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Snowmom

Joy's Legacy Chapters 5-7

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I'll have to add them a few at a time.

 

 

Joy's Legacy, Chapter 5 - 7

 

CHAPTER 5

 

Jack Daniels patted his cow, Betsy, as he milked her for the last time that day. At almost forty years old, Jack was a well-built, mostly white haired man. He was a handsome guy, but in a rugged kind of way. He had a constant five o’clock shadow, even though he shaved every day. He was tall and muscular, and able to do what any twenty-year-old man could do. His father, a preacher, had named him Jonathan, but the people in his small town had nicknamed him Jack. They seemed to think it was funny that a preacher had a son called Jack Daniels, so the nickname stuck. He was an only child. He had married in his late twenties and he and his wife were somewhat hermits. They kept mostly to themselves on their farm, but enjoyed what little relationships they had with their neighbors.

 

Jack loved living off of the land. He believed in God with all his heart, and took the Bible as literally as he could. He had lived in this area of the country all his life, and aside from going to Iraq during the first year of the war, he had never been outside of the country. He had been honorably discharged due to a war injury. He had several medals of valor for saving his comrades and although he appreciated the honor very much, he thought that what he had done for his friends, they would have also done for him.

 

Jack and his wife, Carol, had a six-year-old son, Luke. He was a bright young lad that adored his father. He fallowed Jack wherever he went, and was learning as much as his little mind could take in. Carol was now also pregnant with twins. They would be born soon, and now thanks to one of their neighbors who was a midwife, she’d be able to have the babies at home. Jack had arranged to exchange a cow for the work of the midwife, Rebecca. She was a mother of four herself, and Carol was confident that she would do a good job.

 

To the south of them and across the lake lived an elderly couple, the Larsons, on a 100-acre farm. To the West and North, surrounding Jack’s farm, was a Native American Reservation. To the East lived the midwife with her family. Jack and Carol generally traded for most of what they needed, mostly with their neighbors. Carol was somewhat of a Tomboy, and that suited him just fine. A lot of times he wondered how he would have managed if he had married a girly-girl. She was one tough woman. At thirty-eight she was pretty tall and portly. She was a great farmer, and a fast learner when it came to things she didn’t know, as long as it wasn’t in the house. She was most comfortable outside of the house, and didn’t have much patience for frilly things. She often said that maybe the good Lord had made a mistake and made her a woman instead of a man. Jack always reminded her that the good Lord didn’t make mistakes. She could shoot with the best of them, and often competed against their friends and neighbors, just to show off. Jack could shoot anything he looked at, no matter how far it was. Well, within reason, of course. He was handy with a number of guns, and always seemed to know which one was best to use in any given situation. This quality had proven to be a lifesaver in Iraq. Not only to him, but also to the ones he led as well. He could move as quietly as a cat, and had a way with animals, especially horses, that all of his neighbors had grown to appreciate.

 

Jack gave one last pat to Betsy’s hind leg. He carefully got up and made sure he didn’t spill any of the milk on the ground. He really didn’t want to get yelled at by Carol tonight. He looked over at Luke who had been standing by, quietly watching.

 

“Go get me that cup, son,” Jack said with a thick Minnesotan accent.

 

“Yes, Papa,” Luke replied and hurried to do as he was told. He brought the cup to his father and Jack dipped it into the pail of milk. He softly put it down near the door, where he knew the cats would find it.

 

“Gotta keep them happy so they keep us happy, ya know?” Jack said as he winked at Luke.

 

Luke grinned and held up his little hand. Jack took it into his large one and they walked back to the house hand in hand. Jack smiled. This was when he felt most like a man. While holding his son’s hand. A lot of people considered Jack to be a man’s man, simply because he could shoot well and had a way with animals. But Jack had always felt that life was more than that. That life was about what God had given you, and what you were going to do to give it back. And he felt like his life was blessed indeed. He had little Luke and he was a wonderful son. And now after several miscarriages, it seemed that they were finally going to be able to add to their family again. And twins, no less! His life was blessed indeed!

 

As Jack and Luke approached their small home, Carol came out to greet them. She wore an oversized pair of overalls, with one of Jacks long sleeved shirts underneath. She was as big as she had ever been, being eight months pregnant.

 

“Hurry up you two! Come on in and eat supper before it gets cold. Then after that, you’re going to have to go see the Larsons. He stopped by again today and said that he really needed to talk to you. I don’t think Mrs. Larson is doing to well. They are still talking about moving to Florida.” She rolled her eyes. Carol didn’t think much of Florida. She had never actually been there, but she never missed an opportunity to talk bad about it in front of their neighbors.

 

Jack knew better. He knew that it wasn’t that Carol disliked Florida so much, but that she didn’t want them to leave. They had formed a good friendship with them, one of deep understanding and convenience. Jack and Carol would supply them with milk, eggs, chicken meat and deer meat once in a while in exchange for Mrs. Larson’s fresh vegetables and canned goods. They’d even get bread from them on occasion. If they moved, they were afraid that somebody from the city would buy the farm. Or worse, someone from the Twin Cities. Then how would they trade with them? They probably would let the garden go and buy all their food from the grocery store.

 

Jack, Carol and Luke ate their supper in silence after Jack gave thanks. Carol was not one for chitchat, and didn’t tolerate much of it from Luke, either. Once done, Jack took the dishes to the counter and got the sink ready to wash the dishes. Carol added some handmade soap that they had bartered for with Rebecca and started washing the dishes.

