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Showing content with the highest reputation on 06/30/2019 in all areas

  1. 3 points
    I reckon had I taken everyone up on every last offer, I would have personally run the saloon dry. I took the first shot of Old Crud Cutter that was pressed on me, and I hoisted it and raised my voice. "Friends, kindred and breathren!" I declared. "Here's to wives and lovers, and may they never meet!" This was met with good-natured laughter and I waited til that died down a little. "Now fellas, it's not well known but I am a drinkin' man." I reckon the grin on my face and my tone of voice said otherwise, least that was the understanding I read on their faces. "Every year, on my birthday, I will take one shot of the meanest, nastiest, straight out of the still raw whiskey and it goes down as smooth as a wood rasp or a lit kerosene lamp" -- this got more laughter -- "and it reminds me yet again why I only drink once a year!" I looked at the distilled sledge hammer shining in that facet-bottom glass and said "I reckon I'll make an exception!" There were good-natured yells of approval as I downed that shot of top shelf bourbon -- I've no idea where they got it, but by golly now that was genuine sippin' likker -- and I had to decline with a smile the many offers for a refill. The menfolk pressed hard about, pesterin' me to know more about my beautiful bride and finally I had to raise both hands and yell "NOW HOLD ON, FELLAS! I CAIN'T YEAR YOU, YE'RE ALL YELLIN' TOO LOUD!" -- which had the desired effect -- if you can't dazzle 'em with education, baffle 'em with your bull -- and when they realized I was coming at the answer kind of backwards, why, they hushed and I pulled two chairs together and stood up so everyone could hear me. Almost had to duck, the ceiling wasn't all that high, but I managed. "Now fellas, Anna Mae is a sweet girl," I said, and winked: "she is gentle and kindly and in private I call her Big Red." There were several elbows nudged into ribs on that one, knowing looks, wicked chuckles. "Y'see, Big Red is mean as a snake and she keeps it hid, but for her morning exercise she'll run barefoot down a bobwarr fence, swingin' a wildcat by the tail, one out of each hand, just a-darin' 'em to growl!" If you tell a big enough lie it'll either be believed or enjoyed, and they enjoyed this one: I finally fessed up that I'd met her back during the War, but we got separated with everything going on and she only now caught up with me so I reckoned there was no hope and the moment I saw her, why, I knew it was time to run up the white flag and surrender. The Sheriff came in and joined the festivities and shook my hand in congratulation, and he asked if he could take over the conversation, and that relieved me: I'd told the only big lie I had prepared, and he kind of let me off the hook, so to speak. "Men, while we're all here, I want to organize a night watch," he said. "So far they've fired two buildings and I don't want any more burned. I want to set watches, but I don't want anyone out who's not assigned a watch." "Why the hell not?" someone challenged. "Because whoever is settin' fahrs," the Sheriff said, "is going to be treated pretty badly, and I don't want anyone clubbed, kicked or shot without need!" They seemed to understand that. I was exempted from watch, as I had a new wife and the Sheriff said he would take pity on me as I was about to be saddle broke, and the conversation went downhill from there.
  2. 3 points
    Calamity Kris, Lorelei and Calico Mary sidled up to Anna to pay their respects. Many hugs and well wishes around. The ladies were overjoyed at Anna's new found happiness and wished her and the parsons their best. The menfolk invited the parsons to the saloon for a drink. The ladies invited Anna to Clara's for tea. Anna looked at her new husband with a little bit of uncertainty but became all smiles when he nodded his approval. As the ladies walked towards the cafe' poor Anna was peppered with questions, when did she meet the parsons, how long have they known each other, why keep it secret? Anna shyly smiled and said they would know in good time. Once seated at Clara's, the women were so eager to ask Anna questions, they couldn't stop interrupting her. Clara finally came over, pulled up a chair and said "ladies, I understand your excitement and would like to get to know your new friend better but you need to stop and take a breath so she can answer what you asked her". Lorelei, Calamity and Calico all looked at each other with embarrassment. Calamity spoke up first. "We are very sorry, Anna. We meant you no disrespect. We are all so happy that you have finally found happiness." Anna looked at the floor and shyly looked back at the ladies. "No disrespect taken" she uttered in a very quiet, shy voice. Clara spoke up and said she would leave the ladies to talk. She would be back in a little while to bring them some tea cakes. With that, she rose and walked away to the kitchen. The ladies looked at each other rather awkwardly. Who would speak up next? After a moment all four women broke out in fits of giggles. Anna finally spoke and started with, "Let me tell you my story......."
