The Rogue and the Runaway
Copyright© 2014 – Nicholas Hall
"As happy a man as any in the world,
For the whole world seems to smile upon me."
The summer stretched into early Fall, the time of harvest on the farm, a period of preparation for fall fishing and hunting, and the preliminary tasks needed to get ready for the winter trapping season. This year's trapping season would be different for Seth since, as much as he loved to trap, his injuries from the previous season's accident, although healed, left him not as strong as previously and would take their toll, leaving him more exhausted and physically worn out by the end of each cold, wet day. Trapping was hard, cold work and was something only the hale and hardy should undertake. He felt with another year of recovery, he might be able to resume trapping with his previous vigor, but in the interim, someone else would have to run his trap lines. He was so very reluctant to give it up, but so far had not made any mention of it, except to me.
JR and Stephen talked with me about them taking over the trapping for Seth, with much the same arrangement as they had helping with the commercial fishing. Both boys loved the out-of-doors, were young, quick learners, and safety conscious. They were hesitant to ask, not fearful but thankful, because Seth taught them so much over the summer and they knew he would continue to do so. Under his tutelage they'd not only learned a great deal concerning commercial fishing and the river, but also added tidy sums to their bank accounts. They wanted to learn more and earn more since both were planning on receiving a post-high school education and this would help pay for it.
Seth must've felt the same way and with my urging, approached the boys before they did him.
"How would you boys like to take over the trapping?" he asked the two surprised and now, very happy, teens.
They were graciously humble in their acceptance, but bubbling with excitement! When Seth suggested they might include their younger siblings (those interested) in the venture, they were almost ecstatic since it'd mean once they were off to college or tech-school, there'd be family members learning the business and, if they played their cards right, continue to work the river and trap lines during their vacation breaks, along with their younger siblings, supplementing their savings and applying the income toward school costs. The arrangement was good for us since we'd have a cadre of young family members who could learn and appreciate the river and the bottom lands. If not, they could just enjoy `Pinicon Ridge as Seth and I did.
Cook was ever present in our lives, dropping in for a visit, helping me about the house, calling on the phone, and just being the Momma I never really had, except for her! She was out and about more than ever now, if she could get a car. You see, Cook, having never had the reason or opportunity prior to this time, never learned to drive. It was a most harrowing experience for all of us when she began learning, but her son-in-law (Carl, the deputy) was most patient and an excellent instructor because she passed her driving test, received her license, and was now quite mobile, thank you very much! She was quick to volunteer to pick up any one of the boys who for one reason or another was not on the bus after school or run them to practice, shopping, or any other excuse to cruise about the countryside.
Entering the fall season, with Thanksgiving less than a month away, Seth and I had much to be thankful for. The harvest was completed, except for a hundred acres or so of corn, the summer fishing season was quite successful, and we had our families (the Hayes' and Burridge's) close by and healthy. Most of all we had each other!
It has been ever so pleasant since our day of reckoning with my mother. We haven't heard from her or my father since. When I asked Seth, after she showed up at our house, how he, Poppa Joe, and Joe Jr. knew we had company and came so fast.
"We finished earlier than we thought we would and were just coming in from baling when Mom ran out of the house saying she'd seen a strange black car drive slowly down our lane. It was the same one she'd seen on several occasions on the road. She was naturally suspicious and decided she'd keep an eye out for it. We made the boys we had helping us stay with Mom and we took off down the lane. Poppa Joe saw the dead snake, picked it up, quickly rattled off an idea, and `bingo,' I found another live one behind the shed. You know what happened after that."
I certainly did and it brought a chuckle to my lips every now and then thinking about Mother and her fear of snakes. From what we heard on the cable news networks and read in the newspaper, my father suffered a resounding defeat in the August primary to a party candidate even more conservative than him and he had taken a position working as a lobbyist. Father's opponent launched a very vigorous, intensive, and expensive campaign, outspending father's efforts by over two to one. It was rumored, during the campaign, large donors failed to step up to the plate, after their initial donations, because of reported concerns of how their campaign money was being spent. Beyond that, the news media reported nothing more.
This was puzzling to me since father never had difficulties before in raising enough cash to wallow magnificently in it and drown his opponents. His data base was extensive and mother had retrieved the only copy of it from me. I mentioned this to Seth and he just mumbled some sort of reply that was not entirely satisfactory to me, so I pressed the issue. He finally admitted hearing some donations made to my father's campaign somehow were misdirected to LGBT supporters and organizations, homeless shelters, Pro-choice groups, immigration reform groups promoting citizenship for undocumented aliens under a "Path to Citizenship" program, and liberal political PAC's.
"How?" I queried.
"Perhaps," he answered slyly, "someone hacked the data base and inserted something in it to make that happen."
"Hah!" I replied, "my father's techies would spot that in a minute and kill it before it could do anything."
"Not if it was downloaded from a lap top to the main frame for a copy to be checked for authenticity. Once opened, it would be too late, especially if the person who prepared the virus was an expert hacker and a friend of mine."
Thank you for reading The Rogue and the Runaway. I hope you found it pleasurable and a good read. Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying "Politicians are a set of men who have interests aside from the interests of the people, and who, to say the most of them are, taken as a mass, at least one step removed from honest men."
If he is correct then we must work to provide sufficient oversight to keep them honest or turn out those who are not. Please vote in all elections; they are all important.
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or locales is entirely coincidental.
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