Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Our House Guest

I went into the house as quietly as I could, expecting that Avery would be resting on the little bed in the corner. He was not there. I saw Benjamin was sleeping soundly in his daybed. Where did Avery go? I was still shaking from my encounter with this intruder. Avery's brother! How could that be? It couldn't be. I have been with his whole family many, many times and I have never heard anyone speak of a missing brother. You would think they would mention him from time to time if he wasn't present. Wouldn't Avery have told me about his older brother if he had one? No, this guy is trying to trick me.

I picked up the rifle to make sure it was ready if I needed to use it. All of a sudden I heard a sound, a creak on the cellar stair! I jumped up and cocked the rifle, when the cellar door opened, I had my gun aimed on it. When the door opened, there was Avery! With his arms full of winter squash, "Rachel! What are you doing?"

I put the rifle down and said, "I thought I heard someone downstairs."

Avery looked down at the rifle, "That is the rifle that we keep in the barn. Why is it in the house? Is there something you aren't telling me?" He set the vegetables down on the counter and looked at me, "Come on Rachel, tell me what's going on. I am not an invalid here."

From the look on his face I knew I had to tell him about this bum. "Avery, I did not want to worry you. Please sit down and I will tell you what is wrong."

He sat down on the bench near the door, "Okay, I am sitting down."

"When I went out to the barn this morning, Peanut led me to the wagon on the path where I had those men put it that brought you home. There was a bum sleeping in it. I went back to the barn and got this gun because I thought he might be one of those outlaws' friends who have come for you with revenge on his mind."

"So who was this bum? Was he still there when you got back? Was he looking for me or just a bite to eat?"

"Yes, he was still there and woke up when he heard Peanut growl. He says for me to tell you that he is your brother. Your older brother, Jacob Longworth. " I looked at Avery to see what his reaction might be to that news. He looked up sharply when I said that, "I told him you did not have an older brother and especially one that I did not know or you would have told me before this." I looked at him sternly, waiting to see what he'd say. I now had the feeling that this bum was telling the truth, that he was in fact, Avery's brother. But how could that be? "He slept in our barn. Took our apples to eat and was looking at the horses. Maybe he is one of those horse thieving Loomises."

Avery stood up, "Is he still down there?" I nodded. He said, "I will go talk to him. You stay here."

I jumped up, "No, I am going with you. You are injured. I need to go with you."

Avery shook his head, "No Rachel, you stay here with Benjamin. I will go alone." He walked to the door while putting his coat on.

I was scared and handed him the rifle, "You better take this."

Avery shook his head, "I won't be needing that." and he walked out the door. I watched him head down the path. He didn't look like he had been injured now. He looked like he was eager to meet up with his so called brother. I didn't know what to think. What if that bum was really his brother? A Longworth? He didn't look like one of them and I can't believe no one ever mentioned him before. If Avery was in such a hurry to get down there to talk to him, he must be his brother. Jacob.

I checked on Benjamin and put some wood on the fire. Better start preparing something besides stew, as it looks like we will be having a guest for supper.

Copyright © 2010  Kathleen G. Lupole
Updated 2016

Saturday, August 28, 2010

An Encounter

I have been doing most of the chores for awhile Avery is recovering from his ordeal. In some ways it has been good for us. Not that he was missing, assaulted and hurt. Now that he is recovering and has to stay inside most of the time taking it easy, he is getting to know his son. When I go out to the barn in the morning he is caring for Benjamin. They are getting closer. I can see Benjamin look for him when I am bathing him. This way I can take my time out in the barn. It is too cold to take Benjamin out there with me.

This morning Peanut came running to me excited about something. He wanted to show me something. So I followed him down the path. There was a man sleeping in the freight wagon! He was dressed a little shabby and had an untrimmed beard. What should I do? I could not go tell Avery because he could not walk out here right now. Who is he? Could he possibly be one of those outlaws' family or friends coming for revenge on Avery?  I motioned to Peanut to be quiet and I backed up to the barn. There is a loaded rifle in there, so I grabbed it and cocked it and slowly walked back down the path to the wagon and the sleeping guest. He stirred a little and I could see he looked a little older than Avery.

