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Epinetus consolidated his thoughts regarding the story of his grandfather. He continued.


“There were both level and steep areas between Franklin and Cairo on the eastern side of the Catskill Mountains. Intermittently, large rocks had erupted onto the surface due to the previous winter’s freeze. From Cairo to Catskill-on-the-Hudson the turnpike was extremely well maintained although heavily travelled.”


Epinetus’ story took a turn toward the dark side.


“The road was as disastrous in some places as were some of the taverns along its path. The travelling Quaker minister’s stories, told to grandfather, were well founded. Grandfather stumbled upon people in various and nefarious activities. Sometimes there was gaming at the toll houses. At other times people appeared to be procreating in the semi-darkness behind the taverns. Grandfather fashioned an oaken club and tied it with hide-string to his saddle. Strangers would suddenly appear from amongst the trees where upon he would bare his club for their eyes. The would-be turnpike robbers would then blend back into the brush just as eerily as they had appeared.”


Epinetus finished off the story of Henry Birdsall’s return home while excitedly motioning George to follow him to his room.


“My father told me that Grandfather did not speak much of his turnpike trip until a few years afterward. He did not want to alarm his family before their move to Greene. He knew that, during that summer, their full concentration had to be on crop production and animal care. With a good season Grandfather could multiply the $30 yearly rent into $150 worth of crops and meat.”


Browsing through the trunk that held his treasures Epinetus stated;


“It turned out to be a good year and the yield outpaced his expectations. The sale records of that years harvest are still in my possession.”


Culling out, from the trunk, another yellow piece of paper he excitedly waived it around in the air.


Henry Birdsall summer sale


“YES! Here is the list, you see;”



© wtomosky