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Prairie's Children, Chapter 11
Submitted by Starla Anne on Thu, 04/24/2008 - 19:07
By Starla Anne Lowry
As the five individuals rode out of the indian village, they all seemed happy and satisifed at the outcome, although the matter had been very scary. Josh was still alive, Ruth Ann had accomplished an impossible rescue, and Patricia was extremely joyfully for having her two children back.
"I want to know something," said Josh. "Would you have really killed that Indian like you threatened?"
"I don't know -- I don't think so, but at the time, I did not know what else to do or say. We were very lucky," answered Ruth Ann.
"I don't think luck had anything to do with it," said Josh. "I think our getting right with the Lord is the key. My family always thought the Lord watched over his children and they did not leave this world until He got good and ready."
"Your folks must have been very religious."
"Yep, they were Baptist."
"I don't know what my folks were," said Ruth Ann. "I think one time they mentioned something about being Methodist, but one thing I am sure of -- they went to Heaven and I am going to meet them there someday."
Patricia spoke up, "I noticed that you two seem to love each other, but it seems that your folks did not go to the same church.
"Yes, I am very much in love with Josh and I believe he loves me. To us, our different religions do not matter," stated Ruth Ann. "In fact, my parents never carried me to church, but my momma taught me from the Bible and even taught me to read from it. Daddy taught me 'rithmetic and how to shoot a gun."
Such statements were strange to Patricia. She remarked,"The church I was raised in demanded that wives obey their husband. He was the one who was responsible for his household before God, including what they were to believe. I never knew love for a man, but had to trust in my husband that he was okay with God."
"Patricia, would you be willing to talk to someone about our religion and way of thinking?" asked Ruth Ann.
"Yes -- after seeing you two, I am open to listen to anyone if I can have the happiness you have," answered Patricia.
Ruth Add turned to Josh, "Let's quit going west and go back to Abilene and get our preacher to talk to Patricia. She needs some help. Besides, going west will never get to Alabama, either. Remember? That is where I want to go."
So, the group headed back toward Abilene. Josh was dreading what Mr. Brown was going to say about them leaving the store so quickly. At the slower pace, it took much longer to arrive in town than expected. The the first thing they did was go to the store to apologize.
Mr. Brown listened at they told about their adventure. He seemed to study about the matter very seriously, but after a long silence, he smiled and said, "Well, I see you brought the children back with the lady, so all is forgiven. I did not lose any money out of the drawer, so you are not thieves. I suppose you can have your jobs back but please, give me time to get here before you leave next time."
"Oh, thank you," said Ruth Ann as she gave Mr. Brown a big hug and kissed him on the cheek.
"Now don't you let my wife see you do that," smiled Mr. Brown.
"Well, I saw it and it was okay," said Josh.
"I need to see the preacher about Patricia and will be right back," said Ruth Ann.
"Okay, don't be long," replied Mr. Brown.
Josh went to work right away in the storeroom until Mr. Brown called him to the store front. "Take care of things until Ann gets back. I am going home to see about Mrs. Brown. She was feeling poorly this morning, but she is getting a lot better. She should be back in the store soon."
"How did things turn out?" asked Josh as Ruth Ann returned to the store.
"Great. The preacher talked to Patricia and they are beginning Bible studies."
It did not take Ruth Ann long to get back into the swing of things. She had never enjoyed work as much as she did being in charge of the store. She added a woman's touch, which made it more pleasant for the wives to shop. Regular female customers came often with their gossip and news of the day, usually purchasing something before they left. So, it was a surprise for two men to appear. All they did was look at her and leave with one man saying, "Yep, that is her."
That was soon explained when one of the women brought the latest news.
"I understand that you personally rescued two children from the Indians and that you single-handed whipped the bravest Indian brave in the tribe to do it," she said.
"But, I only..." Ruth Ann was cut off before she completed her sentence.
"Now, don't be modest, my dear. It is brave women like you that we need. We also heard about you outdrawing three men -- one a famous gunslinger. It is a privilege to make your acquaintance since each time you only did it to rescue someone -- and now this, fighting an Indian and taking his knife away from him! Makes us women feel safer since we have someone instead of drunken men."
Ruth Ann stood still, not knowing what to say. The woman left with her purchases, giving a hello to Josh standing near the door.
Josh had overheard the conversation and walked over to Ruth Ann with a smile on his face. "Well, the famous female gunfighter's reputation is still following her."
"Oh, hush," said Ruth Ann.
Josh placed his hand on her shoulder, turned her to meet him, and gave her a kiss. "I love my dangerous woman." He smiled again -- rather, a boyish grin. "That ain't the first time I heard about it here. Heard the men talking about it yesterday, but hoping it would blow over, but looks like you are stuck with being the fighting wildcat."
"Oh, they know about that name, too?"
"Yep, and that is what you are being called behind your back. I kinda like that --- the fighting wildcat. Yep, I like that."
"But, suppose some crazy man wants to prove that he is faster than a woman?" asked Ruth Ann with a very serious expression.
"Well, we have protection here -- Wild Bill Hickok."
"But, he is not here all the time. He is a U.S. Marshall and he goes other places."
"Well, I guess we have to go ahead with our plans -- save our money and move on after awhile," said Josh.
Ruth Ann smiled and replied, "Yeah -- to Blountsville, Alabama where I have some kin."
"Some day we will -- I promise," said Josh.
Sunday, Josh and Ruth Ann went to church as usual and, Patricia was in attendance with her children. After a fiery sermon, Patricia went forward in response to the altar call and was baptized that afternoon. Crying with joy, she said, "Now my children will not have to be raised as I was."
After parking the buggy and taking care of the horses at the livery stable, Ruth Ann asked Josh, "How much money do we have? Somehow, I want to move on. You know -- kinda ease toward Alabama."
"Maybe we have enough money. It doesn't really matter. What matters is what you want and you have your heart set on going east," replied Josh. "We still have our horses and we can save money by riding them instead of the stage as we had planned. Let's thank Mr. Brown for his kindness and head south right away.
"Reckon what he will say," wondered Ruth Ann aloud.
"I think he can handle the store now. I understand that Mrs. Brown is getting better and she is thinking about coming back to the store anyway," said Josh. "I will saddle the horses and tie them to the back of the buggy and carry the buggy back to him."
"Okay," said Ruth Ann as she jumped up to kiss Josh.
Mr. Brown was very agreeable. "I was wondering how to tell you that I would not need you after next week, so I don't have to do that now. Good luck kids and here is a bonus for your help." He handed Ruth Ann fifty dollars.
Becoming excited and not wanting to wait, the couple decided to ride out that afternoon. Camping under the stars seemed so inviting now that they had decided on making the trip.
--To be continued
All characters and places, except historical persons and places, are fictitious and any resemblance to other places or persons, living or dead, are coincidental.
© 2008 by Starla Anne Lowry