I pointed the rifle at him, and Peanut started growling. He awoke with a start, "What the............Hey lady, be careful where you point that thing!" He sat up and I kept the gun right on him. He rubbed his eyes, "Who are you missy?"

I said, "I should be asking you that question. This is my house and you are sleeping in my wagon."

"Well, I'll be......you mean my little brother went and married a beauty like yourself?"

I thought I heard him wrong, "What do you mean? Little brother? My husband does not have an older brother. You better tell me who you are before I pull this trigger. I am a crack shot. I grew up shooting squirrels." I kept my finger on the trigger in case he tried to come at me.

"Go get your husband. Ask him if he has a brother named Jacob Longworth. He will tell you. I'll wait here."

"Mister, you are loony if you think I will fall for that and leave you here while I go to my husband."

"Then how do I know his name is Avery Longworth?"

"Anyone would know our names. Especially if they were coming to rob us." I held the gun steady with a good grip, but hoping I would not have to shoot this man.

"I will just sit back down here and wait. What have you got to lose?" With that he sat back down on the wagon seat. "By the way, Missy, what is your name?"

"It is not Missy." I was undecided what to do. I knew I did not want Avery to try to come out here in the cold. Not in his present condition. If he knew someone was out here, he might try to. It could be a trap to get him to come out.

"Just go ask lil' Av, if he has an older brother. He will tell you."

"Okay, but if you leave I will ride to the sheriff and report you for trying to rob us."

He laughed, "Okay Missy, you do that." He sat back down and picked up an apple that he had in his pocket and shined it and took a bite.

"Where did you get that?" I asked suspiciously.

"You've got a big barrel of them in the barn. Mighty good too. Nice horses you're keeping in there. Are they boarded?"

"You were in my barn? How dare you! You stole our apples!"

"Oh stop fuming Missy. I only took a couple. I had to sleep somewhere. Mighty cold out here."

"None of your business about our horses. You stay there and I'll see what my husband has to say." I turned on my heel and walked up the path back to the house with Peanut at my side.

Copyright © 2010  Kathleen G. Lupole
Updated 2016

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Recovering From His Accident

Avery and I have been together ever since he was brought home seven days ago. I hardly dare to leave him. When he falls asleep, I go outside to do some chores. Clean the chicken coop, clean the horses' stalls, feed them all, carry in some water, then some firewood. Then when I get back inside, usually Benjamin is fussing a little in his bed. I get him up and change him, feed and then heat water for his bath. When all that is done, I start thinking about what to prepare for our food. I have been making soups and stews so it is easier for Avery to eat. Right now I just put the broth in his dish and spoon feed him. He does not like this at all. I can tell it bothers him that I am feeding him, but he can't hold the spoon or a cup. This is what has to be done, and he better get used to until he gets better.

Ruth stopped in this morning. She was anxious about Avery's condition. I told her he doesn't want to see anyone and he is really in bad shape. She left me some oranges she had brought in for her restaurant in the hotel. I know they cost her a lot of money but she would not take anything for it. It is her way to do something for Avery. I will make him some orange juice today and see if that will help. We sat in the kitchen and she held Benjamin. He was happy and smiling and made us both laugh and forget our problems for awhile.

After she left I made some vanilla pudding for a surprise for Avery. Maybe something sweet will taste good to him and it is full of fresh eggs and milk. Avery woke up and sat up for awhile and sat with him and just talked told him what was going on while he was gone. He seemed very distant to me. Not like his old self. I brought Benjamin in and thought he would cheer him up, but Avery seemed more troubled. I know he is always used to being in control and this whole thing has been hard for him to accept.

I put Benjamin down for the night and went to sit by Avery, I thought he was asleep, but he was awake. I said, "Avery, I know this is a hard thing you have gone through. I know you are still in pain, but you are healing. Is there anything more I can do for you?"

He looked at me very seriously and studied me for a minute, "Rachel, I feel I have let you down. I let Hank Garrison  down when I lost his load of goods. I have let my son, Benjamin down."

"Avery Longworth! Don't you ever say that again!" I was angry and I knew my eyes were blazing, "You have never let us or anyone else down in your life. One man cannot take on a whole band of outlaws. Yes, they got the freight but you got the horses and wagon back, did you not?"

