The Saga of Miles Forrest

What was it like?  I’ve never experienced anything like what you’ve experienced,” said Molly in an excited yet hushed tone.
    We were sitting in the diner after the noon rush.  Anihu was in the kitchen cleaning up and fixing stew for supper.  Molly was only serving stew for the evening meal and she decided to close the diner on the 1st.  
    “It’s hard to explain,” I said taking a sip of coffee.  “I was sitting there with my hat pulled down over my eyes, but I wasn’t sleepin’ for I thought that Decker could be on the train and I darn’t not sleep.”
    “Go on,” she urged.
    “He sat down and I told Him I wasn’t sleepin’, and I could feel Him smile.  I didn’t see it, but I know He was as I could somehow feel it,” I paused pulling at my moustache, “just like I can feel Him frown at me.”
    “I didn’t hear His voice, yet I did…”
    She interrupted, “I don’t understand.”
    Smiling I continued, “I don’t either.  I didn’t hear it with my ears, but I heard it in here,” I said pointing at my chest.
“He asked what I thought about the job with Soapy Smith and I told Him I couldn’t take it.  That’s when I felt the smile.”  
    I looked at Molly.  “Sorry, I can’t explain it better than that.”
    She nodded as if she understood.
    “Then He asked about the position in New Orleans.  I told Him I didn’t think I would take it.  It would take me away from Durango, and you have the diner and all.”
    “There was the smile again, and He said, ‘Are you sure you shouldn’t go to New Orleans?  Sometimes a person has to do things that he doesn’t necessarily want to do.'”
    “Are you tellin’ me to go?” I asked.
    “No, I just want you to be settled in your mind,” I felt His presence begin to leave.  Merker and the fallen one will be after you again.  Stay on your guard!” and He was gone.
    I looked at her.  “Molly we must be diligent.  Always after I’ve had a visit from the Lord things seem to get a little rough.”
    She reached over putting her hand on my arm and smiled at me.  “We’ll get through it.  We’ve always have.”
    Reaching for the ever-ready coffeepot I refilled both our cups.  Lucas came out from the back along with Anihu and sat with us.  I grabbed a cup for each of them and filled it.  Lucas was growing up.  
    Molly gave a little laugh.  “It was a grand time, wasn’t it?  When are they supposed to be back?”
    “Manana,” spoke out Anihu.
    We had a grand time when Marta became Charlie Gold right after the Christmas service at the church.  We opened the diner for the whole congregation and anyone else from the town who wanted to join in the celebration.  I grabbed Charlie’s hat and put it on the counter for people to drop in donations and the cost of the meal if they could afford it in it for a wedding present.  I thought about using Charlie’s boot, but then when I pulled it off it might drive away those in the room, and Marta’s little wedding slipper was just too small for gathering in much.
    It wasn’t elaborate.  We just had venison chili, cake, and plenty of coffee.  I took over his duties as sheriff, at least in Durango, I didn’t go outside the town, while they were on their honeymoon.  He took her down to Santa Fe.
    Anihu doesn’t come out and join us often, so we were enjoying her company.  Lucas was always too busy, but also was still a kid, so he didn’t feel like sitting with us.  Laughing, Molly was retelling when Marta wiped icing on Charlie’s face.  He put on his sheriff’s stern face and it scared her until he started laughing.  She cried out and tried to put more icing on him.
    I had just lifted the cup to my lips for a sip when Stan Offut came in the door.  I saw him look around, then he headed straight toward our table with a telegram in his hand.  He doesn’t come here often to eat, and when he headed straight toward us I became a mite concerned.
    “Stan, what’s up?” I asked.
    He didn’t say anything, just handed me the telegram.  
    “Explosion on the train…STOP…No details…STOP
    “Marta was on that train!” yelled Lucas.
    “Miles!  He’s right.  Charlie and Marta were on that train coming back.”
    “That would put them somewhere between here and Conejos,” I said.  “I need to go.”
    I looked at Molly, then Stan interrupted.  “There’s more.  There tracks are destroyed in several places between here and Conejos.”
    Looking at him, I said, “I’m surprised the wires are still up.”  He just shrugged his shoulders, but it caused me to ponder.
    Taking one more sip I pushed my chair back and stood up.  As I did Molly did the same, “I’m going with you!” she stated emphatically.
    “Me too!” added Lucas.
    “I don’t think…” I started to say, but Lucas interrupted,
    “She’s my sister!”
    I grabbed his shoulder.  “Go saddle the horses.  You can ride Hawk.  Saddle Star for me and Two-Bits for Molly.  We’ll meet you at the cabin as Molly will have to change and I’ll need to get supplies,” I stated. 
    As we walked out of the diner, I looked back and saw Anihu with her head bowed–praying.  “Lucas, I’m goin’ over to Vexler’s and get a mule, then on to Foster’s store.  Meet me there.”

