The Saga of Miles Forrest

 I took Mateo first to see Charlie.  “This is Sheriff Charlie Gold,” I said in introduction.  “He’s a fine man to have on your side.”
     Charlie stretched out his hand.  Mateo grasped it firmly, “You are married to Marta,” he stated.  “She is a cousin of mine.  I’ll be glad to work beside you.”
     “Right now we are sharin’ the sheriff’s office.  There are five cells back there, so we have to be careful of overload,” I informed him pointing toward the cells.  “I’m goin’ to walk him around town, sorta introduce him to the proprietors and folk.”
     They shook again, Charlie uttered, “I’m glad to be working with you.  If you have any questions–ask.”
     Walking out we headed up toward Foster’s.  Bert Winfield happened to be walking out as we neared the doorway.  “Bert, what are you doin’ in town?” I questioned.  “It’s not Saturday.”
     “Wife’s ailin’ some.  I came to see Doc Jones then stopped to buy Myrtle some tea.  Haven’t seen you in a spell, Miles.  I heard you had some trouble recently,” he replied with a little laugh.  “But that don’t seem to be anything new to you.”
     “It was a bad situation,” I stated then introduced him to Mateo.  “They made me marshal until the fall elections and even said I could have a deputy.  Bert, this here’s Mateo Ramirez, deputy marshal.”
     Bert glanced at him, then nodded stretching out his hand at the same time.  “Glad to meet you, son.  Be careful and good luck to you.”
     “Do you want Molly to come out to check on Myrtle?”  I asked.
     “Thanks, but no.  Doc Jones said he would ride out tomorrow,” came his response then headed toward his horse that was tied to the rail.
     When we entered I didn’t see Wilson, but his niece Darnelle was accepting a purchase from the widow Baxter.  I didn’t know her well.  I saw her most Sundays when I made it to church.  She played an accordion until recently; she said her hands were getting all crippled.  Mateo and I tipped out hats to Mrs. Baxter when she went by.
     “Hello, Miss Foster,” I announced, “I see you’re doin’ all the work.”
     “Oh, are we being formal now, Marshal Forrest?” laughed Darnelle. 
     “I want to introduce you to our new deputy marshal, Mateo Ramirez.”
     She smiled, causing her face to glow and reached out her hand.  “Glad to meet you,” then she turned solemn, but that didn’t stop her face from glowing.  “I’ll be praying for you.”
     As we were chatting Wilson came out from the backroom.  “What do you want, Forrest?” he asked gruffly.
     I don’t know what happened in our relationship.  He was always friendly in times past.  Maybe he just had his feathers ruffled too many times being on the wrong side.  He has that problem of taking a firm stance on a subject.
     “Uncle!  Is that any way to speak to Miles?  After all he’s done for you, for our family?” Darnelle scolded. 
     I could see him clench his jaws, but then relaxed.  “I’m sorry Miles.  Darnelle’s right; I’ve just been out of sorts the past few months.”
     “This is Mateo Ramirez,” bubbled Darnelle.  “He’s going to be Miles’ deputy.”
     Mateo reached out his hand.  “Glad to make your acquaintance, Mr. Foster.”
     There was some hesitation, but then he grasped Mateo’s hand in greeting.  “Son, I was, well, still am some reluctant to have a deputy marshal.  That being said, I wish you the best.”
     I clasped my hand down on Wilson’ shoulder.  “Why don’t you a drop by the diner, bring your wife, Elizabeth, along with Darnelle for supper.  I’ll pay.”
     That brought a smile to his face.  “I’ll do that.”  He reached out to shake Mateo’s hand as we were leaving.
     Stepping outside and into the street, Mateo asked, “What’s with him?”
     “I’m not quite sure,” I replied.  “He’s a good man, a moral man who loves his family and helps others.  It’s just seems that lately he’s been in a stew over somethin’.  Now let’s go see John Newsome.  He’s a wonder.”
     For some reason I always felt uncomfortable walking in Newsome’s Ladies’ Wear.  I noticed that Mateo hesitated outside.  I had to grab his arm to sorta nudge him in.  Newsome was working at a table holding some frilly things in his hands.
     “Uh, excuse me, Mr. Newsome,” I blathered.  “I want to introduce you to the city’s new deputy marshal.”
     He dropped the garment as if he had been burned, then looked at us.  “Well, good,” then looked at us gathering his composure.  “I’m glad you got someone to take care of that Mex element.”
     The thought flitted through my mind that I ought to thump him, but it passed rather quickly.  “Mister Newsome, this is Mateo Ramirez, deputy marshal of Durango,” I said emphasizing Durango.
     He sputtered some, I could see the red rising up from under his collar.  “Yes, of course.”
     “Glad to meet you, Mr. Newsome,” interjected Mateo reaching out his hand.
     Newsome glared, dropped his hand back to the ladies’ garments, but didn’t respond with a handshake.  “Yes, I suppose it was.  Now…” I could see him struggle to say the word, “gentlemen I have to get back to work.”
     We turned and walked out.  As we moved down the boardwalk to the next establishment, Mateo offered, “Well, you’re right, he’s a wonder.”