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Into the Great Unknown: Chapter One

Updated on April 26, 2017

Where This One Came From

I just finished my latest coloring book, “The History of Tumwater, Washington,” and as I was creating it I was reminded of how fascinating I find the early-to-mid 1800’s. It was a time of incredible voyages in the young United States, voyages not only by nation-sponsored explorers but also by average citizens in search for a better life.

The Oregon Trail, and the stories that remain from that part of our history, well, it’s all just incredible to me. Families made the decision to uproot their homes and walk/ride over 2,000 miles across inhospitable and at times hostile land, into a Great Unknown, into a great uncertainty. Many died along the way. They were all profoundly aware of the risks they were undertaking, but still they went forward.

So this series of short stories is my tribute to those brave people. I doubt seriously if it will be a book. Historical fiction isn’t my main love, but I thought what the heck, why not try it anyway? I needed a break from serial killers so here is my break.

So here goes!

On the farm, dreaming of the unknown!
On the farm, dreaming of the unknown! | Source

A Seed Is Planted

“But Joshua, why in the world would we do such a thing? It was a good year last year, our crops were bountiful, and there’s the children to think about. And Lordy, don’t even get me started talking about the Indians. The thought of it all just scares me to death.”

I understood my wife’s concern. It had been a good year on our farm just outside the new town of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Hell, we had only been there two years, having moved from Pittsburgh, and our fifty acres was thriving with corn, the rich soil seemingly an endless supplier of life. It was a good life we had dug out of that soil, and we had our cabin built and were friends with some of the townfolk and there I was mentioning a move, but not just any move, but over two-thousand miles into the unknown and damn, my wife Laura spoke truth.

“But the growing season in Oregon, Laura, it’s a good two months longer than here, and by God six-hundred and forty acres is a damned sight more than fifty.” My mind was racing, looking for just the right words to use.

The first snow of the winter of 1845 blanketed our small farm. The gray pressed down upon the ground and the horizon shrunk down to a couple hundred feet in any direction.

“I was at the general store the other day and there was a man there, Jeremiah Tolson, he said he’d made the trip twice and the Indians, for the most part, are friendly, and he said Oregon is everything they say it is, green and mild and water everywhere. It just seems like we are limiting ourselves here, Laura, and I want the best for our children.”

She was quiet for a spell, kneading some dough, preparing to bake some pies. She’s a good-looking woman, solid in build, a smile that would soften the hardest of hearts, and the best damned wife I could hope for. Truth be she’s my equal in every way, and I couldn’t imagine life without her.

She brushed some golden hair from her face, leaving a white smudge on her forehead. Her eyes squinted in concentration, her strong hands making quick work of the dough. Then the beginnings of a smile spread across her soft face.

“Widow Brooks says Jeremiah Tolson is a scallywag and not to be trusted, but I suspect she’s sweet on him too. She says he trapped beaver in the Rockies when he was younger, part of the Bridger group, says he has been known to eat muskrat. Are you sure you want to be using him as your arguing point, a man who eats muskrat?” And she laughed, and I felt the familiar stirrings in my loins, the same stirrings that had produced our daughter, Lisa, age ten, and our son, Samuel, age six. I walked over to her, held her from behind in my arms, nestled my face in her hair.

“There’s nothing wrong with muskrat, woman. I’m told it tastes just like chicken. Listen, all I’m asking is you think about it. Wagon trains leave Saint Joe in early April. That gives you four months to give it some thought, all right?”

She laughed.

“Four months? Do I look like some kind of fool, Joshua? We would have to sell our farm, and most of our belongings, not to mention buy a wagon and some oxen, stock up on provisions. Good God, Joshua, if we made that trip we’d have to start preparing now.”

And right then and there I knew she had signed on!

Say goodbye to the old things
Say goodbye to the old things | Source

March Arrives

The snow was gone and the spring rains pounded our acreage as I jumped down off my horse and trudged through mud to our cabin. Laura was at the kitchen table, helping our daughter and son with their reading.

