"The Annual Fear" (2) by Rolly A. Chabot
Hugs to all from Alberta Canada. We have had a reprieve from the threat of winter for the next few days and the farmers are out again in a race against time to get their crops off. I was in a small town about 150 miles to the north and east of here and they are out and sweeping over the land getting all they can off while the weather lasts. What a treat to watch six combines working together covering the field. These people know how to reach out and help each other and a blessing to see.
Welcome to the Fireside. Well without fire because we hit 78 F degrees to you in the south and for those in Canada 26 degrees Celsius. I know stupid system but you Americans love it when you can come here and think we drive at 100 mph. I guess a few miles down the road you learn a quick lesson in metric conversion when you meet up with the law. Sorry for all the confusion... hugs in advance cause they will not offer hugs like me... Know that you are loved....
Settle in and come along for the next chapter of "The Annual Fear" hopefully I can catch your attention and you will follow along with the following chapters...
Chapter 2 “Looking Back”
Daniel Sidon his dad had been a self made man, coming to the region with nothing but a piece of paper stating he owned a piece of river land. He had signed on for homestead land after the war.
Block “D 154 Daniel Ray Sidon” was all that had been written at the top, along with all the legal stuff he had to do to own the piece.
Redwood point was what it had been named several years back, known for the tall Redwoods that lined the edge of the Middy and filled the piece of land he had been assigned. He smiled as he thought of all the stories his dad had shared with him as a child.
His Dad had cleared the land by hand with a tired old horse and a broad axe and a new whipsaw. It was a two-man saw but his dad was like two men when it came to strength. The first order had been to build a cabin that had taken the better part of the summer.
His mother a Navaho Indian had turned up on Daniel’s doorstep early one morning. All she had was a suitcase and a child. It was raining and both she and the child were soaked through to the bone.
She had been rejected from her people as the child was born out of wedlock. Windstar was her name and his Dad had fallen head over heels over his mom Sarah. His Mom was looking for work. His dad was a man of Christian beliefs; he took pity on them and took them in until they could get back on their feet again.
That night the one room cabin became a two room as his dad hung a sheet across the middle. Within three weeks they were married. His mom became the helper in clearing the land and they began their own family. Dan had been the first to be born, followed by Chester, then the twins Lester and James.
The place was slowly stripped of trees and crops were planted. They raised enough money to fill the needs of the family. It had been a happy household. With each addition his dad had added to the cabin. Each addition became larger; they had all helped in building, each doing what was called for. It was a time of excitement. Dan had many fond memories of his childhood all wrapped up in the small piece of land he called home.
His dad had set a routine in place over the years where the Bible was read after the evening meal, where they all gathered as he would read and explain what the book spoke. His dad had a way of telling the Bible story, which made it interesting.
Sarah his mom would gather all her children around on the floor, his dad would sit in the big chair he had hand crafted himself and they would be a family.
His mom’s hands could tell a story of their own from all the hard work they had done over the years. The land had claimed many years from her. Each child she had, had been drawn from her slight frame. The one thing Dan had always remembered was the softness in her eyes for his Dad and all the children.
She had gotten extremely ill one winter when he was fourteen. Windstar and himself had stepped in and taken over much of her work. Windstar had taken up the household duties and himself as his dad’s helper. Each of the children had their chores. Everyone had been raised to understand there was always work to be done.
By now the farm had grown into a working farm, with chickens, a large garden, a few head of cattle and several horses, Tennessee Walkers were his Dad’s choice. He was considered and expert breeder. The work never stopped, as a team they would accomplish much each day. When they finished one job, there was always another. There was little time for child games like baseball or any of the games the town children played.
That spring his mom breathed her last breath and passed away. They had buried her in the Redwoods his Dad had left as a windbreak near the river. A small clearing, which sat high above the Middy, overlooking the valley and the mountains to the southwest, became the location of the family burial plot. “Sarah Hill” was what his dad had called it. In those days you simply buried your own.
His dad never really got over the loss; it was the same summer Lester and James were taken by the river. Playing to close and tempting the odds they had been swept away. They were laid to rest beside their mom. Three small wooden crosses marked the site; the names and dates of each were hand carved with the dates of birth and death.
That summer was a hard summer on the family. Windstar stepped in and became the mom assuming the role of looking after the house and preparing all the canning for their winter supply. He would watch his dad work from early morning to late night, after the evening Bible reading he would go to the graveside of his family and sit weeping.
Both he and Charles had grown into muscular young men, well proportioned. Dan had grown tall and became a force to be reckoned with when it came to the other local kids. There were families like theirs who had come after the war and started to settle in the area. If they found someone in need of help, it would become a family affair with everyone loading into the wagon and going off to help.
Windstar was close to sixteen and had become a beautiful young lady. High cheekbones, long black hair and her figure had started to take shape. Suitors had started to turn up and were run off just as fast by their dad and the boys. When teased about them, Windstar would blush and yet even Dan could tell she was interested.