 

Jack looked over at Luke. “Why don’t you go play outside for a little while, Luke? I’ll help your Mother clean up here”.

 

Luke’s eyes lit up. “Ok, Papa!” He said as he ran out the door.

 

Carol looked at Jack. “I sure wish we could buy that farm from the Larsons,” she said quietly.

 

Jack let out a deep breath. “I know. So do I. But they are asking way to much for what we can afford.”

 

“But what are we going to do? We have come to depend on them always being there. What are we going to do for vegetables and fruit? And when winter comes? What are we going to do for canned goods?” She said, worry edging her voice.

 

This was odd for Jack. Carol was such a strong woman, and worry wasn’t usually in her vocabulary. Jack put the pan he was drying down.

 

“Now Carol, you know that we don’t depend on the Larsons, or any of our friends and neighbors, for that matter. We depend on God. He is the ultimate provider, not only of our physical bodies, but of our spirits as well. He will never leave us nor forsake us. He has promised that the righteous will never go hungry and that their children will never starve.” He put his hand on her stomach, just as one of the twins started kicking.

 

Carol nodded. “I know you’re right. Thanks for the reminder.” She turned back to the task at hand. “Now you better get going. I want you two back before sunset. Ok?”

 

“Yes, Ma’am” Jack nodded and moved away just before his bottom got slapped with the towel.

 

Jack went outside and called Luke. As he waited for him, he got the canoe ready to go across the lake to his neighbor’s farm. Luke came and helped his father. They got the canoe ready and jumped in. Jack paddled quietly and let Luke talk. This was a time when the boy could do as much chitchatting as he wanted without getting reprimanded by his mother. Jack didn’t mind listening to him talk. In fact, he thought that for a six-year-old he had a pretty mature conversation. They talked about the fish, the cows, and the horses. Oh how Luke loved the horses. Jack smiled. A chip off of the old block he was.

 

They pulled up at the beach of their neighbor’s side of the lake. Mr. Larson came out of the barn and waved his thin hand.

 

“Well hello there, Jack. Luke. How are you young man?” He said, shaking Luke’s little hand in his.

 

“Good, thank you, Mr. Larson.” Luke responded. He liked Mr. Larson. He always made Luke feel important.

 

Jack shook Mr. Larson’s hand. “Nice day, eh, Mr. Larson?” he smiled.

 

“Yeh. Nice day. Come on over into the house and have some lemonade. The Wife would like to take a look at ya. She says that she ain’t ever seen a fellow as good lookin’ as you.” He laughed as he saw Jack’s deep blush. “Come on, man, I’ll make sure she stays off of ya!” He laughed again.

 

Jack liked Mrs. Larson, but he sure wished she would stop talking about his looks. He was what he was and there was nothing he could do about it. He didn’t ask for it, and didn’t necessarily care, either. He had come to accept himself as the way God had made him, and worked on the things that he could actually change for the better.

 

They got to the old farmhouse and went in. Mrs. Larson was sitting there, knitting.

 

“Well, hello Jack and Luke!” She said with a big smile. “Come on in and have some lemonade. Did Mr. Larson show you my trees, Jack? They really do bare avocadoes and the other ones give limes and olives. I bought them over the Internet a few years ago, and they have finally matured enough to give their fruit. Have you ever had an avocado, Luke?” Mrs. Larson asked as she walked into her big kitchen.

 

“No, Mrs. Larson.” Luke answered timidly.

 

She came back out of the kitchen with some of her homemade bread and some avocado slices. She put the avocado slices on the bread and gave a piece of bread each to the men and split one with Luke. They ate it in silence as they tried to decide if they liked it or not.

 

“Well, I can’t say I care for it much,” Mr. Larson said, giving half of the small sandwich back.

 

Mrs. Larson gave him a scowl look and turned to Jack and Luke. “How do you boys like it?”

 

Jack smiled. “This is actually pretty good,” he said in between bites. “But how are you able to grow the trees in Minnesota?”

 

Mrs. Larson smiled. “Well, they are miniature trees, Jack. They are able to grow in pots, so I’m able to have them outside in the summer time and inside during the winter, as long as they have enough light and warmth. Of course, that is taken care of by Mr. Larson here. He keeps the basement nice and warm in the wintertime, and I have that big window that I’m able to put them by. This is the first year we have been able to have them. Good aren’t they? Do you want just a slice by itself, Luke?”

 

Luke nodded his head eagerly “Yes, please, Ma’am”. Jack was surprised. He didn’t think that Luke would have liked it, but was glad he did. It was good for him to try new things.

 

“The problem is,” Mr. Larson said, “she didn’t believe them that they would give as much fruit as they said they would. And now I think we are getting more than we need, so I guess we are going to have something new to barter with. Man, this woman even has banana trees! They are much smaller than the ones they have down south, but they sure do give good bananas. I peel one up every morning and have it with my cereal. And we’ll see if her orange trees are going to give fruit. They say that they are about a quarter of size of the regular ones, but it will sure be nice if they taste as good as the bananas. Even if they are small.” Mr. Larson licked his lips.

 

They chatted a little while about the weather and the babies that were due to come any day now.

 

“Oh! By the way, Jack. Rebecca came by over earlier today and asked me to give you this,” Mrs. Larson said as she reached into her pocket. She pulled out a small cell phone.

 

“What’s this?” Jack asked, taking it from her.

