Memoirs of a Yankee Cowboy

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


In a surprising development, Benjamin is, faced with the past. The chances are so unlikely, he finds it hard to believe that it all happened without some kind of tracking and research.

Chapter 6 (v.1) - God Winks

Submitted: May 02, 2019

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Submitted: May 02, 2019

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Chapter Six

“Talk about a God Wink.”  Rose said as she sat shaken at the table outside the dance floor.

“What are you doing way out here?” I asked.

Rose answered nervously, “My boys are here on a college event.  They’re both crazy about horses, and…”

I interrupted her.  “Boys?  Where is your husband?”

“No husband.  Never had one.  After you, there was no other man.”  She let that sink in and then said, “Benjamin Patrick Miller is your son.  He’s out there on the dance floor with his older brother, Donnie.”

I sat stunned.  All the blood felt like it had dropped to my feet.  Finally, I found my voice as I looked into those familiar blue eyes and remembered that great night.  “Does he know about me?”

“All the good parts.”

“And what did you tell him about why I wasn’t there?”

“I told him you had no idea about him.  I told him the truth.  But I said you had been called away to California.”

“This has been enough for him?”

“Yes.”

“How about Sam?  I’ll bet he…”

“As it turns out, Dad really did have cancer.  He was lying to me about it and he passed away a year to the day after you left.”

“I’m so sorry, Rose.  I thought that all those conflicting stories meant that you and Sam were hatching up a trap for me.”

“Well, as Dad always said, that’s water over the dam.  I don’t hold grudges.  I was just happy that you and I had that wonderful night and just wait until you meet your son.  He’s the spitting image of you.”

I looked nervously out to the floor where two young men one with blonde hair and the other with a mass of dark hair were turning and walking away from the other dancers.  As they walked toward us, I recognized that Donnie must have been the shorter blonde hair boy.  The tall darker hair one was the spitting image of me as a seventeen-year old.  We both stood up and watched them approach.

I turned to Rose.  “How is it that you don’t look a day older and yet, here you’re the mother of two college boys?”

“Well, thank you.  You don’t look that much different yourself except for the tan of your skin and the white hair peeking down from under your hat.”

“That’s Donnie with the blonde hair isn’t it?”

“Yep and I guess you can’t deny Benjamin, Jr., can you?”

I shook my head as I took in the way Benjamin walked up with that swagger.

The boys walked up toward us and Donnie stopped and stared.  Benjamin stared as he walked right up to me.  His half grin and the glint in his eyes told me that he knew who I was.

“Hi, Dad.”

“Hello, Jr.”

We did the man hug.

Donnie laughed and said, “A God Wink, Mom.”

“That’s exactly right.  What would be the odds?”

I turned to Donnie.  “And you have grown considerable since I saw you last, even though you didn’t get all that tall.”

“Well, I guess I wouldn’t have recognized you at all, except Mom had that one picture of you standing by your motorcycle.  Even with that cowboy hat on your head, I would have recognized you.”

There was a silence except for the music and then I said, “I have to meet my other boys for supper…dinner or whatever people are calling it these days.  Do you all want to join us?”

There was a lot of agreement from the boys on that.  Benjamin said, “What a great reunion this will be!”

Rose looked a little stressed.  “Would your wife mind.”

“Divorced.”  I said.

“Shouldn’t you warn the boys that they have another brother?”

“They know my story and that I had two families of boys up in upstate New York.”

“You did?  You never told me that.”

“No, I guess I didn’t tell you much at all back then, so we’ve got a lot of talking to do.”

Gene and Benny were at the restaurant next door and set up with their beers when we walked in.  They looked up and stared as we all approached the table.

I looked into the questioning eyes and said, “Boys, meet my two boys from Indiana, Donnie and Benjamin Patrick Miller and their mother, Rose Miller.”

After a shocked moment of hesitation, Eugene stood up and held out his hand to them all.  Bennie kept staring at the other Benjamin.  He looked at me and I nodded.  He knew what that meant.  Mind your manners.  Then he slowly got up and put out his hand.

We moved to a larger table and when everyone was seated.  Eugene said to the waitress, “Beers all around on me.  Take their orders.”

Rose immediately held her hand up.  “No beer for us, please.  We’ll have water and tea.”

Both boys laughed.  “Hey, you’re in horse and cattle country.  You have to be drinking beer, whiskey or something.”

It was time for me to shut it down.  “Boys, mind your manners.  They don’t have to be drinking or eating anything they don’t want to.  Not another word.”

Both of them shrugged it off.

Benny leaned forward and looked closer at the brother called Benjamin across the table.  “Pa, I thought you said your other boys were from New York state.  How come these two are from Indiana.”

“I’ve got a lot of explainin’ to do.  We’ll order and then I’ll fill you in.”

A large pizza and salads were ordered and I got started on my story.  “It would take all night to tell you everything, so I’ll just start with my trip across the states.  In Indiana, I stopped to get my bike fixed and that’s when I met Rose, her father and Donnie here.  I didn’t know about Benjamin here until tonight.”

Eugene snickered.  “So how many other surprises did you leave across the country, Pa?”

I kicked Eugene under the table.  “That’s it.”  I said with double meaning.

Rose stared at Eugene for a moment.  Eugene stared back.  “Yeah, I look more like my mother or my real father.  Not sure about the bio father.”

