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Prairie's Children, Chapter 15
Submitted by Starla Anne on Tue, 06/03/2008 - 01:19
By Starla Anne Lowry
“Pop-- pow” -- “chug-chug” – These were the strange noises that caused Josh to turn and look behind him.
“Get out of the way!” screamed Josh as he jerked his horse to the left and Ruth, quickly obeying, bolted to the right.
An usual vehicle looking somewhat like a carriage passed between the couple transporting an oddly dressed gentleman. He waved at Josh and Ruth as he putted on down the road.
“What was that?” asked Josh.
“I don’t know. There wasn’t a horse pulling it,” answered Ruth.
Scratching his head, too surprised to move, Josh saw a lone rider riding toward them. “Let’s ask this feller. He might know.”
“Howdy,” stated the rider. “Did that horseless carriage scare you?”
“Well – yes – and my horse, too,” replied Ruth.
“Did you say horseless carriage?” asked Josh.
“Yep. There are two or three around here. When it rains, they get stuck and have to have a horse to pull them out of the mud,” remarked the stranger. “Oh, by the way – my name is Harley. Going somewhere in particular?”
“My name is Joshua and this is my wife, Ruth Ann. We are on our way to Alabama – a place called Blountsville,” answered Josh.
“Well, you have been in Alabama for quite a piece. Ain’t no marker to show the state line, though. Blountsville, you say? Seems like I heerd of it.”
“I have kin there,” said Ruth. “Thought we would go see them and make it our home.”
“Mind if I ride along with you apiece?” asked Harley. “I am headed toward a place called Birmingham. I need work and I understand there is a lot of mines there.”
“Birmingham? Never heard of that one. Must be a new place,” said Ruth.
“Some people used to call it Elyton because of Elyton Land Company is located there. It hasn’t been around long.”
“Sure – ride along with us. We welcome company. Seems like we have been on the trail forever. We are from Kansas,” answered Josh.
“Kansas? That is a fer jump,” said Harley.
“Yep, we didn’t figure how far when we first started, but you say we are in Alabama now?”
“Yep, shore aire. Hope you like the mountains. There are a lot of hill and mountains where you are headed.”
“Surely not as bad as Arkansas.”
“Well, no – that is until you get further north.”
The trip became more pleasant with someone else along. Time seem to pass more quickly and the trio soon became friends. Often along the trail, strangers are looked on with suspicion, but there was something that put everyone to ease. Perhaps it was because of the long trip – being lonely and exhausted at traveling so far, but they all shared food and trusted each other to stand guard while the other two slept. The forests were quite different from the prairie and Josh and Ruth experienced some fear of the unknown territory.
Finally, Harley’s destination was reached and the “good-byes” and “good luck” wishes were expressed. Josh and Ruth learned that they only had about forty or fifty miles to go. Although that still seemed like an eternity, it wasn’t as long as when they first started, so finally they arrived in the small community.
“I wonder how we can find Aunt Lolus,” Ruth thought aloud.
“We will ask at the post office. They must know everyone around here,” said Josh.
“Or the general store,” added Ruth.
Discovering that Ruth’s aunt lived south of town, the couple arrived at the farmhouse, completely exhausted and felt they could not go any further, regardless of whether Ruth was accepted or not. An elderly woman, probably in her late 60’s came to the door.
“Aunt Lolus, is that you?”
“Aunt? Who are you, girl?” asked the woman.
“Before I married, I was Ruth Ann Jacobs – Beulah’s girl.”
“Land sakes alive, get off that horse. You must be plumb tuckered out. Did you ride all the way from Kansas?”
“Yeah, ever bit of the way.”
“How is Beulah and Elton?”
“They have both passed away. I am the only one left and I was looking for a place to settle down. I will tell you all about it later, but right now – could I borrow a bed?”
“Child, where is my manners? Of course, you can. Just come on in and I will get it ready for you,” said Lolus.
As soon as Ruth laid her head on the pillow, she was soon sound asleep with Josh beside her, snoring away. They had found a home where Ruth’s reputation would be forgotten -- she hoped.
To be continued
Copyright 2008 by Starla Anne Lowry.
Characters are fictitious and any resemblance to persons living or dead are coincidental except for my own family names which were used toward the end of the chapter