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Charlie MacNeil, SASS #48580

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Everything posted by Charlie MacNeil, SASS #48580

  1. Kid Sopris 7-31-07 It was late in the day when Rev. Sopris got the telegram back from the US Marshals office in Kansas City. Seems ol Bert was wanted for murder back there, and there was a $7,500.00 reward. Based on the Rev. Affidavit, The US Marshall was sending a US Bank note redeemable for $7,500.00 to Sopris for the bounty. Sopris thought "Hmmmm, I wonder if an aspiring Newspaper woman could use this money for a new venture?" Sopris took a stroll back toward the Hotel, where he shot a look at Higgins again, and once again the reflection in the shoulder holster temporarily blinded Higgins. "Mr. Higgins, intuition tells me that you are up to something, and it's not good. I sure hope for your sake I'm wrong, I would hate to post your name at next Sunday's services". With that, Higgins felt faint, Higgins thought, "How does he know stuff?" Sopris proceeded directly to Ms. Duzy's and Aunt Esther's room, with telegram in hand.
  2. Duzy Wales 7-31-07 Duzy, Aunt Esther, Bonnie and Sarah were riding out to look at the house on the outskirts of town, when they saw Sheriff Landers motioning for the ladies to stop. The Sheriff removed his hat, and looking Duzy in the eyes, skipping the Good Morning’s and instead said, “Sorry Miss. Wales, but we need to talk as soon as you get the chance.” “Sure,” Sheriff Landers, Duzy answered, wondering about the worried look on his usually calm face, the lines around his brown eyes seeming to be more pronounced, and his solemn attitude. “Do we have time to ride out to Mr. Higgins’ place to see if it is suitable for our housing?” “Afraid not, Miss Wales, as the news I have may affect whether you decide on purchasing the property.” "Sarah, would you like to have one of those candy sticks at the mercantile?" "Yes," Miss Duzy, she said, as she licked her lips in anticipation. Duzy turned to Aunt Esther and Bonnie and all three were thinking the same thing, that somehow he had discovered Duzy’s part in Sarah’s step Dad’s death. "Aunt Esther, would you and Bonnie please take Sarah while I talk to the Sheriff,” Duzy stated smiling at the look still on Sarah’s face. Sheriff Landers helped Duzy down from the buggy and she followed him inside his office. “Miss Wales, I may as well get to the point. I received a telegraph this morning informing me that you are to be removed from your position at the newspaper office. I am sorry, but it came from the owner himself and there is nothing I can do but follow his wishes.” Duzy was startled, “I am being fired, before I even get started, before the presses arrive, before my first article, and then she realized it didn’t have anything to do with how well she could handle the position, but that she was a woman!” “To be honest, Miss Wales, I did some checking around town and found that Duke Slade had already started the campaign against you, and Mr. Higgins fueled the fire by talking about you, causing more of the men in town to turn against you, who then sent complaints by wire to have you fired. I am truly sorry!” Duzy stood up, somewhat dazed and angered at the same time, with the Sheriff quickly standing also and walking around his desk to steady her. “Are you okay, Miss, Wales? “Yes, yes, I am fine, and please do not worry, as it is not your fault, she said, as thoughts of what she was going to do, or where she could go next to try to fulfill her dream, and what could she tell Bonnie and Sarah about where they would be living, and she could feel the beat of her heart coming faster, the blood pounding in her ears. “Please, Miss. Wales, Sheriff Landers said, I think you should sit down for a few minutes and get your bearings.” It was at that moment that she realized he had been holding her while she had been standing lost in time and thought. Embarrassed, she looked at him and said, “Yes, you are right, I am sorry, I didn’t realize that you were…. “Shhhhh, it is okay. I never mind holding a beautiful young woman!” Sheriff Landers was thinking to himself that if he didn’t get her seated again, that he was going to kiss her, and knew that he would be taking advantage of her if he did, at that moment. He could see her eyes change as each thought had come into her mind and she felt so good in his arms. It had taken all his will power to let go of her. Duzy composed herself and after convincing the Sheriff that she was indeed fine, he walked her outside, wishing he could help her, hoping that she didn’t leave Firelands, as the more he was around her, the more he loved the way she laughed, the fire inside of her that made her want to help everyone, her inner beauty, not to mention she was the prettiest woman he thought he had ever laid his eyes on. Aunt Esther took one look at Duzy and knew something was terribly wrong; however, it didn’t seem to have anything to do with the demise of Bert Graves. Instead, she looked as if her life had fallen apart, that her heart had taken its first break in her young life, as life will do. “Miss McKenna, would you please take Sarah for a walk and let me talk to my niece for a few minutes alone and then we will get back with you.” Sure, Miss. Wales, and please let me know if I can help in anyway.” Duzy related the story to her Aunt as they rode just outside of town to the creek Duzy loved so well. Aunt Esther held Duzy for a few minutes, rubbing her back and the sides of her face, running her fingers through her hair, as she had when Duzy was a child, soothing her. Aunt Esther, always to the point, simply stated, “Do you know what you are going to do? “Not yet, but I will figure it out.” “The first thing I wish to do is get the four of us a place to stay. Now, let’s go look at that house! Aunt Esther said, “Are you sure, my dear?” “Yes, we cannot let this stop us from keeping our promise to Bonnie and Sarah.” Mr. Higgins had repaired the house and it looked pretty with its fence, the flowers still in bloom, but with some much needed weeding. The inside was perfect with one larger bedroom that Bonnie and Sarah could share and two smaller ones that she and her Aunt would use. Aunt Esther looked at the cook stove and thought how nice it would be to prepare some meals, as she had before, oh stop it silly woman, don’t even relive it, she told herself. Sarah was looking at it, like it was a large doll house, a memory of long ago, before her Mama had left her, before her real Daddy was gone and that was all it had taken to seal the deal. Reverend Sopris was at the hotel lobby when they returned. Sometimes Duzy thought he must have wings, as he seemed to appear at the most unusual times. Mr. Higgins was wishing he would leave, thinking he could get much more for the house, as he didn’t think the women would know what it was actually worth, revealing how ignorant of women he really was. Aunt Esther made the deal, bringing him down quite a bit less than they were prepared to pay, as the Reverend looked on. Mr. Higgins eyes had actually darted back and forth between Aunt Esther and the Reverend; and, Aunt Esther used it to her advantage, making a mental note to thank the Reverend later. Thinking of what he had just did to her niece, she further stated, and that will include the buggy and horses, will it not, Mr. Higgins? Mr. Higgins went from one foot to the other, like he had been trapped and finally sputtered out, ye, yes, I will include those also, is insides filling with anger as he did.
