Sunday, July 22, 2012

Waiting For Avery Again

I have been doing all the chores but not worrying about the freight office. With two babies here at home, I cannot take them down there and leave the house empty. Here at least, I feel safe. Some other men in town went with William. Taking a woman against her will, even if it is her husband's doing is not thought of as being right around here. I wish I'd hear something from Avery. At least to know that he is well and on his way home. Right now, I really need him.

Today I heard hooves coming up the road at a fast clip. I said a prayer that it would be Avery, but I knew it wasn't. He'd be driving our freight wagon home and would not be riding a single horse fast. That is unless something happened to the wagon and team and I'd hate to think of that happening. It turned out to be Mr. Masters the man at the telegraph office. He brought me a wire from Avery! Oh boy, I was so excited that I almost forgot to offer Mr. Masters something to eat and drink. He took a hand full of my sugar cookies and drank down a large glass of lemonade I had just made. He had to get back to the telegraph office and had no time to loiter.

As soon as he left, I ripped open the telegraph message. It read:

"Rachel, detained. On trip home now. Arrive in 3 days. Avery"

I jumped up and down! I grabbed Benjamin and sang, "Your Daddy is coming home! Your Daddy is coming home!" He smiled and giggled at his mommy's silliness.

I quickly put my apron back on and hauled out the flour, "Time to make some bread! Avery will be starving for some of my home cooking when he gets home."

Benjamin was still smiling at me. I looked at him and thought with all the things going on around here, he probably could feel how stressed I had been. First Avery had gone on this long trip and then Lola was kidnapped and William leaving to go look for her. Avery had counted on Lola and William being here to help me but now it was all on me. That has caused me to neglect the children as far as enjoying them and doing things together. Now Avery is coming home! 3 days!

Later that evening, I was out in the barn securing the doors. I had brought in all the horses since Lola had been missing. With just me here, I had to be extra careful. That Loomis gang knows where all the good horses are around here. Better be safe than sorry as Father always says.

Copyright © 2012 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2012 Kathleen G. Lupole
Updated 2016

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Lola Is Kidnapped

I worked on fixing one of the posts in my vegetable garden that had been pushed over by someone or something. I hoped it was a wild something and not a human something. Someone might have wandered this way, looking for a bite to eat out of a garden near a house. I hoped it was just that and not a man hiding out here looking for his wife. I don't know when Avery will be back, but I am hoping it will be soon.

It wasn't long before William had come riding up on the horse he had bought from Avery for his own. I looked up and saw he looked like something was wrong. I quickly put my hammer down, and ran out the gate to where he was dismounting.

"What is wrong William?"

"He's got her!"

"Who? Got who?"

"Lola! She is gone! I knew he'd get her!"

"What happened? I thought Lola was with you."

"She was. I went to the blacksmith to bring back the horses that he had shoed. She was in the office when I left. When I got back, the furniture was overturned and my gun was gone. So was Lola! I saw blood on the floor and don't rightly know what happened."

"Are you sure it was her husband?"

"Yes, Tad Arnold was across the gully near the barn and he said he saw a man who matched her husband's description. I am sure it was Addison. Who else would be after Lola? Fighting to get her?" He tied his horse to the hitching post, and headed toward the house.

"Where are you going?"

"I am going to get my other gun. I intend to kill Clint Addison this time when I catch him."

"Wait William! Did you notify the marshal?"

"He's nowhere to be seen, as usual. I can handle this better than that no good drunkard."

I followed William into the house. He went upstairs and I put together a bag of food for him to carry with him. I knew this is what Avery would do in his place. If Avery was here, he'd be going with him.

After William was gone, I sat in the chair on the porch holding Samuel thinking about Lola. She lived a whole different life before she came here. I tried to imagine her married to this man I pictured in my mind. A  man who treated her like a whore and servant. Poor Lola. Then to have a man such as William, to completely love her and treat her like a queen. Now he was risking his life to save her's.

I picked up Samuel and headed inside after hearing Benjamin waking up from his nap. I better get the children tended to, and start some supper in case William came back with Lola in a few hours. Or in case Avery came home early. I had to keep busy or I'd go crazy with worry.