 

“It’s a phone, Jack. She has prepaid the minutes on it, so all you have to do is call her number. She even put that into the phone somehow, too. All you have to do is push and hold this number two. See? Then it will ring at her house, and you can tell her that it’s time for Carol to have the babies. That way you can stay with Carol and help her until Rebecca arrives. Do you understand how to use it?” She asked handing the phone back to Jack after showing how to use it.

 

“Yeah, I think so. You just push this number two here,” he said as he pushed it “and it will call her. Oh, no! It’s ringing!” He looked surprised as if he thought it wasn’t going to actually work. He was actually very smart in this area as well, but just chose not to be a part of that kind of world.

 

“Hello?” A voice said on the other side.

 

Mrs. Larson grinned as she took the phone back from Jack. “Hello? Is this Seth? Hi Seth, this is Mrs. Larson. Yeah, I was just telling Jack about the phone and making sure it works,” she winked at Jack. “Ok, then, Seth. Uh-huh. You too, then now. Bye!”

 

She hung up and gave the phone back to Jack. “Well, now we know that it works!”

 

Jack put it into his shirt pocket and smiled. “Thank you, Mrs. Larson. Luke, why don’t you go outside and play with the dogs?”

 

“Ok, Papa! Excuse me Mr. and Mrs. Larson!” He said as he ran out the door.

 

Mr. Larson chuckled. “Fine young lad you got there, Jack. Fine young lad.” He poured himself another glassful of lemonade and offered Jack and Mrs. Larson some more.

 

They talked about the Larson’s plan for moving to Florida. Their only daughter lived there with their grandchildren, and was not coming up to see them as often. Besides, the cold was just too long in Minnesota for Mrs. Larson, they said. Her hands were really acting up, and it was difficult for her to even do the garden now. The Larsons had a large garden. They planted enough to feed themselves and Jack’s family, and for trade. Then whatever was left Mrs. Larson canned for the wintertime. She also canned more than they needed to be able to trade.

 

“So now we are ready to live in the city, at least for a while,” Mr. Larson said sadly. “We have worked hard all of our lives, and are ready to retire and go shopping to buy our food for a change. Oh, we know that the eggs and meat won’t be as fresh as what you give us, Jack, but on the other hand, we’ll also get to have a bunch of these real trees that Mrs. Larson is so fond of. Besides, now you won’t have to shovel for us anymore, Jack!” He finished the last sentence patting Jack hard on the back.

 

Jack smiled. “You know I’m always happy to help you, Mr. Larson. Besides, Mrs. Larson’s fresh cookies and hot chocolate at the end sure make it well worth it!”

 

Mrs. Larson smiled. “Well thank you, Jack! And we want you to know, that if we could, we would just give you the farm, Jack. You have been like a son to us, and Luke like a beloved grandchild. We sure are going to miss you when we leave. But we really need the money if we are going to be able to make it in the city.”

 

Jack nodded his head. “I know, Mrs. Larson, and sure do appreciate you taking over as my parents when mine passed away. I have sure come to love the two of you as well.” Jack shifted his legs. He was not the lovey-dovey type of guy, and this conversation was starting to get a little mushy for him. He couldn’t help it, though. He really cared about these people.

 

Mr. Larson cleared his throat. “Well, Jack, you guys had better be heading home if you are to get there before dark. Do you mind helping me move an old wood stove I just got? It’s in the truck. I’m going to fix this one up as well, and then put it in the garage.”

 

Mrs. Larson rolled her eyes as she cleaned up the glasses. “Boys and their toys,” she muttered under her breath. Mr. Larson liked wood stoves. He had bought and salvaged a half a dozen or more of them and made them work. She didn’t mind as much, the hobby kept him busy. She didn’t know what he was going to do with yet another wood stove, as they weren’t planning on taking any of them to Florida. They were actually hoping to just leave most of everything and starting brand new, once the got there. She was tired of making butter, bread and other things from scratch. She was looking forward to having the money to just go to the store and buy what they wanted or needed. She wasn’t even planning on taking any of the stores of food that they had. Hopefully the new owner would agree to pay a bit more for everything in the house and the other buildings, or else they would just give them to Jack.

 

Jack said goodbye to Mrs. Larson and went and helped Mr. Larson with the stove.

 

“Well, this one’s a beauty!” He exclaimed when he saw it.

 

“You like it?” Mr. Larson smiled. “It even has a place to bake. This is the best and biggest one I’ve gotten yet. And it’s in pretty good shape. It’s heavy to move, but once it’s installed, it should do really well.”

 

Jack and Mr. Larson lowered the stove into the barn while Luke held the doors open for them. The radio in the garage was on, playing Mr. Larson’s favorite kind of music, Country.

 

When the song was done, the news reporter for the station came on to give the news. Jack, Mr. Larson and Luke all stood quietly, wanting to hear what was going on today.

