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 Category:  Family Fiction
  Posted: February 20, 2020      Views: 6

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a bit of western history
"Another Delay" by pragmatic poet

Another Delay
The setting sun forced me to squint at the new unfamiliar territory which was about to become home.
We were nearing the end of another long tedious day on the Oregon-Bozeman Trail.
I could see Chimney Rock ahead.
In 1862, Congress passed The Homestead Act which gave 160 acres to anyone who stayed five years and improved the land, whereupon they could own the land and could purchase more at $1.25 an acre.
Our application had been successful.
According to the government map, our farm was edging a small river a week east of Scotts Bluff.
Another day or so and we should be there.
I smiled. My husband Henry, lulled by the uneven rocking of the wagon, and din of paraphernalia clanging against the sides, had nodded off while our team automatically followed the other covered wagons in the train.
As I glanced down and rubbed the spot where our first baby was kicking, the wagon came to a halt.
"Whoa team!" Henry called. "Look at that, Martha. Old George is up to his axles right in the middle of the crossing!"
Sure enough, the wagon in front was stuck in the river crossing mud.
I patted Henry's shoulder. "Now calm down, dear. It's just another delay. Maybe that rain last night changed the channel."
"Well, we can't just sit here. They only hold the homestead territories open for so long, you know."
"You're such a worrier. We have our signed papers, so there is nothing to panic about."
Henry sighed. "You're right as usual Martha. Well, I don't like being half in and half out of the river like this. Maybe I can slip by him on the left."
"And get stuck yourself! Don't be silly. George is our friend. I grant you he is a bit rough around the edges, but he is not as cranky as you seem to think he is. Two days back, he helped the Corrigans with their broken wheel, and he did fix our leaking water barrel."
Henry nodded. "He certainly is a good carpenter."
"And as long as he is stuck we, along with the rest of the train, are stalled."
Henry took a long swallow of water from the canteen, and then called, "Hang on George! I'll bring my team up there."
He handed me the canteen and then flashed one of his gorgeous smiles that had won my heart four years ago.
"I shouldn't be too long, dear."
As Henry unhitched the team, I dampened a cloth from the flask, and wiped my face, neck and throat.
"I'll have dry clothes for you when you get back."
"Thank you dear; I'll see you in a few minutes."

Author Notes
Certain details are true.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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