  3. Linn Keller 7-30-07 The door opened easily on hand forged hinges. "Sheriff?" "Come on in." There was the sound of paper being shuffled, a desk drawer sliding shut. I stepped into the cool interior of the sheriff's office. The walls were timber, heavy and well laid, and double-thick: whoever built this intended it as a young fort. The board floor was smooth and clean, the planks tightly fitted of seasoned wood. The sheriff pretended to casually scan a handful of wanted posters. I knew his casual demeanor was a front. I'd used it myself. "I'm new in town, Sheriff, but I'm afraid I've just caused some trouble." "You have that, stranger, and I would have paid good money for that show you just put on across the street!" he declared stoutly. "That chiseler has needed a good come-uppance for a long time and I'm glad to see him get it!" "Strikes me he'll not let this pass." "Oh, no, he'll not. First he'll send some of his bully-boys after you, then he'll try and get you in court. He's the attorney here in town, so crooked they'll have to screw him in the ground when he dies." He tossed the wanted dodgers into a pile and leaned back in his chair. "What brings you to these parts?" I stepped up and offered my hand. "Linn Keller. Thought to make a fresh start." The sheriff took my hand. Each of us assessed the other's grip. "You on the dodge?" I grinned. "Not from the law." "Oh?" "Tell you what. I've not had supper. If you're inclined to eat and listen, I'm buying." "Like the old preacher said," the sheriff said, "all donations cheerfully accepted!" He reached for his hat and said "I've got a good appetite, I'll warn ye ahead of time!" "Makes two of us!"
  4. Duzy Wales 7-30-07 Bonnie didn't need to wear her brown twill skirt afterall, as Duzy and she were about the same age and size, except Bonnie was a smidge taller. All Aunt Esther had to do was add a ruffle to the bottom of the clothes Duzy had taken out of her over abundant amount to give to her friend, giving her three complete outfits from her undies to her hat, gloves, and shoes. "Why, thank you Miss Wales," Bonnie said, barely keeping the tears from her eyes as she held the silk against her skin. "Please call me Duzy, if I may call you Bonnie," Duzy said in return, "and you are most welcome, afterall, we will soon be like sisters, living in the same household." Aunt Esther had fixed both of the young ladies hair in a pretty updo with curls and they had certainly caused a commotion when the four of them entered the beautiful new church. Bonnie started to sit at the very back, but Duzy wanted to see Reverend Sopris' blue eyes and how they seemed so full of what she could only describe as "calculated energy" as he brought his points home to many seated in the church. They sat proudly near the front and enjoyed his sermon, knowing that this wouldn't be the only time they would attend his service. Reverend Sopris was very insightful, with a protective streak that ran through him that was obvious to every woman in the congregation and hadn't gone unnoticed by the men, some even squirming in their seats before it ended. Sarah ran and played with the other children at the picnic, and Duzy couldn't help but think back to the first time she had seen the little girl. She was watching Sarah play when Sheriff Tom Landers joined her, asking if she would like some more lemonade or a slice of pie. "Yes, thank you, Sheriff, Duzy said, giving him a bright smile in return. It was turning out to be a great day in Firelands!
  5. Lady Leigh 7-30-07 What are you supposed to do when a stranger comes right out of the blue and litterally decks ... in this case a man who deserved it ... the towns Attourney? Bonnie was caught speachless. Sarah was stiff as a board. People were definitly gawking. "Um ... thank you ... really, I never would have expected such a thing. Oh I hope you do not find trouble with this! He's an Attorney for crying out loud!" This man, whom Bonnie had never seen, gently took her by her elbow and ushered her around the man lying down. This marked the second time in as many days. Are all of the new men coming in town going to be like these last two? Bonnie was baffled. "Again, thank you Mr... " ******************************* Church on Sunday??? It was, Bonnies opinion, that the Church goers were usually the ones that had the hardest time forgiving! This was going to be interesting! Mrs. Higgins was kind enough to bring a frock, stockings and boots over for Sarah to wear. With a quick turn of a needle, Bonnie hemmed the darling little dress, ever thankful that this lovely blue and yellow calico would be something Sarah could wear for awhile. As for herself, Bonnie was taller than the average woman, and definitly finer boned than Mrs. Higgins! It would take some all around altering to get the skirt and blouse to fit her. The faded brown twill and ivory blouse would have to suffice for a Sunday church service. She and Sarah would be sitting in the back anyway. "I wonder who will be there this morning? That man never did mention his name ... who is he? And who's the other one clad in buckskin? Mercy but this all very curious!"