  3. 2 points
    As the 2020 election approaches the anti-gun rhetoric is bound to increase with unsupported distorted facts and personal opinions and I have seen a few post in some of the threads get personal, for the most part this has not been the case. From the beginning I reminded everyone that “All SASS Members are a part of Team SASS. Those with a different point of view on the Second Amendment or what we can do to support it are more than welcome to express them on the Team SASS Wire as long as it is done in a civil, non-personal manner. But, if any responses become personal, argumentative or cross the line into less than constructive territory, I will activate my Moderator privileges and take appropriate action.” Although this is not something I want to do, I will not hesitate if the line gets crossed. Just as we all have our personal opinions about various politicians and their talking points on both sides of the isle, and we cringe at how they say one thing and do the opposite once elected. Do not forget that they are not the first or the only ones who has pushed for this position, only the latest. What we need to remember is that we have SASS members that are also from both sides of the isle. Even if they have the same opinion about a specific political figure as you do, they would not appreciate being personally cast or judged by what someone else from their party says or does just as you would not want to be categorized by what a group or business does just because you have associated with a member of that group or made a past purchase from that business. When you personalize a comment about one of the politicians, states or even a cities, someone could take it as though you were lumping them in that category as well and we do not want to alienate anyone. I do understand how some people make it very easy to laugh at or get angry at their opinions as well as some of the things they say or do. We should not make it into personal attacks no matter how tempting; do not lower us to their level. Please think, edit and re-read before you post. There are a lot of people out there trying to take away our “Constitutional Rights”, let's be sure to rise above their rhetoric - Think "Spirit Of The Game." Charlie
  4. 1 point
    Thanks, J-Bar for keeping us updated. We love Noz. He is a character among a cast of characters. We look forward to seeing him on the range again soon. Waimea
  5. 1 point
  6. 1 point
  7. 1 point
    "The sermon today will be brief," said I, pitching my voice to hit the back wall and reflect back at me. It was a little cooler that morning, we'd had rain, but with all those warm bodies inside it was comfortable. Anna Mae sat in the front pew, next to the middle aisle, she was watching me like a bashful schoolgirl, and I had to fall back on the hard disciplines I learned in time of war to split my mind, shove one part into the corner and tell it to shut up and stand still, and let the rest of my mind do the work. Otherwise I would have likely mooned after her like a smitten schoolboy. At my pronouncement of my intended brevity, there were a few smiles ripple through the assembled, especially when I added, "Nor will there be knives, pyrites, sparks, nor shall I act like a lunatick. A damned fool, perhaps, but I seem to be good at that." Most of the men smiled just a little, a couple of them chuckled: smiling in public wasn't as common as it would become in years and centuries to follow, as too often a public smile was seen as a sign of weakness, of uncertainty, of submission: when I saw several collective, albeit quiet and almost stifled smiles, I knew I'd hit the common thread all men know as a fact of life that it's perilously easy to end up looking like the north end of a south bound horse. God knows I had, often enough. "We read in Scripture that it is better to marry than to burn, and unfortunately I haven't the original Greek to translate. You see, there's some disagreement whether it means burning in Hell's fire, or burning with lust." I smiled with half my mouth. "If I burn it'll be on my own merits, for I am now a married man. May I introduce my beautiful bride, Anna Mae, who I've known for many years." Anna Mae looked like she wanted to draw up inside her dress like a turtle and her face turned an incredible shade of scarlet: of the ladies present, there were a variety of expressions ... suspicion, delight, curiosity, mostly. I didn't pay that much attention as I was intent on finishing up but giving a good message. "The war taught me to strike while the iron was hot: an opportunity might not come again, and we read this same thing in Scripture, that we are to labor while there is daylight to work by. We also see this in the Ecclesiastical admonition that for all things there is a season, a time for every purpose under the heavens." I looked very directly at Anna Mae, and she looked shyly back up at me, and I could have ripped the beating heart out of my chest and laid it at her feet. "I learned the hard way how brief life can be. Anna Mae has learned the same hard lesson and from some of the same times and conditions, and" -- here I grinned and I did not care who saw it -- "now I'm just as happy as if I had good sense! "This, then, is the lesson: when it needs doing, do it: when a prize comes in reach, seize it: do what good we may, now, because tomorrow is not guaranteed." I had no idea my sermon would continue outside, as