have been tormented at what I had done to all of you , but to you the most . You turned the other cheek , you held me , you told me you understood , you told me to come back when I could . I am a man with no peace ma'am ...only hate . I am seventy one years old ma'am and only live to kill those who kill and harm those that can't protect themselves . It has taken my soul ma'am , my faith is gone long ago . I believe in nothing . I have no one to love and no one to love me . I am lost in hate ma'am and I can't find my way , I just keep killing because it's what I do .


But I am still sane enough to realize you wanted to help me . Like when you watched us work on Sam with tears in your eyes feeling his pain but you being wounded too could not help him . You did the same for me ma'am when I left . You could not stop me .

I come to ask your forgiveness , I do not deserve it and I know that but I had to apologize to relieve myself at least in part .


She said ...Ed you were mean to me and for that you are forgiven . I am just glad you are here . She put her hand across the table and he slowly took it . She said ...you are home Ed ..put your hat on the wall . Ed acted like he couldn't and she said ...If you can't Ed I will hang it for you , that's what friends are for . He released her hand and stood up walking to his hat he picked it up and stood there a min as if he had to make a decision that was hard . She thought he might leave but he put his hat on the nail and looked at it then sat back down .


She gave him her hand again and said ...Thank you Ed ! Ed said ...Where do we go from here ? She said ...Where ever GOD leads us .


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Re: Tumbleweeds

#485

Post by chuck j » Thu Oct 11, 2018 4:51 pm

Wade and Don rode in . Ed and her were sitting on the bench on the porch drinking a glass of tea . Wade was surprised as heck to see Ed with her just sitting there having a glass of tea ! He didn't see any of the men around and dismounted in the yard asking Don to put the horses up . He walked to the porch and Ed stood up .


Wade held out his hand stepping on the porch and said ...Ed ! You don't know how glad I am to see you ! I have thought much of you ! They shook hands as she went to get Wade a glass of tea . She said to Wade ...Sit down a while with Ed when she came back with the tea and she walked to the shed .

Ed said ...I have apologized to her for my leaving and the way I did it . I wanted to apologize to you now . I'm not use to apologizing to people so please excuse me if I do it wrong , my intention is honest . You tried to help and comfort me . You tried to ease my mind but I wouldn't have it . I wanted to hang on to my misery and hate at all cost because it's all I have . I was wrong treating you like I did and I am sorry for it . I have not sought forgiveness from anyone in nearly a half a century ...not even GOD .


I had to get out of this place when I left because it was against all I was . There was friendship , working together , everyone getting along and helping one another . I saw the caring and love here and it went against everything I cling to . I had to get out . I wasn't always this way .


Wade just listened and said ...Ed I forgive you , I was never mad at you . I only worried for you . Captain Jack , Sam , Don and me are leaving for Fort Graham in the morning but stay here with Zeke and her till I get back . She is a good cook Ed ! Ed smiled and said ...I'll consider it Wade , I had hoped we could talk a lot more but time allowing maybe we will get to . Wade said ...Get ready to eat Ed , it's near time .

Ed said ...I need to talk to Jack . I thank you Wade for helping me . He got up to go find Captain Jack .

Ed found Captain Jack , Sam and Don at the shed . She was checking her hens and had three eggs in her hands leaving but she stayed a second . When Ed walked in Captain Jack introduced Don to Ed . As they shook hands Don said ...You can't be the Ranger Ed Rawlins ? Ed said ...Yes I am him and I know I'm dead , been dead about forty eight years now ...best I can tell !

She asked Don to help her and Don followed her looking back at Ed twice . Don asked her if he was the REAL Ed Rawlins ! She just said ...Of coarse ! And kept walking .


Ed shook hands with Sam and said ...I left you when you were in a bad way Sam . You could a died ! Sam ...you would not have left me , I failed you . All three of us have fought outlaws , Indians and Mexicans together ! We have all been hungry and thirsty together , drank out of the same canteen , shared our food and stood against stacked odds . I failed both of you and you would have never left me . I am shamed . I ask you to forgive me . I am determined to try and make this right if I can , realizing what I have come to makes me think there could be a small hope for me . I'm sorry , I am sorry . Ed stared at the ground .