  6. William A.A. Wallace 7-30-07 "Lawyers? hmmmm...never had the need for one and don't see as they do much except make money for themselves and keep the well to do folks from paying their due." Wallace wondered where the preacher was going with this train of thought, but thought he'd let it lie like a sleeping dog until the preacher offered more information as to where this conversation was headed. Changing the subject somewhat, Wallace said, "Well, preacher, this here church is a mighty fine addition to this little town. Hope that you and your congregation get along just fine in it." Kid Sopris, the preacher with a holstered Colt on one hip and a Bible in his hand replied, "Bigfoot, we sure thank you for your strong back these past few days...you really helped us along with the construction and the placing of the new bell." Wallace nodded and said, "I'm glad to have it finished! Never worked so hard in my whole life!" and commenced to laughing..."you know, preacher, I might just start being a church going fellow just to see what you might say and see how some of these so called "Christian" folk react!"
  7. Linn Keller 7-30-07 "Mr. Slade?" Slade turned at the unexpected hail. I started the punch at my boot tops and ended it a foot past the point of his chin, driving the heel of my hand into his jaw with full intent driving his bottom teeth out his scalp. Slade hit the board walk like a cut down oak tree, his fancy derby hat rolling off the dusty boards and falling off the edge. I shook my hand, reflecting this was not my brightest move, I should have bent a single tree over his unrepentant skull, but I can not abide by ill manners in a man, and no single tree was handy at the moment. I raised my hat to the lady and her little girl. "Your pardon, ladies," I said gently, "can I be of further service?"
  8. Kid Sopris 7-30-07 Mr. Higgins was true to his word, he and other men of the community helped finish the church located at the center of the towns Northern Edge. It was a grand opening and a wonderful first day of Services. Rev. Sopris, made it known that the wearing of firearms in Church, was welcomed. Sopris also bestowed upon the community of Firelands the responsibility of Welcoming EVERYONE to Sunday services, despite whatever line of work or belief’s they may have. Not all of God’s children are given the same privileges as others. It was more like a warning to be tolerant and do not cast their eyes downward upon the less fortunate; but to embrace and uplift theses souls to a better way of life. Women folk seem to acknowledge the fact as indicated by the suttle nudging they gave their husbands. Sopris spoke of the Bert’s departure leaving his daughter Sarah behind. Word had reached Sopris that Bert was no longer among the living and Sopris hoped that the three new Godmothers, Ms. Duzy, Ms. Esther and Ms. Bonnie would be welcomed and since the community and territory at large did not have formal adoption procedures that the community accept little Sarah as Sarah McKenna. Sheriff Landers seemed to raise his eyebrows a might at learning of Bert’s untimely departure, but said nothing. Mr. Higgins was publicly thanked for his support, and for organizing the gift of fresh paint to the new home located on the outskirts of town. Sopris added that aiding and abetting in the sorrow or hurtful ways of others with malice of forethought was doomful to those who practiced the art. Sopris seemed to look right through Mr. Higgins and burned a hole in Duke Slade who felt an uneasy discomfort in his chest momentarily.; and who was also recovering from a broken jaw for his rude behavior. The new church had a grand bell in its chapel, one that could be heard from a mile or more away. It came from the McShane Bell Foundry, located in Baltimore Maryland, who has been making church bells since 1856. It was a 36 inch, 1000 lb bell and boy howdy could it ring. The Church was white with a Dark Gray trim. The Doors were of solid oak and stained glass adorned the doors centers and the glass windows all around. There was even a private sleeping quarters in the back where Sopris laid his head at night. Sopris also offered the church during the week to the teacher, until the School house could be completed. It might just make them boys act a bit more civilized. After the services a grand picnic in the Church courtyard was thrown and many more community minded folk exchanged welcomes and greetings; a perfect setting to a perfect day. Mr. Wallace was even in town for the gathering. Sopris walked up to Mr. Wallace, they exchanged greetings and then Sopris asked a very unusual question of Mr. Wallace. “Say what do you think of Lawyers?”
  9. Lady Leigh 7-30-07 As Bonnie and Sarah were, once again, heading back down the worn boardwalk, Duke Slade was walking in her direction. Manuevering out of his way was to no anail. Intentional or not, be brusquely ran into them. "Not only are you located in the wrong environment, Bonnie, but you are entirely over dressed." Not wanting to say anything to this despicable man, she tried to side step him, only to have Slade harshly grab Bonnie by the arm. "I said, Bonnie ..." I know what you said, Mr. Slade. Now if you will stand aside for us to pass." "Oh, I don't think so .... where are you going is such a hurry?" People were beginning to take notice of the exchange between them, and Bonnie was trying to quietly remove herself from him. "Please! Allow us to pass," Bonnie pleaded. It was three years ago she had her first encounter with this man. Three years ago he saw to it the bank forclosed on the boarding house her Mama ran when Mama and Margaret died. Bonnie was sure of it. As sure as sun rose every morning.
