Three more days and she would turn thirty-four. Amy smiled as she thought about her upcoming birthday. She and Ryan had been married ten years, and each year brought another surprise when it came to the gift she received for her birthday or Christmas. Poor Ryan was at a loss on special occasions when a woman expected a slightly extravagant or sentimental gift. (more…)
I found my old diary the other day and started reading about my distant past. I had never kept a diary until I was twenty-two years old and in the hospital in 1972. Until then I didn’t have the time or feel the need to write down my inner thoughts or deep dark secrets. Ha Ha! (more…)
Back when school was always out by the end of May and didn’t start until after Labor Day kids enjoyed far more freedom. The long, lazy days of summer passed slowly. There wasn’t much to do in our small town. Most of the children attended one or more of the two-week Vacation Bible Schools provided by each of the four churches. They were over at noon. That left a long afternoon to fill before it was time to report home for supper. (more…)
“Mama says we have to ride the train all the way to Abilene. How will we manage without her?” asked sixteen yea-old Emma Murdock. A frown crossed her normally pretty face.
“Why do we need Mama to hold our hand? We’re almost grown,” Emma’s identical twin sister Ella, retorted. (more…)
The boy stood squinting into the late afternoon sun as his blue eyes keenly watched for a signal from the birds soaring over the river. He hoped they would indicate where to fish. His flaxen blond hair glistened in the in the strong afternoon light as he swiped it off of his sweaty forehead with the back of his arm.
“Hey Scout, you can’t catch a fish unless you put your hook in the water,” (more…)
The people next door were quite ordinary. They were of little interest; mother, father, daughter, and son. The Sutton’s were like most of the other families in our quiet neighborhood. Their lives seemed uneventful until one summer when things suddenly began to change. (more…)
One hot afternoon in the summer of 1995 I sat on our big front porch trying to find the coolest place outside to read my steamy Harlequin Romance book. Inside was like an oven as we waited for the repairman to finish installing the new A/C unit. Mom had gone next door to visit where the air-conditioning was working.
I glanced up as I heard the unmistakable roar of an approaching motorcycle. (more…)
“Patty, what is that?” Emily asked her younger sister as she gazed toward the unusual lights shimmering across the night sky of north Texas.
“I don’t know! Pull over so we can get a better look,” Patty suggested when she heard the fear in her older sister’s voice. (more…)
1916, Val Verde County, Texas.
Eleven-year old Slim Fitzpatrick threw the hard ball with all-of-his mite to his best friend twelve-year old Willie Hoffman who missed it. Willie scurried across the schoolyard chasing after the swift rolling ball uttering a few swears words under his breath. While waiting for Willie to retrieve the ball Slim noticed an unusually large column of dust rising over the hill to the south. He intensely watched the curious scene realizing it wasn’t just a dirt devil skipping across the hilltop. The cloud of dust was much too large for that. Then he caught a glimpse of the possible reason for the ominous plume of dirt. He did not hesitate but took off at a full run toward the schoolhouse.
Ester Hammon sat at her large teachers desk, observing a few scratches marring the top and several ink stains that wouldn’t come off, no matter how hard she scrubbed. The old desk was the focal point in the large one room schoolhouse. She looked with pride at the neat stack of freshly graded papers. For the most part, the students were progressing very well in their studies.
Ester breathed in the fresh scent of autumn’s first cool air. It was a welcome change in the normally stuffy classroom. She dreaded the thought if winter’s approach when the doors and windows would have to be closed against the cold. The stench of unwashed bodies and clothes would be extremely unpleasant.
She sat waiting for morning recess to be over, waiting to see of the Pancho Villa drills they had practiced were really necessary. The Villistas had been causing a great deal of unrest along the borderlands. Ester seemed to be waiting and waiting for something significant to happen in her life.
Although she had only been teaching at Twelve Mile School for about two months, Ester could already identify all of her twenty-one students’ voices and laughter as she listened to their cheerful play during morning recess. Ester knew the four school age Cremwelgy children well since she lived with their family three miles from the school. There were three more children at home. The remainder of the children belonged to the other three ranchers that built and funded the school. There were seven Fitzpatrick children, three Hoffman children, and seven Miller children. One more rancher was involved in the school in a remote way. Ester was told that during Christmas break from the middle of December until the middle of January, and in the summer she would go live at the McKie Ranch eight miles further up Devil’s River. Mr. McKie was a widower with a six-year-old daughter. Eight miles was too far to send a six year old alone to attend school so this arrangement had been made in exchange for his financial support for the school.
“Miss. Hammon, Miss. Hammon! Rider’s are comin’,” Slim yelled as he came running into the classroom. His eyes were huge with anticipation as he pointed toward the south.
“It might be hi – hi – him!” he stuttered in animated expectancy, thinking about who might be riding toward the school.
Ester quickly rose and hurried to the window to look at the approaching riders. There must be a dozen or more riders coming fast, she speculated, as she squinted her eyes in an attempt to see more details. She couldn’t see any particulars of their dress at this distance but so many riders looked very suspicious. Ester blinked her hazel eyes to clear her vision. The cloud of dirt their horses were kicking up drifted toward the clear morning sky.
Ester was a tall woman, five foot eight inches in her stocking feet. She wore her straight dark blonde hair pulled back and tied at the nape of her neck. Her features were rather plain with thin eyebrows, a straight nose, and small hazel eyes. Her one point of beauty were her full lips that turned up at the corners making her look as though she were constantly about to smile. Ester normally possessed a pleasant demeanor, but she could be firm or even defiant if necessary!
An uneasy feeling of foreboding filled Ester as she keenly watched the oncoming riders.
“Go ring the bell and give the signal,” she told Slim in as calm a voice as she could muster so he wouldn’t become more alarmed and scare the other children.
Ester felt as though her entire insides were quivering and the palms of her hands became sweaty. She started closing the windows and securing shutters. Ester reminded herself again to remain calm so the children would not panic.
Slim did not hesitate as he grabbed the bell rope and gave it a fierce yank to set the bell in motion. He shouted at the top of his voice, “PANCHO VILLA COMIN’, PANCHO VILLA COMIN’!”
This is a short excerpt from my latest book. Click Here if you’d like to purchase the eBook or print book. Thank You.