There had been a small Baptist Church built in what was starting out to be a small town, eventually the town was called Cedar Ridge. The natural Hot Springs had brought the rich people out from the cities. They had staked their claim to the hillsides in the valley. The springs were known for the healing powers and many came to see for themselves.
Victorian style homes had been built and the town had been born, just six miles away. Next came schools and small business to accommodate the influx of newcomers.
School in their childhood had never been an option, just what they had learned from their mom and dad. Learning arithmetic and reading was all they needed to know. The State had decided each child needed an education. Charles was the only child who was young enough to attend. The rest of the family were considered to be past the age of learning. His father had gone to battle many tiomes to fight the establishment.
School had not been easy for him because he had just enough Navaho blood in him to show he was native. He had come home with many a black eye and bloody nose. He became a force to be contended with after a few years, rarely ever losing a fight.
Dan and his Dad had taken a load of wood to the mill, Charles had been in school and Windstar had been left alone to tend to the house. It was late when they came home that night. Charles was sitting outside with the shotgun laying across his lap when they drove up in the wagon. In the dark he had leveled the shotgun towards them and hollered, “Who goes there, speak now or I will kill all of you.”
It was then they learned of the fate of Windstar that day while they had been away. Russ Johnson and Bert Walters had come around that day. With no one to defend her, Windstar had been raped several times and badly beaten. It was that night they were both beaten to within an inch of their lives at the local Ice Cream Shop. A hand carved baseball bat had been his helper that day, bare fists and his bat had made short work of the boys. It had been the start of Dan’s trouble as well.
It was the first time in Dan’s life he had a brush with the law, he was arrested and sentenced to two years less a day for attempted manslaughter. He had paid the price for his act but even during his time incarcerated he felt justice had been served. Even to this day both men walked with constant memories of what they had done to Windstar. Russ a limp from a twisted leg, which had never healed properly, and James with a hand, which would remain, deformed all his life.
In prison Dan had chosen to study law, he turned his thoughts to the basic Bible study as a child and found peace with God over his actions. He was pardoned after 18 months after proving the guilt of both Russ and James. They had been sent away as well after the truth was revealed.
Windstar had hid herself away for years after and had been the one who had really suffered with the blow she had faced early in life. She left at the age of twenty, had become a missionary and married and had three children of her own. Her and husband Bill had chosen to be Missionaries; their lives were filled with peace and had want for nothing.
Charles had joined the armed forces and had moved his way up through the ranks and was stationed in Ft. Lauderdale. His life had been one of adventure, two failed marriages. He had chosen the other side of life his father had warned them about many times. The fruit of his choice was apparent, as he had become a confirmed alcoholic at the age a 33. Charles had hated the farm and the simple life, wanted nothing to do with any of it and refused help from his dad and family. In 1973 he had taken his own life. They soon understood the meaning of the selfish deed and were left to suffer with guilt for years to come.
In 1975 at the age of 89 his dad Daniel had been working in the small garden plot and had a heart attack. Dan had found him the following day. He had crawled to the house, passing away half way up the stairs. His life had been a full life and one with many rewards. It was a cold August day when they all gathered at Sarah’s Hill and buried their last parent.
By special permit they were allowed to bury him in the plot at “Sarah Hill” as by this time the Government had stepped in a demanded that people be buried in community cemeteries. In the estate his dad had requested all his possessions be divided equally. He and Windstar had come to an agreement, she would take the funds in the bank and he would get the farm.
Dan had worked and saved a little money and took his savings and attended law enforcement school. He served as a Deputy for the first year in Cedar Ridge. It had been a battle with the locals with his record to be elected to the position but his performance as being a man of his word had proven he was fully capable of handling what ever came his way. His calm and cool manner had won the hearts of many. When the Sherriff retired he was nominated by acclamation to take his place.
He had married the local Prom Queen, Beth Reddick, they had tried to have a family but learned Beth was infertile. It had been a torrent love affair matched by no other in the valley. Beth had been a fireball in the community, organizing everything from the annual fish derbies to the local farmers market. She sat on many boards and was an accomplished pianist. Her role in the church was many, choir master and head of music. She taught piano lessons for free to any child who wanted to learn.
In 1983 as she rounded the final bend coming home late one night a deer jumped out in front of the car. Both the deer and Beth were taken that night.
The community had come together to help support him through the ordeal. Like his dad he had gotten a special permit to bury her in the family plot at “Sarah’s Hill”. He like his dad found himself many times sitting weeping over all the loss in his life. He had been alone for a few years now and sometimes he would just stay at the jailhouse rather than drive home to and empty home.
There had been several attempts by many to set him up with a new lady in his life but he had decided soon after her death, he would remain single and he married himself to his job. He worked long hours and kept the peace in the small community. He had become isolated in many ways from people other than a few choice friends.
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