  10. Duzy Wales 7-30-07 Duzy kissed Aunt Esther on the cheek as she walked in, trying to get some clue as to her feelings about all the changes that were beginning to take place in their lives. Had she written her Papa? Was she going to stand beside Duzy with her decisions? Aunt Esther knew Duzy as well as anyone, besides her Mama and Papa, and she knew Duzy couldn’t wait to get a response from her, therefore dragging it out, trying to teach her patience, as well as to act more responsible, not making rash decisions before having the chance to think about the impact she could make, not only on herself, but everyone she came in contact with. “Oh, Aunt Esther, please do not play this game with me, making me wait to see what you are thinking, and I can just imagine the questions you had for Bonnie without saying a word about how you felt!” She must be so worried, not knowing whether she will have a home with us, or not!” “Duzy we have been here just a short time and you have already made many plans without even discussing them with me, and I might add, you could have gotten yourself and Bonnie into a lot of trouble or even killed by your rash behavior! Do you honestly think you are being fair to me, when it is my place to be protecting you, my dear?” “I know you are right, Aunt Esther, but it is not as if I planned it. You know how these premonitions come to me, and what would have happened if I had not been there? I know I am troublesome at times, but is it not the intention that is really important?” Aunt Esther smiled at Duzy, relenting as she always had, and said, “I happen to think you did a good thing. I like your new friend and little Sarah surely needs someone to help her and love her. I am not sure that it is you she needs, as she seems to be taken with Miss. McKenna. I think there is already a bond between the two of them that will be hard to break, and I also do not think you are ready to take care of a child of your own. Now, you ask for my feelings, and I am going to be blunt with you. If they would like to live with us, then we will find a place to live and get away from that hypocrite Mr. Higgins! I can barely tolerate the man myself! However, I want you to let Miss McKenna take care of Sarah, with our help of course, and without you getting the fanciful idea that you need a child right now. You are just starting with your career and I am sure that taking care of yourself is more than enough for the both of us to handle! While Duzy and Aunt Esther were having their discussion, Duzy looked out the window and thought she saw Reverend Sopris leaving. Surely he would have stopped by and said hello, oh well, he was probably in a hurry to work on the church. Mr. Higgins watched the Preacher man leave and thought to himself that he would sell the house alright and make him happy. He called his wife Marie into the lobby, to run the business and walked out to stir up some trouble, thinking he wasn’t scared of no Preacher man, not believing that was really a gun he thought he had seen, but just the light catching his belt buckle or his eyes playing tricks on him! He hadn't never known a Preacher man to carry a Colt! He would tell a few of the men in town about the article that Duzy was planning to write, and then go over and help the Preacher. After relating his tale, a man sitting in the corner spoke up, “I have heard of her type just recently in New York, a new breed of journalist called ‘muckrakers,’ always stirring up controversy about the so called ‘injustices’ of the world.” The man was Duke Slade, the attorney in Firelands, who had a mean nature about him, some said because he had opened an office in New York and had to sell out and move on, but no one seemed to know why. “I told Sheriff Landers he made a mistake in hiring her to do a man’s job! Women should stay at home working or be on their backs pleasuring the men folk of the town, he stated with contempt. Tom will soon see the error of his ways, as I sent a wire to the newspaper’s owner just last week!” Mr. Higgins laughed and left to go help build the church, thinking it would look good if he would get the paint for the house as well. Not knowing about the conversation going on down the street with Mr. Higgins and Duke Slade, Sheriff Tom Landers' mind was on Miss Wales, but in a different way. He knew from his own Mother and sisters that women were just as smart or smarter than most men and could do what they set out to do, if given half a chance. Sheriff Landers had taken this job at the request of several of the town folk, but it wasn't really his passion. He hoped to buy his own ranch and run it in the near future, having worked hard during his thirty years and saving every penny he could. He worried as to whether he had made the right decision in hiring Miss Wales, but he intended to keep an eye on her, just in case she ran into trouble. She sure was a pretty young lady, remembering the feel of her body in his arms, and how he had enjoyed her conversation during the dances he had shared with her. Then, she had gotten lost in the crowd and he hadn’t had the opportunity to see her again, instead finding himself playing cards with Reverend Sopris throughout the night. He was planning to change that, he thought, as he walked out of his office to get a bite to eat and see if he could catch a glimpse of the dark haired beauty.
  11. Kid Sopris 7-30-07 Rev. Sopris dropped his horse and buggy off at the livery and proceeded to the hotel. Mr. Higgins was known for his prayer meetings and had promised Sopris help in the completion of the Church. Sopris knew that Mr. Higgins always wanted to appear that he was doing the right things; but that he was also filled with greed. Something many town folk disliked about him. Rev. Sopris also detected a sinister side to Mr. Higgins. "Good Afternoon or is it early evening, Mr. Higgins", Sopris called out. Mr. Higgins replied, "Well its 5 pm but the summer sun is still shinning brightly, so either way Reverend." Sopris wasted no time in reminding Higgins about his offer to finish the church, and besides with his involvement the community might have a better appreciation of his efforts. Sopris also stated, "You know Mr. Higgins, it sure be right nice of you to sell that house on the out skirts of town to a deserving family and allow a new beginning to those trying to improve on their lives. It wouldn't hurt to get those volunteers who are helping with the Church to put a new exterior coat of paint on that house either." "Oh and just one other thing Mr. Higgins, I would hate like hell to see anything happen to Christian folk trying to make a fresh start"; and with that, like a divine spirit, Rev. Sopris coat flew open and the Colt Single Action sparkled the suns reflection, coming through the window, into Mr. Higgins eyes. Mr. Higgins, shaded his eyes momentarily, heard Sopris bid him a good day and barely caught the image leaving the Hotel lobby.