“While I was at the general store I ran into George Atkins. He and his wife have thought it over and they want to join us on the trip,” I told her.

George Atkins was a black man and my friend. A good man, strong, dependable, he and his wife had moved to Iowa from Missouri to escape what he said was “a strong prejudice against men of color.” Unfortunately he found similar attitudes in Iowa. He owned a blacksmith shop in town, did all right for himself but still, it’s hard being treated different from other folks and he was tired of it.

“He’s hoping Oregon Territory is more understanding regarding black men.”

Laura smiled and nodded her head.

“Well, hope springs eternal, or so I’m told. It will be good traveling with George and Sarah. They’re good people. Do you think it will be any different for them out west?”

“I hope so, Laura. I want to believe there’s a place where color isn’t used to judge a man. Anyway, I’ve got work to do. We’ve got three weeks left and then we need to load up and head to the gathering area. If we can leave earlier that’s all the better. I want to hook up with a good group, find a guide we can trust for the trip. The men in town were talking about the Trail, said a man will come face to face with his own devils on that trip. I reckon that’s true enough.”

“Did you find any oxen yet? Are you sure we even need them? Our horses have always been reliable pulling wagons.”

“I know they have, Laura, but where we’re going there ain’t no food for a horse. Oxen can eat the prairie grasses and survive much better. And yes, I found a guy, a friend of old man Palmer’s has a team of oxen, said he’d be willing to trade them for two of our horses and our old plow. I pick them up tomorrow.”

Pack what you can and leave the rest!
Pack what you can and leave the rest! | Source

The Reality of It All

We were in bed that night, the rain continuing to pound on the roof, the tree limbs brushing against the side of our home, and Laura rolled over and tucked her head under my chin.

“I’m afraid, Joshua! If anything were to happen to the children on this journey, I don’t know what I’d do, and there’s all manner of things, bad things, that could happen to them. And suppose we survive the trip only to get out there and the crops fail, or you get injured and we can’t even work the new farm? What do we do then? And school for the children, and Indians, and where do we go to church in the wilderness, Joshua, and I heard someone speaking the other day about people dying of some horrible stomach ailment on the Trail, dying by the hundreds.”

I held her tight as the storm played a worrisome lullaby.

“Laura, a man can’t live his life afraid of what’s to come. Hell, woman, I could get hurt here on the farm, so Oregon don’t make no difference as far as that’s concerned. The rest of them problems well, the way I figure it, as long as I’ve got you by my side, we’ll make out all right. Admit it, wife, you’re just as excited as I am.”

She rose up on her elbows and looked at my face in the feint light.

“I love you, Joshua!”

“And I you, Laura! We all will be fine. There ain’t nothing out west that can stop us as long as we stand side by side.”

WE’LL JUST SEE ABOUT THAT

I don’t know about Laura, but Joshua’s statement is a challenge to this writer. I’ve got all manner of tough times ready to face this young family, so tune in next week as they take their first tentative steps on the Oregon Trail.

2017 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 8 hours ago from Olympia, WA

      That is kind of you, Marlene! Yes, I can see the parallels...into the unknown with only love and determination as your companions.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 27 hours ago from Northern California, USA

      This story sounds a lot like my modern-day journey and how it started with hope. "The Reality of It All" pretty much sums up the theory of how my husband and I entered into our wilderness style of minimalistic living. I am sure to enjoy the following chapters. Thank you for always writing such interesting stories.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks again, Susan! I'm happy you are enjoying the story.

    • Susan Sears profile image

      Susan Sears 6 weeks ago

      Great start to the story looking forward to chapter 2 !!!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Hopefully it is, Jackie! Thanks for stopping by.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 2 months ago from The Beautiful South

      Being a "Little House on the Prairie" fan, this is going to be right up my alley!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Shoot, I'm sorry. Never read messages after a twelve hour day at the market. I hope your husband recovers soon.