Coffee Percs

Shadows filled the backsides of the rolling hills as the fire died and the coffee cooled by the fire.  He tossed a handful of small twigs in the ashes and watched as one curled and snapped and sent a trickle of smoke drifting up over the wagons.”
              –Rod Collins  (Bitter’s Run)

Welcome, welcome pard.  I guarantee the coffee’s hot and strong.  Sure was a good week–this Christmas was a real blessing, at least for me exceptin’ the eldest daughter and her family wasn’t here.  Santa good to yuh?  What?  I told yuh to behave yurself.  I reminded yuh all year to stay away from nonsense.  So, all yuh got was some long-handles and socks.  Well, I won’t mention the long-handles, don’t need them much down here in South Texas, but yuh needed some socks.  I’ve seen yuh without yur boots on and the pair, oh yuh got two pairs now, the pair yuh have is full of holes.  Reckon they are a blessin’ after all.  Yuh only plan on washin’ one pair a week is that it?
    Ahhh, drink that java down, and sigh.  I’m ponderin’ if this is a good day or a blah one.  It’s either a day that means the last Saturday of the year and that could be good or bad, dependin’ on yur year.  Or it could mean that next Saturday is a new year, but we have no real clue what the year holds.  However, pard, go ahead drink up, there’s plenty in the pot, the Lord will give us each day, we take it as it comes and know that He is there with us–good or bad.
    Just like the ol’ boy in the above quotation.  When that smoke drifted up it disappeared.  It was overcome by the atmosphere.  Was it the old year passin’ off into history with all its lessons, challenges, some of them continuin’ to be faced, or was it the thought of the new year?  Smoke in the air, dissipatin’ so quickly that we cannot see it just as we can’t see the year ahead of us.
    What’s that pard?  Yuh got ‘nother present?  Sure, I’ll go out and see it with yuh.  Coffee all gone?  Then let’s go.  Ha, ha, yur shore did need that.  The wife was feared yuh’d fall off ’cause yur not always so careful and she went an’ bought yuh a new cinch.  Still don’t do yuh no good if yuh don’t check it.

Coffee Percs

That evening I had put the coffeepot on to boil.  I sat down and was honing my knife when they approached our camp.”
              –D.C. Adkisson  (Redemption)

What’s that I heerd you a-singin’?  “Bring me some figgy puddin’.”  Pard, have yuh ever tasted that stuff?  I did one time, and that was enough to last the rest of my Christmases.  No, sing something like “Bring me a plate of gravy, piled high over biscuits.”  Now that doesn’t rhyme, but it’ll sure taste better than figgy puddin’.
    That evening I had put the coffeepot on to boil.  I sat down and was honing my knife when they approached our camp.”
              –D.C. Adkisson  (Redemption)

