A Ten Pound Bag
Chapter 25: A Town Called Rulo

Copyright© 2020 by Emmeran

The trailer was full: three horses, two dogs, three llamas, and some chickens. I drove away feeling like a Dr. Suess character rolling down Mulberry Street, I had a literal circus back there. The llamas and chickens were sharing the largest of the stalls. Mila and Sonya rode in the back seat, Sonya still emotional from the previous day’s news, and Mila still trying to comfort her. Matilda and her cat were riding up front and dutifully ignoring me. I was driving and trying to figure out a way to get revenge on Matilda for her llama move.

I still had Michelle and a hundred other things on my mind; for the most part it was a quiet drive.

Nine hours later we pulled up at the end of a farm driveway in Rulo, Nebraska. This was a beautiful part of the country just a few miles west of the Missouri river where the prairie turned into the great plains. Surprisingly, the land was rolling hills with streams flowing down to the Nemaha river which flowed into the Missouri. I had grown up a couple of hundred miles north of here where it was basically flat and expressionless land. Here there were hardwood trees growing near every waterway and the landscape was pleasing to the eye.

I walked up the driveway to the main house where a large, weathered late-middle aged man waited to greet me. His name was Emmeran Oscar Miller but he went by Oscar (or E.O. to his close friends). I introduced myself and we started to discuss my stay. The spot was out on what he called the “old homestead” up on Mooney Creek; it was a couple of miles up the road, and it was where his sons camped when they visited with the grandkids. It had been the site of the original family cabin about two hundred years ago. I was duly impressed.

He showed me the packages that he had received for me; they were all in the back of his beat-up farm pickup. Then we hopped in and he took me back down to my rig. I followed him up the road and he guided me into what he considered the best spot; then with a wave he was gone.

The Mooney Creek campsite was truly a beautiful spot. We camped where the creek ran through; the Millers had put a culvert in, which made a drive-over. Oscar seemed to be shifting to organic farming: the field on the west side of us was sweet corn, and to the east was tomatoes. North, alongside the creek grove, was a small orchard that had apples and pears. South was still the hardwood growth that this area was famous for.

The spot we were camped in was a meadow of about two acres, with an exceptionally large and magnificent black walnut tree in the middle of the meadow. The campsite itself was well set up and showed obvious use. There was a fire pit lined with rocks already set up, and about two cord of split wood stacked nearby. Oscar had brought in a temporary corral for us and set it up in the deep prairie grass about twenty yards from the firepit; he had even provided water buckets in the corral. A tractor with forks and a backhoe sat nearby bearing testament to the weight of those steel corral panels. I decided Oscar was going to get a very good tip.

We were about a half mile from anything; the only development worth note was the state university site about half-mile away, where I knew they had set up a new linear particle accelerator. Tours were available and on my schedule.

I set up the trailer and then led the horses into the corral, allowing them to graze, socialize and generally act like horses. I asked Matilda to put the llamas in as well, having found that asking Matilda usually worked a hell of a lot better than telling her.

I put out the dogs’ beds and then put them on their tethers; Matilda would take them out exploring later. Even the chickens got more freedom: we simply let them range.

Matilda was working on starting a fire and had it going before I managed to get back and take over for her. The tents were up and the fire set, I set up the cooking stand over the fire pit and then went to unpack my new two-person cot. Michelle would be here in a couple of hours.

Stepping back and observing the site we had a very attractive camp set up, basically photo quality. I realized we need a few chairs to sit around the fire so I pulled those out and it was perfect. Sonya even wandered out of the camper at one point and was suitably impressed by the layout. I fetched her replacement phone out of the delivery pile and asked her to take a few pictures we could leave with Oscar to use as advertising.

That phone tossing episode had been part of Traci’s master plan; she reckoned Sonya had to get over the shock of the news before she could be allowed on social media again. Traci had asked me to simply take Sonya’s phone away and keep it from her. I told her she was insane and to immediately ship a preloaded replacement because I was going to toss the original. It’s surprising what can be accomplished with a little money, and the phone I handed Sonya at that moment was an exact clone, down to the icon location and call history, of the original.

Sonya took the pictures I had requested and then sat down at the table to wear out her new phone.

Matilda was breaking in my new cast iron over the fire, and I supposed it was Matilda’s cast iron now. She seemed to be having a good time.

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