    • shanmarie profile image

      shanmarie 3 months ago

      It wasn't a child, which I was trying to explain when it kept messing up. My husband got admitted. He has a bad heart valve. Thank you for your concern, though

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Shannon, I'm sending positive thoughts your way. Nothing worse than a sick kid...that crappy helpless feeling....hang in there, my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Well Shannon, God bless you for trying. You get brownie points for the effort, and thank you for the chuckle.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Aww, P.S., so nice to see you again. I hope all is well in your life . . . either way, hugs and love are being carried your way.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 3 months ago from sunny Florida

      You have me on this journey....another time, a way of life that many would not survive...it took a special breed to survive those challenging times...it sounds like these folks just might be the type....hope to get back to read soon, again. Angels are headed your way once again. ps

    • shanmarie profile image

      shanmarie 3 months ago

      OMG!!!!! It did it again..cut me off by taking away my keyboard. I switched to the desktop version to see if that helps.......But I came back here to finish up what I just left hanging.......only to find it posted to some hub that I don't think I have ever even seen before? How does that happen?????? Something in the news feed? I think I deleted it in time before anyone saw it and wondered what the hell I was talking about or to whom I was speaking! I give up........With the day I've had..........I will laugh and take it as a sign that I should just say bye bye. Have a good night.

    • shanmarie profile image

      shanmarie 3 months ago

      Just remembered that it cut off my comment earlier. The HP mobile app has some issues sometimes, I noticed, and the keyboard goes away so that I can't peck out my comments....I hate texting anyway, but that really annoys me. LOL.

      Anyway, he never likes to stay to let the doctors thoroughly check him out, especially if being admitted us required. Kids up late and then up early to the ER....something off with the EKG rhythm this time....long, long day. And that's on top of other things happening at the same time. I am thinking strongl

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Well shoot, Shannon, I hope all is well with you...or is it one of your children? Well, whatever, best wishes to you, and thanks for catching up.

    • shanmarie profile image

      shanmarie 3 months ago

      Well, if I have to spend the day at the hospital, a good way to spend some of the time is catching up to the wagon train! I could use a little vacation anyway......along one. LOL

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Eddy! You are appreciated, dear friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Missy, one thing you said is so very true....if you wanted prosperity you took chances, and had no other choice. So very true indeed.

      Thank you!

    • Missy Smith profile image

      Missy Smith 3 months ago from Florida

      The 1800s were an interesting time. I remember teaching my son, just this year, about the Oregon trail and the many who traveled it for a better life. It was a long and at times brutal journey for the pioneers and Indians whom took it on. However, in those days you just took chances for a better life. You honestly had no choice if you planned to live prosperous. A start to a really good continuing story that I hope to catch up on soon. :)

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 3 months ago from Wales

      What a brilliant start and I cannot wait to see what lies in store for Laura and Joshua. I will be popping over to chapter 2 very soon.

      Eddy.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Lawrence! That's really all they have, is each other...the same, really, can be said for all of us.

      Blessings and thanks

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 3 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      I know you're about three weeks into the 'trail' but I reckon Joshua is right.

      No matter what they face, if they're together, then they'll come through 'on top'

      Great new story.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks as always, Sha! That old stove can be found in the Rutledge farmhouse about ten miles south of here, built in 1864...still standing and a showcase of history for these parts.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 4 months ago from Central Florida

      I look forward to this new tale of a young family's daring venture in order to make a better life for themselves. It'll prove to be interesting, I'm sure.

      BTW, whose old stove is that?

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Jo, I think I could have done it. That journey appeals to my spirit of adventure...of course, it's easy to say that sitting on the sofa. LOL Thank you very much.

    • jo miller profile image

      Jo Miller 4 months ago from Tennessee

      I've always been a big fan of the 'Westward Ho!' stories. Just love that pioneer spirit. It's one of the things I've always admired about the American story. I think I would have enjoyed being one of them--except for the part about leaving loved ones behind. That would have been hard.

