That morning’s walk, as he searched for his horse, was tedious. Plowing through the woods and brush had soaked Grandfather thoroughly. His waxen cloak was excellent for protection while riding his horse. But it was of little help when walking through the undergrowth.
Grandfather mounted his horse and spread his cloak over the horn of the saddle and the horse’s neck. Once he had ensured himself that his night cover and food was securely bundled behind him he moved on his way through the woods. An errant ray of sunshine snuck through the crowns of the large oak and chestnut trees. Grandfather enjoyed those warm moments. Between the small bits of sunshine, and the warmth of his horse, Grandfather was dry by late afternoon.
A late evening shower erupted as Grandfather stopped to make his seventh night’s camp. Covering himself once more he engaged in the tiresome meal of biscuits and dried lamb. The shower turned into a downpour. Once again he slept on a high spot but this time he had found enough dry hemlock boughs to make a decent bed. He slept well despite the hard rain beating on his waxen roof. There was no lightening or thunder that night. But the wildcats howled.
The next morning Grandfather found his horse right where he had left him.
A breakfast of the same food as the night prior re-energized him and he headed off to find the military trail. The rain and heavy brush had delayed the progress of this leg of his trip. However, it was nothing when compared to the previous days episode with the lost horse. That experience had also taken an emotional toll on his self confidence.
He half-heartedly prodded his horse forward on this eighth day. About mid-morning Grandfather’s path crossed General Sullivan’s old trail. He was bursting with joy knowing that he had found his way. He was also prideful in knowing that he had progressed this far mostly on his own skills.
“And then I realized how jaded I had become” Grandfather told me one Sunday morning.
He continued “At that moment I immediately stepped down from my horse and knelt at one of the old stumps whose top still bore the hundreds of axe marks laid on it by Sullivan’s men. I asked the Lord for forgiveness of my pride. I thanked the Lord for sending the Indian to me with my horse. I thanked the Holy Spirit for Sullivan’s righteousness in cutting that trail. I thanked Jesus Christ the Almighty for sharing your Grandmother Abashaby with me. And I thanked Him for allowing me to remember the moment of my departure, the faces of your aunts and your father standing under the manger roof, the beautiful face of your Grandmother Abashaby on the porch, and your uncle Henry high in the old pine tree.”