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Mountain Creek Station
Bill Holland has issued a writing challenge, and I apparently will do anything to get out of the slightest bit of yard work this morning. So, I jotted down a quick story. As with Mark Twain for those that try to find a message here - oh, he said it better.
“Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot.
BY ORDER OF THE AUTHOR
G.G., CHIEF OF ORDNANCE”
― Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huck Finn
"A Writing Challenge: Are You Up For It?"
When you are done with your entry, publish it on HP, of course, but also email me at email@example.com and let me know you published. I don't want to accidentally miss an entry.
Mountain Creek Station
“After they built the wall, and gathered up all those with any knowledge of the crop or the harvest the walnuts fell to the ground. Only the crows got fat. That is the season the railroad closed down the spur as there was no crop to carry.” Eleanor sat on the front porch and told the story of what happened to her beloved, Mountain Creek Station, to her youngest son, Henry.
The boy sat dragging a knife blade over a length of walnut branch. Little spirals from the pile of shavings at his feet, rolled lazily along the covered porch tumbled by the first breeze of autumn.
“The Railroad men were the first to leave. Then the grocer closed up shop. Said he had no choice. He handled the mail, so there were no more mail deliveries. People in these parts are stubborn, mighty stubborn. Even after the Sheriff came by and said the county had let him go, people stayed. Many would gather in that old church," she nodded her head in the direction, "and whispered to the shadows, into the night.”
The boy tossed the stick into the dirt. He grabbed another piece of branch and forced the blade across the edge with the energy of youth.
“Many of the young men took to going out into the woods hunting game. Some brought home rabbits and some brought home fowl, but truth is the woods were hunted out years ago. Our living was made in the orchards and the fields. That made it worth the railroads time to send in cars. And where there are men, they got to have laws. And laws gotto have a Sheriff. Do you see what I’m say’n?”
The boy glanced down the dirt road leading into the woods.
“Man from the bank came by and told Jed Hargrove to pay or move. Jed couldn’t pay and the old silo on his place has turned to rust. The bank didn’t have nothing to do with harvesting, but damned if they would let the payments slide. Made no sense to me. Men and their thinking.”
The noise from an engine drifted to the ears of the boy.
“When things started gett’n really down, seems like they deliberately start a war with someone, just to give the young men somethin’ to do. That brought an end to the rabbit and fowl hunting in a big hurry. You could hear a bunch of flag waving talk on the radio, when we could get the reception.”
“Walk with me over to where your Pa and his Pa are resting.” Eleanor stood and walked down the wooden steps. Their feet rustled through fallen leaves. The sound brought solace to Eleanor. The boy just kicked leaves.
They paused at the stones that marked the lives of their loved ones. They both whispered beneath their breaths. They both surveyed their idle orchards. Trees with their wavering bare branches, sent a chill through Eleanor.
The sound of the engine drew closer. Henry ran to the middle of the dirt road to see if he could see what was coming.
Eleanor touched her fingers to her lips and kissed them. She rested her fingers on the top of her husband's stone for a moment. Then moved to his father’s stone and did the same. At the stone of her first child she knelt and wept a moment and leaned and kissed the stone.
Henry, turned, “They’re here. They’re here.”
Eleanor stood and walked towards her son. She saw the automobile approaching. “Come with me,” she said turning back toward the porch.
Henry did as he was asked. “Ma, why are you crying?”
She patted her son on the shoulder, bent down and picked up their bags that were sitting on the front porch.
Once inside the car, Henry turned and looked out the back window. He saw the bare branches of the walnut trees waving their goodbyes.
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