 

“This is KLBJ, 99.8FM. Thank you for tuning in. Today the White House has declared that it is doing all that it can to help American citizens come back to America. There are several thousands that are being made to come back, and their visas are not being renewed. One missionary family in the Philippines refused to leave until the father of the family was murdered in front of his kids. The rest of the family is now in US custody, and they are not being allowed to stay. Their names have not yet been released. The White House has also stated that this is the work of terrorists and will not be tolerated. ‘We will hunt down who ever did this, and make them pay to the full extent of the law,’ the White House spokesman said. In other parts of the world riots seem to be growing. Major cities from China to Mexico are having a difficult time containing the riots. But all of these countries refuse to let Americans stay, or their people come to the States. An unnamed source from the Pentagon is saying that there is a coup being planned in Mexico to take over president Fox’s position. President Fox is the first president of the PAN party, the conservative party in Mexico, to be elected in several decades. The PRI party had held power for about 7 decades until Fox easily won the election in the year 2000 in what has been called the ‘fairest’ election in Mexico’s history. The threat advisory in the US has been elevated to orange in the whole country, based on chatter from the internet of an attack planned against America on it’s 48 continuants states. This is KLBJ, 99.8FM.”

 

--------------------

 

CHAPTER 6

 

 

Jack and Luke made their way home barely in time before the sun went down. Jack and Carol put Luke to bed, and Jack stayed behind to pray for him. This was something that he had adopted from his father. He used to pray a blessing over Jack every night before he fell asleep.

 

The next day Jack went to work at the Reservation. He got along well with the leaders there, and was impressed at how well they had done to preserve their culture. Some of the younger folk were really trying to break ties, but the older and wiser ones were doing their best to keep everyone united. Most of them wore regular western clothes, but a few of them, specially the elders, tried to wear clothing that was common of the days gone by. Jack was always impressed with the skills they had. Most were excellent hunters and fishermen, and the women were very good at crafts as well. They made moccasins, baskets, dishware made out of pottery, jewelry and rugs. They had a very large community garden in which they grew enough food for the whole reservation, plus whatever they needed for the winter. If they couldn’t grow it, hunt it, or fish it, they didn’t eat it. Jack helped a few families by supplying them with milk, eggs and fresh chicken meat in exchange for beef and pork. They had their own butchers, and did things as close as they could to the way their ancestors did.

 

It hadn’t always been like this. There was a time that the reservation was near extinction. They had a lot of people working for the casino’s and they where moving to bigger and better homes off the reservation. The youth culture was starting to be embarrassed of who they were and their legacy, and their actions showed it. Jack remembered his shock the first time he saw a Native American dressed in Ghetto clothing. He looked so out of place, and yet, it was such a declaration of who he wanted to be, or didn’t want to be.

 

During this time the leader that was encouraging people to leave the community died in a car accident. The person voted in next had a total different way of leading the community. He was one that wanted to go back to their roots, to do things the way that their fathers had done many, many years before them. And so the task started. They would allow some things differently, but mostly they would try to live off the land and get back to their roots. As much as they could, they did trading amongst themselves or their neighbors. They had to buy things from other places, but would try to barter for those needs as well. They sold extra produce and meat to stores in the city in exchange for things like tires and glass jars for canning.

 

Not many “other” people were allowed on the reservation. Jack was a welcomed stranger, though. They had allowed him to open up an office on their land and serve their people. It was a win-win situation. Jack was an excellent veterinarian, and was able to take care of most animals, especially farm animals. In turn, he was paid fair wages and got to work close to home. Also, the bartering he was able to do with them saved him a lot of money. One thing that Jack was really appreciative for was that they had allowed him to keep his land. It was only 75 acres compared to the hundreds of acres of land that they had, but under the new laws he had to sell it to them if they wanted to buy it. After all, he did have a large side of the lake on his property. His neighbor, Rebecca and her husband Seth also owned land on the lake as did the Larsons. The leaders of the reservation had stated that as long as every neighbor kept to their own land and didn’t sell any fish they caught, they would not buy their land from under them. For some reason they weren’t interested in buying the Larson’s farm. The Reservation, the Larson’s, and Seth and Rebecca’s place all bordered on another lake. These two lakes were protected by the government and considered private property. No one but the owners of the properties, their guests and the people from the Reservation could fish on these lakes. The lake between Jack and the Larsons wasn’t as big as the other lake, but if nobody got greedy there was enough fish in there for a long, long time.

 

Jack enjoyed learning the way the Native Americans caught their fish. It was quick, efficient and didn’t require a lot of ‘stuff’. The leaders were happy to teach him, as long as he also taught them some basic information on how to care for their animals. Carol was a pretty good fisher. She would often help with the cleaning of them herself, and then cook it to the best of her ability. She was not the best cook Jack had ever known, but he had grown used to her cooking.

 

Jack’s day went quickly. There were a few cows having calves, and a skunk had sprayed one of the dogs. He was able to shower at his office in a small bathroom that he had been able to build a couple of years earlier, when he had redone the place. He had added an extra room for storage, that way he was able to keep whatever he needed in stock, instead of going to the store every other week.

 

As he got dressed again in clean clothes, his phone rang. “Dr. Jack” he answered.

 

“Hello, Dr. Jack! This is Bodaway. How are you, my friend?” Mr. Bodaway was the father of the chief. His father had also been a chief, and this was the reason why his son was now wanting to bring the tribe back to it’s original roots.

 

“Mr. Bodaway! Hello! Good to hear from you. I’m doing well. And you?” Jack was pleased that he had called. He had learned a great many things from this man, and truly enjoyed their friendship.

 

“Oh, as well as I can be, I suppose. Tell, me. When are you going home today?” he asked. Any time he called, it usually meant that he wanted to see Jack.

 

“Would you like to get together? I have some time now.” Jack was hoping to get home early, so this was a good chance to talk to him if he was able to.

 

“Yes, I would like that very much. Would you be able to come here to my home?” he asked.

