The Saga of Miles Forrest

Come on, Newsome, spit it out!”  I admonished him.  I wondered what Jewelene, his wife, saw in him.  I reckoned he was a good man, provided for her, but my mercy, he was about as solid as milquetoast.
    He looked as if he were about to choke with that tight collar he was wearing.  “Wilson and I were thinking, that maybe…”  He was interrupted by the approach of Judge Klaser coming through the doorway.
    Charlie saw him first, and raised his voice a little to get everyone’s attention.  “Pull up a chair for the Honorable Judge Vernon T. Klaser,” he said in a joking spirit.
    The judge glanced at Charlie, “Thank you, Sheriff.  Well, well, I’ve everybody here that I need to see.”
    As he was seating himself I got up to get him a cup of coffee and placed it in front of him on the table.  “Judge,” inquired Molly, “would you like a piece of pie?”
    “No, no thank you, Mrs. Forrest, but I could use a bit of honey for the coffee, if you don’t mind,” he gave in reply.
    Molly smiled, “Sure Judge.”  She started to get up, but Marta informed her that she would get it.
    I had refilled my cup, and was sipping at it waiting to hear what the Judge had to say.  Marta brought the honey and we all were watching to see how much of it he would use.  He poured a spoon full then put it in the coffee and began to stir.  After banging the spoon a couple of times against the top of the cup, he took a sip.
    “Miles, I’ve heard you arrested Martin Olson on attempted murder?” asked the Judge.
    I didn’t get any further when Newsome blurted out, “That’s why Wilson and I are here.  We think Martin should be released.”
    Judge Klaser held up his hand to stop Newsome.  “Do you have evidence?”
    “I have an affidavit signed by Oswald Dierker, the witness of Sheriff Charlie Gold, and my personal word,” I stated in no uncertain terms.
    The Judge looked at Newsome, “Why in the world would you want Olson released with this evidence?”
    “Well, uh, we, that is, Wilson and I talked with Martin and he promised…”
    Charlie slammed his hand on the table.  “When did you see Olson?” he asked glaring at John Newsome.
    “We, well, uh, ah, we went in your office when you, ah, when Forrest was shooting at Marshal McCall,” he answered nervously.
    “Hold it right there, Mr. Newsome,” ordered the Judge.  “You are already getting into legal difficulties.  You are interfering with a federal investigation of an attempted murder of a U.S. Marshal, and now are hinting at taking possible bribes by listening to promises.”  He stopped then looked at the two men.  “Right now, you could easily be looking at two years in the penitentiary.
    Foster’s eyes got as wide as a silver dollar, and he turned pale.  I thought he was going to pass out. Newsome choked where Doc had to slap him on the back a few times.  It was quiet for several seconds.
    The Judge began to speak again.  “Durango will have its first full-fledged election next fall.  All three of the council seats will be open for election and for the first time there will be an election for mayor,” he paused there to look at Foster and Newsome.  “Either of you planning to run for the office of mayor?”
    They hadn’t quite gotten over their shock of going to prison so they just sort of stared at the Judge while he was talking.  “Here’s the plan I suggest we take.  Don’t worry, we’ll have a hearing to make it all legal.  I suggest that Miles, here should be appointed town marshal until the first of the year when the new mayor and council can determine whether to hire a new marshal,” he paused again to look at me.  “That is if Miles will take the job.”
    I pulled at my moustache, and couldn’t help myself, I grinned at Foster and Newsome.  “I will, but remember, my federal marshalin’ duties may take me away.”
    “A deputy to help,” uttered the Judge.
    “That would be a helpful bonus, but you’ll have to get the council to agree to pay one,” I stated.  “I do have someone in mind.”
    “Good!” exclaimed the Judge. “It’s settled then, unless you two gentlemen have something to say against it.”  He turned to look at Foster and Newsome.  
    “Now, one more thing.  We can wait for a couple of weeks for Judge Broomfield to come and try Olson in federal court or we can handle it this week.”
    Charlie spoke up.  “It would sure save the taxpayers some money if we went ahead with a trial.”
    Foster and Newsome just looked at each other.

Echoes From the Campfire

My sword I give to him that shall succeed me in my pilgrimage, and my courage and skill to him that can get it.  My marks and scars I carry with me, to be witness for men, that I have fought his battles who now will be my rewarder.”
              –John Bunyan (Pilgrim’s Progress)

    “He shall judge between the nations, And rebuke many people; They shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore.”
              –Isaiah 2:4 (NKJV)
         “That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
          Let him depart; his passport shall be made
          And crowns for convoy put into his purse:
          We would not die in that man’s company
          That fears his fellowship to die with us.
          This day is call’d the feast of Crispian:
          He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
          Will stand a tip-toe when this day is named,
          And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
          He that shall live this day, and see old age,
          Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
          And say, ‘Tomorrow is Saint Crispian’:
          Then will strip his sleeve and show his scars,
          And say, ‘These wounds I had on Crispin’s day.’
          We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
          For he today that sheds his blood with me
          Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile
          This day shall gentle his condition:
          And gentlemen in England now a-bed
          Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
          And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
          That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.”
                     –William Shakespeare (Henry V)

