Prepare for Winter: A Carbons Creek fiction

Creek with reflections
Creek with reflections | Source

The newspaper office window was shattered. There wasn’t any note this time but Sarah and I both knew it meant our stories were making it too hot for the politicians. Every time the Sentinel was attacked, it was a minor triumph. Sarah didn’t see it quite that way when she came in though.

“You always see the bright side, John,” she said.

“This is a tough business, Sarah. Your tough too, or you wouldn’t be writing those editorials. Certainly you knew they are going to retaliate and try to stop us.”

“Yes, I know.” She sighed. “ Just once in awhile it gets tiresome to replace windows and have to go out armed against the folks who are supposed to be working for our good. See if you can get someone over here to replace the window before we freeze, will you. I have an urge to write another editorial.”

“You may just end up with the new window broken.” I shrugged. It was her newspaper and she was good at running it.

I went over to the general store and talked to Gustaf Hanson, the storekeeper. He agreed to take care of the window as soon as he could get over to the paper. Sarah had helped him get started here and he was always glad to oblige her. I let Sarah know. She was busy at her desk and only nodded. True to his word Gustaf came over with a new glass plate for the window. “It’s getting pretty chilly at night now,” he said. ‘Time to get your woodpiles supplied with split logs. People been coming to the store to buy warm clothes, axes and shovels. They think it be a bad one this year. Tell Sarah we just got some Franklin stoves in. They be nice for when you got to work on the typesetting. Help you keep hands warm. I’ll make her a deal.

I went down to the pressroom and started arranging type for the next edition. I checked some cases from past years there were a few things to use on weather. I found some articles in the Farmers Almanac predicting the coldest winter in at least ten years. Sarah will probably give me a hard time about using boilerplate copy but then go ahead and use it anyhow. There will be more than enough excitement when she places the editorial. I told her of Gustaf’s offer. “Good idea,” she said in a distracted sort of way.

“What’s on your mind?” I asked.

“You know all fall folks have been giving me excess produce and I appreciate it. I don’t have time to grow much myself. The canning and storage have gotten overwhelming for a city gal like me. I got a cool cellar to store some vegetables and fruit but I ‘ve got to do a lot of canning so it doesn’t go to waste “

“ I don’t know a lot about canning but if you like I could come over Saturday afternoon and help you with it and chop some fire wood for you.”

“John, that would be great.” Then she gave me a kiss.” I responded by putting my arms around her and kissing her back somewhat stronger than her original kiss. Since she was my boss it might not have been the best judgment on my part. Her face was flushed and she started say something. I thought she was going to slap me but she got an impish look on her face which oddly made her look even more attractive. “Maybe we better get back to work,” she said. Neither of us said anything about the incident.

After the paper came out on Thursday most of the comments from people were about the community dance Saturday night or Almanac article—the one about the cold winter coming. Most folks said they expected as much. What Sarah and I expected was a visit from some rough, A couple of rogues working for the corrupt politicians called on us once before. She expected her editorial to flush them our. I agreed. Both Sarah and I wanted to continue the crusade her uncle had when he ran the paper. That was before he got killed.

They are not a very imaginative class, even for criminals. I expect that they will try to break the window again. I waited in the shadows with a shotgun with birdshot. It shouldn’t kill anyone, but it might hurt for a while. Sarah decided to stay inside and start work n next weeks edition. She had a small revolver, which she called her “lady like pistol.” Pretty soon I saw a stranger sneak up with a rock in his hand.

I stepped out of the shadows. “I reckon you’re the messenger come to pay for the broken window. He was so startled that he dropped the rock. “What you talking about?” aren’t you here about the editorial in the paper. “It said to leave the paper alone or your are going to pay for breaking the window and any other damages.” The stranger saw the shotgun and raised his hands. Sarah came out. “Shucks,” she said, “ don’t I get to shoot nobody?”

The stranger didn’t hesitate when we marched him to the sheriff’s office.

After we dropped off the roughneck with the law I told Sarah that I’d be over to help her with the canning and wood splitting.

