The Saga of Miles Forrest

I had just poured a cup of coffee when Molly came out of the kitchen with Greta and Hannah.  This didn’t look good.  As they approached where I was sitting I got up and asked, “Coffee?”
Molly said she would take a cup, but the others declined.  They all sat.  I looked at them, drank half my cup, then refilled it and joined them.
“I take it there’s something on your minds.”
“Miles,” started Hannah, “You’ve been a good friend in all of our sorrows and troubles.  But,” she looked at Greta, “We just can’t work here any longer.”
Putting her hand on my arm, Molly looked at me and then back at the ladies.  Greta was sober, and kept her head bowed.  “Continue,” I said.
“We’ve told Molly we’re quitting.  I’ll work until you can find someone, but Greta will be leaving today.  We figure we can build up the egg business.  But it just seems like something is always happening because of you, and often we get caught up in the middle of it.  The thought of those snakes being loosed in our laps; well, that did it.  Miles, I’m sorry.”
“No need to apologize to me.  I understand that you are victims of my circumstances.  The person you are leavin’ in the lurch is Molly.  She has nothin’ to do with what has happened.”
“If she hadn’t married you; if you weren’t around!” Greta snapped.
Now that brought an ire up within me, but it also brought a little laugh from me.  “Don’t blame her for givin’ you a job.  Don’t blame her for carin’ for you when you were hurt.  And certainly don’t blame her for comfortin’ you in your sorrow.  Now ladies, you’ve said your piece.  I understand, and am not upset, until you start to throwin’ blame around.”  I finished my coffee.  “Hope you’ll give her a good price on eggs.”  With that I figured it was time for me to depart.
I went on down to the Wells Fargo office to check in and see what was happening.  Nothing else had happened in Silverton, but there was a load of ore ready for transport in Telluride.  I was to take a couple of men with me up there and help escort it down here to Durango.  Then escort it by train to Denver.  This would be the last major load for the summer, so it would be substantial.
On my way back I stopped at the mercantile and left word that Molly was looking for a dependable person to help out at the eatery.  I would be leaving the day after tomorrow and wished she could get some help before I left, but at the same time wanted someone that would work.  Sure didn’t want another Tandy or his type around.
Hannah was waiting on a table when I arrived and Molly was in the kitchen.  I went on back and started to sneak up behind her and give her a bearhug when I saw she was making a pie.  Not wanting to do something to startle her I sort of grunted to make my presence known.
“I heard you back there,” she said.  “And no, these are not for you.  The apple pie is for Greta, since she’s leaving.  But if you go out and chop some wood I’m also making an apricot pie and a butterscotch one and you might just get a piece of one of them.”
“Yes’m,” and went out the back door.  What is chopping some wood for a piece of pie?
Checking the ax, I put a quick edge to it, and began to work.  There was plenty of wood, but it needed to be cut into smaller pieces of kindling for the stove.  I went to chopping the large pieces into small ones, and then took the hatchet to finish up the job.  it must have been an hour later when Molly called for me to come in.
She was smiling, “Go wash up,” she ordered.  I wasn’t going to argue with a smile so I cleaned up as well as possible and went to the dining room.  At my table was a piece of pie.  Now, that was a woman!
There were more people eating now and Hannah was busy running from table to table and Molly was back in the kitchen doing the cooking.  Pouring a cup of coffee I sat down, and began to enjoy.  It was apricot.  Maybe I’d eat the butterscotch for supper.  All of the customers had their food so she came over and sat with me for a minute and took the fork from my hand, and dug into my pie for a bite.  All things considering I let her.
“Want some coffee, too?” I asked jokingly.  She jabbed me with the fork.
“I’m headin’ for Telluride day after tomorrow.  Be gone ’bout a week.”
“It will be alright.  I’m going to cut the menu back to stew for dinner and supper.  Let me get you a bowl,” and she got up for the kitchen.

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