  12. Lady Leigh 7-30-07 As Sopris left, Sarah looked up at Bonnie and asked, "Ms. Bonnie, what did the preacher mean?" "That you and I deserve something better in this life ... especially you Sweetheart." As a child, Sarah's life was held in the hands of others. A mama who was gone, a step pa, who, too, was gone. Children always at the mercy of someone else's hands to aide them, protect them .... Children who get lost need the hand of someone to help them find their way. Children who need to cry, need someones hand to lovingly pat their back, and give them the encouraging words to proceed. Bonnie realized she wasn't just thinking about Sarah. SHe knew it was herself her own thoughts were for as well. "Oh my goodness, Sarah! I'm not sure that was the Preacher! Just may have been an Angel!" "Looked like the Preacher to me" Having almost reached Sam's Place, Bonnie looked down at Sarah, "It's a New Beginning time for the two of us, Sarah! You and I are going to step out on a limb, but we're going to be just fine." One way or the other, Bonnie thought. It had been a long time since she followed her Mama's words to, "let go and let God". Marching into Sam's Place, Bonnie and Sarah flew up the stairs. Bonnie had to do this before her courage fled. Pulling open a drawer and bringing out the ugly contract and money sock, Bonnie held them tightly in her hands and looked around a room that just about made her sick. "You're goin' to get out, aint ya?" It was Tilly with tears streaming down her cheeks. "Yes ....." Bonnie grabbed for Tilly and pulled her into her arms wispering in her ear, "but I'm going to get you out of here, too, Tilly! You'll see! We'll get that better life yet." Pulling away and reaching to lift up Tilly's palm, "My Mama always told me I rest right there in the palm ... of God ....wonder what ever possessed me to forget that?" Clutching Sarah's hand once again, they descended the stairs. Tilly holding onto Sarah while Bonnie paid off a contract made by the devil. Oh, there was the ranting that Sam had to make a scene with, but truth be known, he was probably glad to see Bonnie go. Bonnie had a tendency to get a little out spoken with Sam ... though he just might have to find another girl who could read! That was something that Sam appreciated ... but not much else. "Come on, Sarah. It's time to "afford themselves the luxury of enjoying what is at our feet". Time to find out just what exactly Rev. Kid Sopris was saying to them a short time ago. Though Bonnie knew, she was even more excited to see how it was all going to transpire.
  13. Duzy Wales 7-30-07 Duzy walked inside to find Mr. Higgin’s waiting for her in the lobby, with a stern look on his face. Miss Wales, he blustered, I cannot have this type behavior in my establishment! I will not condone it! Not having any idea what he was referring to, Miss Wales, looked at him innocently and asked, whatever are you referring to? Realizing that it was the more elderly Miss Esther Wales who had met and accepted Bonnie, he explained “that woman from the brothel, Sam’s Place was just here with a dirty little child I have seen around town, here in my place, having tea with your Aunt!” “And your point is?” Duzy said, looking him directly in the eye, knowing that many of the so called respectful men of the town frequented Sam’s Place. Before he had a chance to reply, Duzy continued, “it is my plan that Sam’s Place and the type of men who frequent it be a main topic in the first issue of the Firelands News, exposing the true nature of the views of the “oldest profession” known to man, from men and women alike. I will be interviewing quite a few people for the article. It seems to me that those who protest the most seem to have the most to hide. I am sure you won’t have anything to worry about; however, as surely you have never seen the inside of the place, not with your wife and young children being first and foremost in your life.” Duzy was amused as she noticed the redness of his face grow darker and he sputtered for a second, not knowing what to say. “As a Christian yourself, with your prayer circle on Wednesday nights in the lobby, whilst you await the new church, I think your group should join me in helping the young women who clearly would love to leave that place and have a new start. Perhaps we could have fundraisers to help the widows and children who have been left homeless and thus had to find work in such places! And is it not a Christian duty to help the less fortunate, especially the most innocent of all, the orphans or abused children of this town? I am sorry if their presence offended you, so maybe you can help the both of us. Do you know of an empty house close to town, as my Aunt Esther, Bonnie, Sarah and myself will be looking for another place to stay?” Realizing he was losing guests who always paid on time, tipping his family well for their services, he was at a loss of words. Finally he said, “I am sure we can work something out Miss Wales. Perhaps my wife and daughters have some clothing they can no longer wear and would be happy to donate them to to er uh, you are not really going to write an article about Sam’s Place, are you?” Not even being able to say their names infuriated Duzy, but she kept her calm and stated, “Perhaps if you know of a place that is for sale nearby, I could leave you and your lovely wife out of the interviews, Mr. Higgins.” “Clearly flustered, he said, "I do have one house, just outside of town, it needs a little fixing up, but it has a nice white picket fence and the lady that lived there, may she rest in peace, had a garden that could be tended, with flowers and vegetables in the summertime. I haven’t decided on selling the place, just haven’t gotten around to doing the repairs.” “Wonderful, Duzy said smiling, I would love to see it later today, and I would appreciate you selling it as I can have the repairs made myself. Please let me know what you decide, and yes, the clothing would be appreciated, as I hope to start a home in Firelands for the widows and orphans.” It was the first Duzy had thought of the idea, but it was a good one she was thinking as she walked upstairs to find her Aunt, thinking the Reverend Sopris may be of some help in this new venture. What Duzy didn't see was the fanatical, burning look in Mr. Higgins's eyes as she turned and walked upstairs. Mr. Higgins was thinking to himself that he didn't need the property anyway and could use the money in other ways. Smiling then, he could visualize the fire he could start while they slept, putting a stop to the uppity Duzy Wales, her Aunt, and the trash she seemed to attract, not even thinking how much of his own money he had spent at Sam's Place just two nights ago with the same type woman whom he had just referred to as "trash!" Duzy could feel him as he watched her climb the steps and knew she may have stirred a hornets nest, but she had expected that when she had entered her profession and knew she would have to watch her back carefully.
  14. Linn Keller 7-30-07 I smiled a little, looking in the black-glass mirror of a convenient window. Once a lawman, always a lawman, I thought: I'd hesitated at the mouth of the alley, listening, watching, before I stepped out. That nice friendly window gave me a reflected view up one side of the street, and I studied it. I could almost hear what the fellow on the buggy was saying. His tone of voice was kind, and when he addressed the worn-looking woman and her little girl, he lifted his hat. I fancied I could see his eyes smile, though I knew the window's reflection wasn't good enough to really see that detail. I heard all of two words -- "new beginnings" -- when he was done speaking and moved on, I faded into the side of the building, unmoving, invisible. I heard the little girl ask something. Asked, I thought, as the final syllable turned upward, and in the delightful tone of a little child's voice. I swallowed hard. Too many memories. New beginnings, the man said. Sounded like good advice. Reckon a preacher could make a sermon out of that. Then my belly reminded me that it was tired of being wrapped around my back bone, and I headed for the front door of the hotel.