 

Now this is odd, Jack thought. Usually they met at Jack’s office or went for walks. “Sure, Mr. Bodaway. I’ll come right over.”

 

“Ok, then, Jack, see you soon” They hung up the phone and Jack closed up shop.

 

He made his way across town in his old, but sturdy Ford truck. It almost looked like one in an old movie, and for the way that Jack dressed, he fit the part well. He looked around the streets and took the time to enjoy the scenery. He wasn’t much for towns, but he sure did like this one. A lot of people got around in horses, sometimes even in carts and buggies. It was like a mix between an Amish town and a Native American Reservation. In fact, the leaders of the Reservation had gone to great lengths to learn from the Amish. They still used electricity and teachers were hired from the outside world, but they were trying to slowly back away from being too dependant on anyone else, specially in the winter time.

 

Last year they had experimented not using any heat, just their fireplaces and wood stoves. They had turned off all their water lines, and got water only from their wells and streams that were not frozen. Although it was much easier to just turn up the heat, they had survived. Jack and Carol had taken the opportunity to try this as well, and had not been able to make it through the winter. In the coldest days in January when the thermometer went down to 30° below zero, they had given in and turned it up. They were concerned for Luke, as he had developed a nasty cough, and wanted to make sure that he was ok. Jack had taken the time this summer to re-insulate their home. They would try going without heat again this winter and see if they could make it. Jack had been traiding eggs with a woman on the reservation for some heavy quilts. They would all sleep in the living room-dining room area, where Jack could keep the fire place going. It was well ventilated, so there was no chance of them getting sick or dying from carbon monoxide. Since there would be no running water, they had arranged a few free classes of basic first aid for animals in exchange for a wind-powered generator for their well. Carol was going to have to learn to cook in the fireplace. They had bought some iron cookwear and she would use that.

 

Jack reached Mr. Bodaway’s home and pulled in next to the entrance. There were several other cars there, and he wondered if they were all at his home. This was answered as soon as he knocked on the door.

 

Mrs. Bodaway slowly opened the door. “Hello, Jack, nice to see you!” She said, her face breaking into a smile. She opened the door wider and let him in.

 

“Hello, Mrs. Bodaway. How are you doing?” Jack said as he took his hat off. He wiped his feet on their homemade rug, and looked into the living room surprised. Rebecca and Seth, and the Larson’s were there as well as other members of the tribe.

 

They all exchanged greetings and then settled down back into their seats.

 

Mr. Bodaway cleared his throat. “Well, now that we are all here I want to thank you all for coming. I’ll try not to take too much of your time. Have any of you heard of the news that is happening lately?”

 

Jack and Mr. Larson looked at each other. They had heard some things on the news last night that didn’t sound good at all. But why was this time any different? They had been on threat level orange before. And there always seemed to be someone saying ‘Death to America’.

 

Most of them nodded and Seth spoke up. “Yeah, Rebecca and I have been monitoring some things on the internet. Have you heard anymore than what they are telling us?”

 

Jack looked at Mr. Bodaway. How could he hear any more than the rest of them? Maybe his son, but him?

 

Mr. Bodaway paused for a second before he responded. “What I have to say needs to stay in this room, is that clear? You may share whatever information you may want with your family, and maybe some close friends, but don’t go broadcasting it, ok? I will loose my source of information if you do that, and then we’ll all be in deep trouble.”

 

He looked around the room as everyone nodded and took a deep breath. “As some of you know, I have close ties with someone close to the President. I will not name him. If you figure out who it is, please don’t name the person. I would like to keep my relationship with him as it is. Now, I cannot emphasize this enough. This is top-secrete stuff. Please, keep it to yourselves as much as you can. I talked to my, um, friend, yesterday. He called me from a secure phone line. Things in America will be changing very, very, fast. Too fast, in fact. You have probably heard that countries all over the world are kicking Americans out of their countries, and not allowing their people to come here.” He paused as everyone in the room nodded.

 

“What you probably haven’t heard on the news is that they will also be stopping all trading. Anything from oil to T-shirts. Pretty much every country in the world is in on this, including our neighbors to the north and the south,” he said, referring to Canada and Mexico. “You may have heard that there is some form of a coup trying to take place in Mexico. This is also true. Not all Mexicans hate Americans, and there is a group of high ranking officials wanting to stand with the US during this time, even if it means going against their government and being called traitors. The CIA is working with them to make this work. If it does work, Mexico may be our only friend for a while. Now all of this has a lot of ramifications. Have you thought what it will be like to not have oil? How much oil controls? As it stands now, we have only about one week, at the most two of oil. And that’s only the long run. In the short run there are the terrorists attacks that are planned against the country and the panic that will ensue.” He paused to let everything sink in.

 

Jack looked shocked. Mr. Bodaway looked straight at him “Hard to process, Jack?”

 

Jack nodded. “Lack of oil? What would that be? More expensive prices on gas?” If that was it, he thought, he could always ride his horse to work and save money that way.

 

Rebecca spoke up. “Well, yeah, there is that, but if that was the only thing that was affected, think of how many things gas can touch and affect. How do workers get to their jobs? How do major corporations send stuff from one place to another? How does the local grocery store or general stores get their supplies? Someone has to get them there. Usually in a truck. Now what about electricity? You need oil for that. And how many things are affected by electricity? Not to mention how many people are going to be out of jobs because of the lack of trading. Now personally, I think that they are shooting themselves in the foot. If they don’t trade with us, we won’t trade with them. They will be loosing as much as we are.” She shook her head.

