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Grandfather hardly slept that night. He was excited with the potential parcel yet fretful about the responsibility it would bring. He lay there in his bed considering all the aspects of this move.


“Will the buyer for my farm in Salem be able to obtain the funding required? How would Abashaby and the children react to all of the extra work in establishing a new home? Would we have time to clear trees for crop land, plant, and harvest before the dreads of winter? How long would it take us to scratch at the earth that had been compacted for centuries? It had never been tilled. Would we all survive if there were illness or an accident while living miles from any settlement?” After a very long time he finally fell asleep with his worries.


The cacophony of birds, singing outside the window, greeted the sunrise, waking Grandfather from his short but deep sleep. He arose and made an attempt to straighten the bedding. A bowl of water and towel had been placed on the dry sink for his use. He washed and groomed his hair with his prized comb.


My father Horace had made that comb for him out of a lamb rib. Several deftly placed saw cuts, all parallel, and all the same depth, but none of them to close to the opposite edge, made a fine comb. Grandfather also took a few sweeps of the comb through his beard.


Apparently Esquire Garnsey was also awake. Grandfather could hear him rummaging around in the next room.


Grandfather, not wanting to use the ceramic pot to relieve himself, hurried downstairs and to the outside facility. Upon his exit from the outhouse he saw Samuel in the carriage house. Samuel was busy at work checking the horse’s feet. When that task was complete Samuel started feeding the horses.


Grandfather’s eye was caught by the sunlight sparkling on the pristine river. He walked down to the river’s edge and stood there transfixed in his own thoughts.


He was not sure how long he had stood there before a voice brought him back from the myriad of thoughts that were tumbling in his mind.


“A fine morning for a ride Mr. Birdsall!” spoke a confident voice.


Somewhat started out of his own world Grandfather responded “Yes, yes it is Samuel. But now how did you come to know my name?”


Looking somewhat sheepishly Samuel answered “The Missus Juliand, she say so. She feeds me in the kitchen, – – – – when the men smoked – – – – last night.”


Grandfather stated “I do not smoke, Samuel, but if I ever did take up vices, smoking would be the first one.”


Samuel broke into a wide grin, his bright eyes shining like gems. “Yes sir, Mr. Birdsall, I be with you on that one.”


© wtomosky