I am home again after a busy time of being gone. For those of you who are wondering when Mom and I actually left last week, it wasn't until Friday about 1:30. We got to Grandma and Grandpa's just before supper. Saturday was very busy. In the morning Mom and I went to three used book stores.:) (Did I ever say we like books?) Then in the afternoon, I helped paint my aunt's bedroom. I also managed to get in some games of ping-pong.
And then it was the conference in St. Charles. That was fun. But it is nice to be home again. And since I have things to do now, I'll just post the Western and get on with things. Hope you enjoy it.
“Ty?” Sally laid a gentle hand on his arm, but received no response. It was as though Ty was no longer there. His eyes were vacant and his hands limp as they rested on his knees.
The sound of a horse riding up caused the woman of the house to hurry to the door, fling it open and rush out to greet the rider. It was all so like the greetings Ellen used to give Jake that Carson had to brush back the sudden rush of tears and clear his throat several times.
Pausing before his unexpected guests, the rider held out his hand in friendly greeting. “Bob Carson? After all these years!”
Carson grasped the offered hand but looked puzzled.
The man grinned. “You don’t remember Tom Jakobus? Only it was Tommy back then.”
“Tommy?” Carson stared a moment and then a smile broke across his face. “How could I forget ya when ya was the most troublesome, mischievous youngun I ever laid eyes on!”
The man’s hearty laugh filled the cabin. “I hope I’ve grown out of that.”
“He has indeed,” the woman added while stirring a pot over the fire. “Else I wouldn’t have up and married him.”
After a little more laughing, Carson introduced Sally and tried to rouse Ty, but in vain. “I reckon I’ll have ta jest drag him out an’ toss him on his horse.”
“Why don’t the three of you jest bed down here the night?” Tom invited. “The cabin ain’t large, but I reckon with the loft, it’ll do. ‘Sides, I’m wantin’ ta hear what brings ya back ta these here parts.”
It didn’t take much persuasion for Carson and Sally to accept. Sally for the sake of not remounting her horse again that night, and Carson to catch up on things. The two men, talking incessantly, strode out to take care of the horses, leaving Sally to assist Mrs. Jakobus in getting the meal ready.
For a long time the fire burned that night in the little cabin. Carson told their story once again, and Tom listened in silence as his wife had done earlier. For several minutes after Carson had ended, no one spoke.
Then in a voice like one just awakened from a deep sleep, Ty spoke. “If we jest had a clue ta where she is, I’d go anywhere ta find her. If we even knew the family’s name that took her it would help.”
“I don’t think I can help ya much with the name, but--” Tom paused in thought and every eye turned and fastened on him. “I recall hearin’ that they all was headin’ up ta the Nebraska Territory. I reckon that’ll be a right long trip even if’n ya don’t take wagons an’ such.”
Ty nodded. “I’ll say it’d be quite the ride.”
“Ya aim ta try fer it?”
Ty and Carson exchanged glances. Was this really a clue or would it just lead them out of the way? It was just one man’s word about something that had happened a dozen years before. Perhaps they could find out some more information from town.
Almost as though he could read their thoughts, Tom said quietly, “If’n I was in yer shoes, like as not I’d ride inta town first thing an’ ask ‘round. Sure there’s got ta be some one who knows somethin’.”
Carson nodded in agreement as Ty replied, “We’ll do that.” Then noting the look on Sally’s face he added, “Would ya be agreeable to us leavin’ Sally here while we ask ‘round? I reckon she could do with a day out a the saddle.”
“Why of course she can stay! I wouldn’t think of sendin’ her off jest to ask questions. It ain’t every day I get company back here and I don’t aim to part with it easily.” Mrs. Jakobus’ warm smile made Sally feel right at home, almost as though they had known each other for years.
It was early the next morning, not long after dawn, when the three men, Carson, Ty and Tom rode out of the yard toward town. In and out of the woods the trail wound its way eastward. Now the pale blue of the clear sky was above them, now the branches of the trees with tiny green leaves giving an almost moss like look to their dark bark shaded them. Merry little birds sang and warbled madly. There were so many of them that an individual bird was hard to identify from his song.
Carson gave a low whistle as the town suddenly sprang up before them as they crested a rise.
“Quite up an’ comin’ ain’t it?” Tom grinned.
“This ain’t a town, this here's a city!”
Ty grunted in agreement as they started down the main street.
It was still early and not many people were astir.
An older, grizzled man walking with a decided limp paused and nodded to the trio. “Howdy, Tom.”
“Howdy, Mr. Dunley. You remember Bob Carson?” He nodded toward his companion.
“Bob Carson? Course I do, but that ain’t, . . . why I’ll be a linxed faced coyote, if that ain’t my old friend Bob!”
Carson dismounted and eagerly greeted his old friend. Ty was introduced and the reason for their unexpected return recounted briefly.
“Wal, I don’t reckon I ken give ya much help. I always heard it tell they lighted out fer--” he scratched his chin and frowned. “Wal, I’m a thinkin’ it might a been Fort Laramie though I ain’t sarten.”
“That’d be Nebraska Territory,” Ty remarked.
Carson nodded, and after a few more minutes of talk, the trio said good bye and moved on.
The streets were growing more crowded and the noise of a saloon broke rakishly upon the still morning air as the door was opened. A voice sounded.
“I tell ya we’ll catch an’ string him up. Don’t care how long he tries ta hide!”
Ty had his gun in his hand as he gasped out, “Who is that?”