She got that odd look on her face again. “John if you try that kissing again you might have to take me to the dance Saturday night"

Copyright 2011 Don Hoglund

© 2011 Don A. Hoglund

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Comments 23 comments

Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 5 years ago from Hereford, AZ

Great Carbon's Creek tale. I always enjoy them. Is there romance in the air for Sarah and John? That would be appropriate since they have so many common interests and are together so much.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Becky, I seem to have lost a portion of my story while I was making changes in graphics.The part that was missing should somewhat answer your question.Thanks for your comment.


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 5 years ago from Hereford, AZ

Daho, You missing part is up higher in your story. Same as last three paragraphs.


TheManWithNoPants profile image

TheManWithNoPants 5 years ago from Tucson, Az.

Ahhh .. Life on Carbon Creek. A very good read with out the mising paragraph.

jim


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Becky,

Thanks. I think it is OK now.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

ManWithNoPants,

They only had to deal with threats and lead type. If they had to deal with computers they might not be able to deal with bad guys.Thanks for reading.


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 5 years ago from Hereford, AZ

Glad I could help.


WD Curry 111 profile image

WD Curry 111 5 years ago from Space Coast

Fiction is the hardest thing to write and you seem to do it effortlessly. You have a classic American style and I bet you are a good story teller around those winter fires. I would advise against workplace romance though.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Hi W.D. Curry,

I appreciate your compliments.I'm afraid I am not that good of an oral storyteller.Probably one reason I took to writing.In todays world you are probably right about the office romance.In the world of Carbons Creek these two people have a lot in common. Sarah is sort of past the age of marriage for that day and most men were not attracted to educated women back then. Thanks for commenting and hope you read some of the other hubs in this series.


WD Curry 111 profile image

WD Curry 111 5 years ago from Space Coast

Thanks for the lowdown. is this a serial or is it doing to be. I think it is entertaining and a good diversion. Beats TV.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

WD Curry,

This is a series of stories. I am not sure offhand how many I have written but if you read them all it will keep you going for awhile. I should put in more links, but if you go to my profile page I think you will find the Carbons Creek stories. The stories have some different characters.I'll add a few links here to get you started.


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

I am going to enjoy this one and look forwrd to seeing if anything comes of the attraction between John and Sarah.

Take care and have a wonderful weekend.

Eiddwen.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas

That's a fine little episode in this tale of the western free press. This was back in a day when the press still had some objectivity and provide a real public service as opposed to selling out to political factions and simply becoming a philosophical arm of that organization. In the the case of the press, we HAVE NOT come a long way baby! LOL! Nice story, I did very much like the ending. WB


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Eidden,

Thanks for commenting. You know, I don't always know what witll happen with my characters. we will both find out.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Wayne,

Thanks for reading and commenting.The old fashion papers were pretty free wheeling. Journalist from Washington Irving, Ben Franklin and Mark Twain were all prone to practical jokes or hoaxes in their papers.But Sarah is up against enemies who turn to real violence.

I think Sarah and John were bound to get together although Sarah may be in shock from the Halloween ghost.

I do kind of think the characters have a mind of their own and start to take over the story.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Whoa! A blooming romance!


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Will,

Thanks for commenting.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

Nice blooming romance as well as nice storyline. You are really perfecting this type of writing and I loved your photo at the top. Beautiful!


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Hi Peggy,Thanks for the comment.It is helpful to know I'm on the right track.The picture was taken in a little tow by the name of Humbird,WI. It is on Highway 12 between Eau Claire and Black River Falls.


mljdgulley354 profile image

mljdgulley354 5 years ago

This is the first Carbon Creek story I have read. Great story and I love the name of the paper. I worked for and was editor of a little weekly paper called High Plains Sentinel.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

mijdgulley,Thanks for coming by and commenting.I spent a short time working for community papers.It is a good experience for writers, but maybe a thing of the past.


mljdgulley354 profile image

mljdgulley354 5 years ago

I am afraid the clutter of paper and the ability of getting news on the internet is making newspapers a thing of the past. The cost to publish is killing a lot of small weeklies.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

mijdgulley,I think that even if the weekly papers do pulish they have probably lost touch with the people.When I was out of work in the 1970's I interviewed with some of them.Mostly they had become parts of newspaper chains. The publisher of editor was probably too busy to get out and dig up local news.Thanks for commenting about it.

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