"Yes, but I still lost the freight. I figure I will have to swallow that loss and give him his money back. It is just not right for him to pay for something he did not receive. He paid me in advance you know."

"Are you worried about the money? I did not touch it while you were gone."

"I know. But we could have used that money. I wanted to do some things around here to make it nice and homey for you. You deserve a nice house, Rachel."

"I have a nice house. I do not need things bought for me. All I want is my husband to get well and back to normal. I really don't want my husband leaving home and being gone for so long."

"Well, you know I have to earn a living. That is why we have a big house and a big barn and first class horses. I have never wanted to be scrounging for food and other expenses."

"Avery, you are only one man. You cannot do it all. For now you have two other drivers. While you are recovering how about hiring another driver to take over for you? I can send a note to Mr. Garrison to tell him we will return the money."

"I think we could hire another driver. You wouldn't mind helping me with this?"

I laughed out loud, "Avery, you know I don't! You know me better than that. I will take care of this. I think I know someone who might like that job."

Avery laid back down, but grabbed a hold of my skirt as I walked by, "Come here, I have missed you."

"Avery! You are recovering and I might hurt you," I said, but was secretly pleased that he seemed interested in me so soon. I had missed his touch.

"No Rachel, I just want you to lay down next to me. Just to feel you close to me will make me feel better."

I smiled at him and thought to myself, "this is my Avery. I do believe he will recover from this even though it is a painful recovery." I had an idea though that this job might be just the thing for my brother, Kenneth, who seems to be getting bored with our family farm. Last time he was here he told me there was a girl he was interested in. Maybe a job like this would help him out and help us out. Avery can run the freight lines from home but pay the drivers to deliver the goods. Yes, I can help him out with this.

Copyright © 2010  Kathleen G. Lupole
Updated 2016

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Back Home At Last

Avery was brought home by two men driving a large wagon. One man drove our freight wagon pulled by our horses. The other man drove Avery who was too weak and beaten up to drive. A doctor had bandaged him all up. I caught myself from showing how I felt when they pulled up. Nobody had told me he was in such bad shape. He had been beaten up very badly, and had been stabbed with a knife by one of the men who robbed him. He smiled faintly at me, "Oh my, Rachel honey, you are the best thing I have seen since I left here!" He tried to get up out of the wagon but fell over.

I ran to the wagon, "Avery, you are hurt," I felt his pain as I saw it on his face. He tried to smile again, but I could see he was in worse shape than I imagined. The man who was driving his wagon came over, and helped the other one support Avery, to get him out of the wagon. I led the way up the front steps, "Bring him here," I opened the door and led them into the front room.

They put him down on the small bed that is in the corner of the room. It was the bed Avery used before we got married. I looked at him and saw his eyes were closed, his face was swollen and purple in some spots. I turned my attention to the men, "Thank you for bringing my husband home to me. I didn't know what to expect just that he was on his way home. The letter I received didn't say anything about him being injured."

One of the men spoke up, "Mrs. Longworth, you are lucky to see your husband alive. He was beaten up and left for dead. His freight was stolen and so was his wagon and horses."

"Do you know what happened? How did you get his horses and wagon back?" I motioned to the chairs at the table in the kitchen, "Would you care for some coffee and a bite to eat? I've got a venison stew on the stove right now."

The other man perked right up, "Why yes ma'am, Mrs. Longworth! I could go for some coffee. And the venison stew sounds right good, about now. I'm starving!"

After they had finished consuming two dishes of vension stew and numerous cups of coffee, Al Brite, the man who was so hungry said, "Mrs. Longworth, if your husband here hadn't been found by some Indians I don't think he would have made it."

"Indians! What do you mean?" I turned my full attention on Mr. Al Brite.

The other man, Gordon Gleason answered for him, "Mrs. Longworth, your husband was beaten so badly, I believe those outlaws thought he was dead for sure. If some Indians hadn't come along and found him, he would have never made it. They took him to their camp and nursed him, and when he finally came to, they fed him."

"Avery owes his life to Indians?" I asked.

"Yes, ma'am. Then when he was strong enough, he and Many Hunts, the Indian who saved him, went looking for those outlaws."

