Ed Visits His Pa: A Carbons Creek Story

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Some darn fool dime novel writer gave Ed a reputation as a gunfighter. It ain't a thing he wants.

Truth is Ed don't look for fights. If they's trouble though, he'll meet it head on.

For so many of us, the war had a way of changing us. Ed don't talk 'bout it but he don't hide it either. He was still wearing parts of a Union uniform when he came here. I was in the war too, so I reckon I got an idea of what he saw. No, a body doesn’t care to 'member a lot of it, not talk of 'bout it either. I also reckon Ed is just a bit on the quiet side naturally.

Anyway, Ed asked me to fill in for him at the saloon, which he is half owner of. Told me he had to take a trip. Ed has always been willing to lend a hand when needed, so I couldn't really turn him down. It appeared pretty quiet in town anyway.

I found out later on that Ed got a message to return home 'cause his pa needed him. Now his pa when he came from the old country he found work for the railroad. He got hurt in a rockslide when they dynamited some rocks to clear way for the tracks. One leg was badly damaged and he had to walk with a cane after that. So his pa moved to the city hopin' ta find work he can do. He didn’t have no schoolin' and he couldn’t do any real labor work no more. It can be hard on a prideful man, not being able to do what he’s used ta doin’. He did have a bit of blarney, as his people say. He hooked up with a whiskey vendor as a travelin’ man and went from town to town calling on bartenders and general stores sometimes.

I s’pose that was what led Ed into the saloon business, cause he was knowin’ something ‘bout it from his pa. But first he went into Mr. Lincoln’s war. Ed felt responsible for his ma and the kids with his pa gone travelin’ so much. He went in as a substitute, which means them that had money could pay somebody else to go in the army for ‘em. Ed took the money and gave it to his ma and the kids to help out.

Ed showed up in Carbon’s Creek here after the war and started bartending at the saloon. He saved his money and bought into it his self. It was an incident where he helped quiet some rowdy cowboys that the dime novel was wrote that gave Ed a reputation as a powerful fighter with a shotgun and what ever else the writers dreamed up. And that is why Ed had to go back and help his family.

I tole him he was probably walking into a trap. He got a message his pa was bein’ held in jail in one of the towns where he sold whiskey. His pa was accused of breaking up a saloon and causin’ considerable damage to an establishment he sold to. To me it didn’t make no sense at all, but Ed figured he had to go see for his self. I figured some kid wanting a reputation for his self was trying to lure Ed there. Probably would ambush him and then claim to have taken him in a gunfight. That’s one way to get a reputation as a gunfighter. “Course the same thing will probably happen to the new big gun in town.

Ed’s loyalty to his family was fierce and he insisted he had to go. Well, as I found out later, my reckoning wasn’t too far off. Ed got to the town where his pa was and went straight to the town marshal’s office. It turn out his pa was just being held pending a hearing over a bit of a fight with some young punk who called his self the Chicago Kid.. Appears that dime novel about Ed showed up and the Kid started making remarks about Ed. So Mr. Stock, Ed’s pa, naturally felt he had to stick up for the family reputation. They got in a scuffle and some things in the saloon got broken.. They was both being held for a hearing to decide who had to pay the damages. That’s how bad things get mixed up when they go from one person to the next.

Well, Ed, he got a room at the hotel till after the hearing. When the hearing come the judge said they should split the cost of the damages and each pay a fine for being a public nuisance. Ed thought that at least was a bit of common sense. But the Kid thought otherwise. He braced Ed when they got away from the courthouse.

“T’was the darnest thing.” Ed told me. “Here’s this kid, probably not twenty years old, skinny and awkward wants to take me on in a gunfight. He had these two silver Colts with holsters strapped to his legs. I was carrying a shotgun. I tell him to relax. There ain’t nothin’ for us to fight about. Well he had read that dumb book that made me out to be some sort of gunfighter and I guess he figgered that if he shot me he would be a big man. He weren’t goin’ to be satisfied till he got some action, so I lifted the shotgun a bit. He drew both guns out, a show-off thing to do. I had a feeling this kid had never been in a gun fight in his life or shot at a living target.”

