RECONCILATION AT THE RANCH

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic
Randy Marks is a hired hand at Breezy Pass Ranch. Grandpa as they have learned to know the owner of the ranch by, is sick and the doctor doesn't give them much hope that he will return to normal. Upon leaving Grandpa's room, Randy gets a message from Grandpa that leaves him looking for clues to the mystery.

Submitted: February 20, 2015

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Submitted: February 20, 2015

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~~Distant thunder could be heard on the horizon of the Montana wilderness and Randy Marks, Breezy Pass Ranch’s only hired help, hurried toward the old white ranch house. “Storm’s a brewin, Randy muttered to himself as he sprinted up the porch steps two at a time.
 Randy opened the screen door and slipped inside. The nurse met him at the door and gave an update on Grandpa Bob’s condition.
 “He’s in and out of consciousness, but thankfully is resting now!” the nurse told Randy. “When he is thrashing about, he tries to talk. He keeps saying over and over box and barn. You wouldn’t know what that was about, would you?”
 “No, I don’t seem to recall a box in the barn Ma’am.” Randy answered politely. He turned to go down the hall to take a quick peek at Grandpa Bob, who lay still and pale on the sheets of his big four poster bed.
 Grandpa Bob was 62 years of age and was Randy’s boss. Grandpa Bob had been giving orders to Randy for almost five years. Randy saw him as a father figure, that Randy had never known, rather than a boss. Together they branded cattle, fed and watered the livestock and horses, and every morning Randy would have a heaping of Grandpa Bob’s bacon and scrambled eggs for breakfast.
 Grandpa Bob was well known in Livingston, Montana. He was a kind man who had lost his dear wife years ago. Everyone for miles around knew him as Grandpa Bob. Grandpa Bob had no children and so now that he was so sick, Randy wondered who the ranch would go to should Grandpa Bob not return to his full health.
 Randy walked up to Grandpa Bob’s bed and patted the work calloused hand. Just yesterday he seemed have been robust and jolly, his old self and the next he was fighting for his life with an unseen brain infection.
“That black mustang and his herd are pasturing on the south ridge again. They went through the fence up around Sugar Creek pond. Sure wish you’d be goin’ with me to fix it today!” Randy chatted about the weather and old Sue’s calf as though he was having a regular conversation at the breakfast table, but this time Grandpa Bob never joined into the conversation.
Randy checked his watch on a tanned wrist and stood up to go. “Time to be headin’ out. I’ll stop in later before sundown.”
As Randy turned to walk out of the room, Grandpa Bob moaned and said clear as if he was awake and back to his old self, “Get the box in the hayloft.”
Randy jerked around but Grandpa Bob had slipped back into a world of unconsciousness.
Randy sprinted down the hall and out the door towards the barn. He climbed up the ladder to the loft and waited for his eyes to adjust to the darkness. Streams of light filtered through the cracks onto the sweet smelling hay. Where was he supposed to look for a box? What was so important in this box that needed his attention instead of going to fix the fence liked needed?
Just as he was about to leave and chalk up the words about a box being in the hayloft to the insanity of strong medications, Randy saw a big chest tucked neatly against the rafters on a ledge high above the hay out of sight. Randy hurried up the second set of ladders and opened up the trunk.
In the chest, Randy found little girl’s clothes, teenage dresses and blouses, make-up, jewelry, and some photographs of a little girl dressed up in what looked like ballet slippers and a tutu. There were other photographs of this same girl in various ages along with Grandpa Bob and a lady who Randy figured must be Grandpa Bob’s wife. Who was this girl in the pictures? Did Grandpa Bob have a daughter? If so, where was she now?
As these questions flooded through Randy’s mind, a shoe box caught his attention. Pulling it out and opening it revealed a box of letters. Randy looked at the post date on the letters. They were postmarked five to six years before he started working on the ranch. The return address was written in very beautiful hand writing and were from Los Angeles, California.
Randy turned it over and realized it was never opened. This puzzled him. Feeling like he should return the letters to their original resting place, he went against his better judgment and opened the letter.
Dear Daddy,
I know you are really angry with me for obvious reasons. I don’t know how to tell you I am sorry for what happened the night I left. I know I should come back to the ranch and talk to you face to face, but somehow I feel too many years have passed and I can’t bring myself to come there. I hope you understand. I know you think I missed mama’s funeral, but I was there in the back of the church. I left after the graveside service because Travis had to get back to New York for a meeting.
We have our own plane now so I could come home between filming, but I need to know that you will forgive me for not riding Ciera that day I left without a goodbye. I just couldn’t do anymore rodeos, or be tied down to nowhere. It was killing me. I had to get out and move on with my life.
Please either call me or write back so I know you are ok. I have included my address and phone number as I am sure you don’t have email yet. You were so against anything modern and convenient!
Love you,
Karen
After reading the letter Randy felt bewildered. Was this Grandpa Bob’s daughter? Why hadn’t he said anything about her to him? Randy guessed that the hurt this Karen had caused ran too deep for Grandpa Bob to say anything about having a daughter. Randy knew Grandpa Bob was a proud man and that it wouldn’t have been an easy cause to forgive if it hurt him bad enough.
Randy knew he needed to give Grandpa Bob a chance for reconciliation before he didn’t have a chance. Randy wondered if it were too late already. He did take comfort in the fact that Grandpa Bob had been with it enough to direct him to the letters. So Grandpa Bob must have wanted Karen to be contacted.  It was evident that Randy needed to call Karen.
Tucking the letter in his back pocket, Randy climbed down into the soft hay below and then down into the quiet barn. All horses were out to pasture so the barn stood empty. Randy took out his cell phone and punched in the number that Karen had provided.
Karen answered on the third ring. Her voice was soft and seductive. Randy found his mind racing and his heart fluttering in irregular beats. Get your act together boy. You can’t be acting all google-eyed over someone you haven’t even met. Remember she is the one who hurt Grandpa Bob.
Randy introduced himself and briefly told Karen the reason for his call. He didn’t tell her that he had been directed to her unopened letters by her sick and delirious father.
Karen said she would be there as soon as she let her filming director know she was leaving and given enough time to throw a few personal items in an overnight bag. She would rent a car so Randy wouldn’t need to come get her. Randy was secretly glad she took charge of her arrival as he didn’t trust himself at all. He was acting totally bewitched and this was scaring him.
Randy was just coming back from fixing the fence out at Sugar Creek Pond when a red sports car came flying down the driveway. A blond, petite woman stepped out of the car in stilettos and a tight mini skirt. She took his breath away! Randy had never seen such beauty and his heart started to skip beats.
Karen’s blue eyes met his and it was obvious that the two shared like emotions for one another.  Randy forced himself to walk up to the car and introduce himself. He took her bag from her and she followed silently inside.
They walked to Grandpa Bob’s room to see him sitting up in bed eating some pudding that the nurse was feeding him. Randy couldn’t believe his eyes that this was the same man that he had just seen earlier.
Grandpa Bob smiled and there was a happy reconciliation between father and daughter. Randy was so grateful that he had followed his gut feeling in calling Karen.
A year later Randy and Karen were married. It was a great reunion on the ranch.

 


© Copyright 2020 Charmain Kaye. All rights reserved.

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