Captain Jack straighten his back and said ...Where do you go Ed ? Ed looked at him and said ...What do you mean ? Captain Jack said ...We will go with you ! I'd be proud and happy to ride with you again anywhere Ed ! Sam said ...You dang right ! Where do we go Ed ? I'll be right with you too ! My arm is a little sore so you might have to carry me a bit but I'll go where you tell me Ed I'm ready !

Ed looked up and his eyes were wet , he said ...I have few old friends . They are all gone , you don't know how much you mean to me . Thank you .


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Re: Tumbleweeds

#486

Post by chuck j » Thu Oct 11, 2018 6:54 pm

She called everyone to lunch . They all went in Wade setting the table and handing out tea . Don sat and stared at Ed till Ed finally said ...It's not polite to stare at the dead son . Don finally got up the courage and said ...I thought you were just a story ! They say you died at a hundred places and times ! I find it hard to believe the real Ed Rawlins is just sittin here for lunch . Ed said ...Heck son spooks got ta eat too .

They had stew and cornbread and she had made two pecan pies . There would still be stew for supper with something else . After lunch she asked Zeke to find her some polk , cactus or something to go with the left over stew for supper . Zeke walked to the lot to saddle the black mule carrying a bucket and three flour sacks . Ed showed up at the pen and said ...Would you mind if I ride with you Zeke . Zeke said ... Sure and Ed saddled up . They rode to her laundry rock .

Zeke said ...I got a small chore but ought not take long . They tied their mounts and took their rifles . Zeke dipped up a bucket of water and threw it against the side of the rock with her blood stains . He gathered another bucket of water and went to scrubbing the rock . Ed asked why he was cleaning a rock ? Zeke told him this was where the fight had happened . He told Ed this was her favorite spot to come because it was so peaceful and he didn't want it to be spoiled for her .

Ed said ...She bleed a lot ! Zeke kept scrubbing and said ...Yes sir ! She fired eighty three rounds kneeling with Nate against the rock between her knees to protect him . If we would have kept up the fight she would have kept fighting till she was dead and never said a word . Ed looked at the bullet marks all over the rock , he picked up a sack , dipped it in the bucket and started scrubbing the rock . He said ...You protect her don't you Zeke ? Zeke said ...I try but it's a hard world Ed and as pretty as this place is there is always danger even here . Ed said … I will help you protect her Zeke and I'm sorry I left here before the way I did and I'm ashamed of that . I ask you to forgive me . Zeke stood up and offered his hand . Saying ...What we done don't matter Ed ..it's what we do from now . GOD forgives us and all we have to do is ask . Would you pray with me Ed ? Ed said ...it's been too long GOD has judged me by now . Zeke said ...Long as your breathin brother and mean what you tell GOD he will forgive you ! They walked to a dry spot , knelt and prayed .


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Re: Tumbleweeds

#487

Post by chuck j » Fri Oct 12, 2018 6:26 am

Zeke and Ed brought in some polk and cactus for her . She put on some bacon to boil for the polk and started washing the polk leaves . Wade said Ma'am I been thinkin you , me and Zeke need to have an owners meeting of the Black Mule Ranch with the Captain . They all said yes and Don , Sam and Ed left to the shed .


Wade said ...There is no telling when one of us will be able to make a trip this far again . Captain Jack has recommended we buy more land upriver . He asked the Captain ...How far up the river should we buy Captain ? Captain Jack said quickly ...To the ford ! You need to own the ford , someone could buy it and prevent you to use it . Plus it's prime land ...as good as this place is . When land starts selling on the river the price will skyrocket and it will go fast . She said ...Captain do you have any idea how much it would cost ? He got his tablet and pen , he figured a few min and said ...Going by the average price the state sells land for and allowing one hundred aches out from the river all the way to the ford I'd guess three thousand to thirty five hundred dollars . They were silent .