"Went looking for them? Like that?" I motioned toward Avery on the bed who appeared to be sleeping soundly. He didn't appear to me to be able to go looking for anyone in that shape.

"Well, he wasn't quite so bad off then. When they met up with the outlaws, he again got another beating. Many Hunts was able to overcome them, and those outlaws will not be attacking anyone ever again."

"Many Hunts killed them?"

"Him and your husband killed every one of them."

"I need to get a doctor out here for my husband. When you go through town, could you stop at the hotel and ask for Ruth. Tell her what has happened and that we need a doctor out here as soon as possible. She'll know what to do."

"Why certainly Mrs. Longworth. We'd be glad to do it for you."

"Do I owe you any money for bringing my husband home?"

"No ma'am. The sheriff paid us in advance for it. I would love it if you would wrap up some of them biscuits you had left over there, to eat later on the trail." Al replied.

"Certainly! I'll wrap up some cheese, jerky and some sugar maple cookies too." I turned to the biscuits and started wrapping them up.

Later, after the doctor had been here and had examined Avery, he said he'd heal, but it'd take some time. I sat holding Benjamin on my lap and watching Avery sleep. He had awoken for a brief time, and I fed him some stew broth with a spoon. He hardly spoke, but I could see his love for us in his eyes. He could barely move without moaning in pain. He had to get up to go relieve himself and that was an ordeal in itself. Now he was back sleeping, and Benjamin had woke up hungry, so I fed him. He was falling asleep.

I should be tired but I could not sleep. I could only look at Avery laying there. My husband. The man I loved with all my heart, and I almost lost him. I prayed to the Lord, "Oh Lord, thank you for bringing my husband back to me. Please protect the man who saved him, Many Hunts, an Indian. I don't really know many Indians, but this one saved Avery so please protect him and his family. Please help me to take care of  Avery and get through this. I know he is in so much pain. Please heal him and make him well soon. In Jesus's Name, I ask you to hear my prayer. Amen.

After I came in from checking on the horses and locking up the barn, I put some more wood on the fire, and moved some cushions on the floor next to Avery's bed. I grabbed a quilt from the cabinet and laid down on the cushions. I would sleep next to Avery right here. That way I could keep an eye on him and keep the fire going all night. Benjamin was in his daybed and Peanut was on the rug. My family was safe for the night.

 Copyright © 2010  Kathleen G. Lupole
Updated 2016

Friday, August 6, 2010

Finally - Good News!

Today, I just about gave up hope. I was so tired of the waiting and not knowing. Then a man rode up here with a letter. He said it was very important and he'd wait for a reply if needed. It was from the marshal in Pennsylvania. It read:

Mrs. Longworth,

I have good news for you. Your husband has been located and accounted for. He has asked me to contact you and let you know that he is okay and will be making the return trip home immediately.


Marshal Mark Johnston

He is coming home! He is alive! I started jumping up and down. The man stood there waiting. I said, "I am sorry, I didn't catch your name?"

He replied, "Max. Max Smith."

"Well, Max Smith, there won't be any reply. My husband is coming home! He is okay."

"That's good news, Mrs. Longworth. The whole town has been worried. Talked about sending a posse after him. Everyone around here likes Mr. Longworth."

Yes, no need for a posse now. Max, are you hungry? I've got a pan of ham and eggs waiting to be eaten. My brother was supposed to come and never showed up. My sister, Esther is in the house and finishing our breakfast. Would you like to join us?"

"No thanks, ma'm. I've got to get back. Good news on your husband's return," and with that he swung up on his horse and took off.

I hurried inside to tell my sister. She'd be be happy to hear the good news. So would Benjamin. I ran up the stairs and Esther looked up to see what was my hurry. She looked at my face and could tell I had good news, "What is it Rachel? What have you heard?"

"All I know is this," I handed it to Esther and she read it. I looked over at Benjamin who was just waking up, "Benjamin, your Daddy is coming home........soon!" I smiled as I got my plate of food and moved my chair closer to his daybed.

"I would not want to be married to a man who is in danger all the time like Avery is." Esther said as she filled her dish.

"Well, you won't be. From what I understand you are marrying a lawyer. Nice and safe." I smiled, not sure of how Esther felt on her upcoming marriage.