      Looking forward to reading more.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      You didn't miss anything, MizB! We slowed up the wagons so you could catch up. Thanks for riding along, my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Maria! I'm trying to challenge myself. A comfortable writer can become a lazy writer very easily, or so I was once told.

      Love,

      bill

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 4 months ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Dear Bill,

      I love how you change the outfit of your muse whenever you challenge yourself to a writing project.

      The bones of your writing are as solid as it gets. And I can tell this current outfit will be a great fit for me.

      Moving on...seems like the thing to do! See you at the next stop. Love, Maria

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 4 months ago

      How did I miss this series? Oh, I know, that was when I was at the eye doctor getting needles stuck in my eye. At least I have an excuse. Now you take that Joshua, I think he's dumb as dirt. He sounds like a couple of men I've been married to--still married to one of them. Yep, just you wait, Laura will be wishin' she could hi-tail it back home. I'm ready for the next one.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Zulma, you are never late for one of my stories. Thanks for traveling along with my little family. Stay safe and have a great weekend.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 4 months ago from United Kingdom

      Another great story to munch my popcorn by. Sorry I'm late but that means I get to read the other two chapters without having to wait too long between installments. I'm off to read Chapter 2 now. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Natalie! I have my moments. :) I appreciate the kind words.

    • Natalie Frank profile image

      Natalie Frank 4 months ago from Chicago, IL

      What a great story! It's the easy to write a historical novel but you do it very well. And coloring books to? Wow- You are multi- talented!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Vellur, I will try to keep them safe on their journey. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Well happy Sunday to you, Genna, and thank you for returning from your Sabbatical and joining me this morning.

      No, I can't imagine what those pioneers went through in search of a better life. They were tougher than I am and that's for sure.

      Have a superb day, my friend.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 4 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Hi Bill. sorry I'm late, my friend, but am on one of my sabbaticals from HP for a bit. What could be better than a new series from Bill Holland. :-) I love stories about historical treks with family and this one is just superb.

      Two thousand miles along the Oregon Trial. The possibilities are as open and as the Trial itself. The courage these early settlers had to find a better life and opportunity for their families, to me, is amazing. Can you imagine? And we complain if we have to get up and go to work in the morning to fight commuting hour. Kinda puts things into another perspective. As always, your characters (Joshua, Laura, and more) are so engaging and true to life.

      I'm sitting here with my morning coffee, enjoying every word. Thank you for a lovely Sunday morning.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 4 months ago from Dubai

      I hope their journey takes them to a great place where they can start all over again and prosper. Great story, am following through till the end.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you John! I appreciate it and I'm glad you are along for the ride.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 4 months ago from Queensland Australia

      I missed the notification of this new story, Bill. Found it and like it. Good job.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, Lori! I'm glad I captured the feelings of that era.

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 4 months ago from Pacific Northwest

      I loved this. I too have always been enamored with this era. You did well here. I love this line,

      "I held her tight as the storm played a worrisome lullaby."

      On to chapter 2.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Jo, I've always been fascinated by those pioneers and you are correct...leaving family and home behind would be very hard indeed.

      Thank you!

    • jo miller profile image

      Jo Miller 4 months ago from Tennessee

      Those people who went out into the wilderness to make a life for themselves are my heroes. I've always thought I would have liked being a pioneer woman, but the hardest part would have been leaving everything I knew behind.

      Good luck with your story.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Debangee! I will continue on Wednesday!

    • Debangee Mandal profile image

      DEBANGEE MANDAL 4 months ago from India

      Wow! loved the new start...continue writing . I'll look forward to the next.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Oh Shyron, this will be a tough journey for sure, and thank you for taking it with them.