church was dismissing, as the congregation filed out and swirled in loose groups, talking as people do. There was a stranger among them, someone who hadn't been inside, who sneered at Anna Mae and looked at me: "So you married a gold camp doxy --" He never saw my backhand, nor did he realize he was hitting the ground until it slammed up against his back. I uncorked a backhand that snapped his head around, I hooked my ankle behind his knee, I seized his throat and I drove him to the ground with my hand on his throat and my knee in his belly, and I didn't put it there gently a'tall. I reached under his coat, pulled the gun out of his holster, tossed it to the Sheriff, then released his throat and stood. "In the time of Christ," I declared in a loud voice, as people drew back from us, forming a circle, "to backhand someone was to declare them an inferior. When Christ said to turn the other cheek, He was not telling us to be a doormat." I took a long breath, glared at the man struggling to his feet, my hands opening and closing, then fisting hard shut. "To smack someone with the open hand," I continued, and my voice was not quiet, "was to smite an equal, but to backhand a man" -- my glare was hard, focused -- "was to declare him an inferior, and to turn the other cheek was to publicly call him a liar, to invite a forehand strike so the fight could start." Anna Mae's hand was over her mouth, her eyes were big, she was backed up into a protective knot of womenfolk, gathered tightly around her: the Sheriff was casually looking around, as if he were at a county fair, leisurely surveying a crowd for acquaintances. "We ain't done," the stranger snarled, and I was on him like a starving dog on a scrap of meat. I learned the hard way when you fight, you fight to beat the other man so bad he'll be crippled for life or killed and next he sees you he'll run, and that's how I tore into this fella. He was backing away, wiping the blood from his mouth with the back of his hand and I drove into him like I'd been shot out of a longbow. We hit the ground and rolled and my knees was into him and so were my elbows and I drove my elbow down on his collar bone and felt it break, I reared up and landed my knees on his ribs and I felt at least one break and I knew he was out of the fight so I rolled back on my heels and stood. "NO!" I shouted, bent over a little, roaring at the gasping, groaning man on his back in the dirt: "IT'S OVER NOW! IF IT ISN'T OVER I'LL GIVE YOU ANOTHER DOSE! IT'S OVER NOW OR I WILL BEAT YOU INTO FERTILIZER, YOU UNDERSTAND?" I don't know if he understood or not, that's about the time he passed out. The Sheriff took my left arm, Anna Mae took my right, they held me for a long moment until I got my breathing controlled. Finally I nodded and they let go, and I gave my coat a tug to settle it back where it belonged, and the Sheriff gave me a long look and said "Preacher, you'd really ought to do somethin' about that temper of yours. Someone could get hurt." He gave Anna Mae a long look and then looked back at me, and then he reached up and rested his hand on my shoulder. "On t'other hand," he admitted frankly, "if someone said that about my wife, I'd have done the same thing!" Several men came up and shook my hand afterward and said my first sermon was quite good, but my second one was much better.
  8. 1 point
  9. 1 point
    And another; Just because.
  10. 1 point
  11. 1 point
    The night was quiet, with a damp chill, the feeling of coming rain in the air. On the ground, bundled in bed rolls, were two men, the fire between them burned to coals. One man lay on his side, the other on his back snoring gently. At a sound, the man on his back stopped snoring, his eyes fluttering open. Listening, he heard a muffled gurgling sound, then the shifting of cloth, then nothing. Turning his head, he could barely make out the outline of his companion. Trying to see in the near darkness, he thought he saw the haft of a knife sticking out of the bedroll. His voice a quiet whisper, the man called, "Nate... Nate!" When no response came, the man lifted his head slightly to look at the horses that had been tied nearby, only to realize there were no silhouettes, no sounds... The horses were gone. Just as he was getting ready to throw back his cover, the man heard the unmistakable clicking of a revolver being cocked from above where his head lay. His blood ran cold and he stayed very still. Slowly tilting his head back, he could only see the silhouette of a figure, and the dim glint of a revolver barrel pointed at him. Slowly the man moved, his gun and his eyes on the man on the ground, and kicked some of the wood that had burned down together. Kneeling, he patted the ground for the small pile near the fire, and tossed on a bit more. As the fire slowly flared up, the man on the ground looked up and saw the face of a man with a couple of days of stubble, a black hat pushed back on his head slightly, and cold eyes. Glancing over at Nate, he saw that it was indeed the handle of a knife, seemingly Nate's own Bowie, sticking out of what must have been his ribs. "Mister, I don't know who you are, but I got no quarrel with you. You want money, you can take all I got, and his too. You already got our horses." The man with the gun, still kneeling, took a deep breath, as if deciding what to do. "That's where you're wrong. You do have a quarrel with me, and you've come out on the losing