  15. Kid Sopris 7-29-07 After Dropping off Duzy, Rev. Sopris encountered Bonnie and Sarah walking down the boardwalk. Sopris Stopped the two with a gentle “Good afternoon Ladies”. Bonnie seemed fearful at first: as evidenced by her clutching Sarah’s hand a little tighter. Sopris spoke about new beginnings and the opportunities that are afforded when doors and windows to life are open. “One should afford themselves the luxury of enjoying what is at their feet, before shuffling off to a new adventure”. Sopris continued, “The abrupt passing of one person, doesn’t end with the circumstantial fears of ones own thoughts, but merely provides the key and vessel to a new life or to be reborn again”. Ms. Bonnie, you have been provided the opportunity to go forth with a new vision on your direction. Sarah may need the help of many to overcome the hurdles of life. Perhaps Ms. Bonnie, you, Ms. Wales and her Aunt are the people Sarah will need hereinafter.” “With that ladies I shall bid you farewell, and look forward to seeing you both on Sunday” As Sopris left, Sarah looked up at Bonnie and asked, "Ms. Bonnie, what did the preacher mean?"
  16. Linn Keller 7-29-07 It was clear the hostler genuinely loved what he did. Sam definitely approved of his care. I warned him about Sam's tendency to kick first and look afterward -- "talk to him before you walk up behind him," I said with a rueful smile. "You did?" "Only once!" We chuckled together and I handed him some coin, which he bit before pocketing. "Where can a man get a meal hereabouts?" "Oh, the ho-tel ain't bad, if you can stand Sam." Hearing his name, the big Standard turned his head and regarded us solemnly. "No, not you," I said. Sam went back to his grain. "Sam runs the place?" "Yep. Need something, he can get it, for a price." I'd known men like that during the War, and never cared much for them. Carpetbaggers, mostly. Business is business but there's taking advantage and I never held with that. "Reckon he can scare up a bath?" "Oh, ya, he can do that. Even heat some water if you like." It had been a while since I'd had my Saturday night bath. "Generally try to bathe once a week, whether I need it or not," I replied. The hostler nodded knowingly. "It don't pay to take a bath too often. Ain't healthy." My belly reminded me I might want to eat first. Sam seemed happy with his provender, and a good meal, a bath and a clean bed sounded pretty good to me.
  17. Duzy Wales 7-29-07 Duzy had never met a Reverend quite like Kid Sopris before. It seemed he accepted people of all faiths, and was not the judgmental, fire and brimstone type, that had turned Duzy away from organized religion. She may “eat her words” and find herself sitting in his new church sometime after all! He was kind and understanding, with an unusual perception of knowing how to make your heart feel lighter while lifting your soul. It was uncanny how he had spoken to her, just as if he had known what had happened and knew what to say to make her feel better. By the time they had reached town, Duzy felt the weight lifted from her shoulders and a renewal of spirit. She knew it was time to meet Bonnie and discuss how they could get her out of the brothel, find enough work for her to do to become independent, start looking for a home large enough for the four of them, and to decide what was best for little Sarah and everyone involved.. She realized that she had reacted without much thought; and, now they needed to decide how to work things out to suit all their needs. Duzy had never thought about raising a child, until she had looked into the eyes of little Sarah and knew she needed someone who would love her, as she had been loved. At the same time, she was opening the newspaper office and hadn’t even talked to Aunt Esther about having a child around. She wondered if her Aunt had already written her Papa about what was happening and how he and her brothers would react when they heard. She could almost see them riding into town after her! Duzy had given her word to Bonnie and Sarah; and, that meant finding a way to make it work! She bid Reverend Sopris a fond goodbye, feeling as if she had met a new friend in town, and turned to go see her Aunt. She would talk to her first, get her advice, and then go into town and find Bonnie and Sarah.
  18. Linn Keller 7-27-07 The big Standard Bred had a surprisingly light step and a very smooth gait. Most would consider such a sizeable piece of horse flesh fit to pull a plow or a heavily loaded wagon; I'd long come to appreciate his steadiness and reliability as a saddle mount. Oh, make no mistake, he could drag a young mountain along behind him, given enough trace chain, but I'm just a little too lazy to hitch up a mountain and besides, folks might get irritated if I started rearranging the terrain. Town seemed to be holding its breath. Firelands, the neatly painted sign declared. I knew a Firelands once, a lifetime ago, back East. I was a stranger in town. It had been donkey's years since I'd worn a lawman's star, but sometimes an enemy will cross paths when not expected; though I sat easy in the saddle, I didn't miss much around me. Sam felt me stiffen, and slowed to a stop. I leaned down and patted the big Standard's neck. Didn't want to distress him any, but he could tell I already was. A lady and a little girl had just gone into the hotel, and for a moment, for a long moment, I was back near Lake Erie, called by the native tribe of the same name, "The Sweet Sea" ... I heard the happy laughter of a little girl, and saw a two-year-old running toward me, with eyes like an Arizona sky, and hair like ripe corn silk, and I felt her weight as she jumped into my arms ... I watched the lady and the child disappear into the hotel, and the shadow of my hat brim hid the sadness I know showed around my eyes. No parent should ever have to bury a child, but I'd left my little girl six foot deep in good black soil, back in the church yard. Next day I sold my farm to a newly-arrived German family and turned my face west, me and Sam, leaving what happiness we'd known behind us. I eased my weight in the saddle and Sam started up again.
