#26 Honor Prescott – Prospector

| November 29, 2011 | 0 Comments

As the sun beat down on the rocks spread before me, I realized that I had hit it rich. The yellow veins sparkling in the crags were worth more money than anything. Once I got this claim staked and sold, I’d be richer than Croesus. Then I could go back home and show Mama.

Mama hadn’t wanted me to go out west. Anytime Papa would sit down and read some of the dreadfuls to me, stories about cattle-rustling, train robbing and saloons, Mama would always be sitting right there tut-tutting.

“Papa, why are you putting such ideas into their heads? No daughter of mine is going to leave the nice civilized world to explore that bastion of barbarism.”

And Papa would nod his head in agreement and stop reading aloud. But then after Mama went to sleep, he’d come into our rooms and finish the story of the Outlaw Billy the Kid and Marshal Garrett. It was those stories that made me come out here, to the open prairie.

But I didn’t come quickly. No when gold was discovered out in Cali, I stayed behind and waited. The time wasn’t right for me yet. Then there was the War Between the States, and it wasn’t safe for me to go then, with Papa gone fighting and no one to run the farm but Mother and me.

After the war though, there wasn’t nothing to keep me any longer. Papa never came back from fighting, and pretty soon after Lee surrendered, some Union boys came through and said all are land was property of the government. I wanted to fight them, but Mama held me back.

“I’ve lost your father and I’ve lost my house, but I’m not losing my daughter,” she said. And I couldn’t stare into those sad eyes, ones that hadn’t seen smiles or laughter since Papa left, and fight the blue boys.

We moved to a small shack, barely big enough for a horse to lie down in. We took in laundry and did mending to make our way. But it wasn’t any way for Mama to live. She was already weak, coughing nearly everyday. There had to be a way to make things better.

Then I remembered the stories dad read to me, about cities of gold and rivers of silver. Here at home there was nothing for us but a long of work and dying tired, and I thought that maybe, just maybe, in the West I could make my way.

Category: 2011

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