"Please God, protect my loved ones tonight. Please do not let this man hurt Lola or William. Bring them back safely. And of course, Lord, please keep my husband safe and in your sight at all times. In Jesus's name, I ask it all. Amen."

Copyright © 2012 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2012  Kathleen G. Lupole
Updated 2016

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Ruth's Dilemma

I started checking the orchard and around the barn with my gun every morning and William checked it every evening. The whole time he was down there, I was on pins and needles hoping nobody would get him and then come up here for us. Lola was scared, but didn't show it. She spent most of her time fussing over the children. Samuel was tiring me out. He cries and fusses often. Even after just nursing. I end up holding him on my lap and falling asleep in the chair with him. During the day, Lola does what she can for me. Since Samuel is still nursing I am the one who has to feed him. I can't wait for Avery to return home.

All of a sudden I heard hooves, and ran to the window knocking over a bucket of apples on my way to it. I looked out and saw Ruth dismounting her horse. I started picking up the apples as she came to the door. I opened it with a smile, but saw she was flustered and out of breath.

"What is it, Ruth? You rode here like the town is under siege!"

"It is, in a way," as she bent down to help me pick up the apples which had rolled all over the floor.

"Sit down, I'll get them. I spilled them by jumping up so quickly. I was hoping William was coming and jumped up to see if it was him I heard."

"Sorry to disappoint you," she replied, "but I had to talk to someone. And you are elected." Ruth laughed lightly, her old self again.

"What is it?" I asked, intrigued and welcoming something to take my mind off the matters around here and Lola's crazed husband.

"It's Mr. Bentley!" Ruth sat down in the chair and put her cup out as I poured some hot tea in it. "He is after me."

"You mean old Mr. Bentley? Your lawyer?" I smiled thinking of the old man I knew from around town. He seemed too old for such things.

"Yeah, you'd think so. Not at all. He wants me to marry him so I can keep running the hotel."

I knew Ruth's husband had died leaving the hotel and restaurant to her, but had to be under the guardianship of someone, a man, and had his lawyer agree to do it. He agreed to let her keep running it but he oversaw it since a woman could not run a business on her own. I took my cup of tea to the table and sat down, "What are you going to do?'

"Rachel, I don't know. I don't want to give up my home and business. I know people talk about me running a business. Being woman, and especially that type of business. But I like doing it."

"Ah, who cares what those old coots think? They are just jealous that you are making money and their husbands aren't," thinking about rumors I heard around town.

"I am trying to figure out what my next step is. I can't lose it. What can I do?"

She looked up me and it was the first time I ever saw Ruth show any type of fear. I sat there thinking, and all of a sudden I had an idea, "Ruth, I know! I know what you can do."

"What Rachel? I need to do something soon!"

"You need to get married."

"Married? That is what I am trying to avoid." She looked miserable again.

"No, marry someone with the understanding of you running the hotel. Like a partnership. Some marriages are like that anyhow."

"I don't know any man who would agree to that arrangement."

"Not yet. But we will find one." I knew there must be some man somewhere who would not mind a pretty wife and a thriving business to boot!

Copyright © 2012 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2012  Kathleen G. Lupole
Updated 2016

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Being Watched

Things have been hectic around here since our son, Samuel was born. Avery got an important contract and had to get back into driving the freight wagon to deliver the freight for his new client. Mr. Bernstein has been building hotels and stores across the country.William and Lola are still here, so William is running the freight office until Avery is back. It was a good thing they were still here, because it gave us this opportunity to make more money.

I was sitting here today having my raspberry leaf tea, watching Benjamin throw a ball for Peanut, when Lola came in. She has become more comfortable here, but at times is as jumpy as a cat. Today, she looked scared, "Rachel, I think he has found me!"

"Your husband?" I hadn't heard her mention him before. She never called him by name.

"Yes, I was out in the apple orchard and I heard something. I looked around and saw a movement in the bushes."

"Oh, that could have been a deer or a rabbit," I relaxed. I didn't want her husband coming here when we were alone.

"No, I know their sound. It was human steps. I went back to the barn and got the gun from the barn. When I went back he was gone."

"Maybe it was a bum looking for some work to do for food."

"Then why didn't he say something? I know it was him."