  19. Lady Leigh 7-27-07 Under any other circumstances, the hypocracy of many of the townfolk would have made Bonnie laugh. Women, who knew their menfolk frequented Sam's Place, were aghast when they laid eyes on Bonnie. Occasionally a few women would look at her with sadness in their eyes. They were the ones who knew her before though, but chose to do nothing to help. Then there were the men ... the biggest hypocrates were the ones who acted like they didn't know her. Interestingly enough, many of these men didn't know her in the "Biblical" sence, but the shunning was typical anyway. As Bonnie approached the hotel, she made her back a little straighter, and held her bruised face a little higher. Getting past Donald Higgins wasn't going to be easy. He ran a clean business, even though his social life wouldn't be considered the same. "And what do you think you are doing? You can't come in here!" Sure enough, Bonnie was right. The bellowing was proof. "I believe I am expected, Mr Higgins." Donny boy, as he liked the girls to call him at Sam's, stood so fast his large girth upset the paperwork on the desk. Daily reciepts went flying everywhere ... which only made him turn red and his breathing came on real quick. "Goodness, " Bonnie thought, "A man of his size will surely die of a heart attach!" " No decent patron would be calling for you here!!!!" A voice coming from Bonnies left, very gently, but curtly, filtered through the air, "Mr Higgins! Miss McKenna is indeed expected! Please, Miss MeKenna, would you join me for a cup of tea? .... Sarah, too, of course." "Umm ..." Bonnie glanced at Donny boy, and back again at the kindly looking woman she had met breifly last night. "Excuse me, but maybe we should take this visit someplace a little less public, Mrs Wales, I mean you ..." "Nonsense! Come along. I need to break my fast, and I would enjoy your company. And it's Esther, if you please." Bonnies heart was racing, and her eyes were darting everywhere. This was harder than she first anticipated. She looked down at Sarah who was eyeing the scones, and there was that hunger longing look in her eyes. "Very well, Ms ... Esther. Thank you .... I noticed your niece was riding out of town a few moments ago. I only have a bit of time off this morning, and waiting is something I don't have the liberty of doing." Esther was silent. Another deep breath, Bonnie continued, "I would like to discuss the invitation to help you and your niece ...." The woman still wasn't saying anything! Bonnie was going to go mad!. Instead Esther buttered a scone for Sarah, poured tea into two floral china cups. Indicating with her hand if Bonnie wanted sugar, cream or lemon, and finally handing the dainty cup to Bonnie. "McKenna ... Scottish surname name, is it not?" "Yes, Ma'am." "Has your family lived in America for very long, my dear?" Bonnie really was not expecting this type of conversation, and she was put off gaurd somewhat. But, if this Esther wanted to ask questions, Bonnie would answer if it meant getting on with a more decent life for her and Sarah. "My Father did not come to America by choice, but he stayed by choice. His first steps on American soil were in South Carolina in 1844. Seven years later he went to Chicago, Illinois. It was there he met my Mother. He married her and adopted her son, and then myself and my sister were born to them." "And when did you leave the Chicago area?" "November of 1871 ... A couple of weeks after the Chicago fire." When was the last time Bonnie ever mentioned that? Granted, this woman was easy to talk to, but this line of conversation was becoming a bit unnerving. "Ma'am? Please ... If I may, it is imparitive that I find alternet means of a living. Please ... if not for me, then for Sarah?" Esther just starred at Bonnie. "Oh Lord, what does that face expression mean?" Bonnie thought.
  20. Kid Sopris 7-27-07 It wasn’t long before Sopris encountered Duzy, sitting on the bank of the creek. She was so occupied in thought, she never heard him. Slowly he approached her and from about 20 feet away he announced himself. “Good Day dear lady!”, “What has brought you to this beautiful spot in God’s Garden?” As Duzy turned quickly to see the Strangers voice, Sopris could tell immediately that she happened crying. She possessed the look of one who had seen the other side of life after death, and the bewilderment was over powering. Duzy , replied, “Oh I didn’t know anyone was here, you startled me.” “Sorry”, replied Sopris. “I am Rev. Sopris in Firelands.” “Yes I know”, replied Duzy,” I am Duzy Wales. I am here with my Aunt Esther.” Sopris spoke to her as if he knew her forever, “Ms. Wales, Sometimes God asked us to do things, which appear to be in contradiction to the Bible. The Old Testament is filled with death and yet it was necessary. Whatever is bothering you, place it in the stone at your feet, and cast that stone into the creek delivering your problems to be washed away.” Duzy was puzzled, Did the preacher know what happened, was he guessing, or did he have insight like her? Sopris then said, “I am headed back to town, would you care to ride with me in the buggy, you can tie your horse to the back, we can get acquainted as we ride?” Duzy almost seemed taken away, and accepted the offer of conversation and the ride.
  21. Lady Leigh 7-27-07 Waking up as if she hadn't slept at all, Bonnie dressed in the nicest things she had at present. Brown Twill skirt and ivory cotton blouse. They looked like they were a 100 years old! But they were respectable looking and clean. "There isn't much I can do with these stockings and shoes .... Oh well, I'll just stand as much as possible." Bonnie did the best she could with Sarah. Tattered clothes are just that, but Sarah was clean, and her hair brushed and pulled back. "Are you ready, Sarah?" Sarah seemed a little tenative, but placed her hand in Bonnies, "I don't know that lady, Bonnie!" "You didn't know me when we first met either, but the feeling changed ... rememeber? More importantly, Sweets, you will be safe and cared for ... always!" Bonnie, for the hundredth time was thinking the same for herself. Safe ... what a strong word ... almost seemed out of reach. Then there was hoping a Sarah could keep quiet about what really happened last night. "This was going to be a trial in itself." Bonnie kept thinking about the things that could go wrong, and found herself praying about the things that should go right. Together they walked out the Saloon doors and turned toward the hotel Ms Wales and her Aunt were staying. Bonnie paused as she saw Duzy riding horseback out of town. " I think we'll be visiting with the Aunt this morning instead, Sarah." In silent prayer, "This needs to work, Lord."