I decided to let that one go.  “Both Benny and Gene work on the RB Dude horse ranch with me and go to Sheridan college for Animal Husbandry in the fall.  How about you boys?”

Donnie spoke. “I’m headed for the Bethesda Christian College in Anaheim, California.  Benjamin here is enrolling at Sheridan to learn all he can about being a blacksmith, a horse trainer or a vet.”

Benjamin grinned and clarified, "All of that will be handy as a vet."

Benny laughed.  “Well, this ought to be interesting.  Two Benjamin Patrick’s in the same college sired by a Benjamin Patrick.”

Benjamin said, “I’m enrolled as Benjamin Miller and since I didn’t know about my father, I have mom listed.”

“Hey, that works.” Benny seemed relieved.

Gene spoke up.  “A preacher and vet.  How about that?  So, what religion are you?”

Donnie was quick to answer.  “Interdenominational.  We don’t preach any denomination, just strictly from the Bible as Jesus taught it.  No judgement, just praise and understanding.”

“Is that why none of you drink?  Are you going to judge us because we do?”

“No judgement.  Everything can be misused.  That’s when it’s a sin unto yourself and sometimes to families.  But it’s up to God to judge that.  Not up to mortal man.”

“Hey, you’re alright, man.  Maybe a little out there and misguided, but hey…”

Listening to the boys, I realized the difference in the upbringing and how these two sets of brothers looked at the world.

My attention turned to Rose.  “What are your plans?  Are you headed back to the farm?”

“No, after Dad passed, I found that he left us an adequate inheritance.  I sold the restaurant to my head waitress on a monthly plan basis and went to college myself at the Indiana University extension to be a teacher.  I homeschooled the boys and did some temp work at the schools around the area and then when the boys were both graduated, they settled on colleges and applied out here.  We sold the farm and I’ll be starting my position teaching at the local Montessori school here.  I have an apartment near here already.”

Gene had been listening intently.  “So, you’re rich, eh?”

Rose laughed.  “Rich, no, we all still have to work, but with the right management, we’ll be o.k.  Dad left a college fund for the boys, but we have to use it sparingly to get them through the next four years.”

I said, “I apologize, Rose.  We have no right to be prying into your affairs.”

Gene said, “Hey, I was just asking in case she had any idea that you should be paying for Benjamin’s education as well.  I mean that would be a lot of back child support.”

I blew up.  “Eugene, stop it.  You’re getting your college paid for you with the fund I saved back for you boys.  You’ve never needed for anything and by moral rights, I could have cut you off years ago and refused to adopt you.  No more of that hawg wash.”

The table went silent and tense.

The waitress brought the food order and after it was put on the table, I told the waitress that there would be no more beer or liquor for anyone at the table.”

Gene and Benny stared at me with their dropped mouths and glaring eyes.  “You’re cut off.  No more booze tonight and nothing more to be said about it.”

Benjamin, Donnie and Rose looked uncomfortable and then bowed their heads and Rose prayed.  “Thank you, Lord for safe travels, good food and lodging, and for God Winks.  We know that everything has a purpose and you have a plan for everything.  Amen.”

Her boys echoed, “Amen.”

Bennie and Gene sat awkwardly staring at the table and started scarfing their food down as if they were at the ranch mess hall.

After a few minutes, Gene and Bennie brought up the subject of the rodeo’s, which was of immense interest to Benjamin.  Before the meal ended, Bennie pulled out two tickets for the next rodeo in which they would be participating.  Bennie was in the steer wrestling competition and Gene would be riding the bulls.

Gene had to bring up, “Pa’s a rodeo clown.  He showed his talent for a clown when we were kids.”

Bennie laughed and told the story about my drunken firecracker in the pocket story.

I sat red-faced, and Bennie caught my stare of disapproval and ended with “Well, you should see the trophies dad got from his bull riding and cow roping days.”

I had been watching Benjamin’s face as he listened in disbelief.  Donnie giggled a little, but Rose showed no emotion or reaction at all.

The meal was over and I grabbed the check as soon as the waitress brought it.  The boys chatted about horses and college classes as we left.

Gene and Bennie took off in Gene’s truck.  The thought crossed my mind that they might not be done at the Casino Bar.  I wondered how long it would be before they got picked up for drinking and driving.  Bennie was driving though and I figured he had less to drink.  Nonetheless, I was feeling a little guilty for not stopping them.

I turned to Rose before she got into her van.  “Can we get together when we can catch up on our histories.  I have plenty to tell you.”

She said, “I’m settling into my apartment tomorrow.  The boys are leaving for their dormitories and I’ll be free by next weekend.”

Benjamin leaned across from the front passenger seat.  “I would like to get together with you soon as well, Dad.”

“We’ll set a date for that.”  I took three business cards out of my clip from vest pocket and handed them out.  Rose read aloud, “Benjamin Patrick, (Pattie), Foreman, RB Dude Ranch.”

Benjamin said, “Hey, now I like that.  Maybe I’ll adopt that nickname.”

“I’d be honored if you would.  And remind me to tell you the story of how I got that nickname.”

“I will, Dad.  It’s been awesome meeting you.”

I watched them go and suddenly felt lonely.  I looked up to the heavens.  What are the chances.  Yes, this was no accident.  Rose was right.  This was a God Wink.  I would be calling on Rose soon.

 


© Copyright 2019 Cookie Reece. All rights reserved.

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