She stuck her tongue out at me then said, "Who says I have to marry him?"

"You don't want to get married? You always said you did."

"To Will Delaney? He is a book worm. Don't you remember him?"

"I barely remember him. He was older than us. Like Avery. Besides being a book worm has led to him becoming a lawyer. He'll probably support you pretty good Esther."

"He's a law clerk, not a lawyer. It's not like he is a man like Avery. I'll be stuck living in town the rest of my life."

"Esther, it might not be that bad living in town. It's just that we never have, so we don't think we'd like it. But Avery's family lives in Norwich. Right in town. His sister Margaret lives in town and she loves it. My friend Ruth lives in town and seems quite happy there."

"Maybe. I am scared of marrying him. Scared of what to say to him. I mean what do you say to a lawyer?" She looked over at Benjamin and smiled, "Then I look at Benjamin and think, Lord, I could have a baby of my own just like him next year."

"That's right. I was scared to marry Avery too. Really scared that first night after the wedding. I was scared of being alone with him. Now, I love our time alone. Like Mother and Father are. Just wait and you'll see," that made me think again of Avery. He is not dead and he is on his way home to me and Benjamin. Thank you Lord, I thought silently.

Copyright © 2010  Kathleen G. Lupole
Updated 2016

Monday, August 2, 2010

Waiting For News

Avery's parents came here today. They are beside themselves with worry. His father, Mr. Longworth wants to ride to that area himself. His mother wants him to wait till we hear something more, then get together a posse to go look for him. Mrs. Longworth held Benjamin after I finished feeding him. She said he looks exactly like Avery did as an infant. He fell asleep in her arms and she didn't want me to take him. I felt I had to be strong for them. I told them that Avery will be home. I feel it. I feel that he is alive and will be coming back to us soon.

About an hour after they left, my parents arrived. They were upset and rushed into my arms. Esther was with them. She said, "I brought my clothes I am staying here with you until Avery is back."

Mother nodded, "Rachel, don't argue. Esther is staying because I won't have you here alone. Or else I will stay with you myself."

Father held me close to him, "Any word at all honey?"

"Avery's parents were just here. Mr. Longworth wants to get together a posse if the marshal doesn't find him."

"Oh, that will take too long. Have you heard from the marshal?"

"Not yet. Father, I am scared. I really love Avery. I know I was not crazy about getting married when you sprung this marriage on me. But..........I have fallen in love with him. I can't lose him now," I burst into tears and he held me for a few minutes till I stopped.

Mother spoke up, still holding Benjamin, "Rachel, we have to think positive. If you think he has had harm come to him, then he may. If you keep believing that he is safe and was able to get away from anyone attacking him, then that is what will be. Remember it is your faith, and what you believe, is what will be."

I nodded and wiped my tears away, "I was trying to think that Mother. It is hard though with no word." I went to her and took Benjamin out of her arms and laid him down in his daybed, "How about some food? I have plenty of that and can't eat it all myself. Father? Esther, come help me." I felt better taking charge of myself and my house.

Later after Mother and Father had left, Esther and I sat in the kitchen drinking tea and eating cookies that Mother had brought for me. We were talking about things we had done as children and memories we had. Then Esther remember something I hadn't thought of in years, "Rachel, remember the time Grandfather was missing? He was gone for over two months?"

"Yes, he had gone to pick up some tools he had made special and it was on the other side of the state." I continued, "His horse came home without him....."

Esther interrupted me, "Everyone thought for sure he was dead and we would never see him again. Then a week or so after his horse came home he just walked into the house like it was any other day!"

I finished the story for her excitedly, remembering that time when we were all mourning for our grandfather. He could be gruff with everyone, but would sneak me a piece of peppermint candy when nobody was looking, "He had hit his head on a rock when his horse had gotten spooked and threw him off. When he awoke he just turned around and walked toward home. Took him weeks. Never asked for help from anyone."

I said to myself a little prayer and asked the Lord to tell my Grandfather thank you for reminding me of that incident. I was able to sleep for the first time since Avery was missing that night, quite soundly.

Copyright © 2010  Kathleen G. Lupole
Updated 2016