      Blessings always

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm very appreciative, Rasma! Little House on the Prairie for sure...maybe not quite so sweet, but the theme of family for sure.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Dora! Those will always be aspects of my stories...love will always be a thread, even in the murder mysteries.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 months ago from The Caribbean

      It's not only than the characters and the plot. It's also the various sweet aspects of family and relationships like love, cooperation and commitment that get to me.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 4 months ago from Riga, Latvia

      Well you got my attention with photos of Little House on the Prairie in my mind. Looking forward to the journey and I know I will be there every step of the way.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 4 months ago from Texas

      Bill, Laura and her man are in for lots of adventures and hard times, I heard a lot about the Oregon Trail.

      Blessings to you and both your families.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Michael my friend. I do know these people quite well, and I promise to keep them safe.

      Peace be with you!

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 4 months ago

      Already in this opening segment your story indicate an inborn desire every human being have to succeed in life and be something. My curiosity would carefully following at what price the Atkins family have reach their desired goal. Trusting, you know them quite well my friend and we all will celebrate accomplishment at the end of journey.

      Blessings and peace.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Oh Ann, you're just showing off with all the "t's"...LOL Thank you for the kind words. As a former history teacher who loved the 1850-1880 period, this is easy writing for me. I always felt I was born in the wrong era. I could have done 1845 quite nicely with six-shooters strapped to my waist. LOL

      I give up, you already won...have a great day, my friend!

      bill

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      Ann Carr 4 months ago from SW England

      I bet you're not going to make it easy for them either, bill! Sounds like a great basis for another series and I'm waiting for the next chapter. You have a knack for writing in this genre as well as the crime/thriller side of things. More strings to your bow and more power to your elbow!

      Thrilling Thursday throws out thoughts for thriving writing.

      Ann

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Clive! I will indeed keep them coming.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Linda! I sure hope everyone finds it interesting.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you rebelogilbert....I taught this for a number of years, so that helped immensely.

    • rebelogilbert profile image

      Gilbert Arevalo 4 months ago from Hacienda Heights, California

      Bill, I liked the natural thought processes of the main character, his goals, dream, fears, and love for his wife. You seem to have a good grasp about the tough conditions of the timeline you are writing about.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 4 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This looks like it's going to be an interesting series, Bill. I'm looking forward to reading about the adventures of Laura and Joshua.

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      clivewilliams 5 months ago

      Good Job Billy. Keep Them Coming.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Audrey, I keep seeing that app on my phone, thinking I should play it, but so far no....in my spare time I play Sim City, and that seems to devour all of my spare time. :) I'm glad you caught on at the beginning of this one. Thank you!

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 5 months ago from California

      Did you ever play the Oregon Trail game? I had lots of fun with the kids deciding what provisions to buy and when and hoping we all didn't die before we got there--happy to catch one of yours here on the front end of things!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Pop, I think this is a story everyone can relate to...the eternal struggle we all live. Thanks for being a part of it.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I suspect we are too, Mary. As for gutsy enough, I would do this. I'm just that kind of guy. Damn the consequences. The fun is in the adventure!

      Thank you and I'll see you next week.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I just knew, Bill, that you would enjoy this one. Thanks for stopping by. I'll reserve a seat on one of the wagons for you.

    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 5 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you for this, Bill. You may just inspire me to get back at it. Interesting how this story stirs something in the back on my mind. Really looking forward to their journey along the Trail! ;-)

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 5 months ago from Brazil

      I wonder how many people nowadays would be gutsy enough to do this? They are heading out into a great unknown. Perhaps propaganda of how great everything was out west was misleading.

      I wonder if we are still as gullible, I suspect we are.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 5 months ago

      I will most certainly be tuning in.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Nell, I'm afraid so. I'm short on time to write creatively with this new customer of mine. Sorry about that, but thanks for being here at the beginning of the journey.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, Venkatachari M. It will be a long, difficult journey for this family, but I can tell you now that they will make it to their destination.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Sis, just climb on up on the wagon. You can sit next to Joshua while he urges on those oxen. I wouldn't think of having you walk in the back with all that dust. Ready now? Off we go!!!!!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Larry! A little low-key after the last short story. :)

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 5 months ago from Oklahoma

      Very engaging beginning.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 5 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Yahoooo! Another Old West tale of a family from good stock, setting off on a long, hard journey in search of a better life! I was ready for a break from serial killers~~to say the least.

