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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/books/entry_id/557237-12262007--more-than-500-words
Rated: E · Book · Research · #1363470
500-words-a-day Group #1214629
#557237 added December 26, 2007 at 6:05pm
Restrictions: None
12/26/2007--more than 500 words
Chapter One—insert

         Martha Jane Egglefield, eighty-year-old matriarch of Bitterroot Valley pioneer women, reminisced about the milestones and stepping stones of her life.  She felt old and tired as she lay on the filthy divan carried over from her once proud mansion on Adirondack Street.  Hamilton, Montana, a town that owed the New York flavor of street names to her followed the usual pattern of granting men the honor as founding fathers.  “What about us founding mothers?”
         “I planted Hamilton as much as that robber baron, Marcus Daly.” 
         “Here I am dieing in this god forsaken town of Victor with a nickname like the “Goatlady” when I could be dieing in the comfort of my bedroom in Hamilton.  Where in the hell did those people come up with the name “Goatlady”?
         “Dirty Shirt” Clark listened as he added coal to the stove.  He knew all of Martha’s stories and loved her rascally reminisces as much as she thrived on the retelling.  George, a gentle hearted, but slow speaking odd job laborer, gave Martha all the time she needed to tell her life story.  He is a patient man, and he loved Martha Jane Egglefield.

Chapter One—insert

         Father’s trusted friend and comrade, Eli, widower and father of six, recounted the horror that fixed his blue gray eyes on the shaft of his muzzle loader.  He told of the men and the brave efforts to save Martha’s father.  He told of the young boy’s dieing eyes filled with a child’s fear and desperation.
         As a young undisciplined child, I listened to every word.  I was enthralled with the idea that a boy my age tried to kill my father.  I was twelve and could not climb the rope to the barn much less fire a muzzle loader intent on killing.
         Jeb’s life, filled with responsibility at a young age placed a burden on my heart that I never released.

         Malachi Baker was beside his friend when he went down.  The grief shook in his hands as he gathered Jeb in his arms.  All he said as he carried him from the battlefield was that he needed to get him home before dark.  That was his mamma’s rule, children need to be home before dark.  While Malachi walked through scorched fields, he remembered his boyhood friend, and the lessons learned together.

Another Chapter One—insert

         Many of the names used in this book are authentic.  Some were pioneers ahead of their time.  Many were truly folks out to make a dollar in whatever fashion it took.  However, most of the plot is fictional, some written with literary liberties gained from word of mouth, and other information from the author’s love of history and storytelling.
         My intent is to entertain without harming or insulting the good people of any state, county or city.  My true love is Montana and the continuing growing pains that started well before the names and places mentioned in this novel.  Best regards, Andrea

Chapter  Two

Jeb and Malachi

         Jeb and Malachi grew together as friends through the hard work of farms and fields.  Jeb, blonde and freckle faced, turned ten years old when the war began. 
Malachi, was tall, strong and fourteen.  He worked for Jeb’s daddy as a field manager.  He felt privileged to have gained so much trust from a white man at his age.
         When Jeb first saw Malachi, he thought that Malachi was a grown up man.  Malachi swung a sickle with smooth, wide swathes.  Malachi never missed a beat as he swung the sickle over his head while humming.  Malachi loved music and believed the rhythm of the Father’s earth was in the rhythm of a song. 
         Instead of walking up to the young man and shaking his hand, Jeb picked up the roundest, smoothest rock the he could find.  Jeb leaned back on his right foot and threw the rock at the feet of this big man.  Before Jeb could run five paces, Malachi swung his sickle like a cricket bat and sent the stone back to Jeb.  The stone made contact with the center of Jeb’s forehead, which instantly began to bleed.  The blood was dripping from his forehead into the field like the giant raindrops of an early spring rainstorm.
         Malachi, feeling miserable and responsible, scooped young Jeb into his arms and carried him to his father’s house across the field.  As soon as Jeb’s mother saw all the blood, she asked Malachi to take Jeb up to his room.  She said it in a voice so calming that Malachi could not believe he heard it from a southern woman.
         Following that day, Jeb and Malachi shook hands in the old southern tradition, and then went fishin’.  Malachi thought about the catfish they caught, and the big fish stories Jeb could tell.
          Jeb’s storytelling was legend in his family. Sitting around in the evening listening to Jeb tell about some critter that wrestled for his lunchbox in the back forty was all the entertainment necessary in a world of war.
         When Jeb and Malachi worked alone in the fields or lounged on the riverbank, Jeb talked about the war.  In Jeb’s young mind, all he comprehended was the glory and honor of war.  Fighting for the South seemed the worthiest cause he could imagine.  Slavery and state’s rights were ambiguous smokescreens lit by politicians disguising the war in terms for the uneducated and ignorant.  The only good reason to fight as far as Jeb was concerned was to protect his family and the farm.  That was honor.

AndieK--don't forget "Life is an adventure . . . So write it down & treasure the memory forever."

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