Thanks to Cat and Di- words of wisdom that I hope will not be pearls before swine. Thank you for all you wonderful ladies do.
The usual copyrights apply, the mistake belong to me alone.
Dear Angus -
Here it is, spring again. I can only think of you there, just putting in your orders and stocking your shelves. I have to thank you again for the wonderful bound collection of Shakespeare works you sent for Christmas. I'd barely gotten more than a quick glance at it before my eldest snatched it up and squirreled it away in his room. So your gift was a wonderful success.
I know your Anne will be married this summer so I will be sending a gift for you to give to her. Do you like this young man? What's his name again? Where is his family from? I canít seem to keep up with all the new families moving into the area. Too many comings and goings for me to keep up with, I'm afraid. I can barely keep up with what's going on right here.
Things seemed so much easier when I was younger. I'm talking like I'm old MacLaughlin in front of the pub on Front Street. You asked about that old wound of mine. It still acts up when the weather turns bad, but as the weather is good here most of the year, you'll hear no complaints from me on that front. But the one I got last fall is more problematic. I'm not sure that I'm completely healed yet and I still use a walking stick now and again.
What can I tell you about the goings on here? As usual, this is the rainy season. From January to April it seems like it does nothing but rain. There are ruts in the roads big enough for salmon to use to swim upstream. The only good thing is it keeps my boys closer to home.
It seems that with the first green up of spring they go searching for every shindig and barn raising in three counties. And whenever the weather turns nice they disappear like smoke in the wind. Now again it sounds like I'm complaining, and I'm not, well, not too much. Maybe I long for the stamina to sit in a saddle for three hours to got to a dance and still be able to get up early the next morning and do my work.
I know that my sons and I are still getting to know each other, still testing the waters and learning the ropes I have to make what will sound like a strange admission. I'd give my right arm for one of those boys to marry and give me some wee bairns to hold in my arms. I'm beginning to think that arranged marriages might not be a bad idea. They, however, seem to be enjoying sowing their oats. Not everyone is responsible like you and marries at eighteen, brother-mine. So itís good thing that I am also not ready to share them with anyone. Iím basking in them being here.
It's only been five months, amazingly enough, since that day they both arrived on the afternoon stage. It seems both much longer and much shorter. I've heard it said that time is a constant, but I have my doubts.
Now before you ask, and I know you will, things are better. We have our problems. Both
your nephews inherited a stubborn streak from their mothers. We began with so
many bad starts but we seem to be on much better footing now. There is nothing
like long, backbreaking hours of endless work to bring a family together.
Not that Iím saying itís a bed of roses. Well, perhaps it is.
Pretty and inviting on the outside, but underneath are thorns that prick
you, if you arenít careful. And
all three of us are still being careful.
But getting back to what we are doing. Spring at Lancer is a busy time and my boys are in the thick of things. For the last few weeks they have been breaking horses. They use a round corral and with all the recent rain it's hip deep in soggy, muddy mire. This is a good thing. I gave up working on my county taxes and started writing you because the noise outside my window is horribly distracting.
Cowboys are lining the rails and as I write my youngest mounts up a four-year old buckskin. Usually, we don't have much to do with wild horses, but the Army has requested seventy-five head and are paying above top dollar for them so I agreed to get them the herd by the end of the week. John mounts up and that wild horse just goes to bucking and it's all I can do to keep from cringing. Sooner or later he'll hit the ground with a soggy thud. The hands will cheer and jeer in equal measure as he picks himself up and goes at it again.
When that one
is finished Scott will take his turn. It's
just plain painful to sit here and listen to it.
You have no idea. It's not
the same as if your son Edward suddenly fell off a ladder while stacking books
on a back shelf. Think more along
the lines that he'd decided to lay in the road every day for five to ten minutes
just to see if he could jump out of the way before he gets run down by a
Scott has just mounted a bay and the cheering begins again as I hide here in my office. Are you laughing at your older brother? Well don't. I worry; it's every father's right.
I watch the two of them together and I try to see us, or Iain and I, or even you and Iain. You should see these two together. I wonder if they would be as close as they are if they had been raised together. I wonder too, if I could have done as good a job of raising them. Now you think I'm being maudlin.
I have noticed that I find myself comparing them. I like to watch how their minds work. Scott has an interesting habit of tucking his gloves in his belt and then tipping his hat back while he ponders a decision. Give John the same problem and he'll pull his hat down so that it covers his eyes and toe the ground. They will come up with different conclusions to the same problems. Neither one right nor wrong, just different.
I hear you laughing at me again. Yes, I'm a proud papa. I have every right to be. I've got my two fine young sons here with me now. They've thrown themselves into the running of the ranch with more guts than knowledge, but you'd be proud of how they've come to fit in here. It didn't take long for either of them to win the respect of the hands and the community.
I know I said that I compare them, but I really can't. It would be like trying to compare the pyramids to the ocean. Both of them are impressive but they are nothing alike.
Now that the trees are just beginning to bud out, the busy season is just beginning. Calving season is just about to start and from there we begin to build the herd in preparation for the fall sales. Teresa is just starting her spring garden, and if I dared to look out my window I would be able to see the tiny shoots of the palest green cover the meadow. The dark winter birds like Ravens and Rough-legged hawks have moved on to be replaced by swallows and robins and sparrows.
I suppose I must admit that the first green up of spring still does this old heart some good and maybe thereís a dance or two still left in these old bones.
I shall sign off this letter now. The cheering outside has stopped for the moment which means that they are finally done breaking horses and they haven't broken their necks. All this rain has left Johnny with a miserable head cold and Scott hasn't let up on teasing him. But they are good boys, no, men. I know you would like them. I still wish that some day you might come for a visit. I know, it's half way around the world, but at least it doesn't snow here.
Wish Anne all my best and kiss that lovely wife of yours for me. Why she ever settled for a shop keep when she could have had the wilds of California is beyond me. Fare well and take care of yourself.
By: Tory (Sprite) Fischer