Chapter 13: the funeral
Well Peter. It's done. Yea, you killed 'er. I did what I was ordered to do Peter, you know that as well as I do. Afternoon judge; Joseph said, as Judge Parker stepped in the saloon. Afternoon boys. Let me buy ya a drink, will ya? Sure judge. Peter was sittin across from Joseph, an' the judge sit to one side. What's gonna happen now Peter; he asked. Well, I got a job to do, but I'll do it out side of town, when I'm ready. I'm gonna give the family respect enough to put my sister in her grave. Well, we all appreciate that; the judge said. But why don't ya just let it go. She's gone. Nothin ya do now 's gonna bring 'er back. Killin Joseph aint gonna bring 'er back. Don't matter. I gave my word, I keep it. The saloon was full, but unusually quiet considerin what just happened in town. The deputies were all standin outside, just in case. Judge Parker said; ya know if Joseph comes up dead, yer the one's gonna hang for it. Don't matter judge. Well, maybe I should just arrest ya now afore ya get a chance. By the time 'e said this much, Peters gun was in 'is face. I don't think so judge. Joseph stepped in; it's ok judge. Let 'im do what 'e gotta do. I'm goin to the house. Funeral is tomorrow, at two o'clock in the afternoon. I'll be there boys. Thank ya. Joseph walked out an' got a horse from the livery, an' rode home without lookin over 'is shoulder like the whole town expected. They all expected a big gun fight, but were let down again today. They also expected a big excitin hangin, but watchin a little woman hang, well, it just wasn't as excitin as they all figured it would be. When Joseph got home, Josephine was talkin to Sally by the fireplace, an' John was out doin chores. He went straight out to where 'e was an' thanked 'im for helping out like 'e been doin. It's no problem Joseph. Anything I can do, you just let me know. Thanks John. They finished the chores an' went in the house, an' Sally was cookin supper. Mandy was there, an' she ran to her paw, an' hugged 'im so tight she nearly cut off the blood to 'is head. But it helped 'im feel a little bit better since she was home. He told 'er; Penelope asked me if I'd tell ya how much she loved ya, an' she misses ya, an' she said she's right here, in yer heart. She always will be little 'on. I know paw, she told me that already. You gonna be ok Mandy? Yea, I'll be ok paw. My heart hurts a lot, but I know she's in heaven with 'er papa, an' 'er maw. She told me she'd be there when I get there too. Yea, an' she will be too honey. I love you, little 'on. I love you too paw. Mrs. Benton have a cherry pie for ya? Yep, a big'n. I bet ya ate it all too, huh. Nope, I brought ya some. Oh, ya did, huh? Well, let's just go see how it is. He carried 'er in the kitchen an' Sally asked 'im; Peter still in town? Yea, he's still there. Is 'e gonna stay? For a couple days, 'e said. He's stayin for the funeral. Joseph could tell 'is wife was worried, so 'e tried to change the subject. Where's that pie Mandy's been braggin bout? Over there. It looks good too. I'm surprised Mandy aint ate it already. Me too. Sally didn't say much the rest of the day, she just finished supper, an' after that, she sit in front of the fireplace till she went to bed. She did ask one more question; When's the funeral? Tomorrow, two o'clock. Well. Come on Mandy, let's get you to bed, so we can get ya ready come mornin for yer Aunt Penelope's funeral. Ok maw. Good night paw. Good night Mandy. I love ya. I love ya too paw. When Sally got 'er in 'er room, she knelt down for 'er nightly prayers. She asked all the usual things, an' asked if Jesus would tell 'er aunt Penelope hi for 'er, an' that she loved 'er. An' she always would, forever. When Sally came out, she sit on Josephs lap an' just cried till time for bed, an' after they went, she cried 'erself to sleep. Just like Josephine, an' Mandy did. An' John an' Joseph, truth be known.
The next day, they all rode to town together, but Joseph rode ol' Joe, so they could go to the church after the funeral for the dinner. They always had a dinner after havin a funeral for someone, an' Mrs. Benton made sure the town knew this was a special funeral, an' there would be a dinner, an' it was to be a big'n. The mortician made Penelope look so good, it even impressed Joseph an' Peter. She simply looked like she was sleepin. He took Mandy up so she could say goodbye to 'er aunt, an' 'e held 'er because 'e knew she wouldn't be able to hold back the tears, or see over the edge of the casket. He was right, an' after she said 'er goodbye, he brought 'er back to where Sally an' Josephine were seated with John. They went up after Joseph brought Mandy back to say their own goodbyes, an' reminisce about old times with Penelope, an' funny things she did when she was a kid, tryin to ease the pain of their great loss. They were all worried about Peter bein here, but Joseph didn't seem to be too worried for some reason. Sally thought maybe he an' Peter worked it out, but 'e wouldn't have rode ol' Joe in if 'e didn't need to go someplace after the funeral. The entire town was there on this day, an' there wasn't even standin room in that funeral parlor. Peter left shortly after the funeral was over. After the funeral was over, an' they took Penelope to 'er final restin place, Joseph excused 'imself an' slipped away from the crowd afore they went to the church house for the dinner. Folk's thought 'e just needed to be alone for awhile, so nobody asked any questions, or fallowed 'im. He was walkin along the street an' seen Betty standin on the boardwalk just down the street. He decided to go speak to 'er when 'e heard Peter yell; Joseph Cates. He stopped an' turned, an' while 'e turned, 'e drew an' fired. As 'e shot Peter, Peter also shot him, but since 'e went to the side from spinnin around, Peter's bullet hit closer to 'is 'is shoulder, throwin 'im to the ground hard. Almost the exact same time his bullet hit the center of Peters chest, right where it always does. Joseph hit the ground hard, an' laid there for a bit. Then 'e got up from the ground, walked over to Peter, kneeled, an' told 'im. You always taught me, never hesitate, but you did today. Why? Why did ya hesitate Peter? But Peter was gone. He'd gone to be with 'is sister, leavin Joseph here to be with 'is other sister, wife, an' two little girls, Mandy Elizabeth, after her maw, cause Sally's middle name was Elizabeth, an' Merry Penelope Becker Cates, after her maw. Joseph tried to leave, but 'e passed out from the pain in 'is shoulder, an' woke up three days later at home. Soon as the two men fell, Betty an' two men came over to them, an' took Peter to the mortician. People standin around watchin wondered why they took Peter an' not Joseph, but they took 'im to the docs place anyway, an' found 'e was out somewhere they none knew where. He finally showed up later, an' came in an' took the bullet out of Josephs shoulder an' patched 'im up. He never did figure why Peter hesitated, but 'e did what 'e did for a reason no doubt. It took some time for the Cates family to get over losin Penelope an' Peter both, just one day apart. The county always remembers how that family lost 'em. One by the rope, an' one by the gun. And both by the same man. Life was different after that. Different because, Joseph Cates was known as the only man to ever beat Peter Cates in a gun fight, an' 'e was also known as the marshal that had to hang 'is own sister. Sometimes this was good, an' sometimes it was bad. But that brother an' sisters graves are still to this day, layin in the city of Jefferson, right next to each other, Penelope Marie Cates Becker, an' Peter Henry Cates.
And this ends another chapter in the life of Joseph Cates, family and friends.