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chuck j
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Re: Tumbleweeds

#488

Post by chuck j » Fri Oct 12, 2018 6:26 am

She finally said ...That's half of our money ! I'm suppose to be the manager and that is a lot of money . Wade said ...I agree but we need the land and the ford . If we wait we could lose it to someone else . We need to start building this ranch with workable land and there is no better . Zeke hadn't said anything and said ...Wade is right , holdin on to the money will not get a ranch , we all know there is risk . I say buy the land . They all agreed .


Wade also said ...I need to check into barbed wire . I been thinking about it hard , we are selling cows we could keep because there are not enough of us to keep watch on em . We fence a big area here at the cabin and we don't have to stake out all the stock anymore . We would save a lot of work and time . We could hire some hands to build fence and start getting some cows or horses to sell . She said ...We don't know the cost on the fence wire but we can cut posts and staves . They agreed that Wade would take enough money to buy the land with Captain Jack's guidance and if feasible to buy barbed wire . It was done .


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Re: Tumbleweeds

#489

Post by chuck j » Fri Oct 12, 2018 6:27 am

The afternoon was used to rest for them leaving in the morning . She continued to pack food and things they might need . She had to stay busy , she was sad they were leaving but she must not show it . Sam and Captain Jack were going home to their families and for that she was glad for them . But the idea of never seeing them again was unthinkable .

Captain Jack told everyone at the table during supper ... Don has asked me to report for him in Fort Graham and for him to stay here to help out . I have no problem with that at all so he will be staying . Is that alright with you ma'am ? She quickly said ...Of coarse ! I'm glad he will be here , thank you for letting him stay .


There was much talk of the trail to Fort Graham , they would be stopping in Eliasville too . Wade would meet people , rearrange the name of their account at the store . Captain Jack would take her letters to the store for all that had helped her and sent notes at Hosea's death . There would be much done on this trip and what bothered her the most was that Wade had to make the trip back alone .


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Re: Tumbleweeds

#490

Post by chuck j » Fri Oct 12, 2018 6:29 am

Captain Jack said ...We will take an axe and shovel . As I told you when we came back from Eliasville we came back a more easterly trail and It is much better and faster . By just clearing some trees and very little dirt work you could drive the cart all the way to and from Eliasville . We will show Wade the trail . It is more prairie making driving the cattle much easier with graze . With a bit more work on the trail you could use a wagon to haul to and from Eliasville !


She said ...I could drive my cart to Eliasville ? Captain Jack said ...Yes ma'am !

She said ...Could Zeke and I go with you ? We could let the black mule pull the cart and lead a saddle horse , we could carry an extra saddle in the cart in case it broke down . We could bring back the supplies from Eliasville in the cart and save Wade that trouble coming back ! I would love to see Eliasville !

There was one min of silence and everyone started saying ...NO !
Captain Jack said ...You are still healing , it is hot and the cart would be a rough ride till a good trail is worked . You would have to leave two men here by themselves , you would only have one man with you in case of trouble . We just had a fight with a raiding party of twenty four Comanche . No there is NO way you can spread yourselves that thin ! Everyone agreed .


Wade said ...When I get back we will try to figure it out ma'am . You will have healed a lot by then , I promise you we will get you to Eliasville quick as we can ! Zeke , Ed and Don shook their heads yes .

She could not argue , what they said just made sense . The Comanche were nearly beaten , they were desperately trying to hold on to their lands but they would fail . There were still many outlaws , many living in the Indian Nations (Oklahoma) coming south to raid and kill . She would have to wait .


She said we will go to the river and bathe , all you that want can fish . Whatever you catch we that stay here profit from ! Gather anything that is dirty and I will wash it , I want all of you that either stay or go to enjoy this evening at the river . We will eat a later supper maybe but it will be worth it .