 

“Well, that’s not entirely true,” one of the elders of the tribe interjected. “A lot of the countries are trading with each other, now. If they play their cards right, they wouldn’t need the US.”

 

Jack shook his head and spread out his hands. “But what does all this mean? What can we do about it? I mean, especially if we can’t tell anyone about it.”

 

“Well,” Mr. Bodaway replied, “we really can’t do much to help the country. The government is trying to keep a lid on things, hoping to not create a mass panic. This is one of the reasons why I’m asking you not to spread the word.” He looked towards the Larsons and Jack. “But we can do something about ourselves. As you know, here at the reservation we have been working at getting back to our roots. This has a great advantage over the rest of the country, because we have done what we can to be as self-sufficient as we can. Now the reason we asked you to come here today is because we have appreciated our relationship with you over the years. We do more than just barter with you, we have become friends. We have come to depend on you, and we know that you have come to depend on us. We would like to keep it that way. Now,” he said looking at the Larsons, “are you still wanting to move to Florida?”

 

Mr. and Mrs. Larson looked at each other and nodded. “Yes,” said Mrs. Larson. “If things are going to get as bad as you are saying, then yes, most definitely yes. Our daughter is going to need us more than ever. Unfortunately the farm hasn’t sold yet. We don’t have the money to just leave with out selling it. If we did, we would have already given it to Jack, here.”

 

Jack looked at them and smiled. “Thank you Mrs. Larson, Carol and I appreciate the thought more than you know. And I hope you know that if we could, we would have already bought it.”

 

“Well, that is another reason that we have brought you all together today.” Mr. Bodaway said. “As you all may be aware, Rebecca’s father passed away yesterday, is that right?” he asked looking at Rebecca, a softness in his eyes that Jack had learn to appreciate.

 

As Rebecca nodded sadly, Mr. Bodaway continued. “Well, she is interested in buying the farm from the Larsons.” A gasp was heard from the Larsons. Jack smiled. This was a good turn of events, the Larsons would get what they needed to make the move they wanted, and he wouldn’t have to worry about new neighbors!

 

“But, there is something else,” Mr. Bodaway said. “And we all get a say on this. Rebecca doesn’t want the land for herself. She wants it for her extended family. They are all coming to Duluth for the funeral in a few days, and she is afraid they won’t make it back to their homes. You see her family is made up of missionaries. She has one cousin living in the Twin Cities, then her aunt and uncle and another cousin live in Mexico and one last cousin somewhere in Africa. The land and everything on it would be for them.”

 

--------------------

 

CHAPTER 7

 

 

Mr. Bodaway looked at Jack. “Jack, this would affect you the most. As far as Rebecca knows there are about 10 people coming. Maybe more, I’m not sure. The reason that we have agreed to this is because of the skills these people have. To start with, I know you are a religious man. As far as I know, they share the same beliefs as you and Carol do. Also, the cousin that lives in Africa is engaged. Her fiancé is coming with her. She is a nurse, well, a doctor’s assistant, and he is a doctor. Am I getting all this right?” Mr. Bodaway asked Rebecca. “Why don’t you tell them?”

 

Rebecca nodded. “My cousin, Marie is a missionary in Africa. She is engaged to a doctor, Roger, who is from there and they work together in a clinic. Now I know that the illnesses that they have in Africa are different than what we have here, but you should know that Roger’s father used to be what they called a ‘witch doctor’ before he became a Christian. He is gone now, but Roger learned a lot of ways to help people to get better with just plants and such. Again, I know that things are different here from there, but we think that his knowledge would be very valuable.”

 

She paused for a second before she continued. “My other cousin, Ann, the oldest of the three, is a professional seamstress. She can sew about anything you need, and if we could just find a treadle sewing machine for her, she would be able to fix, and/or make anything we needed. She also knits and crochets, and now that Mrs. Larson is leaving, well, that’s going to be a good trade to know. Also, her husband is a great worker and can fix any car you put in front of him. They have two teenagers that I’m sure could be trained in a number of things. My youngest cousin, Joy, and her husband Dave, are the ones that live in the Twin Cities. They have wanted to live in the country for a long time. They have the cutest little four year old that…. Well, never mind. But anyway, Dave is a great carpenter. He has taken several classes, and though I know that you are a great carpenter too, Jack, I’m sure it’d be nice to have some help. He’s a pretty smart guy and can fix any computer problem you send his way. Unfortunately, that’s not a skill that will probably be very valuable in the future. Joy has learned a lot of skills, even though they live in an apartment. She can preserve food in a number of ways, including drying and canning, makes her own soap, and can make a wonderful meal out of just basic ingredients. She knows a lot about essential oils and how to use them, and has a large number of them stocked. I know, because I sold them to her through my business. She also sews, knits and crochets, just not as fast as Ann.”

 

Rebecca took a deep breath. Jack could tell that she was really trying to sell her family to him. All he needed to know is that they were family, and that was good enough for him. He knew that if he had any extended family to help, Seth and Rebecca would do what they could to help him.

 

“Then my uncle and aunt,” she continued, “well, they are just great people. My aunt can also sew, and my uncle is a great Bible teacher. I know that you believe in the Bible, Jack, and I think you would like my uncle. He believes that the Bible means what it says. Oh! And I almost forgot. One other thing that you may be interested in. Joy also home-schools. I know that you wanted your kids home-schooled, Jack, and that Carol didn’t think she could handle it. She may be willing to home-school Luke for you, seeing as he and Victoria, Joy’s daughter, are so close in age.”