I didn't say anything back, but I was thinking of what we could do if he did show up. From what I understood, he could handle a gun a lot better than Lola or me. Just because William had beaten him one time, did not mean he was a weak man. William just got him in a weak moment, when he was beating Lola.

I got up, "Lola, you stay in the house with the children. I'll go take a look."

"Oh no Rachel! If harm came to you, your husband would never forgive me."

I went to the drawer in my table and took out my pistol. I checked that it was loaded. Lola raised her eyebrows, "No, don't go."

"I can use this as good as any man. Father taught all of us girls to shoot. And I mean REALLY shoot. If he is out there, I can protect myself."

I checked the whole area around the apple orchard and didn't find anything. What is that? I saw something. There were some footprints! A man with boots. So someone had been here, but there was no way to know if it was her husband for sure. It probably was though. Who else would be snooping around?  I'll tell William when he gets home from the freight office. Avery isn't expected for another week.

On my way past the barn, I checked the horses. Then locked the back entrance, just in case. Don't want to walk in here and have someone hiding on me. At least out front, I'd see him or Peanut would. I couldn't wait for William to get home. For now, I will keep an eye out.

Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole
 All Photographs Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole
Updated 2016

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Do I Want To Be Rich?

It has been two months since our second son, Samuel was born. He is a lot more demanding than Benjamin was and is. Benjamin is God's gift to me for a first child. He is sweet and loving and does what he is told. Even as an infant he was easy to care for. It is gardening season and I am out in the garden much of the time. When Lola offers to care for Samuel, I can take Benjamin out with me. He follows along with Peanut and me and helps in his own way.

Twice I have seen Ruth since she came here after Samuel was born, to tell me about a man looking for Lola. She said that man has been back twice to see if a woman had shown up. He told Mr. McCleary that the woman he was looking for might come to a hotel looking for work. Now it makes me wonder why he thinks she would go to a hotel to find a job. Even though we have become closer to William and Lola since the night they told us their real story. Lola still isn't that open to us. She talks about what is going around right now, with the children, with the animals, the garden, food. Not  a word about her past or about William and her.

I was out in the garden weeding when Avery came riding up. He was excited about something, "Rachel, I've just got the biggest contract of my life!"

I wiped my hands on my apron to get the dirt off them, "What are you talking about?"

"Mr. Bernstein, the man I told you about. The one who is opening a line of hotels with stores along the trail out to the plains."

"Yes, what about him?"

"He hired me to deliver the freight to the hotels and stores. It is a big contract and will make us rich!"

"Rich? " I paused, I realized Avery was thrilled about this contract and I should be too. But what did it mean? Did it mean that Avery had to go back to driving the freight wagons again because we only have three drivers? If so, it would be difficult for me to accept it on the basis of making us rich. I feel as if I am rich already.

"Well Rachel? What do you think?" He grabbed a hold of me and lifted me off my feet and swirled me around. I couldn't help but laugh as he was in such a mood. "I'll be able to finish this house for you and you can decorate it however you want."

"Avery, I like it fine the way it is."

"Woman, you need a house to suit you. You are a very beautiful woman and you need a beautiful house. And we will fill it with more young'uns."

I had to laugh in spite of myself. I got caught up in Avery's mood. In my mind, I was already rich being married to man I loved with my whole heart. To have my two sons who are healthy and happy. My life is certainly turning out to be blessed with good fortune.

Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole

Updated  2016

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Samuel Martin Longworth's Appearance

My second child,  Samuel Martin Longworth, came into the world crying and screaming. He gave me a fright. Avery was scared that I would not survive, but Lola assisted Amanda and seemed to know exactly what to do to help. Amanda was praying while Lola handled it and saved both my life and our son's. I will always be indebted to her.

I didn't remember any of it. Probably because I passed out. Not that I can't stand the pain, I am not a sissy by any means. This was not in my hands. God decided I needed to sleep through it and put me to sleep so my baby could come into the world. He is not an unusual baby of any sort. Not too big or too small. Just has a set of lungs on him.When he cries, I know it. Matter of fact, everybody knows it.

