The Saga of Miles Forrest

Ha,” came the laugh from the man wearing black.  “I had heard that my friend was dead and came to check on his grieving widow.”  His smile vanished at he looked across the room at the other man, then he turned his attention back to me.  “I figured I could bring life back into her life.”
    “Before I arrest you, I would like to know who is John and who is James,” I said simply. 
    “Ha,” came the laugh again.  “I am most certainly James,” he pointed at the other man, “the dull one is John.  Seems his aim wasn’t so good.  But arresting me, for what?”
    I just shook my head, wondering if he liked to hear himself talk.  “Let’s start with bank robbery, abduction of three women, using women as hostages, train robbery, and accessory to murder.  Add the attempted murder of a federal officer to the list.  My mercy, Lamb, you’ve got quite the resume.  Now, pick up the cup!”
    Instead of moving toward the cup, he took a couple of steps to his left widening the gap between him and his brother.  I had to bring this to a close quickly.  There was something about James Lamb that told me that he was a dangerous man.  They were far enough apart to make it very difficult for me to shoot both of them if it came to gunplay and they way he was acting I didn’t doubt for a minute that it would.
    “Don’t move another step,” I ordered.  There was the smile and he took another step, then another, testing me to my limits.
    “Stop!”
    A shot rang out from behind me.  From the corner of my eye I saw John double over.  James went for his gun, but he must have been distracted seeing his brother fall.  My bullet hit him in the elbow.  It must have broken the bone for he immediately dropped his gun.  I glanced quickly at John before looking behind me.  Lucas was there, holding a rifle.
    He had tears in his eyes.  “Senor Miles, are you goin’ arrest me?”
    I was watching James as I went over to Lucas.  Taking the rifle from his hand, I put my hand on his shoulder, “No, son, you’re not going to jail.”
    “That man was going to take Marta.  I wasn’t going to let him!” he said almost in a sob.
    It was then I noticed that James was bending down, trying to pick his gun from the floor.  I moved toward him, “Not the gun, pick up the cup.”
    Fortunately for me, he could not hurt me with his eyes because I could see the daggers being flung at me.  “The cup,” I said again.
    “I’m bleeding,” he snapped.  “Send for the doctor.  My brother’s dying!”
    “The wages of sin are brutal,” I replied.  “Pick up the cup and I’ll check on your brother.”
    He went to his knees and started to the cup, his right arm dangling.  He grabbed the cup with his left hand then looked at me.  “I can’t get up.  You’ll have to help me.”
    I reached down with my left arm to help pull him to his feet.  He swung the hand holding the cup at me; I was half suspecting he would try something.  My pistol was still in my hand and I slashed at his hand making contact with his wrist then I thumped him alongside the head and he felt to a heap on the floor.
    Looking up I saw Doc Jones coming through the door with Marta right behind him.  He looked at me and shook his head.
    “Better check that one first,” I suggested point at John.  “He took a bullet.”
    Doc looked him over, Lamb had passed out.  “I need to get him to my office to get the bullet out.  He’s losing blood, and I can’t really tell how bad he’s hurt.”
    A crowd had built up outside so I went out and grabbed a couple spectators to carry John Lamb over to the doctor’s office.  
    “Go ahead,” ordered the doctor, “I’ll be over just as soon as I check this other man.”
    The arm of James Lamb was bleeding with the bone sticking out, but the artery wasn’t hit.  “My, my,” Doc uttered.  “I’m not sure that I can do anything about this arm.  It might have to come off.”
    I motioned for a couple more men to help with James.  “Good thing he is unconscious, carrying him will hurt like the devil,” remarked Doc.
    “I’ll be over in a few minutes.  I need to check on Lucas.”
    “Lucas?” inquired Doc.
    My lips tightened as I told him, “Lucas is the one who shot John.”
    Doc stood by the door shaking his head as I told him, then walked over to his office.
    I went over to Lucas…
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P.S.  The Saga will not appear next week as we’re traveling back to Texas.  Look for Miles on October 29 in another exciting episode.  The book, Return From Tincup, is about Miles Forrest when he was foreman of the Standing P outside Gunnison, Colorado, and is at the publisher.  Be looking for it!

Echoes From the Campfire

You must meet each challenge with your feet planted firmly on the ground, standing as tall as you are, and never panic.”
              –Lou Bradshaw  (Hickory Jack)

    “Tremble before Him, all the earth. The world also is firmly established, It shall not be moved.”
              –1 Chronicles 16:30 (NKJV)
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Happy Columbus Day!  That’s right, Columbus Day.  It is not Indigenous Peoples Day.  This is the day (actually October 12) when Columbus landed in the New World.  From that time forward exploration began and the New World was settled.  It took time, effort, blood and tears.  There were issues to be dealt with through the next couple of centuries until we get to the present.  Now people are moaning, “the poor native peoples.”  Yes, things could have been done differently but without the Europeans coming to America, and they would have come if it wasn’t Columbus, it would have been someone else.  Call it “Fate,” but I choose to call it Providence.
    I like what Patrick Wastella said in his response to Tara Ross’ blog.

