A Ten Pound Bag
Chapter 96: The Start of a Village

Copyright© 2020 by Emmeran

That damned rooster!

I slid out of bed and quickly dressed. It was already warm and humid, which wasn’t unusual for late May in this part of the world. It was also tornado weather.

I went outside, to find that Amos and Holder had the morning chores well in hand. Mary had already got the coffee going and Matilda was working with her on breakfast. I actually had nothing to do.

On the other hand, I couldn’t find my ‘chair.’ It had been relocated from its spot around the fire. Instead, I sat down at the tiny camp table and started in on the cup of coffee sweet Mary brought to me. I had my morning cigarette going and was halfway through my first cup of coffee, when Holder and Amos came into view, lugging a long, wooden table.

Without a word, they deposited it between the fire and trailer and left. I decided to sit, wait, and let them have their moment. They came back with benches to match the table. Next came a large chair for the head of the table.

I was stunned and amused at the same time. These young men had done everything I asked them to do and still found time to make this table so we could all sit together. It looked to be able to hold ten to twelve people comfortably. Humorously, our little population had just blew past that mark and they didn’t really know it yet.

It hadn’t been an easy thing to build with the tools we had. It looked like they had split several logs into six planks, which was difficult enough. They had then smoothed them with the meager wood-working tools I had in my tool chest. Those wood-working tools basically consisted of a few chisels and one very cheap draw knife. Close inspection showed that they hadn’t used the chainsaw to do the job. That was a lot of work.

I took my seat in the big chair with pride and simply sat there drinking my coffee, admiring the table. My fellas had done good.

I had to point to the spots next to me before the two sat down. Mary, bless her heart, immediately brought them each a coffee and refreshed mine. Matilda brought me a rock with a good sized indention in the middle of it to serve as an ash tray. I was in the lap of luxury.

It got better. Sonya showed up with two handmade cushions for my chair. I guess they were worried about bruising my sorry ass. I was still trying to figure out exactly what to say, when Matilda set a breakfast plate in front of me with eggs, potatoes, toast, and sausage. I was in heaven with my favorite food at a new table.

A hot skillet filled with egg scramble was set down in the middle of the table. Everyone else plated up and dug in. The new women slowly started showing up and the table overflowed. The camping table was back in use, and some were sitting on the crude seats around the camp fire. A flock of kids would be out next, but the adults could be gone and we’d leave the table to the kids for their meal.

I raved about the food and, after I finished eating, I raved about the table and my chair. I profusely thanked everyone and admired each and every bit of handiwork as verbally as I could. I wondered what other surprises lay in store for this day.

Breakfast finished, I took a moment to speak to everyone at the table and remind them that we had livestock coming in. I also pointed out that we had more men coming to help and that the Pawnee were staying the summer. A lot of questions were raised around that, but I pushed them off until after we dealt with the boat. We had to get them headed back up river to retrieve our goods from the warehouse.

Questions were hitting me from all sides and all I could do was ask them to wait. We needed to clear out and let the kids eat; we’d talk after breakfast was over.

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