 

Jack sat up straight when he heard about the home-schooling. Yes, he was very interested in that! He had strongly encouraged Carol to home-school Luke, and now the twins when they were old enough, but she had refused, saying that she just really wasn’t a ‘kid’ person, but would be glad to teach him how to shoot, or clean a chicken.

 

“That sounds great! I’d love for her to home-school Luke. Especially if there will be no schools after the stuff hits the fan, as you call it. Besides, they are your family, Rebecca. What am I going to say: ‘no?’” He asked smiling at her.

 

There was a look of great relief in Rebecca’s face. “Thank you, Jack. You won’t be sorry.”

 

Jack was about to answer when Mr. Bodaway said “It’s settled then. Seth and Rebecca will buy the Larson’s farm with everything on it with cash, is that right?”

 

Seth nodded. “We even brought the check-book along!” he smiled.

 

A few people chuckled, including Jack. “But, can you afford it, Rebecca?” Mrs. Larson asked with concern in her eyes.

 

Rebecca nodded her head sadly. “Yes, Mrs. Larson. When my dad died yesterday, his lawyer took some time talking to my mom. Apparently my Grandpa, my dad’s dad, had left quite a bit of money to my dad and aunt, but my dad never told my aunt for some reason. Now that he is gone, my mom wants to make sure that she and her family get their fair share. They don’t know I’m buying the farm. We will tell them that the farm is their inheritance, plus some extra money. What I’m hoping will happen is that they at least let Joy and her family come and live here, and then the rest of them can split the rest of the money if they don’t end up staying here.”

 

Jack wondered if Rebecca was giving away too much information, but realized that they were really all among friends.

 

“Ok, then.” Said Mr. Bodaway. “Rebecca, the same rules that have been in our agreement still apply to them, is that clear? They are welcome to hunt on their property, and fish on the lakes, but they cannot bring people from the outside to hunt or fish with them, and they cannot hunt on the Reservation. It will be up to you and Jack if you want to let them hunt on your land. Now, if I were you, I would strongly encourage them to use the rest of the money that they have to buy the supplies that they are going to need, including means to protect themselves.”

 

Seth and Rebecca nodded. “Yes, Mr. Bodaway.”

 

“Now, as good neighbors, the Reservation is prepared to make a very generous offer to your family, in exchange for your uncle’s services. Now, as far as I understand he is a minister, is that correct?” Mr. Bodaway asked.

 

After Rebecca nodded he continued. “Well, we have no church, or ministers here on the Reservation. We have been hesitant to invite someone to come from the outside, but this is a perfect arrangement. If he would be willing to be a pastor of sorts, being able to marry people, do the funerals and have a service at least once or twice a month, then we would be able to compensate him with a one time offer. We would not be able to pay him, but he could keep any money that the people that go to church would like to give. It may be a lot, it may not be anything at all. Or he may get beef, or rugs. In turn, we will build three small basic cabins and outfit them for their use with a fireplace and a wood stove for cooking. No running water or bathrooms, but we will insulate them as best as we can. We will help them furnish them, but we can’t promise to do it completely. Also, they will have no electricity, so they will have to figure that out as well. We will, however, make two to three insulated outhouses. Unfortunately, you are going to have to answer for your uncle now. We will want to build those cabins starting tomorrow, and need to” he wasn’t able to even finis his sentence as he could see that both Seth and Rebecca were already nodding their heads vigorously.

 

“Yes, Mr. Bodaway, yes! That would be incredible! We have been wondering how we were going to house them all! We won’t have room at our place as we will be having my brother’s in law and my mother in law coming to live with us, too. This is perfect don’t you think, Rebecca?” Seth looked at Rebecca with a big smile on his face. Jack could tell that this was a great relief for him. They must have talked quite a bit about all of this for him to be so excited about it.

 

Rebecca nodded her head and smiled brightly. Then her smile faded. “But, what if nothing actually happens and they are able to go home. Or they choose not to stay here because of the cold winters and try to make it back to Mexico?” She wondered, her face showing a little fear that the deal might be off.

 

“Then I guess your cousin will have lots of storage space. If she and her husband choose to stay, that is. If they don’t, then we will buy the property back from you, for the same price that you paid the Larson’s. Does that seem fair?” He asked the couple.

 

“Yup, that sure does! Thank you!” Rebecca and Seth were both quiet people, and this was the most that Jack had either of them say. He liked them a lot, and quite frankly, was looking forward to meeting their family.

 

Chatter started to arise among everyone as they discussed the possible future events.

 

Mr. Bodaway held up his hand. “One more thing, people, if I could have your attention for a little while more.”

 

Everyone got quiet as he continued. “We need to discuss out safety.”

 

A murmur went up in the group and finally one of the elders spoke up. “What do you mean, Mr. Bodaway? You don’t think we are safe here?”

 

“Oh, I think we are quite safe, actually. In my opinion, riots will break out in the large cities first. Rebecca, you’ll want to have your family here as soon as possible. When do they arrive in the Cities?” Mr. Bodaway asked, looking at Rebecca.

 

“Tomorrow, or Sunday. My mom talked to my aunt and they left the border sooner than they expected and are driving straight through. They said that there were riots breaking out at the border and they didn’t want to stick around for that. But they’re not due here until Tuesday or Wednesday.” Rebecca answered.

