Roy Meets Maureen: a Galvanized Yankee Western On-line story

Authors Note:

As Maureen watched Roy stack her wood, she felt a connection: a writing prompt suggested by using a one line sentence by Jodah A.K.A. John Hansen. Also, a continuation of Galvanized Yankee series

General Store

Source

Roy was just a kid. I’d say about 18 years old, or just a tad more. War tends to age even the young boys who enlist. We both saw more death and destruction than anybody should at our age, or any age for that matter. He still wore his Yankee blue hat and trousers. I had some of that blue too. I also had some of the Confederate grey, least I used to. I’m Jacob, Jacob Brown and I’m a galvanized Yankee. That means that I was a prisoner of war at the Rock Island prison and Mr. Lincoln changed me into a Yankee. The Union was running out of you guys to fight in the war. Somebody came up with the idea that some of us prisoners of war could be offered a chance to fight on the frontier. Therefore I was let out of prison and put into a Yankee Uniform and marched west to Kansas. Frontier duty, fighting Indians, escorting travelers, stagecoaches, bullwhackers and anybody else the Army thought worthy of protection near Fort Dodge, Kansas. The one stipulation is that we would not be asked to fight against our brothers in the Confederacy.

Frontier duty wasn’t too bad but I didn’t want to make a career out of it. When my enlistment was up and the Civil War was over I decided to seek my fortune. Also, I had met a girl. No not a girl, a woman. Her name is Mary and she works in the stage station. She didn’t want me to leave. I gave her a ring and promised I’d be back for her when I found some gold or gave up trying. Gold has been discovered in Montana and I decided to go there and find some for us.

Roy

Roy was a breed, that is, his father had been a soldier and his mother was an Indian. I met him when we served together. He was also being mustered out and decided he didn’t have anything better to do than to tag along and maybe find his fortune with me.

All in all he didn’t seem to have any inclination to settle down. He didn’t have any trouble finding girls, they seemed to flock to him He had somewhat dark skin which looked about like a suntan. For the rest of us the sun usually left us with red and peeling skin unless we kept covered. His hair was dark, but not black. He was a bit shorter than average. I would guess about five foot six inches. He was a bit brash but not enough to be annoying. The girls liked him and he never went to a dance alone, unless he wanted to.

General Store

Seeking Work

I guess we were about four days out of Fort Dodge and I figured our food supply needed replenishing. A little extra cash would come in handy, as well. We came to a little town that had a general store, a livery and a saloon. There were a few other buildings as well. We decided to try our luck at finding some work in order to get more supplies. We were down to few cans of beans and some bacon that was beginning to go bad. Rancid, actually!

Our first stop was the general store, a likely place to find a bit of temporary chores. When we told the storekeeper that we could use some work to buy food and tools he asked: “Can you cook?”

“I’ve had my share of kitchen duty in the army and helped out at the post café,” I said.

“Try over there,” he said and pointed across the street to a sign that said “Maureen’s Café.”

“That’s my daughter’s place. She serves a great table. She also don’t take any guff from rowdy cowboys, drifters, or drunks. She can use some help with the cooking and the heavy chores. You know, like cutting wood, hauling water and such.”

Firewood

Source

Maureen

Well, we went over there to talk to Maureen. She was one fine looking woman with sleek black hair that was braided down her back. Her eyes were black and overall looked stunning. The storekeeper din’t mention that his daughter was part Indian. Some frontier people would be bothered by her being an Indian woman, or worse part Indian. As far as I was concerned I’ve fought against Indians, I’ve negotiated with them and at times, I’ve gone hunting with them. I’ve learned to gain their respect and they have earned mine. Now, I also understood why he said his daughter didn’t take any guff from anybody.

When Roy came in he looked at her seemed to have lost his voice. He just looked. I’ve never seen him tongue tied before.

“Can you cut wood and keep the wood bin filled?’ she asked him.

Roy blinked and said, “Yeah, sure, I’d be glad to do that for you.”

Maureen, who we found was named for the storekeeper’s mother, went on. “We do a lot of cooking and it takes lot of wood. Especially when we’re baking pies and such.

“I can get you all the wood you need,” Roy replied.

And Roy did that. He found a wagon, an axe and a saw. He disappeared into the nearby woods for about two or three hour and came back with a wagon full of wood. Then he went about cut and splitting the wood into various sizes to use for various purposes. After that he put some kindling and such into the woodbin and started stacking the rest by the side of the building.

I noticed that as Maureen watched Roy stack her wood that she felt a connection, I guessed. I got the feeling that I’d be heading to Montana by myself

I felt a pang of regret that I would not see my Mary for a while, but I was glad that Roy had found something or someone that he wanted.

More by this Author


10 comments

Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 23 months ago from Hereford, AZ

Good story, I enjoyed it and am very happy to see you publishing a little bit more often. I take it that you are feeling better.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 23 months ago from Southern Illinois

I really liked your story. It was fun to read. Is it from Jodah's challenge?


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 23 months ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Thanks Becky. I'm glad you like the story and I appreciate your concern. The last two years healthwise have been kind of bad due to a fungus infection in my lung. In this case the old saying of the treatment being worse than the disease seems to hold true. Now it is a matter of diet and exercise to improve my heart functions.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 23 months ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

always exploring! Glad you enjoyed the story. I added a note that it is a result of Jodah's challenge. I used the sentence at the end of the story rather than the beginning. I saw your dialog with Jodah. In the end, does it matter? If a good story results, that, I assume, is the purpose.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 23 months ago from Queensland Australia

Thanks for accepting the challenge Don...well Ruby(alwaysexploring's) really as mine started out somewhat different, but you're right it doesn't matter a a good story resulted and was one I enjoyed reading. Well done.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 23 months ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Jodah, glad you liked the story. I like these "challenges" as some of my better hubs resulted from when hub pages had someone who suggested a topic of the week(if I recall). That was some time back but they even had logo's for the hubs on the topic. I guess my brain cells sometimes need a jolt to get started.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 23 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Super story Don! In fact, one of your best, and they're all good. I think we should hear more about Maureen and Roy.

BTW, the Galvanized Yankee idea would make a great novel.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 23 months ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Thanks for the complimentary comments, Bill! This story was written to meet Jodah's challenge. A Novel? I'll have to see if it has been done. Rock Island, I've been told, was as hated as Andersonville. The old TV Western, The Rebel, used Rock Island prison as where Johnny was during the war.

I'll have to think on it.


tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 23 months ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

A brilliant response to John's challenge. I enjoyed reading this, loved the laid back mood and atmosphere. Well done.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 23 months ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

tobusiness.

Thanks for reading and commenting on my response to the challenge. I wasn't quite sure what kind of response was expected, but I guess it worked.

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