Ruth drove her buggy out to see me this morning. She seemed a little nervous, until Lola had brought us tea up in my room. I was still recovering from childbirth and Lola was taking care of me. She would not let me do a thing and for awhile I let her run things. Lola actually was doing a fine job. Caring for Benjamin and doing my chores. I'll be back at them before long. Laying around in bed is not something I could do for very long.

As soon as Lola left, Ruth turned to me, "Rachel, somebody is looking for Lola."

"What do you mean? Who?"

"A man rode in on a horse last night and asked Mr. McCleary if we had any guests in the hotel. Mr. McCleary asked why he wanted to know and who he was looking for."

"What did he say?"

"He said a woman and described Lola. Said she may be with a man. Though he wasn't sure about that fact."

"What did Mr. McCleary tell him?"

"He told him there were no women guests in the hotel. That there hadn't been any in quite some time. Said the guests were usually business men."

"Did he believe him?"

"Well, it is the truth. So yes, I think he did."

"What did he look like?"

"Older, fancy horse and saddle."

"Sounds like her husband. Thank you for telling me this. Don't mention it in front of her. I will tell Avery and he can tell William. You are the only one who knows their story. So far, our families just think we are helping them out. Which we are."

"Now show me that new baby," she motioned with her head toward the cradle.

I smiled, "this is Samuel Martin Longworth and I must warn you, he has a mighty set of lungs!"

Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole

Updated 2016

Monday, February 21, 2011

Getting Ready For Our Second Baby

I started having labor pains in the early morning hours. Avery went to get Amanda Stewart. She delivered Benjamin and now would be delivering our second child. I kept praying everything would go well with this baby just like it did when Benjamin was born. I have been very careful with everything I did so as not to cause any problems with the baby.

Lola came in carrying a cup of tea, "Drink this, it will settle you down." I took it from her and noted that she seemed more relaxed and friendly around me now. Ever since her and William told us the truth about their situation. William had moved his things into the bedroom across the hall from her room. He didn't have to sleep on the floor anymore.

"Thanks." I took a sip.

"Rachel, I am sorry to have caused you so much worry."

"Don't worry about it. Things are fine now. I understand why you felt that you couldn't trust me."

"I was scared."

"Now you aren't?"

"A little but not as much. Before I was afraid of you and Avery finding out."

I let out a yell, "Ooooh, do you think Avery is back with Amanda yet?"

"I'll go look." she hurried out the door.

The pains were coming more regular now. I knew Amanda would be here soon and she'd take over. I had sent a message to her yesterday with a passerby telling her I'd be needing her in the next couple of days. I could just tell. Not that I am that experienced having had only one baby so far. I knew this one was going to be here soon.

I heard footsteps, but knew they were not Lola's, they were Avery's. He came in and said, "How are doing? Pains coming faster?"

"Yes, they are. Is Amanda coming?"

"She is on her way. Following in her wagon. I rode on ahead to get back here in case you needed me."

I could see the worry in his face I reached my hand out to him, "Hey Mr. Longworth, we are having our second child here today. What do you think? Will it be another son? Or our first daughter?"

He took my hand and knelt down by the bed, "I feel a need to ask the Lord to get us through this day."

I nodded, "Go ahead. I'll try to be quiet."

He bent his head, "Lord, Rachel and I are having our second child today. Please make it a safe and easy birth. Lord, you helped me find Rachel to be my wife and mother to my children. I am very happy with that choice. Please keep her well, and our new baby too. It doesn't matter to me if it is a son or a daughter. Just as long as it is healthy, and the birth is easy for my wife. Please Lord, I could not bear my life if anything happens to Rachel. In Jesus's name I ask it. Amen."

As he bent his head, I saw a tear in his eye. "Avery, I will be fine. My mother had all of her children with nothing ever going wrong. God is with me and our child."

"I just worry about you that is all."

"Go see if Amanda is here yet. If she is tell her to come right up. If Lola hasn't already heated water, tell her to do so now."

Avery smiled, "Lola has it boiling. Cloths are ready too.I'll go check on Amanda. She should be here by now."

He left the room as I had another stabbing labor pain. I made myself be quiet and not cry out. This baby is going to be a easy birth like Benjamin was and will be healthy too. I know it will be so.

Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole
Updated 2016