 

“Well, you might want to see if they can come sooner than that. Have your cousin in the cities just pack up and move up here. She might as well leave all of her electronics; she won’t be needing them here except for doorstops. Now,” Mr. Bodaway continued, “about our safety. As I was saying, I think that the riots will break out first in large cities, say like LA, New York, and places like that. Then, places like Duluth. Then Grand Rapids.” The older man paused for effect and looked around the room. There were confused looks, incredible looks, and fearful ones as well.

 

Jack let out a deep breath. “What do you think that will mean for us, Mr. Bodaway? We are quite a few miles away from Grand Rapids, and Duluth is even farther yet. Do you think the riots would spread this far?”

 

Mr. Bodaway shook his head. “The riots? No, not the riots. But after a while, people are going to start leaving the cities and they are going to need somewhere to go. Some will just be trying to get somewhere, and others will be really looking to cause some harm. Now I know that we here at the Reservation are pretty well armed as are the rest of you. But I’m afraid that will not be enough. I would encourage all of you to spend whatever money you plan on spending wisely. Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket, if you know what I mean. Make sure you have enough food to make it at least through the winter until you can plant again. Get clothing and extra first aid things. But don’t neglect getting ammo and the guns that you know you can use. Seth, you’ll want to make sure that your family has guns. Being missionaries I’m sure they aren’t too familiar with them, so we will do what we can to help you out. Jack, would you and Carol be willing to teach them how to shoot?” He asked looking at Jack.

 

“Yeah, sure, Mr. Bodaway. But do you really think this will all be necessary?” Jack asked. He wasn’t one to be pessimistic, and Carol often told him that he trusted people too much.

 

“Yes,” Mr. Bodaway answered carefully, “unfortunately I do. And more than that, I think that we need to protect ourselves before they can even come close to us.”

 

“Would something like a fence work?” One of the elders asked.

 

“No, I don’t think so,” Andrew Atsidi, the chief of police from the Reservation answered. He and Jack had served together in Iraq. He was a very smart and well-trained man, and although they had never fought together side by side, Jack had heard great stories about his valor and leadership.

 

“Maybe if we set some form of traps, and train our men we can keep most people away. The traps would only hurt those who would be coming at us with malicious intent. We could post signs up that said ‘Stay away or else’ kind of thing. Besides,” he continued, “ I think most people will be wanting to head down south for the winter. Most people know all to well how cold it gets in this part of the state. It’s beautiful, but cold. So we can set traps up, and then later work on training.”

 

Mr. Bodaway nodded his head. “Yes, that might work. But we also all need to train now. Specially the ones that can fight and defend us. The rest of us that are too old, or say like Carol, that is pregnant, well, we will just support you the best way we can. Now Jack, your property is pretty much surrounded by ours. We can do the best that we can to prevent anyone from getting to your property, as well as you, Seth and Rebecca. Atsidi, could you pull out the map?”

 

Andrew pulled out a large piece of paper that he had with him and unrolled it. He stood next to Mr. Bodaway as he continued. “Here is our Reservation,” he said as he pointed at a large ‘C’ formed piece of land. These are the lakes,” he said, pointing at the lakes that were inside of the ‘C’. “Now. Jack, your property is surrounded by ours from the north and west. To the south of you is Lake Emily and to the south of that is the Larson’s farm that as of today will be sold to Rebecca’s family. To the east of Jack’s and Lake Emily and the Larson’s is Seth and Rebecca’s place. What we are proposing to you is that we are willing to help you protect your lands, with the condition that you will help train our people. We have many good hunters, but few are sharp shooters like you all are.”

 

Jack and Seth looked at each other. They had hunted and shot together many times before. They knew each other’s strengths and weaknesses pretty well, so they made a good team.

 

Jack nodded as Seth answered “That sounds like a good deal to us! We will train your people and this way we can all help protect each other!”

 

“That’s the idea!” Andrew said.

 

They talked a while more about the details. Jack looked at his watch. It was getting late and he still wanted to get home. He stood up and excused himself, saying that he didn’t want to be late for supper. Everyone nodded, and they decided to get back together later to plan how things would happen.

 

Jack said his goodbyes and headed for his truck. Mr. Larson caught up to him.

 

“Hey Jack! Wait up!” He said as he walked faster to reach him. Jack stopped and waited for the older man to catch up. “You know that wood stove you helped me with?” He asked, a twinkle in his eye.

 

He waited until Jack nodded before he went on. “Well, I want you and the Missus to have it.” When Jack started to shake his head, knowing that this was a great gift especially given the circumstances, Mr. Larson lifted up his hand. “Now, Jack, don’t argue with me. I’m too old for that. Besides, I can’t take it with me. Mr. Bodaway is buying the rest of them to put into the cabins, but I wanted you to have the best one. He agreed. You have been like a son to us, Jack,” Mr. Larson looked away as his eyes got teary, “now git! You don’t want the Missus getting mad at ya on my account!”

 

“Mr. Larson, I don’t know what to say,” Jack said, his voice full of emotion. He knew the gift was more than just a stove. It was a gift from his heart.

 

“Well, don’t say anything or you gonna make me look like a cry baby. Now git going!” Mr. Larson said as he turned to go back in the house.

 

“Thank you, Mr. Larson. Thank you,” Jack said, and got into his truck.

 

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(Format won't include all the content. Had to make another post. Cat )

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