My mam was what you’d call a spiritual woman. Read from her Bible ev’ry mornin’ and afore bed ev’ry night she’d be on her knees askin’ the Lord’s forgiveness for a sinful world. Mam was like ta see the hand o’ God at work in even the smallest thing. One of her fav’rite sayin’s was “wonders never cease”. Now me I ain’t never been real religious but I reckon I done seen one of them wonders right here in Morro Coyo.
‘Fore that day I seen Mz. Teresa a drivin’ in ta town with a couple a ranch hands in tow. Been quite a spell, seeing her that is, what with her grievin’ her daddy and carin’ fer Murdoch. Shame what happened to her daddy. Ain’t many men like him and Murdoch left ‘round here now-days. Tough but fair. Treat folks decent, respectful-like. Yep, Paul O’Brien was a good man.
Now don’t get me wrong. Murdoch Lancer’s friendly enough but there’s somethin’ closed off ‘bout the man. Goes back to what happened all those years ago. Blames hisself for what happened to his first wife. Did what he thought best unner the cir’stances That’s all a man can do, the rest is in the good Lord’s hands. Not many here ’bouts ‘members Mz. Catherine or her boy. The second ‘un, the second Mz. Lancer that is, well some folks still ‘member her. Talk was she was seein’ some feller and more’n likely it was him she run off with. Some men’d take a whip to a woman fer running’ off like that but Murdoch never said one word agin her least ways not in my hearin’. Rode out time and agin lookin’ to fetch her and their boy back but she’d upped and dis’ppeared. Not one word was heard ‘bout either of ‘em. Durn shame ‘bout that boy. I’s ‘member how Murdoch like ta bust his buttons he was so proud o’ that little tyke. Guess havin’ him kinda made up for the other one being clear on the other side o’ the country. Not sayin’ he saw the boy as a sus’tute for his first-born. No sir, he loved that little ‘un. Losin’ him pert near broke his heart.
Anyways, Mz. Teresa was right disappointed ta hear the stage was delayed. It’s a long ride in ta town from Lancer and what with Pardee and his scalawags lurkin’ hereabouts ‘tweren’t safe for man nor beast. Never did hear who brung him here but only a coward hires a man like Pardee ta do his dirty work fer ‘em ‘stead of facin’ a man square on hisself.
I didn’t envy Mz. Teresa makin’ that drive agin tomorra. Figured it musta been somethin’ real important fer Murdoch ta risk her travelin’ all that way with only two men. Mosta his men done up and quit what with Pardee firin’ fields and stampedin’ cattle and such. Other men woulda up and quit themselves but not Murdoch Lancer. No sir.
Well anyhow that day I was earnin’ my keep sweepin’ out the store and tidyin’ up the boardwalk. Long ways from ridin’ herd but these ol’ bones can’t take sittin’ ‘stride a horse no more. Done broke one too many bones. Most aft-noons I spend my time cleanin’ and repairin’ tack at the livery. Might not be ‘nough for some but it’s an honest livin’.
I was finishin’ up when I seen Mz. Teresa comin’ down the road. She waved when she seen me. Got’s the prettiest smile she does.
Now I ‘mit I was curious ta see who she was a comin’ to meet my own self. Didn’t have ta wait long though.
First off was a young fella. Had on those calzoneras the vaqueros favor and wore his gun low on his hip. My heart plum sunk. Figured he was another one o’ Pardee’s men ‘cause I couldn’t rightly see Murdoch Lancer hirin’ himself no hired gun.
Then there was this dude. All citified in a fancy suit and smart-looking boots. Sure looked outta place that’s fer sure. Couldn’t ‘magine what he was doin’ out here.
While I was gawpin’ at the newcomers I almost missed hearin’ Mz. Teresa askin’ fer a “Mr. Lancer”. Don’t mind tellin’ ya my ears perked right up at that. Only Mr. Lancer here ‘bouts is Murdoch. She looked sorta confused at somethin’ one or the other said afore she said “You’re Johnny” alookin’ at the gunhawk then lookin’ at the dude and a sayin’ “Then your Scott Lancer”. Well them two fellers looked right strange at one ‘nother at that. Couldn’t hear what passed between the two of ‘em. Did see the dude’s back go up and he looked kinda put-out. The gunhawk, well he just leaned a hand agin the stage, smilin’ like he’d just had a joke played on ‘im.
Me, well ya coulda knocked me over with a feather! Murdoch’s two boys come ta help their daddy in his hour o’ need. I ‘mit I was a bit skep-kal, figured the one was more’n likely to be the cause o’ trouble while the other prob-ly didn’t know one end o’ a horse from the other. Happy to say I was wrong. Sent them high riders runnin’ they did. And it was the dude that brought down Pardee! Who’da thought?
When all was said and done I was right glad to hear them boys had decided to stay and help their daddy run the ranch. Murdoch finally got his family back after all these years. A miracle, I tell ya, pure and simple
Yep, my old mam was right.
Wonders never cease.