end." The man on the ground began to move his arms when he saw the gun move to point at his forehead. "Don't.," was the only reply. Freezing, the man on the ground said "Can I at least smoke a cigarette?" He could see the humorless smile as the reply came, "Sure, if you can conjure a lit one out of thin air to your lips without moving." "So that's the way it's going to be?" he asked. The man with the gun nodded, "That's the way it's going to be." Nearing panic, the man in his bedroll asked, "What did I ever do to you?" The man with the gun replied, "You, Nate there, and the friend of yours you split up with down the trail burnt my stables, you destroyed my belongings, you killed my horses. You took away from me what was left of meaning in my life." Gulping audibly, the man on the ground looked up at Doc Ward. "So... So what do you mean to do? Nobody died, we made sure of that." Shaking his head, Doc replied, "Doesn't matter." He continued, in a conversational tone, "You've got three choices. You can tell me what I want to know, and die quickly. You can be stubborn, and die slowly. Or, you can try to reach for whatever gun you've got in your bedroll with you and take your chances that you'll get your hand to it before I put a bullet into you." Staying perfectly still, the man responded, "I don't particularly like those options. You're a hard man." Whatever else he knew, the man on the ground knew he was going to die as Doc replied, "Hard world, and you made the wrong choice. Your bad luck." Swallowing again, the man on the ground asked "What do you want to know?" As he shifted, Doc's gun steadied again on his forehead, stilling his movement. "Who hired you? Who is responsible for the fact that you're going to die, here in the middle of nowhere? Any loyalty to him is misplaced, and won't save you. And just to save me time, who is your friend that split up with you, and where is he going?" Smiling the smile of a man who sees one chance at a small victory in losing, the man on the ground said, "The only thing I know is the guy who hired us went by 'Joe," and he was tall, strong looking. Blonde guy with a thick German accent. I can't say anything else, other than he didn't seem the type to trifle with." Doc nodded and said "OK, and your friend?" The man on the ground laughed a little. "Hell, that's Mack Osborne, and you don't want any part of him. He'll drop you like a bad habit. But he's going to The Junction. I hope you find him." Doc Ward leaned a little closer, his eyes cold and black in the dim light of the fire, and the man knew his time was short. Still he grinned, until Doc asked "You ever think he might not want any part of me? Does it seem I care how I kill him?" Those were the last words the man heard as he saw the flash from the muzzle of Doc's revolver pointed at his forehead. Putting out the fire, Doc made sure there were no coals to catch the woods afire, before walking into the trees to his own horse, the other two already long gone. Two down. How many more to go before he was done?
  12. 1 point
    Doc Ward stood amid the belongings in his small house. Looking around, he tried to decide if he had forgotten anything. Canteens, pemmican, hard tack, flint, steel and char cloth, ammunition, bowie knife, bedroll. Some wax paper with pieces of aloe rolled up in it for the burns on his neck, face and arm. All that was left was a trip to Seamus' store to buy a saddle, then to the Sheriff's Office to gather up his remaining guns, and be off. Then it dawned on him. One final task. Pulling out a chair from the table, Doc pulled out some paper, pen and ink, and began to write. On one side Doc wrote "Pastor Keller: To be opened upon my death." Turning the paper over after blowing the ink dry, Doc paused before writing: Pastor, If you're reading this, I didn't make it past this journey. I suppose this could be considered my Last Will and Testament, although I have little remaining as a result of the fire to bequeath, and nobody in this life to pass it along to. If my body is returned, please have it cremated, along with the box this letter is attached to. If not, please burn the box and the contents in an appropriate manner. I would take it as a personal favor if the box were not opened, just know that the contents are important to me. As for my house and remaining belongings, I hereby give you authority to dispose of them in a manner as you see fit, for the betterment of the town and its people. Time is short, so this will have to do. You've become a friend, and you have my respect and admiration. Despite our differences in faith, if there is something beyond this realm, I hope to shake your hand again. I remain Yours, with great esteem, Doc Doc carefully folded the paper into thirds, and lighting a match, carefully dripped a small bit of paraffin to seal it. Getting up, Doc went and pulled out a small wooden box and brought it to the table. Lifting the lid, he pulled out a folded paper and opened it, revealing a letter written in a fine delicate hand. Scanning it as he blinked back tears, he read it, hearing the voice of his wife as much as reading the words it contained. Getting to the end, he read the words, "Darling, I cannot wait for our next meeting, when we shall be together always and forever. I remain truly and faithfully yours, your loving Wife." Doc closed his eyes tight, fighting to recall the vivacious, beautiful face he loved, instead of the