Ed din't want to kill the kid but he was being forced to it. Neither Ed or the Kid counted on Ed's pa. He had sidled up dangerously close to both of them He lifted that hickory cane of his and brought it down on the barrels of both of the Kid's Colt revolvers whose bullets blasted into the ground. One nicked the Kid's boot. Between the cane and the kickback from the revolvers, I expect the Kid's wrists and fingers were numb. He dropped the guns.

"Well, Pa. You two goin' to get arrested again?" Ed asked.

#

© 2011 Don A. Hoglund

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Comments 20 comments

Binaya.Ghimire 5 years ago

I found Hemingway's style in your story. It was a pleasant read.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

I was probably influenced by Hemingway in college as he was quite popular back then. Thanks for reading and commenting.


attemptedhumour profile image

attemptedhumour 5 years ago from Australia

Hi dahog, it's nice to be taken back to the wild west, something that was common when i was growing up. It seems to be a dying art these days apart from the odd cowboy movie. You certainly have a lot of opportunities to keep your Carbons Creek stories going, as demonstrated by this trip out of town. I enjoyed your use of the language and how the story changed so much via the unreliable word of mouth grapevine. 'You can't put an old head on young shoulders', is a cliche, but quite an appropriate one for your gun happy young buck. Young bucks need to get shot in 'both' feet a few times before the penny drops. Oh well i'll look forward to the next installment, but well done on this one. Be seein' ya, partner.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Thanks for your comment. I don't much care for some of the modern westerns, mostly due to the need for so much foul language in some of the them.I do like the old TV westerns like Rawhide, Maverick and Big Valley.I'll put a link the the story that introduced Ed originally.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY

Westerns aren't as popular as they once were. Kids don't play Cowboys & Indians anymore. Its good to see that the genre is still around, even if its not in the mainstream any more.

Rob


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

True. My own kids seemed to have no interest in westerns. Comic books were out of fashion then too.That might explain some of the interest in superheroes now. Maybe they are just being introduced to the generations that did not have them.I think a lot of westerns lost track of what the genre was about.

Thanks for commenting.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

I really like this series! Up and awesome.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Thanks for the comment. I appreciate your input.


Becky 5 years ago

Another good story of life with the Carbon's Creek inhabitants. I agree with you about the foul mouthed cowboys. I don't like them either. I knew some real cowboys and they would never use that kind of language. Their mamas would have shot them if they tried and they had too much respect for others. I think that the reason people use that kind of language is pure lack of respect. They don't respect themselves or others.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

I once took out a DVD from the Library of the HBO production of "Deadwood" if I remember right.It was practically all foul language. A little bit sprinkled in isn't too bad but that was ridiculous.

Thanks for commenting.


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago

Dahog man , I like this alot! America has thrown away the western , and yet it is the only "real" American story . Right , wrong , no matter . They define us! Awesome job!....:-}


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Glad you liked it.I do think the western is a part of our mythology. I recall about ten years ago that the western was becoming more modern.My thought was that they did not understand what it was all about.There is something about the period between the Civil War and the turn of the Century that has meaning to our national culture.


Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 5 years ago from United States

Hi Dahoglund! Once again, I loved this one from your series. Voted up, up and away!


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Hi Dexter.Thanks for the comment and vote. I'll try to keep them interesting.


Ginn Navarre profile image

Ginn Navarre 5 years ago

My friend,this ole Arizona gal is here to tell you that this period of time is what made America great. Enjoyed it---keep it coming.


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 5 years ago from malang-indonesia

Another great story from you, my brother. Thanks for share withs us. Vote up as always.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Ginn, Thanks for reading and commenting. I do think there is something special about this period.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

praesetio, You are an encouraging reader.I am glad that you enjoy the stories.


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina

You have a great old fashioned style. This was wonderful and feels so authentic. Voting up and sharing!


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 4 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Hi tammyswallow, I really appreciate your comment.

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