The baby is finally sleeping in his own bed after travelling from California to Wyoming twice this summer. Because our cottage doesn’t have curtains yet on the south-east side the house floods with blue clear light early in the long days. I’m up writing before the dawn and feeling more productive and stronger in spirit. My novel is off for editing. I have completed fourteen short stories, one a day just like the vitamins. They vary from flash 1100 to 5000 words. I sent one on a lark to Steven James when I spotted his call to: a murder goes never goes as planned. Firing off the words straight stream of consciousness. Some of the stories are great pondering of ideas nagging to be put solid on paper, some are dark.
My neighbors on the north side (there is only meadow and mountain range to the west and south really no need for privacy), Adam and Sue are a dear couple in their seventies. He is a silent source of courage and example of how a good man walks to me and all of my children. The cancer is in his spine now, and myself being a cancer, well they never say survivor yet; but I do, I know his immense pain. Adam is using a walker to get around on their property but the time is approaching when they need to make some adjustments. In the past week I realize how being neighborly can be the difference between life and death.
Adam and Sue manage cattle on hectares of land. Their property is fenced with barbed wire and spiny pots, last summer Carson and I took the bale of wire, clippers and hatchets to repair some of the weaker spots. I am certain each of those points were stronger than any icy wind from the mountain.
Out in the garden pulling bugs off my tomatoes and sunflowers when one of the dogs tears off barking. The baby is hanging in this pouch on my chest as happy as a new born kangaroo, he smiles at the disturbance of yapping.
“Come back Peanut.” I look up and see Adam working his way across the meadow with an aluminum walker. With muddy hands and a sweating front I jog towards him.
“What are you doing out?”
“Some of the livestock is missing.”
“How many Adam?”
“Don’t know, but my grand champion European Cross and all the Angus disappeared.”
“And you don’t have money to hire cowboys to fetch them.”
“Can Sue watch the baby? My two eldest didn’t come with me this week, Carson is in Santa Cruz and Blair has summer college classes.”
“We were hoping you might say that. She was saddling Shorty to go out herself if you didn’t volunteer.”
“Can I help you back?”
“No,” he says gently, and smiles, “you are something..”
In the barn, she fumbles with the red Indian pad to prepare Shorty, named so because he is a giant seventeen hands tall. I turn a bucket upside down in the hay and arch my feet. I tighten him down.
I don’t hear Adam returning, and I did not want to embarrass him with my hovering.
“Go check on Adam heading back Sue.”
“He was stubborn, he didn’t let me go ask you.”
“I have expressed breast milk in the refrigerator, I think three or four. He needs a nap in an hour then at three feed him one. I don't know how long this will take.”
“Come here Maclund Reid,” she lifts his grunting face from my chest contraption that he loves. He knows her but he fusses. She bounces him as if on the ocean in the rhythm that he enjoys and he is calmed.
Adam is at the barn gate, "you’re an angel.”
“No only wish God smiled on me that way.”
“Pack my Colt and some snacks.” He points to the holster, “Watch for black bears.”
“I’m more concerned about thieves.”
Story to be continued