  22. Duzy Wales 7-27-07 Duzy couldn’t sleep, as every time she closed her eyes, she saw the vacant eyes of Bert staring back at her. She always felt drained after one of her “feelings,” but this was much different, as the realization that she had taken a life hit her full force. She rode Edi to a place beside a small creek, just outside of town, and sat on the bank to listen to the soothing sound of the water. She had never thought about how it would feel afterward, always thinking it would be easy to kill to protect herself or someone she cared about. It had been easy at the time, as her instinct of self protection had kicked in. Would his eyes haunt her forever? Would the sound of the gunshot ever stop? She could hear it now, over and over, as her insides shook and her body trembled. And, then the tears came, as she crossed her arms against her chest, and rocked herself back and forth, her teardrops falling into the water as she leaned over, feeling sick inside. Oh, how she wished her Papa was here, holding her in his big arms, and telling her everything would be okay…
  23. Lady Leigh 7-26-07 "What was I supposed to tell her, Tilly! No, I can't read or write when I can and then some?! No, you can't take Sarah?! No, I really don't want to be talking with the Sheriff?! ... Ouch, Tilly! Dang that hurts ..." "I'm just about done, Bonnie. Hold still will ya?" Bonnies face was a mess. Bert laid into her real good while she was trying to hold him back from taking Sarah. Sam had is faults, that was no secret, but it never ceased to amaze Bonnie how he'd ignore his girls when the beatings took place. The coin always took precedents over "the girls". "What do I do, Tilly? What do I do? ... with the extra money I've made sewing for the men around here and along with these pitiful wages, I can buy my contract out with Sam, but I wouldn't have enough to set up an inventory to properly sew for the women. And what about you, Tilly? I don't want to start that business adventure without you! ..... Who am I kidding? I'd need to go elsewhere to set up a business ... maybe I could just take Sarah and we could head to Glennwood Springs. I could say I am widowed ... I wouldn't be looked down upon so severely that way." "You may chastise Sarah for chatterin' a mile a minute, but are you listen' to yerrself, Bonnie? All I know is somethin' kinda magical happened tonight what with the way that Mz Wales shot Bert and the stranger takin' Berts body outa here. And ya know Sam'd never say nothin. I seen the way that Ms Wales looked at ya, too, and I also the seen the return look ya gave her right back! ... Maybe heading for Glennwood ain't that bad ... you'd be able ta start lookin' fer yer brother again, but answer me, Bonnie ... what about Sarah? Just what kinda life can ya really give that child? Maybe somethin' else could be thought up." Bonnie slumped over and sobbed. Why did life have to be nothing but one loss after another? Tilly was right of course. What kind of a life could Bonnie give Sarah? What kind of life could Bonnie give Bonnie?? Papa used to believe in the Celtic Fey with the talk of magic arrising at any time ............ maybe .......... Thoughts were turning over and over in Bonnies head. "Tilly? As soon as I can get out of here in the morning, I'm going to have a chat with Mz. Duzy Wales. I don't think my thoughts are to off base here. I think that maybe I could help them out for a time ... test the waters outside these miserable walls." As painful as it was to smile, Bonnie actually gave it a try. What was it her Papa used to say? " Sometimes you need to be flat on your back in order to look up." Bonnie has been flat on her back a long time ... now all she needed to do was open her eyes.
  24. Kid Sopris 7-26-07 The two Westward men surveyed each other and talked about the future of life. Sopris insured Mr. Wallace that God works mysteriously at times, providing help to those who need it, and burial for those that require burying. Sometimes things happen for the good and benefit of all, though it may not appear that way. Sopris Asked Mr. Wallace to stick around and take in the new bakery in town. They got some kind of thing called a “Donut”. With that both men parted ways, Sopris with an encouraging smile and an air of reassurance for Mr. Wallace. Sopris, knew that Bert met a "Timely Death", with his behavior, and figured God dealt with the demise in the most appropriate way. Sopris was not going to judge the hand the fulfilled Bert’s destiny. What about the others? Surely Mr. Wallace’s cool composure would have no problems, but the Ladies, Bonnie and Ms. Duzy? Ah Sopris reminded himself; perhaps I should go introduce myself to Ms. Bonnie and Ms. Duzy. It’s a nice day to visit and planting the seeds of hope is in the best interest of everyone.
  25. William A.A. Wallace 7-26-07 Awakening from a good nights sleep, knowing that he had done the right thing by helping the woman and girl child in their predicament, Bigfoot Wallace stretched his long arms and legs and proceeded to make some breakfast. A meal of biscuits, coffee and bacon satisfied his cravings and he set about to the task at hand of getting his campsite in order. A few hours later, he decided to go into town and see if the previous night's event had stirred up anyone's suspicions. While walking into town, he spied the "gunslinger" fellow driving a buggy. The buggy came to a halt and the "gunslinger" hailed Bigfoot and asked hm to come over. Bigfoot was always suspicious of most men's intentions and was wary and his senses were on high alert. The "gunslinger" introduced himself and said "Hello there, my name is Kid Sopris and I'm the preacher in this here town. I'm building a church in town and was wondering if you were going to be around for awhile? We sure could use a good, strong man such as yourself to help finish the church." Bigfoot was taken aback that this supposed "gunslinger" was actually the town's minister! Bigfoot replied, "Well met preacher, my name is William Alexander Anderson Wallace, but most folks just call me Bigfoot...I'll be in town for awhile, resting my mule and gathering supplies for my trip to Texas. I'm not much of a carpenter, but I'd be glad to assist some with the heavy hauling and such if you need me."
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