Harry Hammond had rounded up the last of his cattle and dispatched them to the barn. He had found one of his heifers on the rise with her dead calf lying next to her. The mother cow stood keeping predators from approaching the corpse of her prematurely born child. Harry had to blindfold her to move the stubborn cow away from the now dead calf. She and the other fifteen head were now safely entrenched inside the barn. He had given them feed and fresh hay to calm them down. The mother cow stood in her stall bellowing for her calf. The sound echoed through the barn and Harry finally could take it no longer and headed for the house.
The rain had been falling non-stop now for four days. An abrupt drop in the temperature had made matters worse. Harry had gone out in his livestock truck and gathered as many of his cattle as he could. He knew his livelihood depended on salvaging as many of the animals as possible. Harry stood for a moment on the covered porch and thrust a fist up to the heavens.
“Damn you!” he screamed at the clouds, “Haven’t we had enough?”
Harry not getting an answer walked dejectedly into his house. At least the stove was still warm and he pulled off the soaked coat, hat, and gloves he wore. He loaded more wood into the stove and watched the flames dancing brightly. A thought came to him of Rose Smith and those wonderfully bright eyes she had. He tired to shake the image from his mind but it remained there as it had for two years now. Rose was two years younger than Harry and he had fallen head over heels in love with her the first time their paths had crossed. He could still remember the old dungarees and flannel shirt she had on as she loaded feed to take to her farm. He had offered to help her but she had flatly refused his offer of assistance.
“That’s really sweet,” Rose had said to him, “but I can manage just fine.”
Not knowing what to say Harry had simply shrugged and tipped his hat at her.
“Well good day, Miss,” Harry had replied, “if you change your mind give me a shout.”
Rose had already forgotten he was standing there as she continued loading the sacks of feed into the back of her pickup truck.
“What a woman!” he exclaimed to the walls as a broad smile crossed his lips.
Yes indeed he had been keeping tabs on her ever since that day. Harry had courted and wooed several women in his day, but they all fell short of a standard he had set. Rose with her stubborn pride and loving heart had cast some type of spell over him and try as he might he could not seem to break free of it. He had on a few occasions made his intentions known to her, but she just ignored and rebuked his advances. He loved her long thick red hair and the emerald green eyes that held so many secrets. Harry picked up the poker and began stabbing the logs in the stove. It seemed unfair to him that such a grand woman as she would reject him so quickly. Then he remembered the autumn ball and how enchanting she looked in the dress. Though her apparel was modest it accentuated all her best attributes. He had spied the firm ripe breasts peeking through the flimsy fabric and the jut of her nice round bottom. Rose had turned and stared him straight in the eyes her smile widening as she realized what affect her appearance had left with him. She devil he thought to himself. Ah but what a she devil. He cursed himself for feeling so helpless every time their paths crossed.
As he continued to daydream about his heart’s desire another darker thought crossed his mind. Rose lived closer to the river than he did and a large creek cut his and her properties in half. Harry preoccupied with an earnest fear for her safety prayed Rose would have enough sense to abandon her home and move to higher ground. Surely she for once might see reason and do the safe thing. The longer Harry pondered over the situation the more he realized Rose would not do the sensible thing, but rather the latter of the two. She would not leave her home. A sudden cold icy finger ran the length of his back as he stewed over the problem at hand. He would have to go to Rose’s house and make sure she evacuated till the rain subsided. He would bring her livestock here to his place and board them with his animals and perhaps board Miss Smith as well. A sigh passed from deep inside him as he pulled his coat, hat, and gloves back on and made his way to the door and then to the cab of his truck. Still shaking slightly from the cold rain he started the long hazardous journey to Rose Smith’s house. He just hoped she would give him one of those warm, melting smiles when he arrived there.
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