They were all for it and left to get ready , they gathered their dirty clothes . Zeke hooked up the mule to the cart and they walked while her and Nate carried the load and rode the cart . They set up her laundry and she gave them corn mush bait from her pocket to fish . They walked upriver to take a good bath laughing as she washed clothes .


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Re: Tumbleweeds

#491

Post by chuck j » Fri Oct 12, 2018 6:31 am

She washed everything there was including her good blue dress she had on , changing into one of her old patched dresses . She had to look as nice as she could to send them off . She wanted them all to have a good memory of their parting , it was important to her . She waded into the water when she finished and didn't get but knee deep trying to keep her wound dry . She bathed and washed her hair then dried and changed into her old clean dress again .


She could hear them laughing far upriver where they bathed and fished and it made her glad they had this time to remember too .

She could hear them laughing and talking loud as they came back to the rock changing into clean clothes behind the shinnery .. She had washing everything and all the wet clothes would be hung on the line when they got back to be dry in the morning . She had to smile hearing them teasing each other and laughing ...she even heard Ed Rawlins laugh !


They loaded all the laundry in the cart , Zeke helped her up and they went to the cabin still enjoying being together . She directed them to hang clothes , put the black mule and cart up ...she gave them all a small work . She stirred the coals in the fireplace and warmed the stew and polk greens . She set the table and reached in the water bucket she kept Nate's milk it to keep it cool and pulled out the four candles she had there so long to keep them from melting . This was a special time and she would burn them ...it was getting dark . She put all four candles on the table and lit them as the men came in to eat .


They had a great supper talking about the fish they had caught and walking naked with a gun belt on back to the shinnery to get dressed ! She mainly just laughed with them and let them talk , her enjoyment came from seeing them happy .

Everyone had a good time and Captain Jack finally said ...We have a long trail to start tomorrow , it's time to get some rest and they started leaving for the shed still talking ! Zeke told her ...You leave those dishes and things ! I will be here extra early to do the cleaning !


Wade had stayed seated and quiet when they left . She banked the coals and picked up a few things that needed be . Wade stood up and took the few steps it took to reach her and put his arms around her shoulders drawing her to him and said ...I see what you are doing for all of them , you are the most amazing woman I have ever seen . I will thank GOD for putting you in my path before I sleep tonight . Thank you for being who you are , you give so many strength ! Thank you .


Wade held her and kissed her head then left for the shed .


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Re: Tumbleweeds

#492

Post by chuck j » Fri Oct 12, 2018 6:34 am

She blew the candles out and put her gown on in the dark sitting on her bed thinking . It drew near , in the morning they would be gone . But Wade would return and she worried about him traveling alone . She started considering and she depended on him ...she had taken him for granted . Now that she was to see him leave she saw he was part of her life just like Zeke . All these people were part of her life in different ways .
She had to get up extra early in the morning , she laid down and tried to go to sleep .


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chuck j
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Re: Tumbleweeds

#493

Post by chuck j » Fri Oct 12, 2018 9:02 am

She got up early and went to fetch her good dress off the clothesline , she started heating the flat iron by the fireplace to iron it . She had started soaked some cut up dried meat in a pot last night and set it on coals after letting the fire burn down . Most of the things she was sending with them had been put in the packs in the shed but a few things remained and she sat them on the porch to speed loading .


She had a good bath , she brushed her hair and wore her hair down which she hardly ever did . She ironed her dress and put on her petticoat and dress . She put on a necklace and bracelet of black stone , she seldom wore jewelry being taught it must not be used for vanity . Her parents had told her she was pretty but she must never be vain , using what GOD gave you for vanities sake was wrong . She did all she could to make this a good day .

Captain Jack and Zeke came in the cabin first and Captain Jack said ...You are beautiful ! He walked to her and hugged her saying ...If Zeke had not claimed you as his daughter I surly would have ! Zeke said ...I'll share her Captain . Captain Jack laughed and told Zeke ...Thank you ! He told her ...You must meet my wife ! She will love you so much never having had anything but boys ...you must come to visit us !