bloodied, pain wracked face he last saw as he did all he could to console her and convince her everything would be OK. He could still hear her words as she laughed through the pain. "You always were a poor liar to me, my Darling. I will be out of pain shortly, then you can do what you must. But whatever you do, don't stop living your life. Be the man I know you to be. I love you... More..." Blinking back tears as her last words echoed through his ears as though they were being spoken just this moment, Doc closed the letter and placed it back in the box. Taking some string, he tied it closed, and slid the letter to Pastor Keller underneath. Five years ago, and Doc had spent the next year hunting men down. Almost a dozen men had died. Some by guns, several by a rope, and one with his bare hands. Doc had thought he had put that fury behind him. More accurately, had hoped it was behind him. That cold, almost painful need to lash out, to destroy those who needed it. But here it was, filling his thoughts, his bones and sinews. If he were to die soon, he knew he would do so over the bodies of enemies. Pushing back from the table, Doc gathered up the box, then the pack he had put together, and walked out the door, making sure it was closed tightly behind him. Gathering up the reins of the hackamore he had fashioned, he managed to get onto the small sorrel horse, bareback, and headed for the small white house next to the church where he expected to find the parson. Pulling up once he got there, Doc dismounted and tied a quick loop before heading inside, the wooden box held carefully in his hands. Walking up the steps, Doc knocked. Hearing the pastor's voice, Doc waited, and when the door opened, the pastor looked momentarily surprised, and a little unsure. Then, Doc saw the movement over the man's shoulder and glancing, saw a beautiful lady in yellow, and it took him a long moment to realize it was the same woman he had spoken to as she knelt next to Mary. She looked poised and every bit the lady, but slightly frail with traces of a haunted expression to her eyes. Clearing his throat, Doc said to them both "My apologies for the interruption, I won't be long." Looking down at the box in his hands, Doc continued, "I want you to keep this, just in case. I believe it is self-explanatory." Pastor Keller looked down, his eyes going wide as he read the words on the paper. "I..." Before he could say more, Doc Ward continued, "It's not because you're a sky pilot, it's because you're my friend. I have this to do, but I don't know what the future holds any better than you. I know your Bible has some pretty specific words about killing, but I know you understand sometimes it is a necessary thing. Vaya con Dios, Pastor." Holding his hand to his hat, Doc nodded. "Ma'am, my apologies again for the interruption." With that, Doc turned on his heel and went back to his horse. Breathing a sigh of relief, he mounted and headed to buy the saddle, gun scabbards and bridle he needed, along with a couple of more boxes of ammunition. Everyone went quiet when he walked in the store, and both Seamus and Kay looked at Doc with a worried gaze. Both of them liked the quiet man, who was always polite and helpful, even if he did keep to himself. Seamus threw in a saddle blanket, along with some more food, and when Doc reached into his pocket for money, looked Doc directly in the eye. "It's on your tab." Before Doc could object, both Seamus and Kay turned and set about helping other customers. Hoping they both heard his words, Doc said "I'm grateful," before walking out and putting the saddle and blanket on the sorrel and stowing the things he had from the store. Mounting, he headed to the Sheriff's office. Doc Ward walked inside the office, and nodded as Sheriff Cody looked up. Taking the badge he had worn from his pocket, Doc sat it carefully on the sheriff's desk. "I don't believe what I am about to do should be sanctioned by the law, Sheriff." Cody leaned back in his seat, his hands folded on his chest. Frowning, the Sheriff asked mildly, "You know I should try to talk you out of what you're about to do, or at least try to stop you? I should tell you to not seek revenge, to let the law handle it." Doc nodded his understanding. "So, are you going to?" Sheriff Cody shook his head. "Nope. You be careful, and when you come back, I'd like you to put that back on." A touch of a smile touched Cody's face, and Doc responded likewise. Doc grabbed up his gun belt from where he had left it when he ran from the office to the livery not many hours before. Doc slung it around his hips and pulled his Colt, pulled the hammer to a half cock and flipped the loading gate, checking the cylinder. Flipping the gate closed, he rotated the cylinder and pulled the hammer to a full cock before easing it down on the empty chamber. Holstering it, he then walked over to the rack and pulled down his shotgun, thankful that at least one hadn't burned. He checked to see it was loaded, then pulled his rifle down. Checking it as well, Doc turned and walked for the door. Looking back, he gave a nod of appreciation for the Sheriff's understanding before walking out. As he closed the door, the sheriff looked at it and said "You be careful, Doc."
  13. 1 point
    Funny thing—Noz’s son Eric said that when a brunette nurse comes into his room he calls her “Wicked Falina”. Go figure!
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