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George Parks was quite curious as to how the Birdsalls got out of the mess they were in.


Epinetus gave a wry grin at George’s lack of faith in old time ingenuity but said nothing; other than continuing on with the story.


“An unseasonable warm breeze blew most of that evening. The family and livestock rested comfortably; except for Uncle Henry and the horses. A nice campfire was built and after evening prayers the family recounted their experiences of that day. They prayed again; both thanking ‘The Light’ for sparing them a worse fate and asking Him for safety on the remainder of their journey.”


“The next day was spent at the same campsite. Everyone was assigned a chore except for Uncle Henry. The younger girls were assigned the task of searching the trail and adjacent woods for any pieces or parts of the broken pails or wagon. Other goods thrown from the runaway wagon were also gathered. The older girls did their best to re-assemble the pails and bind them together.”


“Teamwork” spoke George.


Epinetus looked askance at him for interrupting the story; however he gave George a big smile to acknowledge the fact the George was finally getting the drift of things.


Smiling Old Man


“My father Horace and Grandfather Henry were busy attempting to rebuild the brakes for the wagon. Grandmother Abashaby tended Uncle Henry, the lame horses, and the blind sheep. All this while she also separated the girls who were constantly arguing. Grandmother Abashaby also smoothed over Grandfather’s frayed nerves after he had misdirected his frustration towards my father Horace.”


“Father Horace finally won Grandfather’s admiration by building a unique system of linkages to replace the broken brakes. Father Horace also contributed his skilled wood crafts by combining the pieces together with dovetails, mortises and tenons; all that done with three tools; a knife, a small wood chisel and a wooden hammer. Grandfather’s misery turned to joy when he realized that he had a son with such capabilities. Grandfather praised my father Horace for his hidden talents by giving my father a big bear hug and dancing around with father’s feet dangling above the ground.”


Mortise and Tenon


George thought “quite a picture those two” but he said nothing. He had learned not to interrupt Epinetus after he had received that last glare.


“Grandfather and father spent the remaining daylight hours testing the new braking system. First they simply yanked the brakes on and then released them. After several repeats of this process they then set the brakes and both of them put their shoulders, weight, and the strength of their legs against the back of the wagon to see if they could move it. When they were satisfied they hooked up the horses. This in itself was a chore because the horses remembered the previous day’s disaster. Finally the horses were fastened and the brake released. A test ride both downhill and uphill proved the workmanship was excellent.”


“Upon awakening the next morning the family found that the ground was dry enough to avoid skidding. After breakfast they prayed and set out westerly and downhill. Eventually they neared Greene. They passed a small abandoned cabin that sat down in the hollow near a generous stream. Behind the stream was a peculiar hill; long, narrow and not too high. Uncle Henry commented ‘It looks like a hog’s back.’ Grandfather sat upright and studied the hill. ‘Yes, and it is a good trout stream also” he stated as he remembered Mr. Juliand’s comment about fishing at ‘Hogs Back.”


            “Late that afternoon they arrived at the Juliand home. It looked abandoned with the shutters and doors closed.”

© wtomosky