Zeke was getting the breakfast finished she had started pancakes , bacon , eggs , syrup and coffee . Captain Jack made himself busy hauling buckets of clean water to the cabin for daily use .


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Re: Tumbleweeds

#494

Post by chuck j » Fri Oct 12, 2018 11:53 am

They had a loud breakfast, everyone was talking . There was a lot of excitement , she acted happy and encouraging . It was daylight and Wade , Captain Jack and Sam went to put the pack saddles on the horses and saddle up . She told Don , Zeke and Ed they would ride to the ford to help and see them off . She asked Zeke and Ed to harness the black mule and hook him the cart . She had made them dried meat and dumplings to eat today and carried two lard buckets of it to the shed to give them and tell them they would go to the ford with them .

Zeke brought the cart around to the porch of the cabin , Don lead his horse and Pie . She walked out of the cabin with Nate , she saw Pie saddled and asked Zeke ...Is he well enough to ride ? Zeke said ...Everyone agrees he is good to ride ma'am and he has had a long rest . Heck ! He's getting fat ma'am ! It's time to turn him from a traveling horse to a ranch horse .


Zeke gave her a hand up and mounted Pie , Wade , Captain Jack and Sam came leading the pack horses . The sun was just up good and it was cool , they started for the ford upriver . There was much talk and joking , the sun was at their back and meadow larks scattered before them as they rode through the prairie grass .

When they got to the bend in the river Wade , Captain Jack and Don broke off and rounded the cattle pushing them upriver through the grass . When they reached the ford they gathered as Don kept the cattle together and said their goodbyes . Zeke helped her out of the cart and she hugged Captain Jack and Sam crying telling them they would all meet again .

Wade was last and she held him telling him to be careful ! He held her telling her he would surly miss her and kissed her cheek then wiped her tears away . He said ...I'll be back with good news and supplies ! I will be safe ! He mounted and smiled as he rode to the cows hollering at Captain Jack ...Get that old cow with the broken horn in the river first , the rest will follow ! Don and the Captain got her started across as Sam , Wade and Ed pushed the rest in the water . They made it across and Don called across the river that he would stay with them till they got the cows out of the shinnery on the other side and on the prairie to the east just a bit .


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Re: Tumbleweeds

#495

Post by chuck j » Fri Oct 12, 2018 11:57 am

Zeke , Ed and her statred back for the cabin . She had tears running all the way there as Zeke and Ed rode on each side of her silent . It was a hard day seeing them leave . Zeke helped her out of the cart and carried Nate in to his pallet as Ed lead the horses to the pen to unsaddle them and put them on grass . Zeke unharnessed the black mule and put him on grass . As Ed and Zeke walked back Ed said ...Should we go in and sit with her Zeke ? Zeke said ...No . She needs to grieve at them leaving . Let her cry and get it out . We are close and she knows we are here , give her some time .


Don rode in a few hours later and reported that they had the cows headed south on the prairie to Eliasville . They all looked at the several logs still left on the ground behind the shed to figure building and doing more logging on the river downstream .

She went in the cabin as Zeke and Ed put the stock on grass . She took off her jewelry and good clothes , she would wash them later . She put on her old patched green dress she had sewn patches over the bullet holes on the side and dropped her old bonnet on her back . There was dumplings and cornbread left for lunch . She sat and cried a long time then got up and fetched her pen , ink and paper . She wiped her eyes with a damp cloth and started writing ;

To Captain Jack Coffee's family

Jack has just left us here on the Brazos river , I send this letter to you as a testimonial of your husband and father . I will tell of the blessing he was to all I love here . He and Sam Wallace have started home and they are so glad to be heading to you . I will tell of their time with us , he is an amazing man . I have worked with him , laughed with him , prayed with him and fought with him . I certainly hope to meet you all in the future somehow if GOD will help me . Below is his story here , thank you for letting us know him .


Captain Jack and Sam rode in one day looking for two outlaws …

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