      I've already hurried to pack my bag, bro bill! They ain't goin nowhere without me!

      I'm with Laura. I wouldn't talk to no man who eats muskrat either! Fact, I won't even creep up close to him!

      (And another coloring book?!.....you are one non-stop, busy, productive Dude!) Looking forward to this story of our trek to Oregon! Sis

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 5 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      It seems an interesting story. The introduction is very good and exciting. I wish they could stand all oddities in store for them with courage and good insight.

      I wait for your next episode of this.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 5 months ago from England

      Next week? You expect us to wait till next week? LOLOLO! great beginning Bill and I am looking forward to seeing how this family do on the trail!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I can't either, Linda. The closest I came was a year in Alaska, but that didn't involve crossing country in a wagon and facing unknown dangers. I don't know how in the world those people did what they did.

      Anyway, enjoy the rain, happy gardening, and thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Manatita, I'm definitely old. I'm not so sure about you, my friend.

      Turned someone down? For a freelance job? I'm way too busy. Summers are our busy time with the urban farm, farmers markets, taking care of animals, the garden...I just don't have the time, buddy. If I took on anything else I would do subpar work, and I refuse to do that.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It is a bit different, Flourish. I'm looking forward to seeing where we head as well. Thank you!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 5 months ago from USA

      This was an interesting turn for you. I look forward to seeing where things head.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 5 months ago from london

      Nice one, Bill. I kind a thought you'd do it. My Guruji would be proud of you. The spirit of self-transcendence ...newness; going beyond, beyond ...into the ever-transcending beyond.

      I saw all these things depicted in movies and they fascinated me. Yes, Indians and all. I think that John Wayne did a few and James Stewart also. We're 'old (I mean young) Bro.

      Great start! You wrote so well that it reminded me of you saying that you had turned someone down. Why did you do it? You can answer in your mailbag, if you like.

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      Linda Lum 5 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill, I already love your new "old" family. Like you, there is something about that period of time in our history that fascinates me. My grandparents moved from Europe a bit later (end of the 19th century), but the risks they faced were similar--leaving behind home, friends, some family, and traveling across an unknown sea to a place they could barely imagine. A land of strangers who didn't even speak the same language.

      I can't imagine the bravery of these souls. I look forward to making this journey with them.

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      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Aww, thanks Irish! I always appreciate your positive attitude and your support.

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      Suzanne Ridgeway 5 months ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Wonderful writing my friend and in my opinion has novel potential for sure, look forward to the next chapter for Joshua and Laura!

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      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Eric, I will try to get the family safely to Oregon. I make no such promises about their traveling companions. :) Thanks for the kind words.

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      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Aww, thanks Ruby! This time in our history was fascinating to me. I'll try to deliver the family safely in Oregon, but no promises.

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      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I create them, RoadMonkey, and they were for sure tough times. Thanks for stopping by.

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      RoadMonkey 5 months ago

      Do youcreate coloring books or color them in? Those were tough times!

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      Ruby Jean Fuller 5 months ago from Southern Illinois

      I know this will be an exciting journey! People traveling to distant lands in the olden days has always intrigued me, and I especially like that you will be traveling with the Atkins family. So happy that you are writing another series and I love it already!

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      Eric Dierker 5 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Now you be kind to this nice family. I look forward to making the journey intact. It is so nice to have a friend who can write like you do. Thanks

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      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Janine and Happy Wednesday to you. This one won't be hard to read for the squeamish. :)

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      Janine Huldie 5 months ago from New York, New York

      Love the newest short story and can't wait to see the Oregon Trail unfold for Laura and Joshua now. Have a wonderful Wednesday now!!