         “It is as if we are educating individuals to look upon a beautiful, centuries-old, stained-glass window in order to find and judge the faults in it.  And upon finding the faults, the judges throw rocks through it, leaving it in ruins.  Is the window perfect?  Of course not.  But rather than dismissing it upon finding the faults, could we educate individuals to look upon the centuries-old window and acknowledge those faults while also admiring what the creator was attempting within the limits of his era?  Would it be better to train our youth to look upon something and to ask themselves, ‘How can this be improved?” rather than to judge it as imperfect and to discard it?'”  (Devin Foley)

Columbus was not a perfect person–there is not such a thing.  But take the time to read his diaries; he realized his name meant “Christ-bearer.”  He required missions and schools to be started to educate the “Indians” in the way of the gospel.  Those who proclaim the loudest do not care that thousands were to gain the knowledge of Jesus Christ, only the fact that the many died from the “white man’s disease.”
    One other thing to consider is that the “Columbian Exchange” went both ways, and for some reason those with the agenda only seem to talk of the negative.  What about the architecture, the language, fruits and grains, horses and cattle that came because of Spanish and other European exploration?  Plus, the common theory that syphilis was taken to the Old World during the exchange.
    So, today I salute Christopher Columbus!  The brave man who dared face the unknown waters to the West of Europe and by change–hardly, by Providence–discovered what we now call the Americas.  By the way, are we going to change the name of America, since it was named for Amerigo Vespucci?

Coffee Percs

Hunkered down beside the fire, I stirred the coals and got out my cup.  Each of them dug a blackened cup from among his gear and we shared the coffee in my beat-up old pot.  Long ago Pa taught me to share what I had with guests if it was the last I had, although few had done the same for me.”
              –Louis L’Amour  (The First Fast Draw)

Sure been enjoying ourselves up here in northern land.  Of course, Maryland is south of the Mason-Dixon line, but compared to Texas it’s up north.  Nice cool mornin’s, especially of late.
    Don’t dare look at the news; the gizzard will get riled up again with all the craziness that is continuin’.  Folks have lost all the sense the good Lord gave them.  When we lose sight of Him and His ways, all sorts of confusion and stupidity follows.
    They, the bureaucrats, brats, and media, are onto the poor cows and cattlemen.  That passin’ gas from those cows is destroyin’ the world–get rid of the cows.  My mercy, there’s more gas comin’ out of some of their mouths than from any ol’ cow would every make.  A person walking in certain areas of the country better be wearin’ their boots and watchin’ their step.  Yep, Pard, things just aren’t the same anymore.
    Finish yur cup an’ I’ll tell yuh another one.  They’re tryin’ to get rid of our steaks, next will be our coffee unless it’s a cino of some sort.  Up there in Oregon, I’ve heard that high school students, maybe college, are now given stress-free days.  Yep, if one of those poor twinkies has a rough day they can just take off school.  No wonder they whine and cry when they enter the school of hard knocks.
    Coffee’s sure tastin’ good this mornin’.  Maybe ’cause there’s so much out there that leaves a bitter taste in our mouths.  Hate to say it Pard, but the end is not yet.  I look at all the hatred and wonder just how much longer the Lord will wait, but only the minute and hour is known to Him.  I reckon it won’t be long ‘fore we are drinkin’ some of that heavenly coffee.
    Check that cinch, Pard.  There’s folks out there that’ll steal the hat right off your head.  Ha, most of them don’t have a clue as to what a cinch is.

Echoes From the Campfire

On a late afternoon when the clouds gather around the peaks and the lightning begins to play its games over the mountain meadows, the high country is no place to be, but it can be spectacular to watch from a safe distance.  At such times the hills can be alive with the sound that isn’t music, but it has a magnificence of its own.”
              –Louis L’Amour  (Passin’ Through)

“Listen to Me, you who know righteousness, You people in whose heart is My law: Do not fear the reproach of men, Nor be afraid of their insults.”
              –Isaiah 51:7 (NKJV)
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         “The tragedy is that our eternal welfare depends upon our hearing, and we have trained our ears not to hear.”
                   –A.W. Tozer

    This is my favorite time of the year.  I loved to get out and walk in the woods during the fall season, whether it be hunting or just spending time in God’s great cathedral.  I like to find a place, maybe by a cascading brook, or sit on the edge of a ridge overlooking the country below, or maybe just to sit in a grove of trees.  In all of these places I like to sit and listen.
    Folks don’t listen anymore.  It may be that they just don’t take the time to listen.  It may be that they are so inundated with noise and sounds that they are not able to listen.  Right now, as I right this, I am listening to the leaves rustle as the breeze moves them.  There is a squirrel in the tree and I hear it moving through the branches often stopping to eat the nuts on the dogwood tree.  Then in the midst of it all, the wonder is ruined by the sound of beeping, a truck is beeping and that took my ears away from nature and all I can hear is noise.  Noise of the beeping, noise of the not too distant highway, the noise of man’s progress and technology.
    I used to teach Royal Rangers and also taught an Outdoor Education class.  One of my first days of class was to get the students outside.  They were to sit the whole class period and listen and then record what they heard.  They were to have two columns:  man-made noise and nature.  The first time they really struggled.  First it was hard for them to sit that long, in one place, outside in nature.  Second, they were away from their phones.  They struggled to listen.
    We are very much the same way when it comes to things spiritual and the voice of God.  We struggle to sit in one place to read God’s Word.  We struggle to find a quiet place where we can pray and commune with God.  Jesus often admonished with the following, “he who has an ear let him listen.”  If we take the time, if we can discipline ourselves, we can learn to listen.  The students who were given the assignment to listen struggled, but they began to learn to be still and listen.  By the end of the semester they were able to “hear” the voices of nature.  We can do the same with the Lord.