What’s that I heerd you a-singin’?  “Bring me some figgy puddin’.”  Pard, have yuh ever tasted that stuff?  I did one time, and that was enough to last the rest of my Christmases.  No, sing something like “Bring me a plate of gravy, piled high over biscuits.”  Now that doesn’t rhyme, but it’ll sure taste better than figgy puddin’.
    Glad yuh made it over, wasn’t sure this close to Christmas.  Ahhh, let that coffee slide on down to yur gizzard.  Pard, try one of these cookies.  Annie and the girls were bakin’ all day long yesterday.  I snuck one from my private stash.  Figgy puddin’ phooey, give me another one of those raisin cookies, or one of those Christmas cookies with red sprinkly things on top.
    Say, I heard the government was shuttin’ down.  Ha, I reckon the bureaucrats will continue gettin’ paid.  Most of them should be workin’ for free like the President, they have so much money stowed away.  Nah, they’ll turn the whole thing into a blame game, play politics.  And us poor peons will sit out here and blame one side or the other.  Bureaucrats!
    Let me take another sip, somethin’ just moved up in my gray-matter.  Come to think of it, it was the bureaucrats and their antics that forced Joseph to pack up and move to Bethlehem.  Ol’ Caesar didn’t realize he was helpin’ make prophecy come true.  I think today’s bureaucrats will be shocked at how they are helpin’ end-time prophecy come true.  Ol’ Joe must have been one to ride the river with.  Just imagine, he was takin’ care of God’s Son.  Whooeee, what a job; mercy the responsibility.  Chew on that some.
    What?  Yuh haven’t finished yur shoppin’. ?  Still have to get somethin’ for yur sweetie?  Pard, it’ll be worse than turnin’ a stampede out there today.  Yuh best be careful.  Say, yuh and all yur loved ones, have a very Merry Christmas.  In case yuh drink some bad coffee, I’ll be sure and have a pot boilin’ next week.  
               Vaya con Dios,
and don’t forget to check yur cinch our there with all the heathen. 

Echoes From the Campfire

It’s likely that you can remember
          A corral at the foot of a hill
          Some mornin’ along in December
          When the air was so cold and so still.
          When the frost lay as light as a feather,
          And the stars had jest blinked out and gone.
          Remember the creak of the leather
          As you saddled your hoss in the dawn?”
                –Bruce Kiskaddon

    “Then she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and she wrapped Him snugly in cloth and laid Him in a manger–because there was no room for them at the inn.”
                –Luke 2:7 (HCSB)
Friends, this is just one of those days.  There’s only one like it in the year.  Some of those yuppie, new age type folk will celebrate sometime today for it is the Winter Solstice.  Whatever that means to you, all I know is that it is the shortest day of the year.
    However, this is another day not like any other.  This is the day of possibly the last Echos From the Campfire for 2018.  There may be a Perc or two, but I doubt if there’ll be another Echo this year.  Nah, my pen has not run out of ink, and while I will admit, the ol’ gray-matter sometimes runs low on thoughts, the truth of the matter is that ol’ Ira, here is going to rest until the first of the year.  “Rest!” you declare, “ain’t you retired?  So you reckon I’m a-restin’ all the time are you?
Well, think what you may.  So, I’m just going to throw out a few thoughts to tide you over, at least through Tuesday.

          “I like to recall the Christmas night.
              The tops of the mountains capped with white.
           The stars so bright they seemed to blaze,
              and the foothills swum in a silver haze.
           Them good old days is past and gone.
              The time and the world and the change does on.
           And you cain’t do things like you used to do
              when cattle was plenty and folks was few.”
                     –Bruce Kiskaddon

I can remember a few Christmas nights like this.  Your breath seemed to freeze in the cold, winter night.  The stars were shining and the light of the moon would shine down on the Rockies and the snow-capped peaks seemed to glimmer, and almost glow.  The good old days–things have changed.  I don’t care where you go, it is not the same; I’m so thankful for the wonderful memories that I have stored up.  The glow doesn’t seem to be there, and the brightness and crispness of the night, well, it’s not as fervent as years past.  Call it pollution, call it whims of an ol’ man, call it progress, call it what you want, but things have changed.
    The words of the famed preacher of years past, John Henry Jowett that was preached December 25, 1918, ring forth with truth:

            “And we have overlooked the first phrase, the phrase which is casual and causative–‘glory to God in the highest.’  We have been concerned about fruits, but we have been careless about roots… We have been expecting man to be right with man before man was right with God.”

We do not seem to be concerned much anymore with the roots.  Christmas should draw us back to it though.  Glory to God, all should relate back to Him.  In the Christmas season this year don’t forget to look to Him, the author and founder and completer of our faith.  Go back to your “roots” for a while, whether they are physical, mental, or spiritual.
    From our household, have a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!