Perhaps the above should be kept for Veterans Day, for Memorial Day is a day to remember the fallen.  I’ve read several post on facebook, “don’t tell me to celebrate this day”, saying that it is for the fallen, therefore, a time of sorrow, remembrance, and tears.  But when I look at the above words, those who continue to live, those who did not fall will stand, show their scars and remember.  It may be with a cheer, it may be with a tear.  It may be leaning against a “wall”, it may be looking at a picture–but it will be a time of remembrance.
               Last Full Measure of Devotion
          “In the long and honored history of America
           There are names that shine like beacons in the night
           The Patriots whose vision gave us meaning
           Who kept the lamp of freedom burning bright.
           In the long and honored history of America
           There are those that paid the last and final price
           Who were called upon by chance, or desperate circumstance
           To make the ultimate sacrifice.
           A grateful nations bows it head in sorrow
           And in thanks for guaranteeing our tomorrow
           The last full measure of devotion
           That’s what they gave to the cause
           The last full measure of devotion
           And though they cannot hear our applause;
           We honor them forever and keep alive their story
           Pay tribute to their lives and give them all the glory
           The last full measure of devotion
           Beyond the call of duty were their deeds
           The last full measure of devotion,
           They gave themselves to serve the greater need.
           And for those who did survive
           And came back home alive
           They join in praise of comrades who were slain
           And highly resolved, most higly resolved
           That these dead shall not have died in vain.”
                     –Larry Grossman

Coffee Percs

I heated up a canteen cup of coffee with a sterno tablet.  I had to hover over it to keep the rain from drowning it out.”
               –E.B. Sledge (With the Old Breed)

Mornin’ already?  Goodness, Pard, this ol’ fence post slept in this mornin’.  That’s what happens in this here retirement.  Sorry if I kept yuh waitin’ for my purely delightful words and company.
     Folks are really in an uproar in some places over this virus.  My mercy, yuh’d think someone stole their chewin’ gum.  Some give yuh the evil eye if’n yuh aren’t wearin’ a mask.  Not in my area of the woods, but in some places.  I think some folk just have a cantankerous bone and have to spite everyone an’ everythin’.  We’re supposed to be rejoicin’ folk an’ be givin’ thanks to the Lord.
     Ol’ Sledge mentioned heatin’ up coffee over sterno. I’ve done that a few times, but I had a miniature tripod that would hold one hexamine tablet–just enough for one canteen size cup of coffee.  I made that more than a few times.  Used to always carry a pot in the car with a sterno stove; a person can’t go about unprepared.
     Not too bad, go ahead take a long, deep sip.  Ahhh, nothin’ better than a good cup of coffee in the mornin’.  But then there’s nothing better than a good cup of coffee after supper, or for, that matter, for a mid-mornin’ beverage.  Speakin’ of bein’ prepared.  I trust yur lookin’ up and have prepared yurself for that trumpet sound.
     Yuh be havin’ yurself a good Memorial Day.  Remember the fallen, that is the purpose of the Day.  Don’t rile yur gizzard, stay away from lookin’ at the news too much.  And for goodness sake don’t forget to check yur cinch.
                Vaya con Dios,

Echoes From the Campfire

These were the simplest things in life, but none of them were free.  A man had to earn them by sweat and hunger and fatigue.  That was why they were good.”
               –Ernest Haycox  (The Border Legion)

     “He who keeps the commandments keeps his soul, But he who is careless of his ways will die.”
               –Proverbs 19:16 (NKJV)
This is the beginning of the Memorial weekend.  It is on Memorial Day that we remember the fallen; those who gave their all in the service of their country.  I was debating on what to write when I came across a poem. 

                   The Soldier Has Come Home
                      Lay the green sod on me
                      carve my name in stone,
                      lay the green sod on me
                      the soldier has come home.

                      Don’t mourn for me, my darling
                      don’t cry when I am gone.
                      Don’t mourn for me, my darling
                      the soldier will come home.

                      My friends have gone before me
                      and laid their tired bodies down.
                      My friends have gone before me
                      to prepare the resting ground.

                      Let me go to sleep now,
                      to march and fight no more.
                      Let me go to sleep now
                      I’m tired, my body’s sore.

                      So lay the green sod on me
                      put the wreath upon my stone
                      lay the green sod on me
                      the soldier has come home.
                             –Barry Sadler
I don’t have a real problem with the picnics and the barbeques, as long as there is time to remember those who sacrificed their lives so that we can have those special times.  I had an uncle die in Vietnam and a cousin give his life on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day.  Others served, not having to give the ultimate sacrifice, but as the slogan well states:  “All Gave Some–Some Gave All.”
     It riles me to no end to see our military mocked.  There is bitterness inside me when I see pseudo-politicians sneer at the Constitution, and gloat in their positions of power.  Let me stop there, for you–some of you understand what I mean.  In closing today, I want to leave you with a poem by our most decorated combat soldier, Audie Murphy.  It was written sometime in the late 1940s.

                              Alone And Far Removed

                       Alone and far removed from earthly care
                       The noble ruins of men lie buried here.
                       You were strong men, good men
                       Endowed with youth and much the will to live.
                       I hear no protest from the mute lips of the dead.
                       They rest:  there is no more to give.

                       So long my comrades,
                       Sleep ye where you fell upon the field.
                       But tread softly please
                       March O’er my heart with ease.
                       March on and on,
                       But to God alone we kneel.
Sometime today, get alone and have a time of silence.  Remember the fallen, remember their sacrifice, then turn your eyes toward heaven and thank God for them.